Myanmar is well-known for its solemn beauty of numerous Buddhist architectures around this country. However, visiting temples and pagodas is not the only activity you can enjoy for your trip to Myanmar. From picturesque mountains and imposing peaks to mysterious jungles, emerald rice fields, and pristine ethnic villages, Myanmar is a perfect place for trekking, hiking, and adventurous travel. Conquering arduous routes and physical challenge, travelers will be rewarded with spectacular scenery, unforgettable memories, and knowledge about local people, their habits, and lifestyle. Here are 7 most beautiful destinations for trekking in Myanmar.

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1. Kalaw – A popular trekking route with a tranquil atmosphere

Kalaw in Myanmar - Trekking in Myanmar
Kalaw in Myanmar
  • Location: 70 kilometers to the west of Inle Lake.
  • Getting to Kalaw: Take a bus from Bagan or take a train from Thazi or Yangon.
Kalaw Central Market - Trekking in Myanmar
Kalaw Central Market

1320 meters above the sea level, Kalaw is famous for sublime scenery and pristine hill tribes. The route from Kalaw to Inle Lake is one of the most popular treks in Myanmar. Formerly a hill station of the British during the colonial era, Kalaw is the place where you can find a laid-back atmosphere and pleasant weather. Kalaw is the combination of colonial architecture and ethnic villages. You can spend three days exploring ethnic tribes such as Palaung, Taung Yo, Danaw, Pa-O, and Danu.

Read more: Kalaw & Pindaya Attractions

2. Loikaw – Explore the ethnic diversity

Loikaw in Myanmar - Trekking in Myanmar
Loikaw in Myanmar
  • Location: Loikaw is the capital of Kayah State in Myanmar. This state is located in the east of Myanmar, 300 kilometers from Naypyidaw, the capital of this country.
  • Getting to Kayah State: Loikaw Airport is located in the town and there are daily flights from/to Yangon here. There are trains to Loikaw, but buses are preferred by travelers. You can catch a bus from Yangon, Inle Lake or Mandalay. The ticket is around $8 to $10.
Kayan woman in Loikaw - Trekking in Myanmar
Kayan woman in Loikaw

Kayah State used to be closed to international travelers for years, but now two of its seven villages, Loikaw and Demoso, are accessible for tourism. With great ethnic diversity, Loikaw is a heaven for those who love to discover Burmese culture and want to stay away from mass tourism. You can have a chance to visit Kayan villages which are well-known for its long-neck ethnic women. Besides Kayan, you will come across many other ethnic tribes such as Palaung, Shan, and Kayah.

3. Hsipaw – Lush green tea fields

Train to Hsipaw - Trekking in Myanmar
Train to Hsipaw
  • Location: 200 kilometers from the north east of Mandalay.
  • Getting to Hsipaw: You can get to Hsipaw from Mandalay either by train or bus. However, trains are preferred due to the stunning view from the railway, especially in the journey from Pyin oo Lwin to Hsipaw.
Harvesting tea in Hsipaw - Trekking in Myanmar
Harvesting tea in Hsipaw

Located on the mesmerizing Shan Hills, Hsipaw is inhabited by Palaung, Pao-O and Shan ethnic groups. Vibrant ethnic markets are the highlight of your trip to Hsipaw. Ethnic people in colorful traditional clothes come to the markets in the early morning to trade their fresh local products. Tea is the local specialty of Hsipaw and tea can be served every time a day. You can enjoy the lush view of green forests dotted with tea fields and take part in picking tea leaves with farmers.

4. Chin State – Exotic Topography

Chin State in Myanmar - Trekking in Myanmar
Chin State in Myanmar
  • Location: in the west of Myanmar, bordering Bangladesh and India.
  • Getting to Chin State: You can take a bus from Kalaymyo to Hakha, the capital of Chin State. Keep in mind that due to Christian observance, it is hard for you to find transports to northern Chin State on Sundays.
Mount Victoria in Chin State - Trekking in Myanmar
Mount Victoria in Chin State

Chin State is spectacular with towering hills, mesmerizing waterfalls, and imposing Mount Victoria in the south of this state. You can reach Mount Victoria through either Nat Ma Taung National Park or an improved road that leads to the summit road. Chin people practice Christianity and you can see many churches around this state. Northern Chin State is rarely visited compared to the south due to its remoteness. Luckily, Burmese government now does not require a permit to travel to Chin State and this place has become a must-go destination for your trekking trip to Myanmar.

5. Keng Tung (Kyaing Tong) – Trekking to ethnic hill tribes

Ann Village in Keng Tung - Trekking in Myanmar
Ann Village in Keng Tung
  • Location: belonging to Shan State in the north of Myanmar.
  • Getting to Keng Tung: There are flights from Yangon, Mandalay and Heho to Keng Tung. However, the best way to get there is taking a bus from Tachileik.
Ethnic market in Keng Tung - Trekking in Myanmar
Ethnic market in Keng Tung

Keng Tung is the most suitable place for a one-day short trekking trip. There are many ethnic minorities in Keng Tung, for example, Akha, La Mone, Lahu, Ann, and Shan. You can distinguish between those ethnic groups from their appearance: Akha women with traditional headscarves, Ann people dress in black and Palaung people with unique silver belts. Overnight stays are impossible in the villages and you can return Keng Tung Town in the evening for accommodations.

6. Lashio – Discover spectacular jungles and waterfalls

Lashio in Myanmar - Trekking in Myanmar
Lashio in Myanmar
  • Location: in the north of Shan State
  • Getting to Lashio: You can fly from Mandalay, Tachileik, Yangon, and Heho to Lashio Airport. For budget transportation, there are buses from Yangon and Mandalay. If you are on a trekking trip in Hsipaw, you can take a train there and continue your adventure in Lashio.
Waterfall in Lashio - Trekking in Myanmar
Waterfall in Lashio

Traveling to Lashio, you can immerse yourself in a peaceful atmosphere of beautiful nature and spend an overnight stay in Shan community. The most exciting attraction in Lashio is a massive system of waterfalls among which the most popular one is Dark Horse Waterfall. Remember to dress conveniently so that you can enjoy swimming and cliff jumping from the giant waterfall. Lashio is also the home to two Buddhist pagodas: Bodhi Ni Tau and Shwe Kyaut Gu. Bodhi Ni Tau is noted for its stunning 2000 Buddhas on the hillsides.

7. Putao – A journey to Myanmar Himalayan region

Putao in Myanmar - Trekking in Myanmar
Putao in Myanmar
  • Location: Belonging to the north of Myanmar, Putao is the northernmost city of Kachin State.
  • Getting to Putao: You can fly from Yangon, Mandalay or Myitkyina to Putao.
Beautiful Putao - Trekking in Myanmar
Beautiful Putao

Due to the differences in altitude, you can see a diversity of flora in Putao, from tropical forests to sub-alpine forests. Nature lovers will be stunned by many types of beautiful wild orchids in this area. Topography is also worth checking out in Putao with the imposing Mount Phangran Razi which is situated in the Myanmar-India border. The expedition to this mountain will take at least one month. On some clear days, snow-capped Himalayan peaks can be visible in a far distance.

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A Hanoian lover of art, cuisine and culture, Chi Nguyen enjoys exploring all elegant aspects of this city as well as discovering off-the-beaten-track destinations in the beautiful S-shaped country.

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