Published on December 8, 2014
These community activities allow visitors to see tribal and countryside life in Myanmar – with magnificent natural wonders as a backdrop.
1.1. Kyaing Tong, Eastern Shan State
The capital of Myanmar’s Golden Triangle Region is also a cultural hub for 13 tribal communities. At Kyaing Tong, travelers can encounter tribespeople from the Ahku, Ahka, Palaung, Eng and Lahu communities, to name a few! You don’t even have to leave the city to encounter them: just visit Kyaing Tong’s central market, where tribespeople congregate to sell their wares every day. For a taste of Myanmar’s traditional crafts, visit nearby Yan Kon Village for fine pottery, or go to Soam Mon Quarter in Kyaing Tong for traditional lacquerware.
1.2. Putao, Kachin State
Putao in Kachin State to Myanmar’s far north lies within sight of the Himalayas – the part of it that crosses into Myanmar. From here, adventurous hikers can make their way to Hkakabo Razi, Southeast Asia’s highest peak at 5,881 meters.
Other adventures to be had at Putao include overnight rafting at the Ayeyarwady River’s headwaters north of Putao; visiting villages inhabited by traditional Lisu and Rawang hill tribes; and conquering the snow-covered Phangran Razi. More sedate activities include shopping at the Myoma Market; crossing Mulashidi Bridge to visit Putao’s citrus orchards; and paying respects at Kaunghmu Lung Pagoda. Official Myanmar Tourism site.
1.3. Kalaw, Southern Shan State
Kalaw is a cool hill station located about 1,320m above sea level. Created by the British as a temperate getaway from the lowlands’ constant heat and humidity, this sedate colonial town is now most famous as the main starting gate for trekking trails that wind through the Shan state. As you trek downhill from Kalaw you’ll walk past farmlands growing cabbage, potato and canola; explore villages occupied by Taung Yo, Danu, Palaung, and the brightly-hatted Pa-O tribespeople; and spend your nights at an authentic Myanmar home. Many treks conclude at Inle Lake after three to five days.