Hsipaw is a town in Shan State, located on the banks of Dokthawaddy River and northeast of Mandalay. This dreamy and friendly little town is situated on the legendary Burma Road, which was built by the British in 1940 at great human and financial cost, in order to create a trade link between China and India. With whirring cicadas and gentle swishing streams as your background music, Hsipaw is surrounded by idyllic provincial scenes for your eyes to feast on, such as farmers taking their oxen to harvest the undulating green fields of rice. There are also several nearby villages that are home to traditional ethnic peoples, which you can reach by hiking, cycling or boating. During the week there is a candlelight midnight market, which takes place daily from 2am to 6am, and offers a wonderfully authentic cultural experience!
Post breakfast in your hotel, your guide will meet you and together you will walk to the jetty on the banks of the Dokthawady River. Take a one hour longtail boat trip upstream with forests, fruit tree plantations, scenic mountains and valleys along the banks. Disembark and walk about 45 minutes uphill through pineapple, papaya and orange orchards to visit a 150 year old Shan monastery sitting by itself in the forest. On the return journey by boat, it is possible to swim at the confluence where two rivers meet. Visit a typical Shan village, with small charming gardens. Also visit a station on the narrow gauge railway from Mandalay to Lashio. Return to Hsipaw for lunch.
Walking Tour of Shan Villages
Post breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel for on an easy paced walk to farming villages and their gardens. The walk covers a variety of rural scenery including rice paddies, maize fields, tobacco and other seasonal crops amid rolling wooded countryside. Enjoy the opportunity to observe firsthand the traditional lifestyle of Shan Villages – see women weave baskets, make fans and roll cheroots (cigars cut squarely at both ends – open, untapered). After about four hours of walking, you will return back to Hsipaw in time for lunch.
Visit to Nam Tok Waterfall
After savoring a nice breakfast, your guide will meet you at your hotel. Together you will set out walking via rice fields till you arrive at the Nam Tok Waterfalls, which is over 100ft in height and has a beautiful pool at its base. Visit a limestone cave on the side of the waterfall and climb up 100 ft (30 meters) to enjoy a splendid view over an ancient pagoda and a Shan Royal Tomb, which is also seen on the path through the rice fields. Return back to Hsipaw for a much needed lunch after about four hours of walking.