Community Based Tourism
Kayah is overflowing with the undulating landscapes and the diverse cultural experience series of Kayah’s nine ethnic groups. This Kayah Villages & Hill Treks tour will showcase the beliefs, cuisines, dress and decoration, languages and livelihoods of the local people. Kayah’s tranquil capital, Loikaw, is usually the base for the exciting day tours. A short drive from Loikaw, local villages offer many opportunities to experience local life, including a range of newly developed, community-based, cultural tours.
In depth insights into local Kayah beliefs and sacred sites…
Visit the homeland of the legendary long-neck Kayan people. Interact with the enthusiastic, warm and welcoming people. You will be amazed by a vibrant, living culture woven with faith, art and craft.
Witness the ancient, animist beliefs of the Kayah people. Meet the skilled traditional artisans and bamboo guitar musicians in their traditional homes. Enjoy the tasty Kayah barbecue by the scenic Seven Lakes.
Experience the challenging, breathtaking mountain trekking or enjoy the gentle trekking, while exploring local beliefs and way of life.
Start your first day in Yangon by heading over to the downtown and the ancient octagonal-shaped Sule Paya located in the very centre of Yangon. It is surrounded by the busy streets and colonial buildings such as the Supreme Court and Yangon City Hall.
Continue to the Botahtaung Pagoda close to the Yangon Jetty. There is a sort of mirrored maze inside the stupa, with glass showcases containing many of the ancient relics.
Stop by a street café to take a taste of the delicious local Shan noodle dish accompanied with some spring rolls and Shan tofu for filling lunch.
Afternoon visit is the vibrant Bogyoke (Scott) Market which has the largest selection of Burmese handicrafts.
In the evening, visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, the 'heart' of Buddhists in Myanmar. The Pagoda is believed to be 2,600 years old and it is always crowded with many people praying and making offerings at Shwedagon especially on Full Moon days and religious days.
Strat your first day in Loikaw by visiting the most famous religious landmark in town which is the Taung Kwe Pagoda. Taung Kwe means broken mountain. The pagoda is 380 ft high and it was built on 9 natural hillocks. You can enjoy great views of the marvellous landscape of Loikaw from the top.
Today, drive to Hta Nee La Leh Village and visit the Kayhtoebo hall and shrines, where animist traditions are practiced. A highlight are huge totem poles, which tower into the sky. You will learn why these sites are so important for Kayah people, and about festivals and events, which are held here during the year. Visit the village hunting shrine, to learn about the tradition of ritual hunting.
Visit the Lotus Pond which is a sacred and scenic site. Here, you will hear about the local legend of Tsudanu, a Kayah prince and princess who overcome many trials and obstacles before finally ascending to heaven as mythical Kinaree birds. Visit the Water Totem, where villagers honour the water source.
Enjoy homemade lunch at one of the local host place.
Continue to the homes of local artists and musicians to meet the local people preserving traditional Kayah arts, crafts and culture including musicians who play traditional bamboo guitars, experts in Kayah dress, and artisans who make distinctive Kayah lacquer leg rings.
Take a 30 minute oxcart ride to the Seven Lakes to have a fun experience on the bumpy village roads. Enjoy traditional Kayah barbecue, on the banks of the Seven Lakes before sunset.
Drive to Pan Pet Village and meet the local community guide at the Pemasong hamlet. After a quick welcome, the community guide leads you along a nature trail, for approximately 2 hours. Finally, arrive at a beautiful viewpoint, with a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains, rice fields and 5 hamlets of Pan Pet.
During the treks to the hill (moderate walking), the guide stops to explain important cultural sites on the way. These include a monument which honours the village clan, an animist bird totem, and a guardian spirit cave. You will be usually accompanied by licensed, English speaking tour guides who help the community guide to translate, and assist visitors to ask questions.
Next stop is Salong Kana, one of the five hamlets of Pan Pet community, which is considered to be the homeland of Kayan, or long neck Karen culture. The brass rings worn by some Kayan ladies have become an iconic symbol of Myanmar, and of South East Asian tribal culture. Kayan ladies are also well known for their handmade crafts. You will have the chance to go behind the scenes by visiting the homes of local artisans and seeing crafts such as Kayan bracelets, traditional textiles, and wooden statues being made. Additional highlights of the trail include visiting the village’s Clan Monument, and the Ker Kwang (a Bird Totem), where the local village local guide will explain about the village’s clans and ancestors. Then taste traditional Kayan rice wine on request. The Artisans’ trail takes approximately 2.5 hours.
Today, transfer to the airport to take a domestic flight from Loikaw to Yangon.
This morning, start your visit to Dala located across the river from Yangon. Take a 10-minute ferry ride at the Pansodan Pier in downtown Yangon which is very close to Sule Paya. Local commuters on the ferry are interesting sights to be seen. In Dala, take trishaw ride to explore the markets, teashops, local houses, farms and pagodas. It is one of the best trips around Yangon to experience the local ways of lives.
In the afternoon, enjoy some precious time together as a couple at a hotel. Go swimming a few laps and relaxing by the pool. Have a fantastic memorable dinner prepared by En Route.
Say goodbye to your guide to depart Yangon. Take sweet memories of family bonding and travelling together in Myanmar back home. En Route will always make the unforgettable travel experience that lasts a life time.
Small hamlets in Pan Pet are home to the Kayan women known as “long neck ladies” for wearing a stack of neck rings and leg rings. They are often called as Padaung but the name called by themselves is Kayan. Back in the early days, for the lack of work opportunity in the conflicted area many of them left their homes in Kayah to nearby Thailand and became one of the very famous tourist attractions. They are slowly starting to come back and live in their original places now.
Enquire to tailor your own private tour to discover Myanmar which is a mixed of past and modern world.