Hidden Gem of myanmar Trekking - Loikaw
Loikaw is the capital of Kayah State in myanmar (Burma) - the home of many tribes of which Padaung is very well known one with "long necks" women.
Loikaw is located in Karen Hill area, near the State’s northern tip, just above an embayment on the Pilu river. Just by a short flight from Yangon, you could reach to a very traditional Loikaw, which is one of the best places in Southeast Asia for a scenery of authentic tribal life. Another way to reach Loikaw is that you may boat from Inle lake - where you can observe “one leg rowing fishermen” - to Phekhkone lake, adventure Sagar village on the way then drive to Loikaw. Or you drive from Kalaw/ Heho to Loikaw and you can relax spectacular spectacle along the way.
Loikaw has three main tribes: Kayan, Kayah and Kayaw, especially among them, Kayan (or Padaung) women are well-known for wearing neck rings, which lengthen their neck.
To find out Loikaw, you can take a classic journey to some particular locations or a trekking journey to distant areas.
In a burma Classic tour:
With this journey, you could visit renowned places inside and around Loikaw city. You may adventure Thiri Mingala Taungkwe Pagoda, the Buddhism sputa. It is located in the middle of Loikaw, which towers over the city. Being constructed in 11th century, this pagoda situated in two hillocks. Between two hills is a bridge which connects them. You may watch desolately at the pilgrims and enjoy the stunning scenery from the top, especially at sunset.
Other destination you be able to visit is Shan chieftain, Haw of Loikaw. This palace used as a Buddhist monastery.
If you do not own a chance to get to tribe villages, you be able to bring an excursion to the Kayah State museum, which displays the traditional life styles of Kayah national races.
Besides, local markets like Demawso are also the great places where you can find Padaung tribe ladies with their really long necks. These unique women are on the brink of extinction because of state of the art life, which made Padaung women do not want to keep their neck lengthening custom.
If possible, you may discover Kyet limestone cave, which is 15 km outside of Loikaw.
To make it an tour tour:
By trekking through remote villages, you can notice the true life of local inhabitants, but this depends on regulation of authorities and sometimes it could be not permitted.
highlight of Loi Kaw journey tour is Padaung race, especially Padaung women with their extremely long necks. Tribes in Loikaw also dress colorful costumes. In the villages, you may get insight traditional living ways, unspoiled cultures and also how the villages deal with the taking ways of the military, who bring their food without payment. Travelers can find out Kayah traditional weaving industry and marvelous ritual flagstaffs of Nat (spirit) worshipers. Trekking trails also pass through fields. A long with paddy, the main crop of Kayah State are beans, pulses, maizes, sunflowers, cotton and vegetables are cultivated as well. Guides also lead you to trek through hills and thick jungle.
You be able to also be overnight at homestay. At these nights, you will obtain abnormal feelings with noisy barks of dog at shadows or distant howls from across town, which you could not uncover in a modern city.
Spirited poles are the special point of Loikaw. You could found them in almost villages around Loikaw. They are worshipped once a year, around April.