Shan State, Lake Inle to Chiang Mai
Discover the traditional hill-tribes and stunning mountain scenery of this remote and rarely visited region
Off the beaten track Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand tour
Due to the recent opening of certain Burmese (Myanmar) land border crossing points, we’re excited to able to offer this new extension, or mini-tour, to discover one of the less accessible parts of Shan State; the remote far southeastern region around Kengtung with its myriad ethnic minorities and spectacular mountain scenery. Little frequented by tourists, we’ll hike through the limestone hills of what was the heart of the notorious Golden Triangle region, visit remote highland villages and meet the largely, still very traditional hill-tribe peoples as well as discovering the charming town and former British administrative outpost of Kengtung itself. From here we’ll head south through Shan State to the bustling border market town of Tachileik before continuing overland to finish the tour in Thailand’s northern capital Chiang Mai.
This 6-day, fully accompanied, tour begins in Burma (Myanmar) at Inle lake and takes you by short domestic flight to remote Kengtung Township before crossing the Burmese – Thai border at Tachileik – Mae Sai and finishing in Chiang Mai. The trip is designed primarily as an extension, for those with a few extra days to spare, to our existing 2 and 3 week Burma itineraries, continuing from our 3-day Inle Lake stay. It can, however, be organised in reverse as a tailor-made extension to any of our North Thai tours if so desired, connecting Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to Burma and Inle Lake.
Starting and finishing points then are Chiang Mai International Airport or Heho provincial airport which has several daily connections to Mandalay or Yangon, (both with international airports.)
Please note that prices are based upon 2 people sharing (either twin or double) while single person travel is possible with a small accommodation supplement. Correspondingly, reduced rates are also available for larger groups. (The price includes the domestic flight ticket between Heho to Kengtung airports.)
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Kengtung - transfer from Lake Inle
Transfer to Heho Airport for flight to Kengtung (Kyaing Tong), the capital of the ‘Golden Triangle’ in eastern Shan State and famous for its surrounding villages inhabited by myriad hill-tribe peoples such as; Akha, Lahu, Loi, Wa, Palaung, Enn. Afternoon arrival and a chance to stretch our legs with a walking orientation tour of the town including sunset by the scenic Naung Tong Lake.
Note this extension continues on from day 12 of our standard 13 day Burma tour
Overnight: Kengtung Transport: Taxi, Plane, Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Kengtung - hike through the hills
Head up the valley to Pin Tauk from where we’ll start our hike into the hills to visit villages of the Akha, Lahu and Enn ethnic groups. (The Enn people are known locally as the ‘Black Tooth’ tribe due to their penchant for chewing betel black lipstick made from charred tree bark.) Most villages in this remote and, up until recently, rather wild, region are still very traditional. Some of the hill-tribe peoples in the area have converted to Christianity but the majority are still animists so a fascinating chance to discover these peoples’ traditional cultures before they inevitably disappear. Apart from the myriad ethnic groups inhabiting these hills the region offers spectacular scenery with limestone mountain vistas and valleys filled with terraced rice paddies.
Overnight: Kengtung Transport: Taxi, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 3 - Kengtung - a mountain-top monastery
Morning to wander around the charming little town of Kengtung including a visit to the lively and colourful Kengtung Market – a major trading centre for the various highland people from the surrounding villages. After a local style lunch of Shan noodles we’ll head into the hills again by truck to visit the spectacular mountain-top Zom Kham Monastery. Return to Kengtung with stops on the way to visit a village of the Palaung people – known for their stunning red cloth and silver lacquered waist-bands as well as the rarely seen Akhu people.
Overnight: Kengtung Transport: Taxi, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 4 - Tachileik - hike to Akha village and on to Tachileik
Head south for a morning hike to some rarely visited and still very traditional Akha villages – the predominant hill-tribe group of the Kengtung region – before continuing after lunch with a spectacular drive through the mountains to the border town of Tachileik. Overnight in Tachileik Town.
Overnight: Tachileik Transport: Taxi, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Tachileik to Chiang Mai - trhough the mountains
Time to explore the town’s huge Thai/Burmese border market before crossing into Thailand, (a 15 day entry visa will generally be issued free of charge to but please double check with your respective embassy), for a scenic drive via Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, Thailand’s northern capital. (Stops can be decided at the last minute depending upon whether you are already familiar with the region or not.)
Overnight: Chiang Mai Transport: Taxi, Walk, Meals: B, L,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the tour highlights...
Beyond popular Lake Inle lies southeastern Shan State; a remote and rarely visited part of Burma, (Myanmar), with stunning scenery, bustling markets and spectacular and still very traditional hill-tribe peoples
- Visit remote, off the beaten track, parts of Burma
- Hiking is generally about 4 to 5 hours per day but can be tailored to suit any fitness levels
- Explore the old colonial period architecture and colourful market of Kengtung
- Trek through the spectacular limestone landscapes of the Shan Hills
- Visit traditional style villages of the local hill-tribe peoples
- Start in Burma's Lake Inle and finish in Thailand's Chiang Mai
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
Karinthip Village, Chiang Mai view
- Delightful garden setting and welcome pool
- Central but quiet location near the old city
- Short walk to bars, cafes, restaurants and the night bazaar
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Holidays should never end, stay a little longer. These tours go well with this extension...
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