Departures

Trekking into Nature in Northern Shan State

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My train from Pyin Oo Lwin took seven hours, passed over the famous Goteik Viaduct, and arrived in Hsipaw at 5pm. I was ta ken to my hotel by tuk-tuk.
That night I stayed at Tai House Resort. The hotel was quite clean and quiet with bungalow rooms. I had originally planned just to go around the city but I decided later to get out and spend a few days travelling into the countryside. I decided to join a trek to Pankhan Village northwest of Hsipaw. A friend of mine had given me contact details of a local guide and to my delight, I found he was organizing a trek into the countryside and gathering people to join him.

The next morning, we travelled on foot away from the hotel.

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I was the most active one at the beginning of the journey. The road was quite muddy and I was excited for the adventure.

The scene changed as we continued our journey—fields and fields of corn, paddy, vegetables, and green tea plants. We continued. Then I started to hear running water and I was sure it was a stream. I was right! We stopped at the stream and felt fresh after washing our faces, hands and legs with the clear, clean water. It is these streams that help the forest and lands of beautiful northern Shan State to stay green.

The forest got thicker and thicker as we trekked. It was quite cold and so I felt good as we walked.

The view of Hsipaw when I took a look as was very stunning and naturally beautiful. By now I felt hot and soaked in sweat and thought that it was be because of a lack of shade as the woods we were walking through got thinner. Hsipaw is not very cold – according to our guide,  Hipaw is often surprisingly hot because of its geographical location—being in valley.

We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant with armchairs made of cane, a few bunches of flowers and a water tower where visitors could wash their face, arms and legs. I took a rest after washing up and looking around. The landscape was filled with mountains and it was very breath-taking. All of my tiredness and stiffness disappeared at once.

Soon the food was served: a kind of vegetable picked from nearby forests and mythun meat which they said was quite rare. There was a soup which tasted quite good and a leaves salad and tomato salad. I ate a lot as I was very hungry from the trek and soon I felt full. We continued our journey after resting on the armchairs made of cane. The village we were trekking to was not very far from the restaurant.

Soon, I saw the signboard which read ‘Welcome to Pahkhan Village’’. A wooden gate sat prominently at the entrance to the village. The villagers believe that it protects the village from evil.

I marveled at giant banyan trees with enormous roots that emerged from the ground. The houses in the village were very lovely and we were glad the guide arranged a house for our home-stay accommodation. The owner of the house prepared dinner for us while we rested. Even though it was hot during the day, it got cold at night and so we got comfortable in warm sweaters. Coincidently, there was a pwe, or festival, at the monastery for the full moon of Thadingyut, so we planned to join and enjoy it. I borrowed a Palaung outfit which looked lovely with headwear and a belt ring. The dark grew and so did the music from the pwe.

The monastery compound was crowded with villagers as well as guests. Some guests wearing Palaung costumes joined the locals in dancing around a big drum. It was mesmerizing to see people dancing harmoniously along with the music from the instrument in the middle of their circle. There was a tradition at the village—women and men singing in turns. When men sang a few lines of the song, women would continue it. It was fun. At midnight, guests started to leave and we headed home.

The moon was shining brightly pouring its light over the village and the sky was lit up with stars. I even felt like staying awake all night without sleeping just to admire the sky decorated with the moon and countless stars.

In the morning, we were busy packing to go back to Hsipaw. We left after saying goodbye to the owner of the house. The way back had many downwards hills and along the route we passed acres of corn fields. In some places, the farmers had built huts and gave fruit for the trekkers to rest and fill their stomach. There was also a box where trekkers could leave some money for it. After taking a rest, we trekked further down. I heard a waterfall. A few moments later, I saw a waterfall called ‘Nanthunwe’ which was crowded with people as there were many around after full moon holiday. At the foot of the waterfall, there were a few restaurants. The pleasant feeling of being near the waterfall took the tiredness away from me.

Then we headed back to Hsipaw. Eventually, the feeling of mountain and forest disappeared as we arrived back in the city. I felt a longing for the mountains, forests, wild flowers, streams, the full moon and the fun at the village.

Resort
Tai House Resort Hsipaw -
Tel: 095278275
38/Sabal Street, Taung Myo
Quarter, Hsipaw, Shan State,
Myanmar

Trekking Guide
Ko Than Htike( Hiking
Around Hsipaw )
09265921730
25000 ( for one night )
Total need to have 5 people




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Originally from Taunggyi, Shan State, she’s a person who loves to travel, escape from the ordinary and explore nature. She currently works in an advisory and management consulting firm. She lives in Yangon.

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