Travellers today are increasingly showing a trend away from taking conventional
vacation and towards exploring off-beaten tracks or less-known regions, which
are interestingly, culturally, and originally set.
A Southeast Asian nation Myanmar has a lot more unique things to offer to
Myanmar’s largest state Shan, situated in the northeast of the country,
is in a prominent position to get local or foreign travellers immerse in different
but friendly settings.
Let’s see, what you want to do and/or enjoy on your vacation. For
adventure tour, trekking, exploring and experiencing new things, among others,
it is a Shan area known as Pinlong township (ပင္ေလာင္းၿမိဳ႔နယ္), looking forward to
fulfilling all your expectations.
A conventional itinerary of most travellers is about touring such towns
as Inle, Taunggyi and Kalaw in the hilly Shan plateau. As a difference from it,
a reporting team with the My Magical
Myanmar has recently visited Pinlong, bringing to you its observation and
experience in terms of travel values.
Home to the ubiquitous Pa-O people – the second largest ethnic group in
the Shan State, Pinlong is endowed with historic Buddhist temples, ethnic
villages, and plantations to observe.
As well, adventurous visitors could do
ridge hiking and trekking there.
Pinlong, like a hidden gem, the principal town of the Pa-O
Self-Administered Zone, is located between the towns of Loikaw and Nyaung Shwe,
an overnight convenient drive of getting there from Yangon.
To complete an itinerary there in and around, one would have to spend at
least a two-night-three-day period, or stay for one more day to go farther to a
few fur-flung sites.
How to get there
There are tour
bus services from Yangon to Loikaw. One can book bus tickets online for a
standard/VIP service. The team chose services with a travel bus operator Myo
We’ve found the
service convenient, despite the frequent stopovers on the way. For those who have
onboard feeling of dizziness and light-headedness, please keep drugs or remedies
to calm the feeling.
The bus left
Yangon at 3:30 p.m. sharp, and arrived at the Phoe Phyu bus terminal in Pinlong
at around 4:30 a.m. Only at the time of the arrival, there were several people
around on duty, and there was none within a moment. So, it could be
inconvenient for a woman traveller alone.
Where to put up
Based on the needs
over touring, you can decide your preferred guesthouse or motel by checking it online.
Pinlong Hotel is the biggest for the time around. Our team stayed up at
Friends’ Hotel of an international standard, which is set to celebrate its
grand opening soon.
The setting of
the Hotel, built on a seven-acre plot of land, is fairly pleasant with shady
trees and flowering plants.
Where to tour
morning at Pinlong welcomed our first leg of the itinerary.
Coming across the
forepart of a more-than-100-year-old wood-structured manor, we were aware of
its architecture and Shan chiefs’ traditional traces. Due to poor maintenance
on the manor, the rear was found damaged. One can go into its history, having a
talk at a single house in the compound.
Ye Khaung stūpa and foot-print of Kyansittha
The stūpa was aptly
named as it was built in Ye Khaung village. It is also called Kyaik Hti Yoe
stupa, because of an exact replica of the original Kyaik Hti Yoe pagoda built
at the top of Mt. Kyaikhtiyo in Mon State. According to local people, the stūpa was built by
a hermit atop such a rock cave.
fact that the cave reflects the mixed colours of limestone and haematite, local
people pronounce it the haematite cave. The religious festival of the 28
pagodas is held in the fencing of the stupa every year.
In front of the
stūpa across a lane
is the foot-print of Kyansittha, a popular and influential king of Myanmar’s
Bagan dynasty. Known as the king’s left foot-print, it is well kept in a
building by the venerable Ye Khaung Sayadaw. We did not come across anyone who
could talk about the foot-print’s history. However, it is an interesting one.
Betel Box Mountain (ကြမ္းအစ္ေတာင္)
drive through a haematite lane from Ye Khaung village brings you to the nearest
place to the bottom of the Betel Box Mountain. Leaving the car parked there, we
began climbing a flight of steps that are curved into from the texture of soils.
We had to pass
some steep climbs of the mountain provided with bamboo handrails at the flight.
But, we did not rely on the handrails lest we stumble on the weak handrails and
fall down. We took regular and steady steps.
It took 30
minutes to get atop. We inhaled fresh air deeply, taking a rest for a while and
looking at the surroundings around. There is a stūpa with a flagstaff, in addition
to a human figure under a gilded umbrella. We were also rewarded by a vista of
the Pinlong area under a gray winter sky.
Well, the climb
down was more cared in order not to slip on the muddy surface of the steps, as
caused by showers of rain while on the way up. On the way back as well, we had a few
glimpses of processing tea at the village of Don Min Poo.
Leaving the car
at the village of Lainli, we took up a chartered boat for the Nangmon
waterfall. A picturesque vista of rolling hills around afforded us along the
river of Paunglong. It took 70 minutes to reach the idyllic waterfall. It could
be taken as an adventurous tour!
What’s next? We
proceeded to the Lainli suspension bridge, followed by a visit to Wengabar
Cave. It was after 3:00 p.m., when we arrived back at Pinlong.
Lainli suspension bridge
It is Myanmar’s
longest suspension bridge that spans the river of Paunglong, which originates
from Elephant Hill. The bridge, over 20 miles away from Pinlong, was put into
service in November, 2016.
There is a very
narrow passage of about three feet in width leading through the cave. Via the
passage’s several branch lines, you can reach other parts inside the cave.
There you can see many stalagmites in a strange natural setting, and feel
somewhat chilled as cold drops of water are seeping through rock crevices.
Nagar Coil Pagoda (serpent dragon pagoda)
pagoda is in the village of Nagar Coil.
lane leading to the pagoda could not accommodate a 45-seat bus, and so we went
there by a light truck, which could be arranged by the pagoda's Sayadaw upon
availability of food items, Pinlong offers limited choices, but reasonably
last leg of our trip was in Nyaungshwe.
morning, we travelled to Inle Lake to have looks into traditional cloth-weaving
workshops and their products, Shwe Intein pagoda and floating restaurants, not
to mention the Inle Phaungtaw Oo pagoda, the primary attraction of the Inle
the other things to explore are small enterprises of making cheroots and
curving wooden boats.
came back to Nyaungshwe at 4:00 p.m., which is vibrant with many different
restaurants and hotels. We said, "Goodbye," to Nyaungshwe at 7