Complete Guide to Hiking and Trekking in Myanmar: The Best Routes!
Why trekking in Myanmar?
Hiking and trekking in Myanmar were, once upon a time, very difficult and only reserved for few people. Finally, in 2015, after years of isolation, the country opened its doors to tourism. It’s now becoming the ultimate destination for trekking, hiking, and adventure holidays.
Some of the most popular locations are Inle lake and Kawal, Putao and the Himalaya foothills, Lashio, and the Chin State. You will find yourself in thick jungles and stumble upon remote villages with hidden waterfalls.
Essential travel tips
LANGUAGE: The main language spoken in Myanmar is Burmese. But if you are going to these remote areas you will come across many different ethnic groups (135 in all Myanmar) and they all speak different languages. Because tourists have only recently been able to explore the country, not many people speak English.
MONEY/ATM: Get some Burmese Kyat before you go. You will most likely not find any ATMs.
ELECTRONIC APPLIANCES: Find a universal travel adaptor before you leave. Plugs and sockets are all types C, D, F, and G. Electricity can be very limited. Bring a solar power bank and extra fully charged batteries for your cameras/phone.
VISA: Allow three days for visa approval ($50) more information
How to get there – reaching your destination
If you are looking to explore Myanmar and find the most remote trekking destinations you will need a local guide. Organized treks can range from a stroll through traditional villages to very challenging remote areas. Remember, almost no one speaks English.
Reaching your destination can be challenging, especially if you are looking to do so on a budget. Trains are available but extremely slow, private cars are the most comfortable option but only if you are willing to spend more.
A practical and convenient way to travel is by bus. The country offers a great bus network, cheap and extremely comfortable, especially if you are traveling by night.
Best time to go trekking in Myanmar
Of course, this will depend on the area you would like to visit.
Generally speaking, you can visit all year round. However, the best time to visit is between December and February, temperatures are high and there is very little rain.
Unfortunately, temperatures can drop significantly during the night, getting close to 0 degrees celsius. So, if you are planning to visit the north of the country, make sure you bring extra layers.
On the other hand, June to September are the worst months due to tropical storms. Monsoon season means you might end up facing flooding, torrential rain, and extreme heatwaves. Best to avoid this if possible!
Best Trekking in Myanmar: 4 incredible locations
Until recently, not many people knew Lashio was an adventure pack destination perfect for hiking, trekking, and much more. The countryside surrounding this small town is covered in green forests and incredible waterfalls. This makes Lashio an incredible destination for wild swimming, paddle boarding, and caving.
For more information and booking visit: Myanmar adventure outfitters
The Chin State is unlike any other part of Myanmar. Misty hills, small villages, mountains, and forests are only a few of the things you will experience.
The Chin State remains one of the best “off the beaten path” destinations in South East Asia. You’ll stay in authentic homestays and experience ancient traditions.
The Chin women are famous for their facial tattoos, a practice now banned from the government. Nevertheless, this is a unique experience that deserves a spot as one of the best hiking and trekking locations in Myanmar.
Kawal and the Inle Lake
The trek between Kalaw and Inle Lake is one of the most popular in Myanmar. Therefore, no one of the most “off the beaten track” options but still absolutely worth it. After all, there must be a reason why many people choose this hike!
The distance between Kawal and Inle Lake is 60 km, usually done in 3 days. The trek will take you through tea plantations and traditional villages all surrounded by fit vegetation.
Once you reach the Inle Lake a stop at the Ywama village is a must. Here you will meet some Kayah Lahwi women, famous for extending their necks using brass rings. This ethnic group is not originally from Inle Lake but from the small state of Kayah. Therefore, if you are interested in fully experiencing this culture you must travel north closer to Demawso and Loikow.
Putao and the Himalayan foothills
The north part of Myanmar is truly one of the less explored, nevertheless an incredible destination that deserves a spot as one of the best hiking trekking areas in the country.
This area offers short treks as well as one-month-long expeditions to remote peaks (Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m). Putao is also a good destination for water rafting and kayaking in the nearby rivers.
Reaching Putao can prove difficult as it’s not a very popular destination. Therefore booking a guide in advance is highly recommended, especially because a pre-arranged travel permit is required for travel to this area.
For more information and booking visit: Discovery DMC
Trekking in Myanmar is an incredible experience, challenging and rewarding. If you found this article helpful and informative please let me know in the comments below.