Myanmar's landscape is a patchwork of tradition with over 100 tribes stitched together by their welcoming smiles and intriguing customs. Much of the country is untouched and untamed and offers an immersion in lifestyles that are almost entirely unknown to the world. This unique journey of discovery takes you to the Shan and Chin states, where eclectic tribes live side by side in the jungle. From tattooed faces to stilt villages and flamboyant hats, explore Myanmar's evocative cultural tapestry.
Yangon – Relaxed Welcome to Myanmar
Yangon quickly introduces you to Myanmar's complexity. Parts of the city are wrapped in history as colonial buildings decay in an old-world enchantment. Golden Buddhist temples dominate the skyline as illustrations of the country's religious background stand out as the streets are filled with wandering pilgrims. Chinese markets, Indian tea shops, and decadent waterfront hotels cover the streets as every angle of the city is slightly different, although all are filled with a fevered vibrancy. You will be picked up at the airport for transfer to the country's leading hotel, where an afternoon high tea provides a gentle way to reenergize. In the late afternoon, your guide will take you around the city's premier landmarks to culminate with a sunset visit to the towering Shwedagon Temple, Myanmar's most important Buddhist structure.
Kengtung – Immersed in the Cultures of the Akha and Lahu People
Kengtung – Exploring an Ancient Loi Village
Kengtung to Pindaya – Hill Tribes at the Market and Onwards Across Shan State
Pindaya – Palaung and Danu Villages Leading to Iconic Buddha Caves
Inle Lake – The Stilt House Villages of Inle
Inle Lake – A Cooking Course and Immersion with the Intha People
Inle Lake – Pa-Oh Villages in the Hills
Heho to Sittwe – The Complex Stories of Chin State
Mrauk U – Mysterious Temples Frozen in Time
Mrauk U – Three Tattoo Tribe Villages in Chin State
Mrauk U to Yangon – Departure
- Immerse yourself in the world of ten different Myanmar tribes, all of them fierce protectors of ancient traditions
- Travel by boat to the stilt house villages of the Intha people, who reveal a unique way to fish and take you on a cooking lesson
- Admire the ways of the Akha, remote hill tribe people with astonishing headdresses and endearing smiles
- Discover the cultures of the Lahu and Loi, remote Buddhist people who have rarely been documented by the West
- Walk into the lush landscapes of Shan State, stopping at Palaung and Danu villages to hear very open tales of Myanmar's political landscape
- Explore the evocative temples of Mrauk U, lost Buddhist sentinels wrapped through the jungle of Chin State
- Spend a day with the mysterious tattoo tribe people of western Myanmar, where geometric tribal patterns are etched onto the faces of locals
- While most villagers don't speak English, they're very open to communication, and you travel with specialist guides and translators who are from a minority tribe
Myanmar's landscapes dance with complexity. Geometric tattoos cover the faces of remote villagers as leg-rowing Intha fishermen occupy stilt houses, and flamboyant headwear dominates remote jungle villages. Myanmar is a country of over 100 tribes, most of them small minority groups that have survived on the very fringes of Myanmar's governmental regime. With the country closed to the West for so long, many tribal groups have gone unnoticed and undocumented. Their cultures stoically protect tradition, and untouched lifestyles are found across the remote states of Myanmar. They offer an indelible immersion in a surreal realm, one that takes you back in time and always unravels a particular beauty.
Myanmar's tribal villages are endearing in their welcome, and the locals are keen to interact. Unlike some places in Asia, these areas are not over-saturated with tourists. Many of these villages have only been visited by a small handful of foreigners, and you receive a warm welcome that has always been reserved for visiting strangers. Not only was Myanmar closed for political reasons, but most of the villages on this itinerary were impossible to access due to logistical travel challenges. These logistics have eased as the country slowly unwraps itself to the world. On this unique 12-day journey, explore the two states where tribal cultures have survived mostly untouched. Green mountains cascade across Shan State, a place of remote hill tribes and lively markets. Chin State is dominated by thick jungle, home to complex tribes with unique traditions.
Few of these villages offer accommodation, although it is possible to spend the night as a guest at the home of the village chief. Usually, you will stay in an enchanting town and take day trips into the surrounding landscapes. After a night in Yangon, spend a couple of days around Kengtung, in the far east of the country. This area is enveloped by a myriad of different hill tribes, like the Akha, Lahu, and Loi people who come together to a vibrant market and are also seen deep in the hills. Continue to Pindaya, where Palaung and Danu villages are scattered around caves filled with Buddha images. You will hear very poignant stories from locals keen to spread a new story and challenge the exported narrative from Myanmar's government.
Inle Lake provides several luxurious days of culture and serenity. Some of Myanmar's finest accommodations are found here, and there's a beautiful view over the water from your verandah. Inhabiting parts of the lake are the Intha people, who live in stilt villages on the water. Fishermen row with their legs and the local women invite you to a cooking lesson. You'll also discover Pa-Oh villages among the iconic rice paddies around the lake. You will then fly to Sittwe, a captivating town with Rakhine locals smeared in thanaka decoration. Up the river is Mrauk U, where the baffling ancient temples of the Arakan Kingdom wrap themselves across the jungle. You will be in the Chin State, which is mostly out of bounds to foreigners but with this itinerary, you will have unique permissions to visit a series of Chin tattoo tribe villages around Mrauk U, alluring destinations only accessible by river.
$2,803 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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