Myanmar Adventure: Only for Brave Travellers
Venture into the remote region of Eastern Shan and discover a world of diversity and wander along the old opium trails of Myanmar.
"Andrea did a wonderful job designing an itinerary to suit three generations of diverse interests, and was flexible and responsive to last minute changes and requests. He showed us many hidden treasures of this beautiful region that would have missed we're it not for him."
- Heather on her journey in Italy
A possible, beautiful itinerary for you
Let's Begin at a Lake
You arrive at the shores of Inle Lake. Perhaps you came here through Yangon, perhaps you have been adventuring through Myanmar. It doesn’t matter. You are about to step into an adventure reserved only for the boldest of travellers. The state of Eastern Shan is a mountainous region, difficult to traverse, deadly for trespassers only a few years ago. It is a place that was out of bounds for outsiders and, during the long rule of the generals, a no-go war zone. After decades in isolation, Myanmar as a whole is only just opening its doors. Eastern Shan is out of bounds for most travellers. But you have secured a permit and a guide, and thus the journey begins. Today you make your way to Ho Pong Valley and have lunch in a former Shan Palace. Already you have visited three different ethnic groups: the Pa O, the Shan and the Palaung. You stay in the longhouses of the latter, as an honoured guest.
A Rubicon of Sorts
You trek between Palaung communities across the jungle until you meet the Salween River. It flows from the Tibetan plateau all the way to the Adanman Sea. A boat ride takes you to remote communities where you can interact with the people in genuine encounters. After some more trekking, you eventually reach the road and continue by car, towards the official river crossing. It is a militarised check-point. This used to be an important opium road. You cross the bridge and now you find yourself in Eastern Shan, one of the last travel frontiers. You reach Mong Ping towards the evening. Read more
The market is Mong Ping is bustling and packed with goods and wares, some completely normal, others that… let’s just say they are not orthodox for markets. One great thing about markets in remote villages is that you can usually get the best food. After breakfast, you go back to the road to Tongtar. The views are amazing, with the terraced paddy fields and the mist that clings to the hollows. There are some communities that ― you guessed it! ― you have to trek to reach them. Not only that, we’ve prepared a bamboo raft for you to go on a little adventure within your adventure. Eventually, you reach the road and drive to Kengtung. Here you part with your driver and guide and meet one of the locals who will guide you for the rest of the trip.
Legend Good and Bad
Kengtung has a very long history. From its mythical foundation to epic tales of conquest and empire, and, most recently, Golden Triangle infamy. The region is beautiful and in the light of day, it is difficult to fathom its dark secrets. Today you will meet another three ethnic groups and learn of their traditional way of life: the Lahu, Akha and Eng peoples. It is a full day of trekking.
The road is wide open. You can take a flight back to Yangon, or you can continue your adventure in Thailand or Laos. I recommend that you embark on a boat adventure down the Mekong River. That will take you deep into the Golden Triangle and eventually, to the hidden Jewel of Southeast Asia: Luang Prabang, in Laos.