Shan, Kachin and northeastern Myanmar


The northernmost state in Myanmar, Kachin has by far the highest mountains in Southeast Asia (Hkakabo Razi tops at 5,881m), and is for the most part a remote wilderness. The base for most expeditions (whether hikingwhite water rafting or even skiing) is Putao, which can only be reached by air. Elsewhere in Kachin State, Indawgyi Lake is Myanmar’s largest and is a remote and back-to-basics nature lovers’ paradise.

Much of Kachin State is deeply Christian, and the Kachin people are proud of their culture and have long fought for autonomy from central Burmese power. Some parts of Kachin State remain conflict zones and are currently not accessible, particularly in the north east along the Chinese border. will always be kept up-to-date with the latest information on accessibility.

Elsewhere in northern Myanmar you will find the quiet and characterful riverside town of Katha, where George Orwell was stationed and which inspired him to write Burmese Days.

Shan State makes up most of the eastern part of the Myanmar and is Myanmar’s largest state. Some parts towards the Laos and Chinese borders remain inaccessible to foreigners, but the area still offers a wealth of picturesque and fascinating destinations.

The route through the Shan hills from Lashio and Hsipaw to Mandalay takes in the impressive Gokteik Viaduct and makes for one of Asia’s great railway journeys; there are also a range of hiking opportunities in this area, particularly around Hsipaw and Kyaukme.

The hot air balloon festival held every November in the Taunggyi (the capital of Shan State) is one of Myanmar’s most enjoyable and iconic festivals.

Note that there is a separate section for Inle Lake and hill trekking in Kalaw.

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