Situated in the far north of Myanmar, and only accessible by air, Putao is a small and picturesque town in the Himalayan foothills, with a mostly ethnic Kachin and Lisu population. During the late British colonial era, there was a military outpost called Fort Hertz here.
For the truly adventurous, there are some serious trekking, mountaineering, white water rafting and even adventure skiing opportunities in the surrounding mountains. At the northern tip of Myanmar, the Himalayan peak of Hkakabo Razi sits on the border of Myanmar, China and India is famed as Southeast Asia’s tallest mountain (standing at 5,881 metres).
Costs are high when getting to Putao, staying there, and going on guided tours. You will also need a lot of time to make journeys in northern Kachin State as infrastructure is extremely limited. Although the mountain scenery surrounding Putao is attractive, it is distant; to reach Himalayan valleys takes days of sometimes tough hiking. And an ascent of Hkakabo Razi – only for the most serious of mountaineers – takes over a month, although there are some challenging peaks that can be ascended closer by.
Tours to the area typically start from 4 days/3 nights. To find out more, click on the sidebar box on the right of this page.
There are only a limited number of foreigner-licensed hotels in the Putao area, and they must be booked in advance as part of a package. There are currently no budget options. Most hotels are shut during the rainy season from June to September (inclusive). Also some parts of Kachin State and northern Myanmar are not currently accessible due to the security situation there and Putao can only be reached by air.
The bugs in this part of northern Myanmar can be fearsome, so make sure to take plenty of insect repellent to Putao!
Please note that access to Putao is currently restricted to the town - further travel is not permitted for foreigners and tours are not possible; we will update this website as soon as the situation changes.