Explore the unexplored in Lashio

Explore the unexplored in Lashio

Explore the unexplored in Lashio

Lashio, the capital of Northern Shan State was off limits for travellers due to recurring conflicts between the ethnic armed groups and Myanmar military, but as soon as the situation calmed down, I took the opportunity to go there. And I recommend you do too as it is well worth visiting.

Being a responsible traveller

In remote and unexplored places like Lashio it’s especially important to know how to be a tourist in the non-invasive way. There are many hill tribes and isolated communities in the hills surrounding Lashio and many of them have never interacted with foreigners. I would recommend getting in touch with organizations who have strong relationships with these communities and can help you organize the most memorable experience. Besides, having someone who speaks the local language is invaluable, especially when it comes to ordering delicious food and searching for a place to sleep. One such company supporting local communities is Myanmar Adventure Outfitters who crafted an adventure for our needs – from hiking in the forest, through family homestays to exploring waterfalls – everyone found their own fun. We stayed with locals at homestays that are simple and clean, and you’ll get an authentic experience of sleeping on the floor or bathing in the river as it is customary in rural Myanmar. Because of the lack of electricity, the days in the village ends when the darkness falls, and we fall asleep listening to the sound of nature, which is a nice change compared to a busy rhythm of a city.

Nature unlimited

The surrounding mountains offer unique opportunity for all kinds of adventures. Rivers with crystal-clear water with waterfalls designed for cliff-jumping, hidden caves exploration or paddle boarding are just a few options for experiencing Lashio’s outdoors. Motorbike trips through the hill tribes and ethnic villages give you the feeling of being a local, especially if you give a lift to the ladies returning from the field. Visit rice paddies, tea and coffee plantations for the authentic flavour of life in this remote region.  

Rich culture and delicious flavours of Shan region

Shan States used to be ruled by independent and powerful lords in the past - saophas (spelled also sawbwas) who would administer an autonomous territory and rule their people, living usually in dense forest and jungles. There are over 30 ethnic Shan groups, each with its distinct dress code, religion and way of life – Pa-O, Eng, Akha, Danu, Palaung, Lahu and Wa, just to mention a few. We were hosted by Lahu and Lisu communities who were shy to talk to us but kept observing us with a friendly attitude. Shan food, based on fresh ingredients thanks to rich soil and ideal climate, is one of the best in Myanmar. A bowl of delicious Shan noodle is a must-try staple breakfast food and each family makes it with slightly different distinct touch.

Practical advice

Despite various ongoing travel restrictions towards Muse on the Northern border with China, life in Lashio is not affected by the conflict and continues to be a busy trade junction for Myanmar and China. Venture off to explore places beyond the usual tourist path and support local communities in a sustainable way with Thahara. For more information on how and when to travel to Lashio or get in touch with MAO, contact Thahara team.

Explore the unexplored in Lashio

Lashio, the capital of Northern Shan State was off limits for travellers due to recurring conflicts between the ethnic armed groups and Myanmar military, but as soon as the situation calmed down, I took the opportunity to go there. And I recommend you do too as it is well worth visiting.

Being a responsible traveller

In remote and unexplored places like Lashio it’s especially important to know how to be a tourist in the non-invasive way. There are many hill tribes and isolated communities in the hills surrounding Lashio and many of them have never interacted with foreigners. I would recommend getting in touch with organizations who have strong relationships with these communities and can help you organize the most memorable experience. Besides, having someone who speaks the local language is invaluable, especially when it comes to ordering delicious food and searching for a place to sleep. One such company supporting local communities is Myanmar Adventure Outfitters who crafted an adventure for our needs – from hiking in the forest, through family homestays to exploring waterfalls – everyone found their own fun. We stayed with locals at homestays that are simple and clean, and you’ll get an authentic experience of sleeping on the floor or bathing in the river as it is customary in rural Myanmar. Because of the lack of electricity, the days in the village ends when the darkness falls, and we fall asleep listening to the sound of nature, which is a nice change compared to a busy rhythm of a city.

Nature unlimited

The surrounding mountains offer unique opportunity for all kinds of adventures. Rivers with crystal-clear water with waterfalls designed for cliff-jumping, hidden caves exploration or paddle boarding are just a few options for experiencing Lashio’s outdoors. Motorbike trips through the hill tribes and ethnic villages give you the feeling of being a local, especially if you give a lift to the ladies returning from the field. Visit rice paddies, tea and coffee plantations for the authentic flavour of life in this remote region.  

Rich culture and delicious flavours of Shan region

Shan States used to be ruled by independent and powerful lords in the past - saophas (spelled also sawbwas) who would administer an autonomous territory and rule their people, living usually in dense forest and jungles. There are over 30 ethnic Shan groups, each with its distinct dress code, religion and way of life – Pa-O, Eng, Akha, Danu, Palaung, Lahu and Wa, just to mention a few. We were hosted by Lahu and Lisu communities who were shy to talk to us but kept observing us with a friendly attitude. Shan food, based on fresh ingredients thanks to rich soil and ideal climate, is one of the best in Myanmar. A bowl of delicious Shan noodle is a must-try staple breakfast food and each family makes it with slightly different distinct touch.

Practical advice

Despite various ongoing travel restrictions towards Muse on the Northern border with China, life in Lashio is not affected by the conflict and continues to be a busy trade junction for Myanmar and China. Venture off to explore places beyond the usual tourist path and support local communities in a sustainable way with Thahara. For more information on how and when to travel to Lashio or get in touch with MAO, contact Thahara team.

 

Photo credit:

Adriana Karpinska

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