Day 1 - Loikaw: Hta Nee La Leh Village & Thiri Mingala Pagoda
Meet your guide at your hotel in Loikaw, the capital city of Kayah state. Today you visit Hta Nee La Leh, a tribal village. There you gain insight into the Kayan cultures and traditions. After an ox cart ride around the fields, you visit the Kayhtoebo hall and shrines, where animist traditions are still practiced. Enjoy a musical experience by visiting a local's musician's home and listen to the unique sounds of their traditional instruments - you can even try to play one by yourself. In the evening you continue to the Thiri Mingala Pagoda
, a religious landmark of Loikaw located on a rock. Climbing up the rock is worth to get a great panoramic view above the city and its nearby hills.
Day 2: Loikaw: Trek & Padaung village
Today you visit a Padaung village. First, you enjoy snacks and tea at a local family house. Head to Pemsong village afterwards to join a light trekking tour for about two hours. A local community tour guide tells you about the history of the village and his ancestors. Further, he shows you eatable plants and explains about herbal medicines, which is commonly used by the community members. A highlight of the trip is arriving at the original settlement of Pan Pet, perched on a mountaintop, where evidence of past habitation is visible. This is considered one of the first Kayan settlements of Kayah State. Enjoy the fantastic panoramic of the surrounding mountains while having a picnic on top of the mountain. The trek ends in Rang Ku hamlet, where guests meet the Kayan people and Padaung
women, also known as 'Giraffe-' or 'Long Neck Women'. Traditionally, they wear lots of brass rings around their neck and ankles. Starting from the age of six, each year is another brass ring added. According to legends, the original purpose of this procedure was to prevent injuries caused by tiger attacks. Today you only can see older women wearing those rings, as younger generations do not follow this tradition anymore. Learn a few words of Kayan language and interact with the loving and artistic people. There are also opportunities to buy local handicrafts. Afterwards, you get dropped off at your hotel in Loikaw.
The entire Golden Express Tours team is proud to support the work of the International Trade Center of the UN, developing community based tourism (CBT) in Kayah State to reduce poverty and encourage cultural exchange.
Local community members have been taught new skills in hospitality. Further, people are employed as local guides and cooks are paid a fair price for their services. Activities were developed based on particular elements of local life, culture and nature, which community members feel proud and comfortable to share with guests.