Most visitors to Myanmar stick to the tried and tested – Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle. Why – well, they have the best infrastructure and wonderful things to do and see. But Myanmar is so much more. A large part of the country is still closed to visitors and if visitors are sometimes allowed, then special government permission is required to visit. We met two Australians and their guide who had been on a trip to the remote Chin state – they said that they had a wonderful time, but they did have to receive special permission and they had experienced VERY basic conditions.
During our trip planning, we had initially planned to apply for permission to visit Loikaw, home of the famous “long necked” women. But, permission was denied to us, as the government declared that whole region closed to foreigners soon after we made our application. So we decided on another direction – we would visit little known Hsipaw in northern Shan State, and Kengtung in eastern Shan State. Not as remote as some areas perhaps, but nevertheless both would require some lengthy out-of-the-way drives and flights. Hsipaw is located about 4 hours north of Pyin oo Lwin, while the process to reach Kengtung is quirky. From elsewhere in Myanmar you have to fly, while the alternative is to enter overland from Thailand, but then one cannot visit anywhere else in Myanmar. So we would drive to Hsipaw, and fly to Kengtung.
(PS: I am now custom-designing trips to Myanmar. Click here for more details).