Thibaw or Hsibaw is small town which is situated at the Northern Shan State. It is situated 450m above sea level. Mountains around…
- Trip Itenaries
Thibaw or Hsibaw is small town which is situated at the Northern Shan State. It is situated 450m above sea level. Mountains around Thibaw are 800m to 1600m high. In the past time Thibaw was famous city ruled by Shan Sawbwa. At the present time Thibaw is charm city surrounded by high mountain and inhabitant by Shan, Palaung, Wa, Lisu and Kayin. Northern part of the city there is “little Bagan” which is the collection of crumbing stupas and the residence of the last regional prince (Shan Sawbwa) are attractions at Thibaw. Being situated in down town it is really nice to go by bike from the place where you stay.
For independent travelers there are daily local buses from Mandalay to Thibaw. It is also interesting drive from Mandalay to Pyin Oo Lwin and visit around and overnight at Pyin Oo Lwin. Next day travel on the idyllic railway route from Pyin Oo Lwin to Thibaw. The highlight of the train journey and the principal reason that most local and foreign travelers make it is to have and excited experience when the train pass over the Gokteik viaduct : the second highest railway viaduct in the world built in 1901 which is thirty four miles from Pyin Oo Lwin.
Walking tour can be made around Thibaw over hills to visit the surrounding villages. Walk through paddy fields, maize plantation, mountain tribe seasonal vegetable plantation.
Around Thibaw, can make day return trek or night stop trek. Day return trek is quite soft, walk in the rice field and visited Shan villages which are situated in flat. After visiting Shan villages take the boat and enjoy boat ride along Dothawaddy river and visit some local Shna villages.
One night stop trek to Pan Khan Palaung village is very nice and it can give you real experience of having wonderful time staying together with local tribe.
As soon as you go out from Thibaw city, you pass Shan rice noodle makers houses and then pass rice field. It is depend on season that you trek, color of fields change. If you trek between June and October, rice fields are totally green as green velvet. If you trek between November to January, fields are yellow as golden land and farmers work for rice harvest. Then keep walking in flat area about 45 minutes. After there are many options for trekking route that walking along the path or walking along the normal route. Nature of Palaung Tribe is living on the high mountain and cultivates tea leaf and produce dry tea leaf for green tea, pickle tea leaf for salad and black tea. So for 4 hours trekking route is steep and quite long. 4 hours walking on the mountain, you enjoy beautiful land scape and their cultivated land. Then you reach to the top of High Mountain (1300 meters above sea level), there is Pan Khan Palaung village. As soon as you enter to the village huge Bayan tree shelter you, and proceed to one of the local houses that are going to sleep overnight. At that village, there are 4 families that accept foreign visitor for overnight stay. Among 4 families, only one family has very nice Palaung traditional house.
Palaung traditional house is big wooden long leg house always connect with other building in which they work to dry or boil tea leaf. Fire place is in the middle of the main house, and around it, is as lobby they sit and accept guest. During night time they sleep around the fireplace. They used to keep fire from early morning at 4 am until late evening. In winter time they keep fire for the whole night because it is very cold. Some Palaung villages from 3 families to 7 families live together in the same house with many fire places. We call long house for such kind of Palaung Traditional house. If you sleep such kind of traditional house, you smell tea leaf and quite smoky in your sleeping room and you need to sit on the floor and eat with low table sit cross leg as they eat.
You have another option: there are three other families who have long leg bamboo house but modern style, you have bamboo chairs and eat with long leg table. No smoky because they have separate kitchen and no fireplace at their main house.
Even you sleep at traditional house or modern house; you feel and enter their real daily life style.
After having lunch, take rest for a while and later local guide bring you to visit their tea leaf plantation (about 4o minutes). When you reenter to the village your local guide will give you free time to visit different families to enjoy direct contact with local tribe. You and local tribe don’t understand language but you both understand what you want to see and they all will invite you to visit to their house sit together with their family, they will offer you want they have. That is really nice experience. In other places you can’t have that experience. For lunch, dinner as well as breakfast they will give you their traditional food basically vegetable. On the mountain very rare to get meat. Every day there are sellers with motorcycle, meat is quite experience. So they are almost vegetarian. Every family has own garden and has fresh vegetable. Their local breakfast is hard to accept to westerner if you are not use to eat rice in the morning. You should inform few day advance to local agency or local guide to prepare American breakfast.
After breakfast go back to Thibaw. As there are many routes to go back, you should discuss before you start trekking from Thibaw. If you choose short way, you arrive back to Thibaw about 13:00PM and lunch is on your own account and you walk back to Thibaw.
4 days trip to Thibaw from Mandalay
Day 1: Mandalay- Pyin Oo Lwin (British Hill Station)
Breakfast at hotel.Excursion to Pyin Oo Lwin about 80km, one and half hour driving from Mandalay. Pyin Oo Lwin has formerly known as May Myo during the British governors lived.The town is once British hill station is famous for cool weather, colonial building, natural parks, and waterfall.The town is also known as the City of Flowers and situated 1040m above sea level. Visit Kandawgyi Botanical Garden established in 1915 by Alex Rodger, Pwe Kauk waterfall, Peikchinmyaung cave, have a stroll by typical pony cart, visit Pyin Oo Lwin evening market (local people call night market) and overnight at Pyin Oo Lwin.
Day 2: Pyin Oo Lwin –Naung Pein- Thibaw
Morning breakfast at the hotel and take the train to Thibaw. The rail track will pass over the famous Gotteik Viaduct and learn the life of domestic transportation. Thibaw, the former capital of Northern Shan State. Upon arrival to Thibaw check in at the hotel and visit. Overnight at Thibaw.
Day 3: Trekking around Thibaw
Around Thibaw there are many routes to trek. One can take the soft route as well as hard route. Trekking around Thibaw is so nice for landscape High Mountain and beautiful rice fields, pineapple garden, tealeaf plantation, visit Shan villages and have an exciting experience sleeping together with a local tribe. Morning breakfast at the hotel and start to trek about 8 o'clock in the morning. It is necessary to prepare small back for things that are necessary for one day. A pair of dress, raincoat, walking shoes, warm jacket, towel, mosquitoes repellant and sunblock, hat touch light are recommendable to bring with you. Walking on the high mountain about 4 hours, arrive at Pan Kham Palaung village. Have lunch at local family and visit Pan Kham Palaung village, their tea leaf plantation and visit around the Palaung Village Overnight at a local family house.
Lunch and dinner homemade food is including
Day 4: Back to Thibaw and drive to Mandalay
Morning breakfast at the village and trek back to Thicbaw. Upon arrival to Thibaw, drive to Mandalay. Overnight at Mandalay.