Hill Stations

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Kalaw is a sleepy market town, sitting on the western edge of the Shan plateau at 1320 metres above sea level, and was once very popular with the British in colonial times. The town is a mix of old colonial and wooden Shan style houses sprawling out over this hilly town, where the diverse population includes Indians, Shan, Bamar and Nepalese (Gurkhas retired from British military service). The surrounding countryside with gnarled pines, bamboo groves and minority villages is a trekker's delight with walks to cater to all levels of fitness.

It is possible for those who wish to do a trek from Kalaw to Inle lake sleeping en route in a monastery and a village chiefs house. This is a very rustic trip but a beautiful way in which to experience the slow and tranquil pace of rural Shan life. An hours' drive from Kalaw are the Pindaya caves. The beautiful drive to Pindaya takes you through charming countryside not unlike rural England. You will pass groups of Pa-O in wide brimmed hats, resting under the shade of mature old trees. At Pindaya you will find a picturesque lake and an interesting local market as well as the caves containing over 8,000 images on Buddha. Northwest of Pindaya are the Padah-Lin-Caves which are perhaps more interesting and certainly more important than Pindaya. These prehistoric caves have early paintings dating back as far as 11,000 years which have been compared to the Neolithic cave paintings found in Europe.

Hsipaw is very much off the beaten track. Accommodation is rustic, the food is simple but good and the transport is functional. But do not let this put you off. For those wishing to really venture off the beaten track, in this world of heavily trodden paths then Hsipaw is a charming little town in the northwestern Shan state. The only way in which to reach Hsipaw is along the Burma Road from Maymyo as there is no airport.

Accommodation here in Hsipaw stretches to one option, Mr Charles Guesthouse which is clean, quiet and perfectly pleasant but not smart at all. Dining out in Hsipaw is not really a gourmet experience. Law Chun or Mr Food as it is sometimes called is the most popular joint in town serving curries with rice, noodles, Chinese food and cold beer with an English language menu. There are numerous small noodle stalls around town from which you can grab a snack.


Useful info

Myanmar (Burma) Map

Best time to be there

Myanmar (Burma) has three clear seasons: from March to May are the very hot summer months, the wet and humid monsoon runs from May to October and the cold dry winter lasts from November to February. The best time of year to visit is late November early December when the rains have gone, the landscape is lush and green and the skies are crystal clear. However any time from late November to March is a good time to travel.

Fly to

Yangon (Thai Airways via Bangkok)

flying time

12 hours 55 minutes via Bangkok

time difference

GMT +6 1/2 hours

Visas

Required for UK passport holders

Health Requirements

Yellow Fever certificate if arriving from an endemic area

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Holidays Click to change

Our experts can tailor-make the perfect holiday to suit your individual requirements, however, if you need inspiration or a starting point, below are some of our suggested trips and experiences:

Sanctuary Ananda 3 Nights Bagan – Mandalay

Nights: 3 | from £695pp

Enjoy 3 nights aboard the luxurious Sanctuary Ananda, exploring beautiful pagodas, bustling markets and the ancient capital of mystical Myanmar. Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made

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Classic Myanmar

Nights: 11 | from £5,953pp

Virtually off-limits for decades, Myanmar is back with a bang, as stay-away travellers realise the delights they’ve been missing in this wonderful, warm,... Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made

Call 01242 547 895 Enquire

Hilltribes of Myanmar (Burma)

Nights: 13 | from £2,995pp

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, distils the best of South-East Asia – golden pagodas, fascinating hilltribes, lush mountain scenery, pristine beaches... Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made

Adventure & Culture

Call 01242 547 895 Enquire

Sanctuary Ananda 4 Nights Mandalay – Bagan

Nights: 4 | from £795pp

Hop aboard the Sanctuary Ananda for a 4 night cruise from Mandalay to Bagan, viewing magnificent monasteries, ancient cities and colourful markets. Find out more

Holiday type: Tailor-made

Call 01242 547 895 Enquire

Luxury Small Group Journeys – Myanmar and the Irrawaddy 2017

Nights: 10 | from £4,595pp

Myanmar & the Irrawaddy, visiting Yangon, Inle Lake, Mandalay,The Irrawaddy River And Bagan Find out more

Holiday type: Group departure

Call 01242 547 895 Enquire

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Below are some of our suggested places to stay:

Amara Mountain Resort

The Amara Mountain Resort has a stunning location in a shady and quiet corner of Kalaw, close to the town centre and Heho Airport which is just 30 kilometres... Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

Adventure & Culture

Call 01242 547 895 Enquire

Amata Hsipaw Resort

Located in the Northern Shan State - a region renowned for its trekking routes – is Amata Hsipaw Resort, a charming and authentic Burmese property on... Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

Call 01242 547 895 Enquire

Inle Inn Pindaya

The Pindaya Inle Inn Hotel is situated near the entrance of Pindaya being only a five minute drive from the Pindaya Cave with its thousands of Buddha... Find out more

Price guide: Save | Spend | Splurge

Call 01242 547 895 Enquire

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Annie, Brandon, Debbie, Margaret, Vicky Hamlin, Vicky Smith and Rachel - are experts in designing travel experiences across the region to suit your personal needs, interests and budget. Their intimate knowledge of every hotel and resort featured in our Orient, India, Australasia and Indian Ocean portfolio, together with our own network of offices throughout these areas, allows us to offer unique in-depth knowledge, unparalleled insider access and the VIP service for which Abercrombie & Kent is renowned.

Read about our lastest experiences in our Travel Blog pages.

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