Tribes & Traditions of Myanmar

MyanmarHistory & Culture, Walks & Rambles

Tribes and Traditions of Myanmar

A tour for those wanting to experience, first hand, the age-old traditions of hill tribes found around Kengtung, Pindaya and Inle Lake.

Explore hillside villages and admire the spectacular views of the rolling hills as you make your way between destinations. Learn about the unique skills of village people and how they use local materials to create a livelihood.

The tour ends with a journey across Inle Lake, one of Myanmar's most spectacular landscapes.

10 Nights
From SGD 2,974Per Person

Tribes and Traditions of Myanmar

Today, your guide and driver will transfer you to the Yangon airport for your domestic flight to Kengtung.

Upon arrival in the early afternoon, a local guide will meet/greet you and take you on a short orientation tour of Kengtung. The town is in a lush valley and most of the city's buildings reflect the traditional architectural styles of the Shan people, such as wooden houses with balconies. Explore the city streets and the Maha Myat Muni pagoda before continuing to the hotel for check-in.

Overnight in Kengtung.

After breakfast, visit Kengtung's local market. This daily market is visited by villagers from the surrounding area who come to sell their products and barter for goods. Visiting the market, you will see minority hilltribes in their traditional dresses.

Then depart by road to Hokin area (around 45 minutes), the starting point of today's trek. The trek begins with a 1½ to 2-hour walk to an Akha village. Spend some time in the village and interacting with the locals to discover more about their unique customs and daily lifestyle.

Resume trekking a further 30-45 minutes to Na Phi Phank village, which is home to Lahu people who are famous for their blacksmithing. Then loop back to where your vehicle is waiting possibly passing a Wa village en route. During the trek, a picnic lunch will be served in a scenic spot, or in a village.

Return to Kengtung by road this afternoon.

Overnight in Kengtung.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch

We will wake up early this morning for a colorful and enchanted local market in Kengtung, observing the local people from surroundings hill tribes who buy, sell and trade the various kind of stuffs. It is a unique place to soak in this busy atmosphere to discover the local life.

This is also a great opportunity to compare the diverse styles of dress unique to each individual village next to one another. Later this morning, we will become more intimate with these different tribes and customs as we walk into the hills and enter their villages. During our cultural treks through the Shan Hills, it is highly likely that we will encounter languages so unique that only a handful of villages still use them to communicate.

Later in the morning, we will transfer to Pin Tauk village, the starting point of today’s trek. Set off on foot, trekking 45 minutes to 1 hour to the Akha village. Spend some time in the village and interact with the locals to discover more about their unique customs and daily lifestyle.

After a picnic lunch, resume trekking to an Ann Village (approximately 30 minutes). The Ann minority is known for their traditional black dress and blackened teeth. After walking around the town and having a tea at a family home, we will incline to the top of Lone Tree Hill for panoramic views of our surroundings.

After a long day trekking to remote hill tribe villages, our private transport will be waiting to take us back to the city of Kengtung.

Overnight in Kengtung.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch

After breakfast, explore Kengtung at your leisure. If time permits, visit a traditional Shan lacquerware workshop and the water buffalo market which is held twice a week in Kengtung.

Then transfer to the Kengtung airport for your onward flight to Heho. Upon arrival in Heho, drive to Pindaya, arriving in the evening.

Overnight in Pindaya.

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, visit the famous ‘Buddha Caves’. This multi-chambered cave system is filled with hundreds of Buddha statues and is a popular pilgrimage spot for locals. We then visit a local workshop making umbrellas and paper from the mulberry tree. This is one of the few areas in Myanmar still practising this fast disappearing craft.

Then it’s time to venture into the forest for a unique encounter with Myanmar’s wildlife. Begin with a 1-hour transfer to a typical small Shan village where a guide from the camp will greet you. Enjoy a light trek through the woods, during which time the guide will point out the indigenous flora and fauna as well as explain more about the local lifestyles in this region.

You will then come face-to-face with the Burmese Elephant. Formerly working as logging elephants, these gentle giants have been given the chance to live freely in their natural environment, giving visitors a unique opportunity to interact. Feed and help wash the elephants and learn about the history of elephants in Myanmar.

In the early afternoon, we savour a delicious lunch prepared using traditional methods and using ingredients from the camp’s organic garden.

This afternoon return to Kalaw.

Overnight in Kalaw.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch

Our trekking adventure beings this morning with a scenic 90-minute drive which leads us to the small town of Naung Tayar, the starting point of our trek.

The scenery is remarkably different from middle Burma and the air temperature is generally much cooler than the rest of the country. We meet with our trekking team and set off on foot. Our journey begins with an approximate two and half hour trek along the trail filled with seasonal agriculture until the Ngo La village where we stop for lunch.

After lunch at a local family house, we continue in a South Easterly direction to our target village of Saung Khar. On the way, we will have plenty of opportunities to stop and interact with the friendly locals.

After a 2-hour scenic trek, we reach the village of Saung Kha and enjoy a well-earnt lunch. This is also our overnight stop for the evening. Staying with a local family we have a fun chance to interact with curious locals.

Overnight in Saung Khar Village.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Departing Saung Khar early, we bid farewell to our host family and continue our trek towards Inle Lake. The morning trek offers great views of bamboo forest, valley and overview of the villages. Our first stop is Naung Mon old Monastery and village where we can learn about monastic life in Myanmar and day to day village life. The monastery also serves as a community centre and is an important part of rural Burmese life.

Continuing onwards and downwards we descend to our final destination of Tharyar Gone, a short stroll from the shores of Inle Lake.

Depending on progress made our lunch will be served either in a village or at a restaurant in Tharyar Gone. This also lends the opportunity to observe the making of local rice wine.

Last up, we visit the Thar Khaung Pagoda Complex before transferring by longtail boat to Samkar located on the opposite shore.

Overnight in Samkar.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch

After breakfast we check-out and embark on a scenic boat journey to Nyaung Shwe by crossing Inle Lake, one of Myanmar’s most spectacular sights.

This afternoon set off on a sightseeing tour of the town. Travel by local trishaw down to the bustling canal which is a hive of activity in the morning as boats from the lake come in to unload tomatoes and other vegetables for distribution to the markets around the country. Watch as baskets laden with produce are transferred from boats to trucks and bikes.

Hop back on the trishaw and wind through quiet streets. Make a stop at the ‘tomato house’, a warehouse-like structure where the tomatoes are sorted and priced for sale. Then continue past some of the many monasteries and nunneries in the town, stopping for photos as you go.

Return to your hotel in the mid afternoon. If we can still have enough time to catch sunset, there is an option to visit Red Mountain Estate, one of Myanmar’s top vineyards with a few surcharge.

Overnight in Nyaung Shwe.

Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, head to the jetty for a full day excursion on Inle Lake.

Begin visit the lake’s morning market. The market rotates its location around the lake’s villages in a 5 day rhythm and is visited by lake inhabitants and surrounding hill tribes who come to sell and trade their wares. (Note: market is daily except on dark moon day and full moon day).

Pass villages built on stilts over the lake, inhabited by the local Intha people. Observe the leg-rowing fishermen and see their floating gardens built up from strips of water hyacinth and mud and anchored to the bottom with bamboo poles. Visit Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda, the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred Buddha images covered in gold leaf.

At midday, stop to prepare our lunch with a local family! This cooking course is a fun and interesting way to learn about the traditional flavors and preparation techniques of Burmese Cuisine. Join a local Inthar family in their kitchen to cook local dishes then sit on the floor at a round table and dine in the local way.

Then continue to explore the local crafts of Inle Lake with a stop at the weaving village of Inpawkhone and a cheroot factory, where the typical Burmese cigars are made by hand. Then, come back to Nyaung Shwe by boat.

Overnight in Nyaung Shwe.

Meals: Breakfast | Lunch

This morning in leisure before our transfer to the Heho airport for our onward flight.

Optional Day Extension Magyigone village
This morning we depart our hotel early for Magyigone village on the lake's eastern shores. Along the way, we may stop and see the monks collecting the alms in Nyaung Shwe.

Magyigone is the starting point for our full day trek to the Pa-Oh villages.

The morning’s walk takes 4-5 hours, passing through Pa-Oh and Intha villages such as Moe Gong, Tat-Gyi, Don-Tha Khaw and Hti Ne, where we’ll stop for lunch. Take time to relax in the village, enjoy your lunch with traditional dishes cooked from fresh produce and explore the Pa-Oh village. (Lunch included)

The afternoon’s trail descends back to the lake via the villages of Kan Tha Paw, Bun Pin and Naung Kam. Around 16.00-17.00 we’ll arrive in Nampan village where your boat will be waiting to transfer you back to your hotel in Nyaung Shwe. (Overnight hotel stay not included)

Meals: Breakfast

  • Due to regional regulations and laws, some villages may be off limits at the time of travel and an alternative routing will be provided.
  • Overland travel beyond Kengtung is prohibited.
  • Flight schedules to Kengtung often change.
  • We strongly recommend the purchase of travel insurance (covering emergency medical evacuation) for trips.
  • The cost of air tickets is subject to change without prior notice by the airlines.
  • Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, Myanmar New Year (Thingyan Water Festival), etc.,) may be subject to supplementary charges.
  • Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
  • If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the moment of booking, we will try to find other possibilities/options or other similar services in order to avoid changes to the programme.
  • Prices are subject to confirmation. Once quoted prices are valid 30 days. Past this date price and conditions may be readjusted.
  • Please note that all the above services & tours have yet to be booked, they are proposed for your information only and we will not make any reservations before we receive your confirmation to do so.

Prices are subject to confirmation.
Once quoted prices are valid for 30 days; past this date price and conditions may be readjusted.


  • Kengtung ~ Princess (Standard Hotel) in Superior Room
  • Pindaya ~ Conqueror (First Class Hotel) in Deluxe Bungalow
  • Kalaw ~ Dream Villa (Standard Hotel) in Superior Room
  • Samkar ~ "A Little Lodge in Samkar" (First Class Hotel) in Sagar House
  • Nyaung Shwe ~ Paradise Nyaung Shwe (First Class Hotel) in Deluxe Bungalow


  • Return 'Q' class airfare between Singapore and Yangon on Silkair
  • Domestic flights
    • Flight schedules to Kengtung are frequently changed.
    • Airfare is subject to change it little or no notice, in which case guests must pay the difference
  • Vehicles (varies with local conditions, and vehicle sizes available). Private air-conditioned vehicle for transfers in Yangon
  • Excursion to Kengtung villages and Kalaw elephant camp
  • Porters (clients are only asked to carry a day bag for personal items needed during the day)
  • Plenty of water provided throughout the day while on trek
  • Snacks and local fruits
  • 01 Adventure-certified English-speaking guide throughout
  • 01 additional local assistant on trekking day only
  • 01 first aid kit per guide
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner)
  • Entrance tickets for visits mentioned in the itinerary.
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary.
  • Flight reconfirmations
  • Private motorized boat for Inle Lake visit


  • Myanmar Visa fee
  • All airport and related taxes
  • Travel insurance including emergency medical evacuation
  • Camera and video cameras fees where applicable
  • Tips & gratuities for guides & drivers
  • Personal expenses like hard/soft drinks at meal times, energy drinks/powders, performers bars/gels, etc., phone bills, laundry, etc.
  • Early check-in (before 14.00), and late check-out (after 12.00)


Myanmar Online Visa


Important Notes

  1. Please note that credit cards and traveller cheques are not accepted in Myanmar and that visitors must be bring sufficient cash (US Dollars is best but Euros are increasingly accepted) to change and make any purchases and payments. Please bring new US Dollar bills ("big heads" instead of "small heads") and with series numbers not starting with CB as these are not accepted in Myanmar due to rumours these series are counterfeit.
  2. Furthermore please be informed that you should NOT change money at the exchange booth at the airport just after immigration, as the market rate in town is MUCH better.
  3. A surcharge might apply for peak season dates (Water Festival 12-18 April, Christmas, New Year, etc.
  4. Travellers to Myanmar are required to have a travel insurance covering the cost of medical evacuation flights.
  5. The schedules of domestic flights in Myanmar are provided as an indication only. Once a booking is confirmed we can provide more precise timings, but these remain nevertheless subject to change without notice by the airlines until travelling date. It might therefore in some cases be necessary to amend your programme and itinerary due to such schedule changes.