Trek to the Last Village

Hiking the mountains, forests, and remote villages of Myanmar
Overview

overview

One of National Geographic Traveler's 50 Tours of a Lifetime 2012! Hike beyond the last village in extreme northern Burma to the base of the easternmost Himalayas. This  active nature and cultural hiking exploration of wilderness trails and remote villages takes you into a sparsely-populated, but very welcoming remote valley. Far from the famous tourist sites of Mandalay and Bagan, this trip will take you deep into the Lisu and Rawan tribal hill country north of Putao, in Kachin State, at the base of the Himalayas. Only recently opened to foreigners, this area is famous for its snow-capped mountains, colorful tribal traditions, and rich natural history, including many rare animals and birds. You will be hiking through forests, remote villages, valleys, and foothills, and staying in local guest houses significantly upgraded to host Western visitors. There is no camping involved. All of Burma is legendary for great hospitality, and this area in particular offers special opportunities for exploration and cross-cultural learning. You will travel in the company of extraordinary local English-speaking guides who will give you insight into local cultures and offer great knowledge of the features and natural history of the terrain through which you will travel. January, although cool, is the best weather month in this area. Our first trip in January 2011 encountered no precipitation or weather delays.

Once Upon a Time in Rangoon...Kishan's Story

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Yangon
    The market is a great way to see the locals' interactions

    Your guide will meet you at the airport in Yangon and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. Along the way, observe Yangon's colonial-style red-bricked buildings. The cultural and spiritual heritage make Yangon one of the most fascinating capitals of Southeast Asia.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Inya Lake Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Markets, Reclining Buddha, and Shwedagon
    Buddhist temples are an important part of the culture

    Consider a dawn walk or jog around Inya Lake from your hotel. After breakfast, head out on a full city tour of Yangon. Highlights today include spectacularly busy and lively fish and vegetable markets and great photo opportunities. You'll also visit Chaukhtatgyi, the colossal reclining Buddha, and Botataung Pagoda, said to enshrine the Buddha's hair relics. In the late afternoon, visit the Shwedagon Pagoda, more than 2,500 years old, and claimed to be the world's richest golden stupa. This is the Full Moon night and there will be special celebrations taking place. The golden dome rises roughly 322 feet above its base, and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold along with numerous precious stones, including a 76-carat diamond on the top. Return to your hotel for the night.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Inya Lake Hotel or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Putao
    Incredible natural scenery

    This morning, board a flight to Putao, a small town situated in the far northern section of Burma in Kachin State, the gateway to the region's tallest mountain, Mt. Khakaborazi (19,296 feet). The local tribes who live in this area are of Tibetan ancestry and consist of the Rawan, Lisu, Tai Hkamti, and the last remaining members of the Tarong tribe, an endangered group of small people who are no more than four feet tall. Including stops, the flight takes about five hours. Upon arrival at Putao airport, you will be transferred to your guesthouse. After freshening up, you'll walk to a nearby local restaurant for lunch. Afterwards, a leisurely hike takes you to Majaw Lisu village, about a two-hour walk through paddy fields. This is a beautiful village with Mt. Slimatdin in the background. The glistening snow on the peak sparkles across the horizon at sunset.  Meet the local staff and attend a briefing about the trek prior to dinner. Your guesthouse will be basic standard facilities that include bed and linens, warm water, and Western toilet. This is a comfortable lodge and rooms have electricity.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Putao Trekking House or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Trek Begins -- Putao and Shangaung
    Meet the local people

    After breakfast, visit the attractive Putao market, which is often filled with local tribal peoples such as Rawan, Lisu, and Kachin. Later, depart by jeep or truck to upper Shangaung (approx. 10 mi/1 hr). Both Lisu and Rawan tribes inhabit this village. The real hiking begins as you unload from the jeep and start trekking to Wasandum, a small Rawan village on situated on Nawlan Creek (approx. 12 mi/6 hrs), past Mt. Shangaung at approximately 4,600 feet on the shoulder of Mt. Slimatdin (6,000 feet). This is the most physically-demanding day of the trip, as you must ascend to 4,600 feet and then descend back to 3,000 feet within a distance of 12 miles. You will have a packed lunch on the way, and dinner will be freshly cooked and served local style. This the most difficult hiking day of the trip. Your guesthouse accommodations are very basic and include a foam mattress, blanket, and pillow.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Wasandum Guesthouse or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Namro Creek/Awadum/Ziyadum
    Crossing a suspension bridge

    In the morning, the group will hike toward Ziyadum. Today's journey will be much easier, since you'll be walking on relatively flat land with few ups and downs. You'll cross Namro Creek to Awadum village (approx. 4 mi/2 hrs), which is inhabited primarily by the Lisu tribe. Here, you'll cross a suspension bridge that spans Namlang Creek on your way to Kalang, a Rawan village. On a clear day, the enormous mass of Mt. Phonyin Razi appears to be just an arm's length away. You'll stop for a short lunch break before continuing on through deep evergreen forests to Ziyadum (approx. 3.5 mi/2 hrs). Tigers and other large cats have been reported in the area recently, although they are nocturnal. You will want to be alert for gibbons and the many species of birds found here including hornbills,bulbuls, sunbirds, kingfishers, Ibisbill, Black Eagle, Brown Dipper, and Black Stork. Ziyadum, situated at an altitude of 3,440 feet, is the most northwestern and most remote frontier village in the Putao region. After your arrival, visit Ziya Creek for a fantastic sunset view of the blazing Snow Mountains in the west. Enjoy a special refreshment at the evening bonfire on the deck of the guesthouse overlooking Ziya Creek. Your overnight will be at a traditional Rawan-style lodge with basic standard facilities, including a mattress, warm water, and Western toilet.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ziya Lodge or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Ziyadum Local Encounters
    Views from Ziyadum

    Today will be a relaxing day to enjoy this wild, beautiful, and ecologically-rich region. You may decide simply to sit by the Ziya River and enjoy the mountain views while listening to the bird calls and watching fish in the river, or you may opt to trek to Chaungzone (approx. 5 mi/3 hrs). The hike to Chaungzone takes you through deep evergreen forest with plenty of bird life and allows for social interaction with local hunters, searching for medicinal plants, etc.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Ziya Lodge or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Ziyadum/Wasandum
    Scenic hiking

    You'll enjoy a final morning at Ziyadum before starting the easy hike back to Wasandum. After an early lunch,  enjoy the last views of the "blazing mountains" and head to Awadum, crossing over suspension bridges and hiking through the beautiful dense forest of "Evergreen Avenue".

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Wasandum Guesthouse or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: Back to Putao -- Trek Concludes
    Putao Trekking House

    Today, hike uphill to the plateau of Mt. Shangaung and then continue rapidly downhill to Shangaung village, where your jeep will be waiting to take you back to Putao. After checking in at the guesthouse and freshening up, you'll celebrate the success of the trip at a special dinner with the group, which will also include your local leaders, porters, and cooks.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Putao Trekking House or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: Naungkan and Mulashidi Villages
    Local village market

    Today, depart by jeep for Naungkan village (approx. 14 mi/1 hr), where you'll cross a 700-foot suspension bridge on foot over the gorge to Machanbaw. This charming, small administrative town is beautifully designed in colonial style and connected to the other side only by the bridge. After exploring the town and followed by lunch at a local shop in the small market, you'll visit Mulashidi village, home to a Lisu tribe, and also accessible only by suspension bridge across the Mula River. The village sits against a backdrop of dense forest. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Putao Trekking House or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: Putao to Yangon or Mandalay

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Yangon, where you meet your driver and transfer to your hotel. You may spend your afternoon shopping at the Bogyoke Market, a sprawling 75-year-old shopping complex noted for its great variety of handicrafts and other items. Or fly to Mandalay and spend the afternoon exploring the city. Consider adding on a few extra days to visit the local sites and nearby Mingun by boat.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Inya Lake Hotel or Mandalay Hill Resort or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: Yangon or Mandalay / Onward

    Your driver will transfer you to the airport for your onward departure. After a week of trekking, consider relaxing on an extension to Ngapali Beach on the Bay of Bengal

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Jan 19-29, 2015
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$3,950
- $4,500
Group size 2 cost: $4,500 Includes flights within Burma
Single Supplement:
$950
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
11 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
1
Hotels and enhanced guesthouses. No camping.
Group Size:
2-10
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
4
Moderate with one day of steep hiking

Terms & Conditions: 

Myanmar

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in JOURNEYS Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: 30% of the land cost per person or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 90 days prior to departure. Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well. Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: JOURNEYS can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Additional Notes: A surcharge may apply for peak season dates (Water Festival in April, Christmas, New Year, etc.)

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Bangkok Hospitality

Duration: 3 days

If you are passing through Bangkok and want more than a transit stop, ask for our three day/two night Bangkok Hospitality Extension. We meet you at the airport and transfer you to an attractive centrally located hotel. This extension also includes y... read more

Ngapali Beach

Duration: 5 days

Myanmar, in addition to its fantastic culture, also offers beautiful beaches that are great for relaxation and sunbathing. This beach extension takes you to the lovely Sandoway Resort on Ngapali Beach located on the Bay of Bengal. This is an isolated... read more

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