4-Day Hiking – Kyaing Tong Hill Tribes (arrival from Tachileik – the border of Thailand)

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Tour type

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 4 Days

tour highlights

  • Learn about the diverse belief systems of hill tribe peoples
  • View amazing traditional methods of dress and costumery
  • Watch craftsmen make rice whiskey and lacquerware
  • Experience local culture in action at the Kyaing Tong vegetable market

tour details

Enjoy an invigorating hill tribe adventure as you view stunning scenery and explore local culture. Your journey begins with a day by Lake Tong. Then, you’ll head to the hills and visit Akha minority villages, learning about Christian and animist belief systems. Next, you’ll walk through an Ann village, inspect totems and ‘nat’ shrines, and learn about traditional styles of dress and presentation. On the next day, you’ll climb Hokyin Mountain, known for its picturesque vistas. After watching rice whiskey being made, you’ll walk down to villages through lush farmland. After lunch, you’ll stop at a lacquerware workshop. On the final day, you’ll visit a thriving local market to experience the living culture. Then, a stop at the Wat In Khun-style temple concludes your trip.

Cross into Myanmar at Mae Sai/Tachileik border check point (time to be reconfirmed). From here, overland journey through striking mountain scenery from Tachileik to Kyaing Tong (approximately 3 hours photo opportunities abound). A short drive through Kyaing Tong takes you to Lake Tong, in the centre of the town, for a stroll around the lake. Make a photo stop at the huge standing Buddha.
Accommodation at Amazing Kyaing Tong Resort (Deluxe Room) or similar, Kyaing Tong
This morning drive out of Kyaing Tong in a north-westerly direction. The road leads to the villages of Kattauk and Pin Tauk, about 1'bd hours by car. Pin Tauk is inhabited by Akha and Lahu people who converted to the Baptist (Christian) religion - the church is a central feature of the village. The Akha are the largest minority in the Kyaing Tong area, and surely the most colourful.
Leave the car in Wan Ping village and start your hike with a steep uphill walk for approximately one hour to the first Akha Village of Naung Seng, where the inhabitants are Catholics. From here there are fantastic views of the surrounding countryside.
Continue walking up and downhill for 45 minutes to reach the Ann village of Panlor, located on a plateau high above the surrounding countryside. People in this village are animists. They still dress in their traditional black costumes and paint their teeth black, believing it is better to be black on the outside, but have a pure heart. You will notice the totem and 'nat' (spirit) shrine in the middle of the village. A half-hour walk downhill leads to an open-sided hut amongst the fields, where you will enjoy a packed lunch in this scenic spot.
In the afternoon a leisurely 20-minute walk takes you to the Akha village of Wan Pin, where people still dress in their traditional costumes. Akha women are famous for their striking headdresses which resemble heavy silver helmets. They consist of rows of large silver baubles, interspersed with beads, which are sewn on a bamboo cap. Akha embroidery is extremely intricate and includes panels of diamond and geometric shapes. The village has only a few houses and inhabitants welcome visitors. Continue a short distance to Wan Lar Akha village, where the Akha have converted to Catholicism or Baptism. They are famous for their technique of hunting birds and we may see villagers making simple but efficient traps.
A steep path leads up after about 30 minutes to the final Ann village, Nam Lin Kaung. The villagers here are also animist and each house has its own 'nat' shrine. Here we may have the chance to sit and talk to the village shaman and his wife. It is a 50-minute walk back to the car through rice and vegetable fields.
Accommodation at Amazing Kyaing Tong Resort (Deluxe Room) or similar, Kyaing Tong
Today is an active day in the hills. Drive out of Kyaing Tong high into the hills (approximately 1 hour), to the top of Hokyin Mountain. The road is steep and narrow and only accessible if it is good condition. Alternatively you can also walk up from the road-head (2 hours) which is well worth it for the stunning views of the surrounding hills and Kyaing Tong. From the top at 1300 metres, you can see four different Akha villages. Some people are Buddhists, some Catholics, and others are animists.
Stop and see how the rice whisky is made and chat to the elderly Akha women who still wear their traditional headdresses made from silver rupee coins, many dating back to 1906.
Make the tour from village to village and return to the car. If you wish to do more hiking, you can also walk down to Pangkwai village through farms (approximately 1'bd hours). Enjoy a packed lunch on the way.
Return to Kyaing Tong by car. Visit U Mulein Da's Shan lacquerware workshop. Shan lacquerware is distinctively different from that of Bagan it is black and not engraved: the reliefs are glued on. Drive to the top of Lone Tree Hill for views over the surrounding countryside and Kyaing Tong. Return to the hotel.
Accommodation at Amazing Kyaing Tong Resort (Deluxe Room) or similar, Kyaing Tong

Note: today includes 4'bd hours total walking time, but this can be shortened or lengthened if required.
This early morning we visit Kyaing Tong Market - a fascinating place to soak up the local atmosphere. On the big wet market all kinds of vegetables, rice, fruits, meat and fish are on sale. Minority people come to town to shop or to sell their goods. For the Akha the many silver shops are of special interest as there they can buy the silver coins to make their very unique headdresses! We can stop at one of the noodle shops and enjoy a typical Shan breakfast with Shan noodles and a cup of tea. Time permitting we can stop at Wat In - a Khun-style temple or at the more "Myanmar"-style Maha-Myat Muni temple. Also a pottery and a blacksmith shop can be visited.
Lunch is taken at a simple local restaurant. Transfer to Kyaing Tong airport for your onward flight.


Our tour prices are included of:

  • All sightseeing tour and transfer services with private air conditioned car/coach as detailed in our itinerary
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast and L=Lunch)
  • All entrance fees for the places as mentioned in the programme
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking locally-stationed guides
  • Hiking guide
  • Service charges, room tax and baggage handling
  • Accommodation at hotels as above mentioned or similar
  • Filtered drinking water and wet towels during the tour


Not included are:

  • Domestic airfare
  • Myanmar visa fee
  • Surcharges for throughout guides (English and other languages)
  • Myanmar/Thailand border pass fees
  • Personal expenditure, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking
  • (Peak season in general is between 15 December to 15 January and 13-17 April
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme
  • Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident or illness)


Important Notes:

  • The region around Kyaing Tong is still undeveloped for most aspects of tourism. Hotels offer basic service, restaurants offer only local food, roads can be narrow and not properly surfaced, packed lunches will be simple (rice, chicken, vegetable and fruit).
  • Diethelm Travel will endeavour to obtain the best available accommodation, transport and facilities for guests, but would ask for their understanding for any practical aspects that do not come up to expectations and for delays or changes in the itinerary, particularly during the monsoon season (May-September).
  • Accommodation is simple. Power cuts happen very often and the hotels are allowed to use the generator only from 6AM until 11PM. It is therefore advisable to bring your own torchlight.
  • It can be quite cold in Kyaing Tong during the winter months and therefore warm clothing is required. Hotels do not have heating.
  • The weather during March and April can be hazy. The winter months are sunny, but cold at night, and fresh in the morning.
  • You are advised to carry a small day pack, torch light and sun protection.
  • Since the trip includes hiking, good solid walking shoes with walking sticks are recommended
  • Please note that villages change and roads can suffer damage in the rainy season-exact itinerary is therefore subject to changes.
  • The hill tribes have lived, and still live, their lives traditionally. Since this is the main attraction of this area, we kindly ask your co-operation in preserving the villages. Please do not bring pens, candy, T-shirts etc. as gifts for the villagers.
  • If you would like to give some support to the hill tribes, you can purchase on the local market items which the hill tribes cannot produce themselves: Salt, noodles, dry fish and dry beans, and vegetable or fruit seedlings, soap. Your guide will advise you where to purchase the best and most useful items,
  • To ensure that the area stays untouched and beautiful, please do not leave garbage on the way or in the villages. Take the litter back to your hotel where you can dispose it.
  • It is important that all guests visiting Kyaing Tong are fully aware of travel conditions as described above
Tour code: THLPK4KHT

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