Hsipaw is a delightful mountain village in northern part of Shan province situated around 200 kilometers northeast from Mandalay. Increasing possibilities and safety traveling in Shan state opens doors for more and more travelers explore this wonderful region full of mountain treks. Which are more authentic than those around Kalaw or neighboring northern Thailand, as well as, more challenging with steeper track lengths. Even though government still does not allow to drive a motorbike on your own in this region and do not recommend to wander alone outside the city limits, it makes it even more adventurous. Most of the explorers comes here to wander through fascinating nature, mountains and valleys.

In our point of view, it is still genuine northern Shan State town, with intriguing history, convenient infrastructure, yet, not too many tourists and amazing laid-back vibe. Our recommendation is to visit it while you still get that feeling during your stay here.

Keep in mind that there are rebel ethnic armies operating in some areas around Hsipaw. Myanmar military as mighty as it portrays itself struggles to keep order and certain destinations are off limits to foreigners. Locals speak that in some of those areas certain plants are grown which is not for everybody to see and you might actually get shot while trespassing without any questions. From what we heard, even locals avoid some of the destinations. So, do not blame it only on the government for not allowing you to explore it! Stay safe guys!

Helpful tips

Restaurants. There are multiple places in the city where you can find descent food. In most of the local restaurants you will find price and quality ratio alright and food fresh. Stop by and try local food in street markets, look for a cleaner place and enjoy!

Most of all you should try Hsipaw famous pineapples! Stories tell that they are great!

Markets. In Hsipaw as in almost every other city in Myanmar you will not easily find a lot of cheap souvenirs to put on your fridge. However, we encourage to walk around and look for hand made goods in local markets. Here they will charge you less the less you look like a tourist and if you know some simple Myanmar phrases, that will melt their hearts away. In shops all over city prices vary around same level, thus, choose a more convenient for you. We did not find a shop which would accept card payment, thus, be prepared and have some cash with you!

Transportation. To get to Hsipaw you can use car, bus, train or plane to a nearby town only 80 kilometers northeast of Hsipaw. We traveled to Hsipaw through Shan province mountainous roads including many different rural villages using hitchhiking from Inle Lake. Roads there are narrow and, in many places, you will find them under construction. On this hitchhiking trip we had many adventures and even had an opportunity to hitchhike at night. We got lucky to reach Hsipaw already after the sunset. Either way you choose, be aware that infrastructure is underdeveloped, roads are small and sometimes two-line road (one line each direction) is already considered as a highway. Traveling with trains between major cities are alright, however, if you plan to visit more remote areas, be prepared to spend some quality time in the process. So, at this point you must be able to enjoy the trip not only the destination.

Inside the city you will find yourself using local Tuk Tuk’s, bikes which are one of the most convenient transportation devices used to get around. Only locals are allowed to drive mopeds and foreigners can only be the passengers. However, exploration is doable on foot if you decide to skip on bike. Most people comes here to hike and explore this mountainous region with amazing trails.

Best of luck planning your holidays in Myanmar!

Is there anything else you would like to visit while in Myanmar?

If you have anything in mind, please let us know and let’s discuss it.

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