Loikaw is a city and the capital of the Kayah State, the smallest state in Myanmar but, at the same time, the one with the greatest ethnic diversity. For years, Kayah State was closed to independent travelers and the only way to get in was on a tour organized by a local agency. However, from 2013, Loikaw and Demoso, two of its seven provinces, were finally opened and ready to be explored by travelers seeking authentic adventures and wanting to avoid the growing mass tourism in Myanmar.
Things to do in Loikaw
Authentic Kayan Village
Kayan, whose women are more popularly known as the long-neck women, are the best known group in the province. You would be entirely wrong if you think that visiting Loikaw would be the same experience as visiting Karen villages in Thailand, which goes against any form of ethical travel.
Taung Kwe Zedi
Taung Kwe Zedi is one of the most interest famous sight of Kayah State which is located in Mingalar Mountain. It is also the most venerable pagoda in the region. You can get the very unforgettable memories by visiting the pagoda in the evening and enjoying the sunset view at the top of the Taung Kwe Zedi.
It was formed by the local hill tribes. It’s so colourful and you can encounter the most authentic experience of its people.
Kayah State Cultural Museum
If you want to know more specifically about the culture and tradition of Kayah People, visit the Kayah State Cultural Museum which displayed a lot of things they used in daily life such as bronze drums used in wedding and funeral occasions, stone beads, household utensils, traditional looms, traditional dresses, silverware, weapons, paintings and also the musical instruments.
How to get to Loikaw
How to get to Loikaw
The air-con bus is most people’s preference for getting to and from Loikaw. These buses travel between Yangon and Mandalay, stopping at Inle Lake, Taunggyi, Aung Ban, Kalaw and Loikaw before getting to their final destination. At any of these places you can book a ticket to any of these destinations through a travel agent or the bus station itself.
Travel time from Mandalay to Loikaw – 12 hrs including break time on the way
Travel time from Yangon to Loikaw – 14 hrs including break time on the way
Trains to Loikaw run on the tracks branching off from Naypyitaw, meaning that you’ll have to transfer if you’re coming from a train via Mandalay or Yangon. From Naypyitaw, the train leaves at 20:00 and arrives the next day at 21:30 and costs only 4,000 kyat. If you are coming from Inle Lake, you can jump on board during one of its stops in either Aung Ban or Kalaw.
Flights to Loikaw can be a good option if your time is limited. Myanmar Airways has scheduled flights out of Yangon on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, but the flight times often change and there’s always a possibility that flights will be cancelled due to low occupancy.
If you’re coming from Inle Lake, you can take a 6hrs boat riding to Phae Khone which is about 04 hrs riding distance from Loikaw.