Located high in the hills of Shan State, Hsipaw is a quiet town with dusty streets, traditional buildings and trekking opportunities. Hsipaw is dubbed “Little Bagan” because of the atmospheric collection of pagodas though it is not comparable to the actual Bagan. Mini pagodas covered with vines and grass dot the landscape.
Hsipaw has a refreshingly mild climate and is the popular trekking point to nearby minorities and hill tribes. From these enjoyable treks, visitors can study the magnificent and fabulous land of minority, impressive scenery along the way and learn more about diverse culture.
You can hire a bicycle from the local guesthouses to explore the sights around Hsipaw including waterfalls, fresh water pools and rock formations of the surrounding hills. It is very interesting to see the rural lives of local farmers in their paddy fields and banana plantations.
It is also possible to enjoy Hsipaw’s spectacular scenery on a boat cruise along the banks of the Dokhtawaddy River. The town boasts a bustling local market, where you can find everything from replacement machine parts to live chickens. Another highlight is a visit to the grand colonial residence of the famed Shan Prince Sao Kya Seng, whose tragic life story was famously documented in the book ‘Twilight over Burma’.
Hsipaw can be reached by road or train from Mandalay via Pyin Oo Lwin. The views from the train across the Gokteik Viaduct are spectacular and so be sure to have your camera ready.