Loikaw and around
The diamond – shape and smallest state in Myanmar is Kayah, linking Southwest of Shan State which until recently was off limits to foreigners but can now be visited on government – sponsored tours. The Capital is Loikaw, linked by a new railway line to Aungban, which supplements the old road. The state’s inhabitants comprised eight ethnic groups, among which the Padaung are the best well-known. Padaung women wear brass coils to make their necks appear elongated. In reality the heavy coils depress their collarbones, creating the illusion of a longer neck. The best place to see the Padaung and other tribal groups such as the Bre, Yinbaw, Taungthu and Kayak, is at Loikaw‘s Thirimingala market.
The other attraction sites to visit around Loikaw are Taungwe Zedi (separated hills with Buddhist stupas) Ngwe Taung (Silver Mountain) Dam, Demoso tribal market, Panpet village (padaung village), Kan Khunnasint (seven separated lakes), Hteepwint Kan (umbrella shape appear on the surface of water of the small lake) and Hteesehkhar waterfall.
Taung Kwe Zedi
Locating on Mingalar Thiri Mountain, the Taung Kwe Zedi is one of famous interest site in the Kayah State. It is also the most venerated pagoda in the region. Visiting the pagoda and enjoying the sunset or panoramic view of Loikaw from the top of the Taungwe Taung Zedi hill will bring you such an unforgettable experience. Locating on Mingalar Thiri Mountain, the Taung Kwe Zediis one of famous interest site in the Kayah State. It is also the most venerated pagoda in the region. Visiting the pagoda and enjoying the sunset or panoramic view of Loikaw from the top of the Taungwe Taung Zedi hill will bring you such an unforgettable experience. Besides, there are also eight small stupas on the cleft mountain.
Ngwe Taung Dam
Ngwe Taung Dam is located in Demoso Township, Kayah and 20 minute drive from Loikaw City. Legend said it was the birth place of a beautiful story of Dwe Mae Naw, a mythical half-mixed human and bird creature, and her sisters who live in Silver Cloud Land. The lake where these mythical creatures frolicked is called Ngwe Taung Si (Ngwe Taung Dam). At the Ngwe Taung Dam, where you can smell the natural fresh air come across over the face of water and experience the picturesque view of dark green forest and mountains.
Panpet Village (Padaung Village)
Women of the Kayan tribes identify themselves by their forms of dress. Women of the Kayan Lahwi tribe are well known for wearing neck rings, brass coils that are placed around the neck, appearing to lengthen it. The women wearing these coils are known as “giraffe women” to tourists. In the late 1980s and early 1990s due to conflict with the military regime in Myanmar, many Kayan tribes fled to the Thai border area. Among the refugee camps set up there was a Long Neck section, which became a tourist site, self-sufficient on tourist revenue and not needing financial assistance. Nowadays, padaung women were settled by Myanmar government to a village called “Panpet”, near Loikaw City in Kayah. They are surviving for their earning with waiving the traditional dress such as Shaw, clothes and other handy made material. It is 45 minute drive from Loikaw to Panpet village.
Kan Kunnnasint (Seven separated lakes)
It is situated in Tahnee Lalei village, 20 minute drive from Loikaw City and 10 minute drive from Htee Pwint Kan (umbrella shaped pond). There are seven separated lakes locating nearly each other, where you can feel the fresh air and can see the scenic green atmosphere and very clean water in the lakes. The local tribes use the water from the lakes for farming and hangout for their animals.
Demoso Tribal Market
Demoso market is situated nearly from Ngwe Taung Dam, 25 minute drive from Loikaw City where can see the several Kayan tribes buying and selling their hand-made products of their own. Explore the way of living about local tribes in the market, opening on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Htee Pwint Kan
The next interesting place is called Htee Pwint Kan (Umbrella pond). It is situated in Demosoe Township in the heart of the paddy fields. It was just a small pond around a hundred feet in circumference. The Kayahs believe that the present ‘Htee pwint kan’ is the pond dug by the crocodile with the help of the white buffalo. There is a legend about this pond. It says ” Once upon a time in a dense forest a big white rabbit and a big crocodile lived together as friends. One day the rabbit told the crocodile that a severe drought would befall the following summer which would cause extreme hardship. The rabbit then persuaded the crocodile to leave the forest to more salubrious pastures where water was plentiful. Believing in the rabbit they both travelled till they reached atop a hillock when the rabbit ran away, leaving the poor crocodile to his dire fate. Luckily a white buffalo passed by and saw the predicament of the distraught crocodile, who requested the former to take him to where water was available. The buffalo replied that water was very far away. Then the crocodile suggested that the buffalo dig the earth with his strong hoofs, urinate on the earth to soften it and repeat the process again and again until the pit was deep enough for the crocodile to wallow inside. The buffalo obliged, and the crocodile wallowed until as luck would have it water spurted from the subterranean lake, bringing relief to the amphibian. The thankful crocodile offered to help the buffalo so that he may not suffer for want of water. Thus we now see that buffaloes never feel the scarcity of water as the crocodiles kept the promise made once upon a time. “