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The women of the Kayan people (also referred to as the Padaung tribe) are well known for wearing the neck rings that make them appear to have remarkably long necks. Although one can see Kayan women exhibited as tourist attractions in China, Thailand and even other parts of Myanmar, by visiting Padaung villages in Kayah State travellers can meet and engage with these affable ladies on their own turf, on their own terms.
Travellers can also visit ethnic Kayaw, Lisu and even Inthar villages, the latter having migrated down from Inle to the banks of the Bilu Chaung river.
In the state capital Loikaw, visitors can try their hand at making the fiery pepper sausage of the Kayah people, visit the old Shan palace Mingalar Haw Gyi, and climb up Taung Kwe, or ‘Broken Mountain’, on the split peak of which sits one of the most outré pagodas in Myanmar.
Travellers can delve into the mammoth caves Aung de Pyi and Kyet Gu, the latter containing a large amount of empty broken coffins. If you ask the Karenni who the former inhabitants of these coffins could have been, the answers you receive will vary from British colonialists to vampyric, shape-shifting behemoths.
Visitors can also go swimming at Tee Say Kah waterfall and clamber up one of the Taung Thong Lo (‘Three Mountains’) for stunning sunset views over the state.
Cycle into the Pindaya valley. Follow the Coffee & Tea Trail to see the elephants of Kalaw.