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Places in Burma..

stdClass Object ( [ID] => 33035 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2014-04-02 09:14:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2014-04-02 09:14:30 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_33075" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Pic: Joanne Lane."][/caption] FOR a taste of rural Burma and the opportunity to enjoy homestays in villages along the way, head to Shan State in the country's northeast. With rolling hills, few roads and welcoming locals, it's an experience not to be forgotten. "It might be a little bit freezing," our guide Thura announced as we headed off at 5am from Kyaukme for our three-day trek. "I have gloves for you," he added handing me a pair as I'd been designated the second motorbike driver to double one of the other travellers in our group, an amazing experience in itself in a nation where foreigners aren't always allowed such privileges. We soon realized "little bit freezing" was about right, as we headed into the hills beyond. Still it was a beautiful start to the day, as the hills emerged from their cloak of darkness and appeared rich with colour in the early morning light. [caption id="attachment_33071" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="A 'little bit freezing', but very lush. Pic: Joanne Lane."][/caption] Two hours of bumpy roads later and we arrived in the first of a series of villages we were to visit over the successive days. The houses were wooden and high set with the living areas up steep stairs. Inside wide areas opened up with a fireplace and floors for sleeping. We were ushered into one of these by the welcoming fire as tea was produced. Outside horses clumped past in groups, locals wandered up to the local monastery to make their morning prayers and offerings, chickens pecked and scratched, and the village hummed with early morning life. [caption id="attachment_33066" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Pic: Joanne Lane."][/caption] Food was soon served - rice, vegetables, meat and tea, always tea, until we were well satisfied. It was delicious. When the motorbikes were safely stowed away underneath the house we set out on foot, moments later encountering women weaving their distinctive and colourful skirts. A stop ensued as we admired their handiwork. We set off again and found men making baskets and stopped again. [caption id="attachment_33073" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Pic: Joanne Lane."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_33072" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Pic: Joanne Lane."][/caption] It set the scene for the rest of the journey through Shan villages with plenty of opportunity to interact with people farming, feeding children or making local products. At times we wandered connecting fields, tea plantations (a big industry here), paths or hills with a lot of up and down thanks to the hilly plateau upon which the state is based. Lunch was basically whenever we were hungry or needed a rest. Thura would simply ask at a dwelling we encountered and make arrangements for us. The hospitality of these people was undeniable and sometimes it was hard for him to make payment for the food we had consumed. At night he would do the same, asking in homes if we could stay the night and have dinner and breakfast. Most of the villages we stayed in were Pa-O or Shan but we also encountered Nepali and Ahka people. There are nine primary ethnic groups in the state and many are believed to have come from China originally. Everywhere we went people greeted us, they showed us their monasteries, they invited us into their homes, their children played with us, and they waved or smiled as we passed. Most people were farmers and had crops nearby, mostly tea.  We passed herds of buffalo, cattle and goats as well from time to time. [caption id="attachment_33074" align="aligncenter" width="650" caption="Pic: Joanne Lane."][/caption] Life in the villages was clean, organised and interactive with systems in place for water storage, washing, toileting and sleeping. It was comfortable, pleasant and above all a fantastic inside look into local Shan culture and the chance to be part of it, even for a few days. All images by Joanne Lane, www.visitedplanet.com  [post_title] => Trekking and homestays in Burma's Shan State [post_excerpt] => FOR a taste of rural Burma and the opportunity to enjoy homestays in villages along the way, head to Shan State in the country's northeast. With rolling hills, few roads and welcoming locals, it's an experience not to be forgotten. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => trekking-and-homestays-in-burmas-shan-state [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-07-13 10:42:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-07-13 10:42:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.travelwireasia.com/?p=33035 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )

Trekking and homestays in Burma’s Shan State

Trekking and homestays in Burma’s Shan State
April 2, 2014 - 0 Comments - Jo Lane

FOR a taste of rural Burma and the opportunity to enjoy homestays in villages along the way, head to Shan State in the country’s northeast. With rolling hills, few roads and welcoming locals, it’s an experience not to be forgotten.

In pictures: The Buddhas, temples and monasteries of Asia

In pictures: The Buddhas, temples and monasteries of Asia
February 10, 2014 - 0 Comments - Jo Lane

FROM enormous Buddha statues to monasteries perched on cliff tops or located in remote valleys, Buddhism plays a huge role across Asia.

Top travel moments of 2013

Top travel moments of 2013
December 6, 2013 - 0 Comments - Jo Lane

FROM the anniversary of the Everest climb to airways that charge per weight, the release of films that put tourism on the map and lots of travel awards, 2013 has brought a range of tourism experiences to the Asia-Pacific region.  January Qantas Airways passengers between Cairns and Port Moresby watched a large python clinging to…>

Fantastic destinations to consider in 2014

Fantastic destinations to consider in 2014
November 28, 2013 - 0 Comments - Jo Lane

EVEN if you’ve been almost everywhere in Asia, there is always more to see and hidden gems to discover. From China to India, Australia and New Zealand, this list could take you to a riverside town, a sandy beach, crumbling ruins or to meet wildlife in the Asia-Pacific region in the new year. Happy travelling. Fenghuang,…>

Luxury river cruise opens up mysteries of Burma

Luxury river cruise opens up mysteries of Burma
September 21, 2013 - 0 Comments - Travel Wire Asia

AFTER closing its doors to the West for half a century, Burma has reopened, inviting all to come and discover its treasures, ancient palaces of kings long gone, legends and mysteries told in stone. And the world is expected to come. These are the early days, perhaps the best, and with ill-equipped roads and railways,…>

Asian cities rank among world’s friendliest

Asian cities rank among world’s friendliest
August 9, 2013 - 0 Comments - Jo Lane

CONDE NAST TRAVELER’S recent readers choice survey on the world’s friendliest cities, has placed a number of Asian cities in the top 10. In fact seven out of the list were Asian locations, leaving this Travel Wire Asia correspondent with only one response really –  ”I told you so.” So if you were seeking a…>

In pictures: The mountains of Asia

In pictures: The mountains of Asia
July 21, 2013 - 1 Comments - Jo Lane

FROM the snow peaks of the Himalayas in India and Nepal to the high country of Sri Lanka’s tea growing districts and Indonesia’s verdant volcanoes, the mountain ranges of Asia offer a variety of vistas, climates, villages and even agricultural methods. These images showcase a swathe of these mountains with everything from foot hills to…>

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