Sitting on the banks of the Duthawadi River, Hsipaw is a charming little town that’s sure to steal your heart.
Free from huge tourist crowds, Hsipaw has a distinct local charm, making for an authentic visit in Myanmar.
There are plenty of things to do, whether you’re the outdoorsy type or are looking to learn more about the local culture. Whatever it may be, you’re in for an amazing experience in Hsipaw.
- 1 How to Get to Hsipaw, Myanmar
- 2 Things to Do in Hsipaw, Myanmar
- 3 Where to Stay in Hsipaw, Myanmar
How to Get to Hsipaw, Myanmar
Hsipaw is located in eastern Myanmar in the Shan State, about 200 kilometers from Mandalay.
The town has a bus and train station, making for easy connections all over Myanmar. Buses and trains run regularly and can cost anywhere from $3 to $10, depending on where you’re traveling from.
From Mandalay, Hsipaw is a six-hour bus ride that drops you off at the Highway Bus Station. The bus runs multiple times a day and is on the lower end of the price spectrum, ideal for budget travel.
There’s also an overnight bus from Yangon which gets you to Hsipaw in about 14 hours.
Another way to get to Hsipaw is in the comfort of a private car. This will definitely cost more than the bus but you won’t have to endure many stops and will likely have air conditioning.
Finally, you can fly into the Lashio airport and then hop in a taxi for about $40 to get to Hsipaw in an hour, or take a bus from the Mansu Highway station.
Things to Do in Hsipaw, Myanmar
There are lots of things to do in Hsipaw, from soaking up the local culture to enjoying the great outdoors. Here are some of our top recommendations!
Explore Myauk Myo
The oldest area of Hsipaw, Myauk Myo has been dubbed “Little Bagan” due to the ancient brick stupas spread around the village. While it’s not even close to Bagan in terms of the size and number of pagodas, it’s still a really charming place to wander around.
In Myauk Myo, there are also two beautiful teak monasteries, Bamboo Buddha Monastery and Madahya Monastery, both of which you can visit.
Cycle to the Local Hot Springs
Along the road that Little Bagan is on, you’ll find a number of hot springs frequented by locals, making for an ideal place to soak.
The hot water comes from an underground well that’s thought to have medicinal qualities and it draws people in from the surrounding neighborhoods. The locals actually use the hot springs as a bathtub, so you’re likely to see people washing themselves in the water.
If you choose to visit, you can rent a bicycle to ride over to the springs or flag down a motorbike taxi. Just keep in mind you need to dress modestly to go into the water!
Trek to Nam Hu Nwe Waterfall
Another place to enjoy the natural beauty of Hsipaw is at the Nam Hu Nwe waterfall. It’s located a couple of miles outside of town but it’s a stunning place to visit and generally free from visitors!
You can easily walk there (although it takes quite a while), or rent a bike or scooter for a quicker commute.
The waterfall sits inside the jungle and is surrounded by lush greenery, with a pool at the bottom. It makes for the perfect swimming hole after trekking around the area!
Hit the Markets
Hsipaw has some awesome local markets that are worth a visit for fresh food and authentic handicrafts.
Located right in town, Central Market is the main market where people come to sell fruits, veggies, fish, snacks, and essential items. It’s the choice place to visit if you’re looking for some great local eats.
The Produce Market is actually considered one of the best in Myanmar so it attracts villagers from far and wide to sell their goods. Here, you can find gorgeous jewelry, traditional fabrics, and Burmese souvenirs.
Keep in mind that although it goes until 1.00pm, the Produce Market is best visited before dawn as most of the villagers leave to head home at around 7.00am.
See the Buddha at Mahamyatmuni Paya
In the middle of Hsipaw, you’ll find Mahamyatmuni Paya, the largest pagoda in town. It’s huge and grand, glinting with brass and gold.
The main Buddha was crafted in the style of the Mahamuni Buddha, one of the most famous in Mandalay, and sits upon a large throne.
But the wild part about this Buddha? It’s surrounded by pulsing colored lights glinting off his head, making the room reminiscent of a night club. You’ve got to see it to believe it!
Learn about Shan Culture at Bawgyo Paya
Bawgyo Paya is an ancient Shan monument that’s said to be more than 2,000 years old.
According to legend, a god-like being gave a Shan prince a piece of wood in the 11th century, which he made four Buddhas out of. The pagoda was built as a place to keep these Buddhas and for people to come and worship them.
Apparently, a piece of this wood was planted in the pagoda’s courtyard where a sacred tree bloomed… and it’s still standing today!
Each year, a huge number of Shan people make a pilgrimage here to worship in what’s considered to be one of the most important pagodas in the Northern Shan state.
Hike Up Sunset Hill
Sunset Hill is the spot to catch a… you guessed it, sunset!
It sits high atop Hsipaw, giving a remarkable vantage point of the river, jungle, and town below. Set to the backdrop of the mountains at sunset? Seriously, what could be better!
It’s a bit of a hike to get there so leave a little while before sunset is due — but it’ll be well worth the climb, you’ll see.
Where to Stay in Hsipaw, Myanmar
Hsipaw is definitely a quieter part of Myanmar, compared to bustling Yangon and touristy Bagan. That being said, there are still a handful of great accommodation options ranging in price and offerings.
Here are our top picks!
The Northern Land Hotel
This sweet hotel is a good choice for those in Hsipaw and looking for somewhere to stay on a budget. Not only is it located just next to the river and People’s Park, it’s also near the train station, bus station, restaurants, and shops.
The rooms here are air-conditioned, with a private bathroom. There’s a 24-hour front desk to help you no matter the time of day and past guests have raved about the daily breakfast and friendly staff!
Tai House Resort
A reasonably priced mid-range option, the Tai House Resort is a charming place to stay in a central location. On-site there’s a restaurant, garden, 24-hour front desk, and laundry. There’s even an airport shuttle for an additional cost.
Rooms are traditionally decorated, spacious, and comfortable.
P.S. there’s even room service!
Mr. Charles River View Lodge
Anyone seeking a little dose of luxury will love a stay at Mr. Charles River View Lodge. Set a little bit outside of the main town, the hotel is set on peaceful grounds right on the river.
Rather than rooms, the Lodge has chalets with their own balconies overlooking the river. During your stay, make sure to approach the tour desk for excursions and take advantage of the massage services to unwind.
When you get hungry, be sure to pop over to the on-site restaurant!
For more on Myanmar, check out our guides
- Myanmar Travel Tips
- Is Traveling to Myanmar Safe? (Plus Our Top Safety Tips!)
- Where to Go in Myanmar: 9 Places You Must Visit in 2020
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