This area is still so off the tourist trail that the intrepid traveller can easily find that unique experience we all pine for. Although, given the lack of tourist set up and variance of ethnic groups in the area, having a local guide can be all important. The area is currently training local guides who will be licenced in community based tourism. Your hotel will be able help you arrange this.
Some areas are quite dangerous and if we say for that area that you need a local guide then you really do. Failing to heed this warning could see you end up in jail, or worse. It’s also your responsibility to make sure that you don’t stray into forbidden areas. Our one run in with a government official in this regard made us realise just how seriously we needed to take this. (Read about that here.) It’s a good idea to carry your passport if you’re leaving the local area also.
Warnings aside, if you’re a little bit wise you could be rewarded with access to some amazing areas previously unknown by foreigners.
We’ve put together site guides for the local sites that we enjoyed and recommend. Some are more set up for tourists than others and some are safer than others. We’ve given our views on this also. See links below for individual site guides.
Giant Reclining Buddha
Kyauk Ka Latt
Sa-Dan Cave (Elephant Cave)
Pa Auk Meditation Centre
Kan Gyi Lake
Mukyi Meditation Retreat & Ancient Rock Carvings
Kyaik Ka Mi Sea Pagoda
Thanbyuzayat Death Railway & WWII Cemetery
Phar Pawn Caves
Bandhi They Lar Pagoda
With so much to do it can be hard to decide, so we’ve recommended itineraries also: