What to do in Hsipaw
Hsipaw is a Northern Shan State town in Myanmar. It is pronounced “see-paw” or as South African’s would say “Sipho”. It is famously known as the gateway to the beautiful treks in the Shan mountains (commonly known to be the best and most authentic treks in Myanmar). Read our blog post on our incredible 2 day trek.
But what most people don’t talk about is the actual town itself. So if you have an extra few days, go explore these great spots in Hsipaw:
In the morning the young Buddhist monks walk the streets and collect food from each local store. The sense of community in this town is really heart warming to witness. We were told that all Burmese orphans are welcomed in to the monasteries where they get a safe home and a very high standard of education.
Sunset Hill is a great spot to view the Myitnge River that meanders through the town. The Thein Daung Pagoda is at the top of the hill so remember to dress appropriately. This spot is over the River Bridge and then up a steep hill for 300 metres. This was great – but the best viewpoint in our opinion is from the roof of our hotel – Red Dragon Hotel – as shown in this post’s cover photo!
The nearby Namtok/ Namtauk Waterfall is a great half day outing. We hired bicycles from our hotel for 2000 Kyats each. We recommend you cycle up until the Buddhist Monastery which is next to the graveyard and walk from there. The gravel hills are extremely difficult to cycle so you end up pushing these very heavy bikes for most of the way. Otherwise you could hire a scooter and ride the entire route from your hotel. This is probably a better option if you are still stiff from the trek ;)!
Either way, make sure you take the time to soak up the views. We found the waterfall with such ease thanks to the great directions from Globemad’s blog post: How to get to Namtok Waterfall
We had the waterfall to ourselves for an hour before any other travellers arrived – and this was peak season. It was so great to swim in the big pool – so refreshing!
There are also a few great sights in the town. This is the Standing Buddha which is on your way to the waterfall and right next to the small replica of the Golden Rock. On the Northern edge of town you can also visit the Myauk Myo – known as Little Bagan. Here you can view the old teak monasteries and a few brick stupas. We gave this a miss as our next stop was the beautiful Bagan itself.
There are quite a few restaurants offering an array of options from Japanese to Italian. We often stuck to the local restaurants for fried rice, sweet & sour chicken or noodle soup. Our Christmas Eve dinner:
Watch our 2 minute GoPro video of our favourite experiences in Hsipaw town: