Every Christmas YPT runs a tour in Myanmar for those looking for a break from family and the stresses of the holidays. This is a recount of what YPT guide Ben and his group got up to on their recent tour in the amazing mountains of Shan State, Myanmar.
Wearing Santa hats and activewear we set off on our Christmas hike journey into the mountains of Shan state, Myanmar. Trekking past buffalo and village farmers while singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” in the blazing sun, this was our Christmas Eve adventure.
We set off from Kalaw at midday up dirt tracks into the dense growth, where we able to see all kinds of village life.
They were certainly more curious about us than them after all, most of the group had a Santa hat, and I had decided to dress as Burmese Santa. Red coat, red hat and a red longyi (traditional male sarong). To make it better, one person in the group had bought a machete from the local market, so while we thought it was funny to lob this thing around dressed as a red gift distributing immortal, it must have appeared slightly concerning to people who don’t even know what Christmas is.
Trekking past buffalo and village farmers while singing “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” in the blazing sun, this was our Christmas Eve adventure.”
In the early afternoon, we arrived at Pak Tou Pouk village where would be spending the night in a traditional homestay. Our hosts were lovely and the village was quaint with soft sounds of buffalo mooing and chickens fighting as we laid back with a well-deserved beer after our arduous hike. The one thing missing from this haven? Christmas decorations. So in true bullish western fashion, two members of the group decided to find a tree. Setting off with our trusted machete they explored the village for holiday cheer. Stumbling across some bamboo in the back, they saw nestled amongst it a glorious golden bamboo more pretty than the others. Hack hack hack, and it was ours, or so we thought until the owner of the property came out exclaiming “oh no! My prized golden bamboo!”. We had ruined Christmas. $20 of compensation later and Christmas was no longer ruined and the lovely village man even offered more of his bamboo for us to hack at.
The one thing missing from this haven? Christmas decorations.”
Taking our expensive jungle prize back to the common area we stuck in a bin and adorned it with whatever decorations we could find. Chillies, tomatoes, a huge avocado, packing tape and toilet paper all adorned the tree. Burmese onlookers looked extremely perplexed after all we were decorating rubbish with more rubbish while singing Mariah Carey (does any other Christmas song even matter?) at the top of our lungs on repeat. Westerners are weird.
Dinner was laid out under soft candlelight. Our hosts had cooked some of the best Burmese food we had ever had. Surrounded by great company, drinking beer and local honey whiskey with Mariah still playing in the background, it was definitely one of the more memorable Christmas Eve’s for all of us. We celebrated into the night. No internet, no connection to the outside world, just a crappy second-hand Santa costume and amazing hospitality from the local villages, what more could you want?
If you’d like to come and explore the highlands of Myanmar then contact us to join one of our group tours.
Or, create your own independent Myanmar itinerary!