Putao is a picturesque and small town located in the north of Myanmar and nestled in the Himalayan foothills. Most of the locals are either ethnic Lisu or Kachin population. This area was once a military outpost throughout the late British colonial era.
A trip to Putao on the Myanmar tours and holidays is perfect for the adventurous traveller who is interested in skiing, white-water rafting, mountaineering and trekking the local mountainous area. The peak of the Himalayan Mountain (Hkakabo Razi) is close to the border of India, China and Myanmar, and stands at a total height of 5,881 m.
The travel cost to Putao including the guided tours and staying there can get quite expensive. Plus, it helps to stay in the region for 3-4 days because the infrastructure isn’t the best and travel time can be slow. While the mountain scenery is quite stunning, it is in the distance, and to be closer to the Himalayan valleys it takes a long and tough trek over difficult terrain. Also, for the mountaineers looking to climb Hkakabo Razi it would be necessary to spend a month or more in the local area.
The guest houses and hotels in Putao are quite limited with only a few that is actually licensed to accept foreign travellers. Booking in advance is standard and budget-friendly accommodation isn’t a possibility. Most of the hotels are closed from June to September which is the duration of the wet season.
Plus, the insects and bugs in this region of Myanmar are quite fearsome, so the proper use of insect repellents in and around Putao is certain to be recommended.
The climate in Putao is subtropical and humid with three main seasons. The best time to travel on the Myanmar travel packages is November to February with the warm and clear days and cool evenings. The hottest month of the year is August which can reach 25.9° C, while the coolest month is January at 13.1° C. The rainy season lasts from June to October which means less foot traffic, but there are certain places that shut down during this time.
Because of the difference in temperature in the dry season from day to evening, it benefits to pack extra layers to make it possible to stay comfortable at all times.
How to get there
The isolated location of Putao is best reached by air with several flights taking place throughout the course of the week. Most of the flights into this small town arrive from Yangon, Mandalay and Myitkyina. Also, the local surroundings of snow peaked mountains means that flights are easily cancelled based on the weather condition.
Where to stay
Putao has a few guest houses or small inns in town that are perfect for the traveller’s on the Myanmar travel tour who is interested in the cost-effective and basic accommodation. Most include shared bathrooms with hot running water for the showers.
A stay at the Putao Trekking Lodge gives access to a cosy countryside type resort. It is located near the outskirts of the village and a practical base for the tourists planning on the wilderness explorations or treks. Plus, the convenient location makes it very easy to walk into the Putao Valley villages.
The Malikha Lodge is the more upmarket accommodation with its unique design and styled with oriental decor and art. The secluded and luxury chalets are set among the well-maintained gardens and lush bamboo groves. The chalets are built with thatched roofs and stand approx 5 m tall.
This lodge is great for travellers interested in exploration activities as well as a variety of pampering services to make it possible to really relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing. But, the cost of staying in this accommodation is more on the high side.
Putao has a small market that includes all the basics as well as several gifts and souvenirs for friends and family. Some of the popular items include clothing, local snacks, chocolate and cookies. Plus, there are plenty of stores trading in local handicrafts to make a nice gift while also having the added bonus of supporting the local culture.
Things to see and do
Trekking and adventure activities
For the tourist interested in adventure activities on the Myanmar local tour package, a visit to Putao is certain to appeal. It is great for the hiking and trekking tours and sits in a location that gives stunning views of the surrounding landscape and mountains, including the Himalaya Mountain. Other worthwhile trekking sites in the local area include Mt. Phangran, Mt. Phonegan and Mt. Hakaborazi. A trekking adventure is easily extended to include a variety of activities, such as rafting or canoeing along the remote and rugged rivers, mountain biking, river diving, short jungle trek and visiting the different hill tribes. Also, for the truly relaxing experience, the tourist can enjoy an open-air massage at a local spa. A really authentic trip makes it possible to stay with local hill tribes, camping on remote islands, and even to witness the locals panning for gold.
The difficulty of the trekking trails can vary significantly with paths that can take 1 to 15 days to complete. One of the popular routes includes the Lisu trail which is perfect for those with a decent level of fitness and can take up to 8 days to complete. Even though most of the trekking trails are quite challenging it is extremely rewarding to conquest the largest peaks in the region. The help of a Myanmar travel guide is useful when exploring the most remote regions.
A river rafting adventure on the Malikha River is certain to give a very wild time that makes it possible to view the stunning scenery on the riverbanks. Many of the organized places to hire the raft are only open from October to April.
A slow and relaxing elephant trek makes it possible to explore the Nam Lang River and local rice terrace areas. There is a great and rewarding experience for those travellers that haven’t enjoyed this type of adventure before.