Himalayan Far North

Key information: Himalayan Far North

    • Trekkers' paradise: full-on unsullied Himalayas, with all the trappings: ice-capped peaks, rocky ridges and high pasture loom above forests and profound valleys containing isolated tribal communities, remarkably unsullied by any form of modernity.
      • Day walks can be made, as can multi-day expeditions. The best walk must be the trek up 3,635m (11,926ft) Phon Kan Razi, on the Indian border and with wondrous views all around.  11 days.
        • This can be tough trekking in high, isolated mountains where altitude can be a problem. Come prepared.
          • THIS PAGE IS AT AN EARLY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: ALL SUGGESTIONS AND PHOTOS WELCOME!

Walkopedia rating

(Top 100)
  • Walkopedia rating92
  • Beauty32
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest12
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating92

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: Variable
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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WALK SUMMARY

Myanmar's far north feels as far from the sweltering plains of the heartlands as is imaginable. This is full-on Himalayas, and one of the most unspoilt areas of the entire range, with all the trappings: ice-capped peaks, rocky ridges and high pasture loom above forests and profound valleys containing isolated tribal communities, remarkably culturally unsullied by any form of modernity.  The fact that this is largely due to the country's horrendous regime and consequent isolation and lack of 'development' is one big irony. Few visitors get here: even better - although this is because expensive permits (and air access only) are (as of 2012) required to go there.

There is a huge ethnic diversity in the area. The Kachin are the biggest group, but others include Lisu and Rawang.

This is trekkers' paradise, and, while all the usual kit and support are available, it is not quite as slick as a Himalayan regular may be used to - and this is probably a good thing. Day walks can be made, as can multi-day expeditions, a few days up to the 35 day trek to the foot of Hkakabo Razi, Myanmar's highest peak at 5,881m (19,295ft). The best walk in the area is probably the trek up Phon Kan Razi at a more reasonable 3,635m (11,926ft), on the Indian border and with wondrous views all around.  11 days. Think also about Phangran Razi and Nam Lant.

You can also meander in a leisurely manner through fields and tribal villages on the plain around the main town and flight/transport hub, Putao. Putao can (as of 2012) be reached by air only.

On anything other than day walks, it is essential to hire a local guide and porters. Long expeditions require hiking experience and stamina.

While Lonely Planet's Myanmar is pretty brief on the north, it does have the names of some expedition organizers, all Yangon based.

To go or not: until recently, there were major issues with visiting Myanmar, with the money and affirmation that the regime receives - with counter-arguments to the effect that money to the desperately poor locals and foreign contact is more important. These were well put in the 2009 Lonely Planet. But, with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, the dabate has for the time being changed; she cautiously welcomes visitors coming to Myanmar.

Photos: We don't have any yet. Take a look at the Myanmar Photo Gallery, put together by Henk de Jong.

It is a bit unclear when is the best time to visit here, ALL COMMENTS WELCOME, but it appears to be October, i.e. very different from the rest of the country.

THIS PAGE IS AT AN EARLY STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT: ALL SUGGESTIONS AND PHOTOS WELCOME!

 

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

COMMUNITY COMMENTS AND PHOTOS

Name: yip
Posted on: 04/06/2014
I led a group of Singaporeans to do a 10 day trek to Phongan Razi in Nov 2010 Photos are in the photo sharing website: https://plus.google.com/photos/104648000821919082562/albums?banner=pwa Yip Singapore

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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