Hsipaw One Day Hike

Just as I had done in Luang Prabang a few years ago, I wanted to go for a two-day/one-night hike in the Hsipaw area. Sadly there weren’t any tours going and I didn’t feel like paying for a guide just for myself. So instead I went for the available option, which was a one-day trek to one of the villages in the hills.

Our group of seven tourists, one guide and one apprentice guide started out at 8:00 in the morning, just outside the city limits. The weather was cool and a bit drizzly but not uncomfortable. We had a quick stop at a hut along the way and then went the way we were to go for the next three hours: up!

IMG_0798

The washed out unsealed road lead along corn fields (for export to China), rice paddies and patches of wild sunflowers.

IMG_0822

The sun hadn’t come through the low hanging clouds yet but I was still sweating a lot. At one time, a little “roadhouse” provided energy in form of rice-and-honey cookies. We had been walking uphill for something like 2h now.

IMG_0829Came noon, we arrived at our lunchtime destination: Pankam Village. From what I’ve heard it’s quite popular with visitors but I didn’t see many other non-locals around. We were treated to an amazingly good lunch under the eyes of a couple of elders who were smoking their cigars in the dimly lit room.

IMG_0830Before setting out on the way back, we had a look around the village’s tea plantations and paid the school a quick visit. They teach all classes (5 or 6) in one room and the noise level would have driven me nuts after 15 minutes tops.

IMG_0847IMG_0843The way back is the same way we came. However with the sun out and facing the other way, it doesn’t get boring.

IMG_0852Once again we pass a truck that has broken down on the road. According to our guide, it’s been sitting there for the past three weeks. Roadside assistance does take a while out here.

IMG_0856The last hour we walk on flat ground along the familiar ride paddies and banana plants. I haven’t worn closed shoes in a long time and the hours of walking downhill have given my toes a fair beating. I’m quite glad when we reach our transport into town. From what the guide says, we’ve done about 25-30 km today.

IMG_0860