Kayah State: Rich in Sights, Sounds, Colors and Flavours

On the rocks: The outlines of pagodas, stupas and palm trees form an unmistakable silhouette at sunset over Loikaw, the gateway to beautiful Kayah State and the location of Loikaw Lodge Hotel & Cafe.

Expect The Unexpected.

Even for the most seasoned Myanmar traveller, the “rock pagodas” in Loikaw are simply a spectacular sight. Taung Kwe Pagoda is the most prominent sacred buddhist temple towering above the town, providing a fantastic 360 degree view of the town and its surroundings. Venturing into smaller villages, one can marvel at the animist posts that are errected when celebrating harvest festivals in April and May. Though most people in Kayah State are either Christian or Buddhist, animist believe and traditions are deeply incorporated in their daily and religious life. Attending a celebration in one of the villages is an extraordinary experience and allows for a deeper understanding of tribal customs and traditions in Kayah.

Since Loikaw Lodge has its own fully-licensed in-house travel agency, Ancient Geographic Travels & Tours (founded in 2009), such visits can be arranged easily.

Buddhist chanting as well as the ringing of church bells are typical “sounds” in Loikaw. But so are the shouts of sellers at the busy market and the clong-clong of horse hooves pulling little carriages with people and goods away from it. During festival time, drums and bamboo flutes are played and occassionally one can still hear the hollow metal sound made by hands banging on an ancient bronze “frog drum”, an instrument that all major tribal groups in the region used. Loikaw Lodge uses a “frog drum” as its logo, by the way.

The “Tchak-Tchak” rattle of textile weaving, either from hand or electrically powered looms can also be heard in a few streets in Loikaw. The different tribal patterns and colors of the fabrics are simply amazing and shopping for traditional clothing is an experience not to be missed.

A flavour typically for local Kayah dishes is that of Sechuan Pepper. Elsewhere in the world traded as an expensive spice, here in abundant use in combination with chillies, ginger and garlic. The typical Kayah pork sausage is a “must-taste” and locals like to consume it together with a cup of home-brewed “Kaung Ye”, an alcoholic beverage made of fermented sticky rice.

Loikaw Lodge has its own little Cafe on site and we take pride in preparing simple but tasty dishes using only freshest ingredients that we buy daily on the market.

Instead of a fixed menu, we decide while on the market what to cook for lunch and dinner. Our Cafe is also the perfect place to relax and for reading a book or for just enjoying the nice view, with a steaming cappuccino in reach.