Inside Burma Tours


Former capital of an independent kingdom, today Hsipaw is a thriving market town and a popular stopover for hikers visiting the beautiful Shan countryside.

Hsipaw Map

“In Hsipaw it's as much about the journey as the destination, with arrival by scenic train over viaducts and through farmland.”

Charlotte Bower, Travel Consultant

Hsipaw (also known as Thibaw) is a charming town in northern Shan State, located on the banks of the Dokhtawady River.

Until 1962, Hsipaw was the centre of an independent Shan Kingdom, one of many minor kingdoms that existed across Burma, Yunnan, Thailand and Laos from the late 13th century until the mid-20th century. For those interested in the rich history of the area, the book Twilight over Burma: My life as a Shan Princess, written by the Austrian wife of the last Prince of Hsipaw, recounts the kingdom's tragic closing days.

The town of Hsipaw today is laid out around a large market, where people from the surrounding minority villages come to trade and socialise. Since tourism to the area is relatively low, a visit to the market is an interesting and authentic experience - with most of the produce aimed at locals rather than visitors. Hsipaw is also a popular base for river trips and treks into the surrounding countryside, where Palaung and Shan villages give an introduction to life in rural Burma.

Most visitors to Hsipaw arrive by train from Pyin Oo Lwin, a stretch of track widely considered to be one of the world's most impressive railway journeys. The line includes the spectacular Goteik Viaduct, spanning around 700 metres (2,300 ft) across a 250-metre (820 ft) gorge. This viaduct is a masterpiece of British engineering, and was the largest railway trestle in the world when it was constructed in 1899.

Recommended Accommodation in Hsipaw

The following are our favourites from among the western-style hotels and Burmese-style inns of Hsipaw.

Weather in Hsipaw

The Climate Guide for Hsipaw is perfect for planning your holiday. Monthly weather averages give the best indication of what the weather is usually like for every month of the year including figures for temperature, rainfall and sunshine.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max Daytime Temperature (°C) 25 28 32 34 32 31 30 30 30 29 27 25
Min Night-time Temperature (°C) 8 9 13 18 21 22 22 22 21 19 15 10
Hours of Sunshine (Daily) 8 9 8 8 6 4 3 4 5 6 7 8
Hours of Daylight (Daily) 11 11 12 13 13 14 13 13 12 12 11 11
Heat and Humidity Discomfort None Low Moderate High High High High High High High Low None
Days with some Rainfall 1 1 1 5 13 16 18 20 15 11 5 1
Monthly Rainfall (mm) 5 5 6 63 146 182 179 251 188 161 61 14
UV Index (Maximum) 7 9 11 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 11+ 10 8 7