Where time stands still
Inspired by George Orwell’s first novel and a favourite read for all explorers of Myanmar, “Burmese Days” itinerary offers travellers an insight into authentic rural culture and long-held traditions in Kachin riverine villages not far from the stunning limestone cliffs of the second defile.
In support of sustainable and ethnic tourism, Paukan visit one such village populated by only 50 Kachin living in traditional bamboo houses. Kachin are a community combined from six ethnic groups and were mostly converted to Christianity during the British empire: Jingphaw, Maru (Laovo), Ahzi, Lashi, Lisu (Yawying) and Rawong (Nung).
Traditionally, Kachin people work in the fields growing rice, maize, buckwheat, millet, tobacco and pumpkin. Wandering toward the village, visitors are drawn by the aroma of steaming white and brown sticky rice coming from the many stalls with wooden-fired pots producing rice wine. Tsapi is a sweet wine, taking 5 days to ferment, while Tsa Jap has a much stronger taste similar to sake. Tsapi is used in many traditional Kachin recipes such as smoked fish wrapped in banana leaf.
Beautifully intricate traditional and colourful costume is still worn for weddings and special occasions by all Kachin girls. On their wedding day they follow the custom of presenting their husband with a silver sword “Soi N-gan” which represents abundant harvests and protection of the family.
This is a wonderful opportunity to really see how a small ethnic community work together and support each other, using traditions handed down through generations to inspire family values and community spirit.
Paukan specially crafted river ships with low draft can reach these remote destinations even during low water levels of the dry season.