Covered in snow around the year, a small village in the northernmost corner of Myanmar is waiting for the outside world to discover it.
Where is it?
Shein Hkawn Village is located in the Zeehtan village tract of Khounlanphu Township, Kachin State. The snowy village sits 10,900 feet above sea level.
Some 1,500 residents have to rely on the government’s ration when the weather gets so extreme. Thanks to its proximity with China, the village has a steady supply of Chinese goods and commodities during the normal times.
How to get there?
The village is accessible in two ways from Khounlanphu in Putao District. You can fly from Myitkyina to Putao. Rides from Putao to the nearest town to Khounlanphu usually cost 50,000 kyat.
The Putao-Machanbaw-Ridan road is a day trip, so you have to stay for the night in Ridan. There is only a motorcycle road from Ridan to Khounlanphu and the ride costs around 80,000 kyat. Be warned since the road is very narrow.
When you reach Khounlanphu, there is still a long journey ahead. There are no roads, so you have to walk 15 miles from Khounlanphu to Zayanpa. It will take you the whole day. Then, you have to walk two more days until you reach Largah Village. You can fetch a ride from there to Shein Hkawn. It will cost around 100 yuan, or 20,000 kyat.
The second route is more tiring. There is a motorbike road from Khounlanphu to Zanhot. Then, walk for a day from there to Chilawadi, and, again to Shein Hkawn.
What to do?
Actually, there is not much to do in the village since it is not a tourist attraction. But you can still learn about the village and the people. The village has a guest house, a public high school and electricity.
Do not forget your warm clothes since the village is freezing cold year-round. The residents have to break and boil the ice to use for cleaning and sanitation.
Although the village is beautiful and the villagers are friendly, Shein Hkawn is always struggling with transport problems and food shortage. Especially, when the pandemic pushed the Chinese border to close down, the rice almost ran out. The Border Affairs Ministry had to send thousands of rice bags to the village.
Agricultural business is not very promising either because of the climate and nature of the soil. Only the native plants can survive the weather. The yields are in small quantities since the plants have a low resistance against pests.
The challenges in transportation slow down all the business activities, too. The roads and motorcycle lanes are sparse and the residents still travel on foot when they go to nearby towns.
But there is good news regarding the transport. The Ministry is building a road connecting Magwaiza and Khounlanphu. The road is reportedly allocated to extend as far as Shein Hkawn, and, with it, prosperity and modernity will be delivered to the secluded winter wonderland.
Photo credit: Sar Aung Marphang Facebook