Dee Dote Falls
Famed for having mineral-rich, bright blue waters, Dee Dote (Dee Doke) Falls are a relatively new spot to waterfall hop. Situated about an hour’s drive from Mandalay and a two-hour motorbike ride from Pyin Oo Lwin in the Shan Highlands, Dee Dote definitely takes some effort to find. But, it’s an ideal destination for travelers sticking around the area for a few days.
Start early and plan for a full day to do Dee Dote and nearby Anisakan Falls. Renting a motorbike to get there from Pyin Oo Lwin will likely be the cheapest option; however, venturing to Dee Dote from Mandalay is quite common as well. There are caves to explore near Dee Dote Falls, too. If staying overnight in Pyin Oo Lwin, venture back in time to experience Anisakan Falls for at least half a day as well.
The most essential trip from Pyin Oo Lwin is to Anisakan Falls, approximately six miles away. Located on the outskirts of Anisakan (Anesakhan) village, this setting is perfect for hiking. A number of steep forested trails allow the magnificent layered waterfalls, thundering nearly 400 feet down a vibrant green gorge, to be seen from various perspectives. A small pagoda rests at the base.
To get to Anisakan Falls from Pyin Oo Lwin, take the main Mandalay-Lashio Highway towards Mandalay. The rate for a motorbike taxi should be under $10 USD, round trip. Arranging a car is the easiest way to go, and will cost around $15 USD for half a day. These prices are negotiable and may be more or less depending on season.
The vigorous walk from the parking area to the foot of Anisakan (also known as Dat Taw Gyaik) Falls takes roughly 45 minutes. Go during Myanmar’s monsoon season (May-October) for a truly awesome experience. Wear proper hiking boots; though, as the pathways are especially challenging during this time of year.
Pwe Kauk Falls
Pwe Kauk (Gauk) Falls (formerly Hampshire Falls) may not have the same ascending appeal as Dote Dee or Anisakan, but its closeness to Pyin Oo Lwin (approximately five miles towards Lashio) makes experiencing this attraction worthwhile. Pwe Kauk is a common picnicking site and sees an abundance of local tourists, which makes it a great locale for people watching.
The draw of Pwe Kauk’s stepped falls are the paths to wander about, bridges to cross, play areas for kids, and merchants selling traditional snacks and souvenirs. Head there by getting a taxi from Pyin Oo Lwin. Ask around for rates. The caves of U Naung Gu are a one-hour jaunt away for an added excursion.
Nam Tok Falls
Nam Tok (Nam Tuk) Falls, also referred to as Hsipaw Falls, are found approximately three miles from Hsipaw in northern Shan State. Renting a bicycle or walking to reach Nam Tok is recommended. Bike rentals in Hspiaw are quite inexpensive.
Take the main Mandalay-Lashio Highway out of Hsipaw, towards Pyin Oo Lwin, and then follow a bike-friendly dirt track to the hilly escape. Nam Tok gushes into a small but deep pool at the bottom. Jump in to cool off after the effort it takes to get there.
Zin Kyaik Falls
Next to the Yangon-Dawei rail line, a bit off Mawlamyaing Road leading into the city of Mawlamyine, pours Zin Kyaik (Zin Kyite) Falls. Named after the nearby village, these falls are famous among locals, and get the most action around the Full Moon Day of Waso – the beginning of Buddhist Lent.
Similar to Pwe Kauk Falls, Zin Kyaik isn’t the most striking of waterfalls Myanmar has on display. However, it’s on the way to Myanmar’s fourth largest city and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda. During Myanmar’s scorching summer months (February-May), little to no water trickles down its massive boulders. The rainy season is the best time to go.