So unknown are these mysterious waterfalls that even the locals have not named them. I was very impressed how the team at Myanmar Adventure Outfitters discovered them while exploring the Shan state, from train rides, riding around and some map apps. The two spectacular waterfalls are nicknamed Hidden Tiger Falls and Dark Horse Falls.
Day 1 // Actxplorer linked us up with Byron and the MAO team in Lashio for a trek to a ‘waterfall’. We had no idea what we were in for. I was expecting a little waterhole that we could swim in and take some group photos at. Little did I expect that we would be standing atop cascading waterfalls, overlooking the adventure that awaited us that afternoon.
The cold “winter” air of the season did not make the waters appealing, but the only way to go about the afternoon was to get wet or go home. Our gentlemanly guides – Byron, Alex and Tyler – carried all our change in dry bags and led the way into the falls, enticing us with cliff jumps ranging from 2 metres to 8 metres high! Their enthusiasm and guidance successfully nudged a few of us to attempt the fastest entry point into the waters – a plunge straight in! With much caution and cold skin, we manovered our way down the waters, edging ourselves over boulders that the falls cascaded over.
The rocks surprisingly provided sufficient traction and soon we were moving more swiftly up and down the rocks, following the lead of our playful and skillful guides. Every one of us 7 girls attempted a tiny jump in the second waterfall stop, and Tyler even created a makeshift balancing beam using a bamboo log he found. It was like tight rope walking over the water (fun!).
We even spotted two rainbows in the midst of the falls due to the intensity of the water. When we had our fill of fun and were half dried out in the sun, we thought that we were done for the day! Gleefully, we opted for a longer dry trek down instead of continuing to climb down the waterfalls. None of us knew that the only way out of the Hidden Tiger Falls was to swim out of it. For which we all had a good laugh at the end of having to swim through what felt like a 6° river while navigating some underwater logs in order to complete our day’s adventure.
The falls were not for the faint-hearted – it took us out of our comfort zone, into the beauty and intensity of nature. Thankfully, we never saw the legendary hidden tiger of the falls.
Day 2 // Dark Horse Falls awaited as we put down our backpacks at our homestay for the night in Pang Hkaw Village. A 15 min walk through a beautiful yellow flower garden with mountains in the background took us to the beginning of our journey to see the Dark Horse Falls.
We were more mentally prepared for today’s waterfall trek, but instead of descending the falls, this time we were ascending the falls. No big cliff jumps on this one, but we balanced our way across numerous logs and boulders and also got to swing on a vine across the waters and back. The backdrop of waterfalls while we swung around like Tarzans was definitely a beautiful scene.
On the way back from the falls, we were invited by a hospitable Kachin villager to have some Starbean tea while listening to Alex tell us about education and life in the town of Lashio and beyond.
Two days of beautiful waterfalls and adventure in the villages of Shan. Hidden and unexpected, but definitely worth experiencing again.
Thanks Larissa for the write up! Let’s go to Myanmar together again soon! 🙂