***Travel Permit Required***
Tour Departure Dates:
2010: January 12 – 16.
2011: To be advised.
The Naga, one of the least known tribal groups in Myanmar, live in the hilly districts of Sagaing Division, along the Indian border. The districts populated by these fascinating people, about 100,000 strong, are closed to outsiders except once a year, when visitors are allowed to witness the Naga’s biggest annual festival, the Lunar New Year known as ‘Kaing Bi’. This festival is attended by delegations from all the Naga tribes in Myanmar and India and a wonderful and unique opportunity to meet these disparate tribes gathered in one place.
At one time, the Naga were headhunters, taking heads to avenge a killing, to appease their Gods or for personal glory. Heads and other body parts of victims were also hung from trees, to ‘fertilize’ the fields and safeguard the community. Arrows were placed in the eyes of victims to ward off evil spirits. Whilst this custom has died out, the Naga still wear traditional dress and practice many other interesting customs. Naga men normally go almost naked, except for a loincloth. At the festival they dress in their ceremonial finery, wearing hats made of bear fur, hornbill feathers, wild boar tusks and necklaces made from Tiger claws. The men are tattooed – a form of identity, signifying the village and tribe to which they belong. Women usually go bare-breasted and are often tattooed as children.
Your expedition takes you to areas almost unseen by outsiders, via remote forests and tribal villages where children may cry at your presence – they may never have seen a foreigner before. The number of visitors on these tours is strictly controlled so please contact us as far in advance of travel as possible to be sure of a coveted place. Following is a typical itinerary but as the location of the festival changes each year, the itinerary is subject to change. Tour prices include all transportation, accommodation, meals, guide and travel permit.
Day 01: Your chartered flight departs Yangon Airport for Homalin, in far north Myanmar, via Mandalay. Transfer to a riverboat for a scenic four-hour ride along the Chindwin River to Htamanthi. Lunch will be served aboard. We then board a waiting bus or truck for a journey into the hills to our day’s destination, Leshi. Dinner and night stop at a traditional house in Leshi.
Day 02: Spend today visiting nearby villages, unaccustomed to visitors, by car or on foot. In the evening there will be a video presentation about the Naga and their customs.
Day 03: Participate in the Naga Traditional Pole Erection Ceremony from 8:00 a.m to 11:00 a.m. Enjoy the Auction Show of Naga Traditional household goods in the Dining Hall after lunch. Later, visit the surrounding area on foot until nightfall.
Day 04: Attend the official Opening Ceremony of the Naga Traditional New Year Celebrations starting from 8:00 a.m. Enjoy Naga traditional food and rice wine, and take part in the welcoming Naga New Year dancing around the bonfire between 7:00 p.m and 10:00 p.m.
Day 05: Early morning breakfast at 4:00 a.m. Depart Leshi at 5:00 a.m. for the return journey to Homalin and your return charter flight to Mandalay or Yangon.