Southern Shan State, Nam Vay waterfall, Burma

I wanted to write this to give information to people who want to go to a recently discovered attraction called Nam Vay waterfall. Please do not imagine it as a spectacular or a big waterfall. For me, it is just a river with a few steps and torrential water flow. It is not even amount to be called waterfall.

But it is really worth to go there  as you will see ranges of mountain and untamed nature on your way despite the road is tricky and underdeveloped and there is lack of safety.

To go to Nam Vay, you need to go to capital of Shan state, called Taunggyi. From there, you use Bogyoke Aung San road and follow the road towards katku pagodas.

The beginning of trip, it was a bit cloudy

We started our trip only around 8 as we had a nice breakfast at a cafe.

I was quite surprised to see the houses of Shan State are neat and made of brick. The housing areas are also clean . I heard Shan people take effort in improving their area on their own. They have volunteer groups who clean the public places, plant trees and alert forest fire. Shan State is also regarded as the cleanest state of Burma.

The house on the outskirt of Taunggyi.

On our way, we saw lots of tribal people called Pa-O who are walking with the basket on the back and cover their head with locally woven cloth.

I think they are very hardworking people as they can walk miles and engage in farming seriously. They are not that friendly and are socially shy. Some of them might even refuse to take photos with you. But if you take one, do not forget to show it to them. One of them asked to take her photo again after she rearranged her dress and turban and properly smile. How cute!

a Pa-O lady selling pineapples frm her farm
she was shy but requested to take her photo second time


a sweet lady posing for photo

I think  women are hardworking. They not only cook and look after the house and children, but also take part in farming which is a hard labour.

Enter a caption

By the way, it intrigued me the color of the dress of Pa-O people. All of them uniformly wear black color clothes made of cotton. I wonder why. I tried to ask that to above woman. Unfortunately she cannot answer as she cannot speak mainland Burmese. She can only speak her own dialect . Later my colleagues told me Pa-O think they are descendants of dragons and that is why they choose black color.

I also found out there can be shortage of water in Shan State during dry season as the locals depend on the river for the water usage.

A burmese woman washing clothes at the river
villagers washing clothes, having bath and fishing at river


Kids are everywhere and they are lovely. Some of them help in farming and house chores. I saw around 10year old kid riding bikes. Because of lack of transport, parents might allow them to ride although it is dangerous. The rest have to walk miles to go to school. I saw children digging the drainage in front of their houses.

he was eating and feeding chicken at the same time

The best time to go to Shan State is the winter. If you go during summer, you cannot find much green or lush forest nor wild flowers. If you go during wet season, you cannot trek nor enjoy the bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds.

By the way, I am so proud of the sky in Shan State which shows there is no pollution and there is only the clean fresh air. Here are a few photos of mountains and countryside houses.






The most fascinating about Shan.State is having gigantic trees which are as old as a century. They have massive horizontal braches which can hold a dozen men easily. I am glad locals did not cut them down despite they need wood to make fire as most houses do not have regular electricity.




The branches can go very far

Regarding direction in Shan.State, it is pretty difficult to get direction from local because

1). They do not know how to differentiate left and right. They only use east, west, south and north

2) some locals cannot speak Burmese nor English

3) they do not say they do not know if they are not sure. Instead they tend to give wrong direction as they feel bad for not being helpful.

We were given wrong directions and spent extra two hours on road.

To go to Nam Vay river, you need to follow Katku road. Then you will see junction, on your left is towards katku and on your right is towards Kyauk ta lone. Please follow Kyauk Ta Lone road.


After that, you will arrive at the lovely village called Saung Pho. Please pass through it.


There is a big monastery with many.young novices at the entrance of Saung Pho. The restaurants are not available nor if there is, the food is terrible. Please pack your lunch from Taunggyi.

After Saung Pho,you will pass another village called Lwal Saung and then you will see the big sign on your right indicating towards Nam Vay.

the sign towards Nam.Vay

After you turn into the lane, the tar road ended and there is earth lane with red color. Some areas have puddles and muds. Cars and cycles have to be left before you arrive at the wooden bridge as the soil is too soft to pass through.

Then you need walk over the bridge and walk another half a kilometer to arrive at Nam Vay river.

You will see some paddy fields and need to pass through streams with very flimsy bamboo bridge.

Enter a caption


The Nam Vay river is torrential and unpredictable for the depth. A 19 year old died of drowning in May. Locals usually do not swim there. The area is quite beautiful although water is muddy.


Enter a caption
Enter a caption

Afterall, seeing Nam Vay river is not as enjoyable as seeing beautiful scenery on the way. There is no proper safety measure and swimming is not advisable.

But to have a picnic beside the mountains is lovely. I want to go there again.

10 thoughts on “Southern Shan State, Nam Vay waterfall, Burma”

    1. Welcome to Myanmar. Let me know if you ever drop in Taunggyi. My email is thank you for your compliment. I lived in Malaysia for 12years and this is my first month living in Shan State, Myanmar. I am trying to adapt and seeing my country as a tourist as I am originally from Yangon. Culture, language is so different between city and rural area.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s