Our Tuk Tuk Tour to the Lisu Village was organised by the lovely Lily. She runs Hotel Lily The Home in Hsipaw. It’s the best place to stay if you want to experience the feel of being part of a Myanmar family, cause that’s how Lily makes you feel … part of the family. She caters for hostel & budget boutique accommodation. It was one of the best stays we had in Myanmar thanks to Lily’s welcoming & fun loving nature.
Our journey started in a bright brand new Tuk Tuk. Looking very inconspicuous we were ushered into the restricted area of the Lisu. Lily has many connections in the area, so if you want a unique experience, she’ll help you out.
Along the way we visited a variety of families living off the land. Always made to feel welcome, we shared tea & charaded our way through conversations. Two of our favourite stops were at the watermelon & pineapple farms.
After 2 hours of back cracking bumpiness we arrived at the Lisu village. We must have looked a sight with our faces, arms & legs coated with dust. We thought this may have been the reason for the children’s shyness but then we realised they hadn’t meet westerners before.
We received a warm welcome from the elders & where ushered into their homes. They were designed for simple living … dirt floors, with a fire in the middle, bamboo laced walls (for natural AC!). The whole family shared a single room for sleeping & the main room for eating & domestic duties.
Back outside with the children we had some warming up to do. None of them had seen a camera so when we tried to take their picture most of them ran away screaming & crying or hid behind their mothers dresses.
It was a reality check to see how children feared something being pointed at them! It took more than a little coaxing & coaching on how to smile… lots of mucking around, playing simple games (peek a boo, tag, rumbles) … eventually we gained their trust & they started to relax. The real ice breaker was taking a selfie & showing them. They were fascinated at how you could immediately see the pic. That & the swipe action! Our poor phones coped a hammering that day from many little fingers thumping & swiping!
After our selfie session it was time to explore the village. It was an amazing example of self-sufficiency. Everything they needed was available within their village compound: chickens, pigs, fish ponds, separate washing & swimming ponds, irrigation (ladle system), schoolrooms & a church (yes a Jesuit church!)
The rest of our afternoon was spent playing with the children & joining in their games. We learnt a new version of hopscotch & bowls where you throw rocks with your toes! This took some balance & practice, much to the amusement of the entire village!
Our trip home was just as entertaining as the journey out. We had afternoon tea at a family run ice making factory. It was fascinating how they make & cut massive ice slabs. It can be a dangerous job as our one armed man explained.
Overall we had a brilliant day … one of the best experiences we’ve had travelling. To glimpse life through the eyes of the Lisu & to have met a group of people who hadn’t been exposed to many westerners or seen cameras let alone have selfies … was really amazing. We were truly appreciative of their trust & welcoming, loving, generous nature.