Loikaw is the capital of the Kayah state and has about 140,000 inhabitants. The city lies at an altitude of 884 m. It has been long inaccessible to tourists due to armed clashes. Only since March 2013, the city of Loikaw and its surroundings can be visited without a permit. Two lakes, the Naung Yar and Htingalian, a river, Bilu Chaung, and an unusual mountain, Taung Kwe, form the picturesque scenery of the city. It is a good starting point for visiting the Padaung villages scattered throughout Kayah State.
The full name of the pagoda is Thiri Mingalar Taung Kwe Pagoda. It was built on the 118 m high hill with its unusual shape. One can reach it on a steep path or by elevator. In the south of the city, the spectacular pagoda attracts with 9 sharp rock needles, on each of which a small stupa stands. These are actually two mountains connected by a bridge. This Buddhist religious place came into existence since the end of the 19th century and it was called "Sopawfebosi" in Kayah language. It started to be known as "Taung Kwe Pagoda" only in the year 1970.
About 1.5 km from Loikaw Airport near the clock tower is the large Myonan Pagoda, which was built 140 years ago. It is similar to the Ananda temple in Bagan. Large old banyan trees invite you to take a shady rest in the pagoda complex. The pagoda of the white and golden glowing sanctuary is the glory of the city of Loikaw. It is illuminated at night. The Myonan Pagoda is the religious center of the Buddhists. During the full moon day of Dabaung (March) and Tawthalin (September), the faithful celebrate a big festival here.
Panpet is a village of Kayan and is located 34 km southwest of Loikaw. The village is famous for the women whose necks are artificially elongated by wearing heavy metal rings. From an early age, the Kayan women wear brass spirals as necklaces that seem to stretch their necks - in fact, the brass jewelry pushes the neck muscles down. They wear several brass rings weighing up to 9 kg around their necks and calves. The Shan call them Padaung because of their elongated necks, which the Kayan, however, do not like to hear.
It is interesting to make a half-day trip to the Kyet Cave, about 19 km east of Loikaw. The cave is located over 910 m above sea level. The Kyet Cave is called "Ya Su Ku" in Kayah language and means "Gunpowder Cave". It is a natural cave made of limestone and dolomite. The ancient wooden coffins can be seen inside the cave and some coffins are more than 4.5 m long. It is believed that along with the body, their personal belongings were also put into the coffins when someone died in this region in ancient times. But only the coffins can be seen these days.
The visit can be expanded by slow boat through the mountain landscape to the Intha settlement Phaya Phyu , named after the white pagoda nearby. The villagers grow rice and vegetables. They speak an unusual dialect that is closely related to Burmese, the official language of the country. Since most villagers use the mopeds and pickups for their own transportation, the river is usually calm. The boat drive from Loikaw over the Balu Chaung to Phaya Phyu is tranquil and - especially in the first section - scenic and breathtaking.