Loikaw is the capital of Kayah state, located in southern Shan State of Myanmar and on the Pilu River, a tributary of the Thanlwin (Salween) River. Situated in hilly forested country, Loi-kaw has timber and silk-processing industries and is the site of an important hydroelectric power plant. The Loi-kaw Area Irrigation Project is an important undertaking along the Bilu (Pilu) River. Loikaw is about 70 miles south of Kalaw and at an elevation of 1200 meters. It is about 5 hours drive from Kalaw and just an hour’s flight from Yangon.
The inhabitants are mostly Kayah also known as Karenni and has a population of about 30,000. National races are the Kayah, Gagho, Gagbar, Kayan (Padaung), Ma nu ma naw, Yin Baw, Yin Ta le`, Inn Tha, Shan and Bamar live in the Kayah State. In the hill regions, you will find the Pa-O national race as well. Most KayahPadaung nationals live in Pan Pat Village, which is situated in Kayah State.
Accordingly, Padaung traditional costumes and their way of life are distinguished and interesting. One of their beliefs is that the longer the neck, the more beautiful the person is. Therefore, Padaung women when they came of age, wear bronze spiral rings around their necks. That’s why, the Padaung have become a popular tribe of Myanmar.
The famous religious landmark of Loikaw is the Thiri-MingalarTaung-kwe Pagoda Hill, scenically built on a hillock overlooking the vast expanse of the environs. You can watch desolately at the pilgrims and enjoy the marvelous landscape form the top.
TaungweTaungZedi is the most venerated pagoda in Kayah State. Taungwe meaning “Separated hills” in Myanmar. The Kinnare Bird are the national symbol of the Kayah State.
Paddy is the main crop of Kayah State. Besides paddy, various kinds of beans and pulses, maize, sunflower and cotton are also cultivated. Other culinary crops and vegetables are also cultivated in Kayah State.
Myanmar’s largest hydropower plant is located 20 km east of Loikaw at Lawpita Water Falls and named as Lawpita Hydropower Plant. It is the main electric power source in Myanmar.