View of the landscape beyond Kengtung, by the road towards Mong Yang. It takes only several kilometers out of town when it becomes very scenic place: with large rice fields in the bottom of wide walley and high Shan mountains around. Your best mode of travel is by bike or moped, it's not a crowded road at all and you'll be able to capture some of...more
Here is the view over the Naung Tung lake towards Wat Yong Kham. The lake is centrally located in town and mostly fenced. In this area they rise large modern buildings nowsadays(unfortunatelly they look terrible and out of place), probably hotels but there are still some old buildings worth to take a look left. There's Chinese temple on the east...more
The way towards Loi Mwe is worth an effort and money because you'll see some really nice views from high mountains and pass rivers, a few villages and fields with lots of buffalos and cows. That photo is taken a few kilometers from KT, we were on motorbike trip and these large stones looked very nice early in the morning. Buffalos around and near....more
This is the main road that enters city if you travel from Thailand and it continues towards central Shan state and the rest of Burma. At the edge of town before you enter center, there's large primary school to your right, then there's large tatmadaw camp on your left a bit further from school (and on the edge of center) and many traditional Shan...more
This is inside Kengtung's most famous wat - Yong Kham: spacious prayer room with many Buddha images. Rather dark place with warm feeling, wooden floor and beautiful warm light penetrating the room from side doors. It's said the site was constructed in 13th century and has been constantly rebuilt and improved since. It's altogether impressive...more
This is very friendly tea shop at shore of the Kyainge Tong lake. There is very big banyan tree in front of the house across the road. Their 'laphetou' is very nice and they have BBQ in the evenings in front of house.
Favorite Dish: Laphetou, the salad made of beans and green tea leaves. And tea, mmm..
In Kengtung... there was no night life, but city streets were quite busy untill about 7 or 8 pm ... a lot of food stalls, people outside, good BBQ and relaxing atmosphere in tea shops. Sky was very clear. But was good to have a torch with me as roads were dark and there are many motorbikes on the streets. Also, after 9 pm is hard to find a place to dine. There are some places for local rich, but you'll need a guide to show you where. If you're lucky there will be some festival and will have games to play, people come together, hear music, gamble and chit chat. But this kind of place is somehow too far from the city to walk.
KT Market is good place to see the colourful society of hill tribes, Shans, Burmese, Chinese, foreigners, etc. Also, good shopping place for handicraft products, thanaka, knives, medicine, animals, food, etc. The prices are of course negotiable everywhere. There are several tiny bookshops. And then there is very kind long haired man who makes yoghurt by himslef and sell it at market in the morning untill noon and laters around the city's street and lake area in his mobile stall. His youghurt is so delicious and worth to try!
What to buy: Shoulder bags, warm clothes, minority clothes, beautiful longyis, thanaka, sandals, sunflower seeds... yoghurt
What to pay: yoghurt - 300 kyat
Take torch. When it gets dark there's no light on the streets and some light from the side restaurants and shops will not be enough. Be careful on the road, it's difficult for motorbike or car drivers to see you.
To go to Keng Tung in july 2006, we cross the border from Thailand. Here are the pratical info.
Chiang Rai - Mae Sai : by bus on 14/07/2006 - 55 bahts per person bus ac departs frequently from the bus station.
Keep passport on hand is a good idea : 3 police controles on the thai side
Bus station of Mae Sai - border : 8 bahts per person in songtaew , 80 bahts for the all vehicule. It is 5 km and not 2.
Thai immigration : 2 min
No man's land : easy to cross on foot.
Myanmar immigration : send those who want to stay in Myanmar next door in a small travel agency. They take care of everything. A simple document to fill and 40 baht photocopy. Take less than a hour.
Bus ac from Tachilek to Kengtung : 350 bahts copy fee include - We took a shared taxi 600 baht per person - approximately 3 1/4 hours on a very good road. 8 police controles twice they ask to see our passport. The driver took care of everything, we stayed in the car.
Change at Kengtung : market on the 15/07/2006 1000baht=70175kyat - 1 US=1250kyat -they also change yuan.
Kengutng has been important town in past and seen better days than present. Its location in Shan state makes it still off the beaten paths for majority of tourists because you have to fly there from mainland if you want to visit it. Sometimes, when border with Thailand remains open for foreigners, it can be visited by bus or shared taxi - it's 3 hours long journey throughout scarcely populated area in the bottom of valley, hills all around. Being the capital of Eatern Shan state it has a lot of things to display; from old customs, stories, attitudes, buildings from the past to new, modern signs of progress. It's a place where a lot societies and ethnic groups meet and melt together, like descendants of Indian Moslem traders, Bamar, Tai, Wa, Lahu, Shan etc... all with their own distincitve interpretations of life and living, food, music, beliefs and survival.
Fondest memory: It is worth going beyond the city limits although you can find Kengtung interesting place by itself already. Well, if interesting means shopping malls, luxury hotels and restaurants and swimming pools then this is not.
Here and beyond, you'll find beautiful hilly landscape, fields in the bottom of valley, traditional farming, arhitecture and customs. It seems no unusal to see many men, even very young ones carrying some very old guns, probably from colonial times. It's no danger though, they have it for hunting and not to scare people away. The area is also full of birds in spring, which makes it potentially interesting place for birdwatcher.
One remark though, famous Shan palace was destroyed in 1990'ies and its location became a place for large hotel. And it's good to have some knowledge on the area before you come, you may be surprised on what you'll see.