At Kengtung the water buffalo market is held in an empty field outside town 2-3 times a week.
You'll have to take a motorcycle taxi to get there and be sure to hold on tight because the road up the hill is rough and full of holes. During the rainy season it can be downright treacherous.
The selection of water buffalo is substantial and varied. How do you judge the best beast? Asai, our guide, who brought me to the market, lays out the criteria: "First you check the teeth. Are they good and strong? Then you check to see if the body and the horns are uniform. Don't forget to look at the toes, because the toes hold the body up. They must have strength."
Although I don't know exactly what the name of the waterfalls, there is a series of seven or so cascades in the hills to the west side of town. Located about 15 kilometers from town, the easiest way to get here is by dirt bike, which can be hired in Kengtung..
Not even sure of it's name, but this boat shaped temple is located about 25 KM's east of Kengtung...
It is situated in the middle of a creek, and the water gushing by on both sides of the temple gives the impression that it is sailing....
After attending a prayer session, the head buddhist monk came around and tapped everyone on the head with a kind of a bamboo stick soaked in holy water... (kind of like a blessing, I guess)
He told my Burmese friends that I was the first western guy to attend his temple, and as a show of respect (or so I was told) he proceeded to repeatedly whacked me in the head with his bamboo stick... (Quite the honour)
I've been to a few strange places in my life, but I think that Mengla would rank pretty high on that list.
Mengla is on the northern border of Burma with Yunnan Province, China. Although it is part of Burma, it is controlled by Wa rebels. You actually have to go through these rebel checkpoints and pay a small extortion fee to enter this area. (80 Chinese Yuan) t It is strange, because although this is part of Burma, NOBODY takes Burmese Kyat, only Chinese Yuan.
All the businesses in town appear to be controlled by Chinese gangsters. They've got casinoes, strip shows, crocodile feeding, even this bizarre anti-drug exhibit. Also, you will notice that just about every girl walking around town, is actually a Thai transvestite. (They must import)
To get here, hire transport in Kengtung and take the dusty, winding goat path north about 85 KM's through the mountains. (3-4 hours) This road passes through several hill tribe villages, and is one of the main opium smuggling routes through the Golden Triangle.
The most unique thing about Kengtung is the easy access to the various hill tribe villages.
You can get this in Northern Thailand/Southern China, but in Northern Burma, it seems so much more unspoiled... I went to one village in the area where they told me I was the first westerner ever to make it up to their village. (See attached picture) Not many places in the world where you can experience this kind of thing....
For a relaxing day in suburban Kengtung, grab a cabana down by the river, secure some cold beer, and watch the world go by....
Just past Mengla is the Chinese/Burma border... A few KM's up this road is the Yunnan province town of Daluo. (I haven't been to Yunnan, but I have seen it from a hill top in Burma...)
Stop by the Buffalo market, and watch the native kick the tires. (reminds me of a used car lot) Located just outside the city wall on the SW side of town...