Eastearn Shan State, Keng Tung and Tatchileik
Keng Tung is located 100 miles from Thailand in the Eastern part of Shan State; the small city is around 80 000 people; Keng Tung is one of main city from The Golden Triangle to take place between Thailand, Myanmar and Lao. The Shan people have their own language and a cultural heritage close to the Thai culture. The city was opened to foreigners in 1993 with a special permit and it is now easier to visit the region without any prior authorization; however the region of Mong La at the Chinese border remains close.
Keng Tung is surrounding by beautiful mountains and landscapes and is famous for the different tribes that still live in the mountains areas. The region is to be discovering by treks around the surrounding areas of Keng Tung where you will see different minorities Arkha, Leng, Shan and Palaung. The Leng are animists, the Shan Buddhists and the Arkha mostly Christian; you will cross villages where the 3 minorities are sometimes represented within a same village. When visiting Keng Tung, it is worth to stay at least 3 nights, so you can enjoy full days of trekking, the first day in the villages of Pin Tauk, and the second day in the villages of Ho Kyin. You will experience breathtaking sceneries during the trek to take from 3 hours in Pin Tauk and 5 hours in Ho Kyinn. You will meet with different tribe people, see the beautiful paddy fields and farming activities during the trek. Both treks require taking the car and driving around 45 minutes to 1H outside of Keng Tung. Keng Tung is also well known for its Hot Water Springs and it is highly suggested to end up one of your treks taking a hot water bath to relax your muscles in one of the water house.
When planning an excursion to Keng Tung, it is possible to cross the border in Tatchilek and continue to Thailand so there is no need to return to Yangon. The road trip from Keng Tung to Tatchilek (100 miles / 3H30) is a real experience with amazing hill sceneries. A permit need to be applied on the travel day taking 10 to 15 minutes to Keng Tung immigration police; once in Tatchilek, the process to cross the two check points, Myanmar and Thai gates is an easy process taking not more than 20 minutes between Tatchilek and Mae Sai, depending of the traffic; Saturdays and Sundays can be very busy. Your local guide can even cross the border with you and assist you with the formalities and to meet your Thai guide or send you to Mae Sai bus station. If you are looking to discover a location out of the beaten paths in Myanmar and you like trekking, the nature and observe the diversity of the ethnic minorities in Myanmar, you will love to explore the region ; Keng Tung, is a real voyage inside your trip, authentic, and full of charm with unspoiled nature; you will learn about the Shan presence in Myanmar and all related sub minorities and you will tremendously enjoy sceneries that you will not have seen in other parts of your Myanmar trip.
The winter season is the most recommended visiting Keng Tung from October to February, but raining season with beautiful green countryside can be also recommended.
Accommodation in Keng Tung
Hotels in Keng Tung are very few and most of them are guesthouses. The Amazing Ken Tung hotel, is probably the most comfortable address where to stay the hotel offer simple but spacious rooms, with air conditioning, hotel water, wifi access; the hotel is surrounding by gardens, has a swimming pool and it is conveniently located downtown.
Access to Keng Tung
Keng Tung is accessible by flight (the road between Taunggyi and Keng Tung is not allowed to take by foreigners) from Yangon, Heho or Mandalay; Air KBZ, Myanmar National Airlines and Mann Yadanarpon have regular flights but not daily. From land border with Thailand through Mae Sai and Tatchileik is another alternative to reach Keng Tung by road.