Kengtung - the Golden Triangle


Isolated to the east of Shan State, Kengtung (or KyaingTong) is the historic center of Khün culture and the most beautiful city in the region. The traveler will enjoy visiting its temples, its central market, its water buffalo market, which attract the region tribes.

Located in the east of Shan state, Kengtung (or Kyaingtong) also bears the name Golden Triangle... the ancient platform straddling Burma, Laos and Thailand where opium was grown and traded with gold. Kengtung was the capital! The poppy flower still grows in the region. However, there is little to see about this and it is not possible since some areas are closed to foreigners.

No poppies but...

The region is worth the detour despite everything, and for good reason: the mountains in this region are a splendid spectacle of nature for their natural setting and the extraordinary relief. It is possible to hike on marked paths. You can visit remote ethnic villages and discover their ways of life. Thus, you can meet silver Palaung, named after the silver belts they wear or Lahu Shi women wearing large collars made of vegetable fibers; see the houses of the Enn: large houses on stilts perched on the mountainside. The Enn, men and women, have been brushing their teeth since they were 13 with a mixture of betel. Finally, the Ahka: the wives wear very heavy silver headdresses that they take off only when washing themselves and even wear them to sleep!


The weather conditions being sometimes very hard, it is important to inquire beforehand in order to avoid any incident. Heavy rain in rainy season may causes flooding and landslides.


Kengtung is located in the centre of a wide valley, and a road, in good condition, in the east and west lead to outlying villages, there are also paved roads heading northeast after the airport to Mongla (Monglar) and the Chinese border. Also, the south road leads to Tachileik and the Thai border. Many of the city's new buildings, as well as other hotels, are located slightly outside the city along the airport road.

Most of the city can be easily visited on foot, by tuk-tuk and motorcycle taxis which are abundant for more remote destinations. Buses tend to stop outside their respective stops, most of which are also located relatively close to the market. Essential landmark for travelers are: the remains of an old wall of irregular shape, which are visible in some places and whose city did originally have 12 gates. The gate near the Princess Hotel is the best preserved today.


Kengtung currently has electricity from 6pm to 8pm, although this varies and it is not always very reliable. Hotels and large restaurants will have their own generators.


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