Kengtung, hidden in the thick bush and concealing mountain valleys of Shan State, lies close to the Thai border and forms part of the Golden Triangle, a picturesque region of green rice paddies and colourful hill tribes that stretches into Laos and northern Thailand.
Only recently opened up to foreigners, the quiet town has retained many of the traditions that make this part of the country so special.
Men work the fields in traditional dress and hill tribe villagers bring goods to sell at the early morning markets. Visitors are made welcome and often invited to share tea.
Architecturally too, Kengtung is a veritable treasure trove, offering a grand mix of old colonial mansions, traditional Shan houses and Buddhist temples staring at one another from either side of the road.
The town is also a great place from which to explore the surrounding hill tribe villages; trekking between Wa, Shan, Akha and Lahu settlements is a wonderful way to get a genuine insight into Burmese tribal customs; Kengtung and the surrounding villages offer a rare glimpse into the past and the largely unchanged customs of the tribes people living amongst this beautiful countryside.
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