Kyaing Tong is a laid-back and quiet town with an attention-grabbing collection of monasteries and temples. Located in the far east of Shan State, this town is quite isolated from the rest of the country, but still has a stunning mountain backdrop and great to explore on the Myanmar local tour package.
The Kyaing Tong area has a rich diversity with plenty of Thai and Chinese influences which has lead to this region having multiple spellings, such as Kengtong, Cheingtung, Chiang Tung, and Keng Tung. The atmospheric streets make it possible to get a perfect view of the colonial architect.
Some of major attractions in the local area include Thit Ta Bin Taung (or One Tree Hill) which is the location of a solitary and large old tree that gives stunning views of the surrounding area, including the sunset. Plus, there is the picturesque Naung Tong lake with the nearby standing Buddha. Kyaing Tong also has a traditional lacquer ware works and central market to visit.
Travelling further out of town makes it possible to visit the sights in the surrounding area, such as Lahu, Akha, Shan and Wa tribal villages. Most of the villages have stunning surroundings and within a relatively short distance from Kyaing Tong. Other attractions include the hot springs that are within a distance of about 6 km and easily reached by taxi or motorbike.
Tourists planning to visit the local Kyaing Tong region need to be granted a special travel permit. This is easily organized by getting in touch with an authorized travel agency. A fully organized Myanmar travel package might make it easy to explore these parts of the country.
The best time to travel to Kyaing Tong on the Myanmar tours and holidays and experience a trekking adventure to see the fantastic scenery and hill tribes is from November to June.
How to get there
Kyaing Tong has a useful domestic airport for ease in reaching this part of Myanmar. Most of the incoming flights come from The Myanmar National Airways with a cost in the region of $165. On arrival at the airport there is a short taxi ride to the centre of town costing about $6.
An alternative route into town is via bus with the journey from Tachileik costing about $8 and one or two buses making this trip on a daily basis.
Once in town, it is relatively easy to get around on foot with most of the attractions within close proximity to each other. Although, for those that prefer a ride, there are plenty of taxis to flag down that cost about $1-2 for most trips in the local area.
Where to stay
Kyaing Tong is a great destination for the traveller interested in adventure. This region isn’t a major tourist place like certain other areas throughout the country. But, there are still a few family-run hotels in Kyaing Tong that can provide a similar level of service compared to hotels found in Mandalay or Yangon.
Most of the local hotels can help with organizing transport or guides which can simplify the process, but it can limit the ability to have control over the services provided.
Plus, there is the change that the appointed Myanmar travel guide won’t have a perfect grasp of the English language, but still useful for communicating with the local tribes and giving reliable local knowledge. By travelling with a local guide, it is significantly easier to get and around the small and large cities.
Eat and drink
A great place to stop and eat is the Cafe Twenty One which is quite chilled-out and friendly. It serves plenty of Western, Chinese, and local dishes. A serving of dim sum costs less than a dollar while the mains are about $2. Plus, this place is great to rest and get a smoothie or coffee.
The Lod Htin Lu Restaurant is a perfect place to experience the authentic Chinese food with main dishes costing in the region of $2-$3.
A very popular place for the tourist, the Golden Banyan Restaurant has a great menu of Chinese-style food and has a nice outside setting with seating under a massive banyan tree. The costs of the mains in this restaurant are about $3.
The major market in the local area is Myo Ma Zay which is a perfect place to visit to buy the latest fresh food and household items that are offered by the hill tribe people. Some of the most popular items in the market include various kinds of rice, bamboo baskets, beautiful outfits, head dresses, ethnic textile, prayer flags, and spices and herbs.
The Myo Ma Zay market is located downtown and starts to get busy from the early morning, which is the best time to visit. The market is great for buying food and traditional items created by the local hill-tribe people that can make great gifts or souvenirs for friends or family.
A visit to the U Mu Ling Ta store makes it possible to admire the unique lacquerware that consists of the black Kyaingtong style to the multi-coloured Bagan style. The cost of these items starts at $10 and many items are made on-site while waiting.
Things to see and do
The most prominent activity in the local Kyaing Tong region is trekking which is easily organized by connecting with a local guide. Most guesthouse and hotels in the area can help with this. A trekking experience through the local mountainous scenery can be adventurous and thrilling, but it is important to respect the cultures of the hill tribes that are passed on the tour trail.
A visit to the Cultural Museum on the Myanmar travel tour gives the opportunity to admire the displays of ethnic minority implements and clothing. The entrance fee is in the region of $2.
The Buddhist temple Wat In is located close to Airport Rd and houses a very impressive collection of gilded wooden Buddha images that range in positions, sizes and shapes.
Yat Taw Mu is a further Buddhist temple in the local area and stands at a height of 60-ft and one of the more distinct landmarks in Kyaing Tong.