Kengtung (Cheingtung, Chiang Tung, Kengtong, Kyaingtong) is a town in Shan State, Eastern Myanmar.
Isolated from the rest of Myanmar, Kengtung is a hotspot of cultural diversity. Close to the Thai and Chinese borders, Kengtung has been at a crossroads in terms of Southeast Asian trade for a very long time.
Being in the heart of the opium-growing Golden Triangle, Kengtung was until recently off-limits for foreigners. The ceasefire between the rebels and government has opened up the town and valley to the rest of world.
The only way to get to Kengtung from Myanmar's major cities is by flying. However, it is accessible by road from the Thai border.
By bus or taxi
The best way is by bus from Tachilek (350 Thai baht), or shared taxi from Tachilek (450 baht/person, 4 people).
The town itself is walkable. Motortaxis are 500 kyat.
Hill-tribe trekking can be arranged through your guesthouse or through an independent guide. When trekking, don't give children sweets, unless you are prepared to provide toothbrushes as well.
- 1 Maha Myat Muni Pagoda (on the roundabout). This Buddhist temple is distinct from other Burmese temples with its Thai and Chinese influences. The artistic style has parallels to what you would see in Chiang Rung, Chiang Rai.
- Wat Jom Kai. This golden pagoda was built in the 13th century by the Shan.
- Naung Tung Lake. The principal body of water for the town. You can go and walk around the lake while taking in the stunning views of the hill backdrop behind it. The lake is stagnant like a pond but you may feel a nice breeze coming from the lake.
- 1 Gard Luang Market. The hill tribes around the valley come down to buy and sell various products. They are dressed in their typically colourful garb.
Shan khow soi-shan noodle soup is the staple of the region. Otherwise, try some local Burmese curry restaurants.
- Lod Htin Lu. Daily 10AM-8PM. Chinese restaurant with decent noodle options. The multilingual menu is written in Chinese and English.
- Colina Cafe & Bistro, Loi Mwe Road. Western and Asian fast food, coffee, juice and smoothies.
- 1 Cafe 21, 19, Zaydan Loang street (200m from Mahamyatmumni pagoda, 50m after Golden World Hotel), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 7am-10pm. Modern cafe restaurant, featuring both Western and Asian food, with much variety, such as salads, burgers, pizzas, curry... Wifi available. 3 different rooms including one with AC. Garden. Staff can speak English.
Rice whisky is cheap and potent. A Chinese beer costs around 800 kyat.
- Star Rain Pub, Mong Lah Rd. Gets lively Thai crowds.
- Harry's Trekking House (Harry's Guesthouse). Comfortable double beds and hot showers for a reasonable price.
- Hotel Khemarattha, ☏ . The facilities aren't perfect, in particular getting consistent hot water for the showers will be an issue, but the staff are very friendly and helpful.
- Amazing Kengtong Resort, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. The hotel has become rundown but is still one of the best in town. The rooms are quite spacious. The beds are very hard so the hotel may not be suitable depending on your back. The restaurant serves traditional Myanmarese, Chinese, Thai, Western and international dishes.
- Princess Hotel. A cheap and budget option. The rooms can be a hit and miss. Some of them are clean and quiet while others are noisy.
- 1 Golden World Hotel (โรงแรมโกลเด้นท์เวิร์ลเชียงตุง), 26, Zay Dan Loang street (150 m from Mahamuni Buddha Pagoda AKA Maha Myat Muni Pagoda), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-out: 12PM noon. Several kinds of rooms offering from 1 to 3 beds, for up to 4 people, TV, fan, AC. Free breakfast 6:30AM-8:30AM with a different offer everyday. Free WiFi (don't hesitate to ask for a room close enough to the modems). Friendly staff who can communicate in English, and is happy to help, directly providing good information or happy to make a call for some extra services you may need. Free parking (including for cars). $30-40 for standard rooms, $50 fur a superior room, $60-80 for family rooms.