KENG TUNG

THE HILL TRIBES OF EASTERN MYANMAR

Kengtung(Kyaingtong), the second biggest city in Shan State, is the capital of the Golden Triangle: close to Laos, Thai, and China, one of the most attractive towns in Myanmar. An interesting town with various cultural influences, particularly Burmese and Thai. Buddhist temples in town are quite different from those you will see in other parts of Myanmar. While Kengtung itself is very interesting, the real interesting is visiting a variety of authentic hill tribes. We can say, it is one of the few places left in Asia, where it is possible to see hill tribes wearing their traditional clothes and embracing their tribal culture.

Akhu women with a long bamboo pipe
Akhu women with a long bamboo pipe

The Kengtung area is very special particularly for travelers who love the culture, photography, and textile where almost every home of tribes have their own handloom to make their own clothes.

Palaung women weaving
Palaung Women Backstrap weaving

The villages around Kengtung are easy to access, which is great to do a day return trip. You must come back to Kengtung City as it is not allowed to spend the night in the villages. Some hill tribes that live in the area are Akhu tribe whose women are famous for smoking long bamboo pipes, the Ann tribe whose women paint their teeth black, the Akha tribe whose women garments and headdresses are really colorful and unique and the Palung tribe where you’ll see the eldest women wearing their black and red traditional attire fastened with huge silver belts.

Ann tribe women
Smiley Ann tribe women

Most of the tribes in the area hold on to some traditions of their animist beliefs.

Akha tribe weaving
Akha weaving at her home
food buffalo skin
strange food buffalo skin

Though the highlights of Kengtung area is hill tribes, Kengtung Market is also a must place to visit and considered to be one of the best markets to explore. Endless colorful stands, unfamiliar food, insects, meat and veggies, crazily lively and fascinating huge market! Food lovers? It’s the best place to explore around! Try Shan Noodles in Kengtung, you will find an original taste of Shan state!