The trickle of foreigners who make it to Hsipaw (‘see-paw’ or ‘tee-bor’), mostly arrive for hill-tribe treks that are easy to organise and handily short yet ‘unspoilt’ in a way you’ll rarely find around Kalaw or anywhere in northern Thailand. Hsipaw itself is smaller yet more historic than Lashio or Kyaukme. It has just enough tourist infrastructure to be convenient yet it still feels thoroughly genuine. Though architectural remnants are fairly limited, this was once a Shan royal city. Local historians claim that 19th-century prince Sao So Chae was knighted by Queen Victoria while the last sawba (Shan prince), Sao Kya Seng, became the tragic hero of a book by his Austrian wife.