Increasing numbers of foreigners are finding their way to delightful Hsipaw (သီေပါ; pronounced ‘see-paw’ or ‘tee-bor’), drawn by the possibilities of easily arranged hill treks that are more authentic than those around Kalaw or anywhere in northern Thailand. Many people, though, find the town's laid-back vibe and intriguing history as a Shan royal city as much of an attraction and spend far longer here than they intended. With just enough tourist infrastructure to be convenient, Hsipaw remains a completely genuine northern Shan State town. Be sure to check it out before this changes.
There are rebel ethnic armies operating in some areas around Hsipaw, so certain destinations, such as Namhsan, are now off limits to foreigners. Trekking guides are very attuned to the local situation and make sure to steer foreigners well away from the conflict zones.