Set around an attractive lake, Kyaingtong (က်ဴိင္းတုံ), also known as Kengtung, is one of the most pleasant towns in Myanmar. In culture and appearance Kyaingtong feels closer to the hill towns of northern Thailand than other cities in Shan State. And whereas most of Shan State is dominated by the Tai Lü and Tai Nuea peoples, Kyaingtong was once the capital of a Tai Khün kingdom and the majority of its residents still belong to that ethnic group.
Kyaingtong was long caught in the crossfire between various ethnic armies, rival drug lords and the Myanmar military, but the area is now peaceful. The rugged terrain of eastern Shan State contributes to a palpable sense of isolation: Kyaingtong is an outpost of development amid largely deforested mountains that are home to Wa, Akha, Palaung and Lahu villages where little has changed in centuries. Unsurprisingly, hill treks are a major attraction here.