Kengtung Myanmar – Top Picks for Attractions and Things to Do
Kengtung is one of the most remote spots that you can visit in Myanmar and with that in mind you will find a wealth of treasures here waiting to be unearthed, although there is not yet a strong tourist infrastructure.
One of the main reasons to come to Kengtung is to go out into the neighbouring villages and learn about the lives of some of the less well known tribes who live in the area, but if you want to stay in Kengtung proper then you will still find a number of enjoyable attractions that can be explored over a day or two.
One of the main attractions in town is the Standing Buddha which stands close to the Naun Tong Lake. The Buddha is some 60 feet high and stands on a hill overlooking the rest of Kengtung.
One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill is the other major landmark in Kengtung and is located to the west of the town. If you make the journey to the hill you will find a large tree that stands alone and is said to be some 250 years old. The tree in itself is not particularly notable although some will find its large twisting branches somewhat mesmerizing and it is even more interesting as it is the only tree on this particular hill. A trip here affords you gorgeous views over the town and if you can then try to come here at sunset to enjoy the flame coloured sky.
If you want to check out the local food and shopping scene then head to the main market which is a splendid sight in Kengtung. As the city is something of a melting-pot you will find Shan, Indian, and Chinese residents here selling their wares and tribal groups also come in from the neighbouring villages to shop.
The market sells a wide range of local produce or you will find a few places that sell handicrafts which make great souvenirs. One of the other big highlights of the market is the food and you will find a number of tea shops dotted around which sell delicious snacks like tea leaf salad and barbecued meats. To make the most of the market aim to get there are early as possible in the morning.
Naung Tung Lake
If you want to explore the sights in town a little further then head to Naung Tung Lake which makes a great spot for a walk in the afternoon. Many of the town’s best eateries are located around the lake and this is one of the main social venues in town along with the main market. There are a variety of tea shops around the lake where you can get cold draft beer and take in the views across the water, or you can dine on snacks like fresh fish.
The main reason many people come to Kengtung is to visit the tribal villages that encircle the area. These include Wa, Sha, Lahu, and Akha villages and it is here that you can see how local people live and work. The villages can be a slight oddity as they are genuine local villages that are also now used as a tourist attraction. As such be discreet when you visit and understand that there are some areas that are off limits to foreigners where the villagers are conducting their private lives.
On a trip to a village you can expect to be shown everyday activities such as cooking and some villages have strong handicrafts traditions and will be only too happy to give you a demonstration. It is common for visitors to take photographs but it is considered polite to ask permission first.