SHAN STATE

Myanmar’s Shan State is steeped in history and lore.

To read about my visit to Shan State, visit the blog here:

Peaceful and Inspiring Pindaya Cave

Out and About on Inle Lake: Part 1

Inle Lake: Hand-Rolled Smoke, Blacksmiths on the Water and More

Inle Lake Life: Bamboo, Ancient Pagodas and Beauty on the Water

For all my high-resolution pictures from Shan State: Click Here

Entrance Fee: There is no entrance fee outside of travel expense to Shan State

Visiting Hours: Since Shan State doesn’t have very many ‘major’ cities, most businesses open around 8:30am and close around 11:00pm

Location: Northeastern Myanmar bordering Thailand, Laos and China

Shan State

 

Getting There:

By Air:

You can fly into Heho Airport for quick access to Inle Lake, Kalaw and Pindaya. Flights usually run around $100 USD from Yangon.

By Bus:

Buses run from all major cities to all parts of Shan State. Make sure to check ahead of time which areas you’ll be traveling through as certain parts of Shan State are considered dangerous and are home to armed ethnic groups.

Shan State

To Do:

Shan State is Myanmar’s largest state and measures a whopping 155,813 km² so as you can imagine, there’s a lot to do. As a point of reference, Shan State measures larger than England and Wales combined!

Most travelers head to several main spots, such as the incredible Inle Lake, the 9,000-plus Buddha Image-strong Pindaya Cave, the capital city of Taunggyi, the Gokteik Viaduct and Kalaw. If you’re in to trekking, 3 and 4 day trips from Kalaw up in the mountains down to Inle Lake is a popular one.  Villages like Lashio, Nyaung Shwe, Hsipaw, Pindaya and Nawnghkio make for amazing visits as well.

Shan State
Pindaya Cave has over 9,000 Buddha Statues!
Shan State
Fishermen at Inle Lake, Shan State, Myanmar

Shan State is commonly broken up into three areas: Northern Shan, Southern Shan and Eastern Shan. Northern Shan features a strong Chinese influence due to the border with Yunan Province and fighting between the Myanmar government and rebel groups has made the area a bit more dangerous to travelers. Southern Shan features the powerful Pindaya Cave, a natural cave with a legend steeped in local history and over 9,000+ golden Buddha Images. Inle Lake is considered one of the most unique and incredible places on Earth. It’s absolutely a must-see when visiting Myanmar. Don’t forget to check out Taunggyi either, Shan’s capital city and host to many festivals. Eastern Shan, meanwhile, features a wide-open border region with Thailand and China and small villages and markets with a varied Southeast Asian vibe make a great getaway from the usual trip.

Shan State
Old-school agriculture
Shan State
Shan State is home to many different ethnic gorups

History:

Shan State borders China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south and features five administrative divisions of Myanmar in the west. As the largest of the 14 administrative divisions by land area in Myanmar, Shan State covers almost a quarter of the total area of Myanmar! The state gets its name from the Shan people, one of several ethnic groups that inhabit the area. Shan State is largely rural, with only three cities of significant size: Lashio, Kengtung and the capital Taunggyi. Taunggyi is 150.7 km northeast of the nation’s capital Naypyitaw.

Shan State has long been home to many different ethnic groups. These include the Shan, Bamar, Han-Chinese, Wa, Lisu, Danu, Intha, Lahu, Ta’ang, Pa-O, Taungyo, Asian Indians, Gurkha and more. Some of these peoples have their own armed factions and regularly engage in conflict with the Myanmar military. Chinese influence especially in the North has created some additional tension, however a tentative ceasefire was signed several years ago which keeps the area rather calm. Some areas are still forbidden for travelers to go so always check before heading off the beaten path.

For all my high-resolution pictures from Shan State: Click Here

Shan State

Shan State
Shan sunflower fields

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State
Local markets are a must-visit in Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State
You can get everything at the local market, including haircuts

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

Shan State

 

Resources:

Shan State Wiki

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