Lashio is the capital of the northern Shan State where the demography is primarily made up of Shan and Chinese people since it has a border with the Yunan province of China. The famous Burma Road was built by the British before the Second World War to access the Ledo Road that leads straight into the Yunnan province. The best part of travelling to Lashio is probably the spectaculars scenic views of the Shan plateau that can be seen while traveling through a winding road, crossing hilly regions and creeks alike. Crossing over historic Gokehtaik viaduct(sort of bridge) is an unforgettable experience as the bridge looks down into a gorge from 100 meters up on an open steel bridge 700 meters long. There is a hot spring near Lashio where local pilgrims go for both purification of the mind and body as they believe that the hot spring has curative properties.
Hsipaw is an ancient Shan town which according to its legend dates back to 58 B.C. It is said to have been founded by Sao Hkun Hkam Saw, the fourth son of the Sawbwa (title given to the hereditary rulers of Shan State) of Mong Mao named Sao Hkun Lai.
The Burmese pronounce the name as Thibaw and the last king of Myanmar, King Thibaw (1875-85 AD), got his name from this town. The traditional wooden Haw (Palace of the Sawbwa) was destroyed due bombing raids in the Second World War; however, today it is still possible to visit the modern Haw that was built during colonial times by Sawbwa Sao Ohn Kya (ruler of Hsipaw from 1928 to 1938). The building is two stories tall and looks like an English mansion with bay windows and wide covered verandas. The upper veranda is supported by five pillars and the royal family would sit out here and enjoy the beautiful scenery consisting of distant hills and the nearby winding Namtu River (also known as the Myitnge or Dokhtawaddy in its lower reaches before it joins the main Ayeyawady at Innwa-Ava). Hispaw has a large local market in the center of the town. The city also has cinemas, small guest houses and restaurants which attracts both locals and foreigners. The Haw is situated at the northern end of the town and the main pagoda in Hsipaw called the Maha Myatmuni Phaya is situated at the southern end. Roads in Hsipaw are, more or less, parallel to the Namtu or Dokhtawaddy River and has a view of hills and mountains in the backdrop.
A small town on the banks of the Shweli River is the main border gateway between Myanmar and Yunnan Province (China). The town is 190km from Lashio and is a bustling trading center for all things Chinese from electronics to clothing.
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