Travel to the east of Mandalay and you will reach Shan State. Shan State is a very large state in Myanmar, the largest actually. It is quite a hilly state with many beautiful places to visit. Great River Thanlwin (Salween) is flowing in the east part of Shan State, dividing it into east and west part.
Not all areas of Shan State are currently open for tourism. The following is a list of tourist destinations in Shan State.
- Nothern Shan State – Nothern Shan State is not a popular tourist destination in Myanmar, except for May Myo (Pyinoolwin, Pyin Oo Lwin or Pyin U Lwin) which actually is in Mandalay Division. However, Maymyo is an entrance to Northern Shan State region. From Myamyo, you can reach towns in Nothern Shan State such as Kyaukme, Hsipaw, Namhsan and Lashio.
- Southern Shan State – a number of popular tourist destinations are in Southern Shan State. Most notable of all is the Inle Lake where Inthas (inhabitants of Inle Lake) row boats with their feet. Near by tourist attractions and destinations include Nyaungshwe and Taunggyi. Other popular destinations such as Kalaw, Aungban and Pindaya are also not far away.
- Source: Photo taken by Ralf-André Lettau
- Eastern Shan State – a relatively unknown destination in Shan State. Kengtun (Kyaingtong) is the capital of this region. Another place to visit is Tachileik on the border with Thailand, opposite the Thai border town of Mae Sai.
There are other towns in Shan State where foreign tourists can travel freely without permission but they are not suitable for foreigners to stay overnight due to lack of decent accommodation.
Many other areas in Shan State are off limit to foreign tourists due to various reasons (rebels, restricted mining areas, etc).