Photo: Another day at the office.

Piang Luang

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Piang Luang is the sort of town, now rare in Thailand, where most of the women still wear sarongs, many of the kids wave at passing foreigners and local guys will give you a thumbs up or nod.

Photo of Piang Luang

Unlike Wiang Haeng, which is a collection of buildings along the highway, Piang Luang is almost picturesque. Built on a ridge, its streets wind up and down and you’ll see some traditional teak buildings as well as Chinese houses with walled courtyards. There’s a Shan wat as you enter town, a 24-hour convenience store and several cafes and noodle stalls.

Piang Luang began life as tiny frontier trading post before becoming established as the headquarters of General Mo Heng’s Shan United Revolution Army in the late 1960s. Most residents today are descendants and families of the Shan soldiers, though the village today has an eclectic mix, with numerous Kuomintang having moved into the area as well as more recent Shan refugees, while Lisu and Palaung villagers live in the surrounding hills.

There are both Yunnanese and Shan offerings when it comes to eating, and a couple of good places to stay, so this makes a cuter, quirkier alternative to Wiang Haeng if you’re up this way. Wat Fa Wiang In and the border at Lak Taeng are just four kilometres up the road. This is an interesting and definitely off the beaten track destination and a chance to stay in a former rebel army base.

As of September 2015, plans seem to be afoot to re-open the Lak Taeng border crossing for trade and tourism, with the Burmese government upgrading the road from the border to Taunggyi, capital of southern Shan State. Taunggyi is then a short drive along good roads to Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake) but also links to the main Yangon-Nyapidaw-Mandalay highway near Thazi. This will certainly open up some interesting overland routes, such as Chiang Mai to Mandalay, and provide easy access from north Thailand to Inle Lake. It’ll definitely put Wiang Haeng on the map too!

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Location map for Piang Luang

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Wiang Haeng.
 Read up on where to eat on Wiang Haeng.
 Check out our listings of other things to do in and around Wiang Haeng.
 Read up on how to get to Wiang Haeng, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Wiang Haeng? Please read this.
 Browse tours in Thailand with Tourradar.

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