456 km from Taunggyi, the capital city of Shan State is a town called Kyaing Tong. The inhabitants of Kyaing Tong belong to ethnic tribes such as Wa, Shan, Akha and Lahu. Acknowledged as the most scenic town in Shan State, Kyaing Tong has been endowed with a large number of temples, stately colonial buildings and lakes. The town was built around a lake and is known as the “Walled City of Tung”. Legend has it that there once lived a powerful magician named “Tungkalasi” who used his magical powers to drain a lake of near-sea proportions, after which the city was built around it. Visitors can still see the original city walls and gates to this day.
Kyaing Tong is nestled in the valley formed by the high misty mountains of the Shan Plateau and the Mekong and the Thanlwin rivers. A mixed race of people reside here, namely tribes such as Gon Shan, the Akhas, the Lisu, the Wa and the white and black Lahu.
In all, 45 Sawbwas are said to have ruled here from 1243 A.D, until the last of the Sawbwa’s (the Chieftain) reign. Although there are many ethnic majorities and minorities living in this region with divergent religious beliefs, Buddhism remains the major religion of this area.
In its hey days, Kyaing Tong is reputed to have been a very powerful city. This is where the famous Palin Gate lies. Inhabitants of this place believe that one Sawbwa when ruling Kyaing Tong could not visit Dat San Lwe Pagoda because of a curse on them.