Geographical Features:

Sao Sur Khan Fa
Map of Shan State


The Shan States is situated in the north-eastern part of Burma, bordering the People's Republic of China on the North and East, the Lao People's Democratic Republic on the East, the Kingdom of Thailand on South and East, the Karenni state on the South and the Union of Burma (Myanmar) on the west. It is positioned at Latitude North 19 degrees 20 minutes and South 24 degrees 9 minutes and between Longitude East 96 degrees 13 minutes and West 101 degrees 9 minutes.


The Shan State is a high plateau with an elevation of 5,000-6,000 feet above sea level. It is covered with dense evergreen forests, pine, streams, rivers and waterfalls making the country a natural and beautiful land. It lies at an average of 3,000 to 4,000 feet above sea level and the highest point is Mount Loilaeng (8,777 ft ) in Mong Yai, Loi Parng Nao (8,408 ft ) in Kentung, Loi tzang (8,129 ft) in Mong Kung township.>

    The Salween ( Nam Khong in Shan) River is the principal river of the Shan State. It has its source in the Tibetan Himalayas and flows southwards through China and enters the Shan State, dividing it into two parts, then passes the Karenni state, Karen State and Mon State finally joining the Indian Ocean at the Gulf of Martaban near the town of Moulmein. Many tributaries of the Salween, such as the Nam Taeng, Nam Parng and Nam Nim all enter the Salween near the Town of Kun Hing (Kun Haeng: thousand islets) where many islets by the hundreds are formed. In the east there are the Nam Ma, Nam Kha and Nam Sim which flow into the Salween. The Mekong ( Nam Khawng in Shan) serves as the boundary between Laos and the Shan State for a length of 120 miles, then flows through Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam into the Gulf of Thailand.

Nam Loei and Nam Kok, which flows through Kengtung, all join the Mekong. Nam Mao (Shweli in Burnese) and the Nam Tu in the north flow into the Irrawaddy. The Nam Zawgyi, Nam Tamphat and Nam Bilu in the south are all famous by their capacities as natural waterways. Because these rivers flow through deep valleys of mountain ranges, many rapids and waterfalls can be found throughout the Shan State. Joung-ang, the biggest waterfall on the Nam Taeng can be found near the town of Keng Tawng in Mong Nai Twnship.
    The second largest one is Om-pu on the Nam Parng River in the Shan State of Monghsu. Among Shan State's numerous waterfalls, the only one so far used for hydroelectric power is the Marnsarm Falls on the Nam Yao River in Hsipaw Twnship. Marnsarm Falls generates enough power for the surrounding towns and the Bawdwin Mines at Panghai, Namtu Township. Waterfalls large and small can be found on most of the rivers.
    The inland lake of Inlay (Nong Hai Ya in Shan)14 miles long and 7 miles wide, is noted for the floating villages and floating vegetable gardens, silk-weaving and fantastic leg-rowers. Hot and cold underground springs are countless and some have been developed as rest and recreation places. Primitive hard rocks that contain numerous kinds of mineral ores waiting for discovery and development form the Shan Plateau and its southern continuation into the Tenasserim.

Map references: Southeast Asia
Capital: Taunggyi (Tonti in Shan)

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