During World War II it was a stop on the Burma Road. Today it is a mercantile town that is mostly avoided by tourists except the few who make it across from China.
The Burmese part of the Burma Road is short (Ruili border to Lashio) and can be traversed only one way (Ruili to Lashio) and only under escort.
You can get there from Hipsaw with the train which departe (only one train x day 700 kyats x person ordinary class double for upper class) at 3.30-5.30 pm, bare in mind that the train supposed to arrive in Lashio at 7.30 or so but you will arrive at least at 10pm in a border town where none speaks English far from the town. Book your hotel before your arrival! However the trip is amazing, the train stops several times in the middle of the forest and there is a train life which is amazing.
Air. You can fly to/from Mandalay or to/from Tachilek. Lashio airport is a military one! It is far to be an airport in a common thinking way. It is just a concrete small building with a few wood benchs in a middle of nowhere. No computer or internet or screen of departures or English signs or even a phone in the all 'airport' and a few barracks sell some drinks and food. Someone will shout the name of the company you are flying with. Go there with your tickets printed or an email of your booking and arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before!!! ( our fight departured 25 min earlier)
Not Roos many things to be seen in Lashio:
- A pagoda on the top of the hill which supposed to be older then 2000 years? However it looks like a spot for young people and gives you opportunity to overview the area around.
- Morning market: strongly recommended! You will find people from all the villages and hilltribes around dressed typically selling foods or handicrafts. Plus you will see Indian, Burmese and Chinese people all around. You will be the only western on all the town.
It will be not a easy task seeing that all menu are in 2-3 languages but not even one in English however people will help out to order your food.
Update Feb. 2013 Nice Double Room with Bathroom, no breakfast, with not working wifi, TV and AC. 35 USD. They change prices like other people their underwear. 1 Hour before the Double Room was 25 USD and Triple for 35 USD. The staff was nice. Regulary power blackouts included. New Wifi password is tda41010.
Update Feb. 2013
The Palace hotel: 2km from the town 4km from the train station. A big building which is almost abandoned, a lot of dust everywhere, not used Spa (staff room), breakfast is almost ridiculous (only egg). 30-50$ x night. Tv, wi-fi (ok), hot shower.
The Royal Hotel: 25$ x night the cheapest option in Lashio just close to the market. No other info on my hand.