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.
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