Earth : Asia : Southeast Asia : Myanmar : Eastern Myanmar : Kyaukme
Kyaukme or Kyauk Me is a surprisingly bustling small town in Shan State in Eastern Myanmar. It's the market town of choice for the surrounding area, and now also features a Chinese quarter almost as big as the rest of the town itself, with the overwhelming majority of the Chinese immigrants engaged in the production of bamboo paper for the Chinese market.
The Mandalay - Lashio train stops at Kyauk Me. Arriving around 2pm in the afternoon to Lashio and 10.30am to Mandalay. There are daily buses to Mandalay leaving at 5.30am from the bus station 3500-4000kyat, 3 buses head to Hsipaw from around 7am-2pm 1000 kyat. It is possible to catch buses in the afternoon coming from Hsipaw and Lashio to Mandalay or Yangon from the main road around 1 mile from the town center. You will need to flag the bus down, many do not actually go into Mandalay but only pass it on the way to Yangon.
For getting around the town, there are some motorbike taxis.
The town itself is not necessarily that interesting, but the surrounding Palaung villages in the hills are sublime and a great destination for trekking. Several Palaung/Shan and Bamar guides offer trekking and/or motorbike tours of the surrounding area, but it's all very small-scale. A local guide who speaks Palaung and/or Shan is preferable, as real interaction with the locals is then possible.
There are some bamboo/led paper workshops that are interesting. Also there is an English School that is looking for foreigners to drop in and help with lessons. You will likely be approached if arriving by train.
Even Kyauk Me now has internet. There are a few internet cafes around town with cheap but excruciatingly slow connections.