The Shan State covers an area of approximately 62,500 sq miles and is located in the north-eastern portion of Burma (Myanmar), bordering China to the north, Laos to the east, and Thailand to the south. It has an average elevation of 2,000 feet above sea level and is covered with dense evergreen forests, streams, rivers and waterfalls. Its capital city is Taunggyi (Tonti in Shan). The Shan State has a current estimated population of 7,000,000 – 8,000,000 people.
The highest points are Mount Loi Laeng (8,777 ft) in Mong Yai, Loi Parng Nao (8,408 ft) in Kentung and Loi Tzang (8,129 ft) in Mong Kung township.
The Salween (“Nam Khong”) River is the principal river of the Shan State. Its source is in the Tibetan Himalayas and it flows south through China, entering the Shan State and dividing it into two parts. The Mekong (“Nam Mae Khawng”) River serves as the boundary between Laos and the Shan State for approximately 120 miles. Many rapids and waterfalls can be found throughout the Shan State.
The inland lake of Inle (“Nawng Hai Ya” in Shan) 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.
The Shan State has a cool, dry season from November to January, a hot season or summer from February to April, and a hot, rainy season from May to October. Annual rainfall averages between 40-60 inches. Flash floods of rivers and streams occur during the rainy season causing landslides and flooding in the lowlands.