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Previously closed to outside visitors, Loikaw is one of the hidden gems of the country and marks the point where the Dawna Range, mighty Salween River and Shan Hills converge. It is the capital of the Kayah State, home to over a dozen ethnic minority tribes whose cultures are very much intact and thriving. The Kayah (Karenni) ethnic group forms the majority, and the territory was named for the bright crimson head wraps and shawls of the Kayinni, or “Red Kayin” people. The town bursts with colour as many ethnic minority groups proudly wear their traditional dress. Another ethnic group, the Padaung people, are known for the circles of thinly pounded brass necklaces used to elongate the necks of the women, though the practice has become less standard in the younger generations. Loikaw also provides ample opportunity to learn about local cottage industries and crafts making. The surrounding areas are perfect for treks and unique explorations in the future when the region opens further.