Hsipaw is an ancient Shan town, the local capital of a Shan principality of the same name which according to its legendary history goes back to year 58 B.C. It is said to have been founded by Sao Hkun Hkam Saw, the fourth son of the Sawbwa (Saohpa) of Mong Mao named Sao Hkun Lai. The Myanmar (Burma) people pronounce the name as Thibaw and the last king of Myanmar, King Thibaw (1875-85 AD) got his name from this town. Hispaw has a large local market in the center of the town, with cinemas, small guest houses and restaurants near the bus stands. The old wooden traditional Haw, Palace of the Sawbwa is at the northern end of the town and the main pagoda, the Maha Myatmuni Phaya is right at the southern end. The roads are parallel to the Namtu or Dokhtawaddy River with its clear, cool waters against a backdrop of hill and mountains.