Putao, the sprawling Kachin town, is only a few kilometers away from the birthplace of the Ayeyarwaddy River, lifeline of Myanmar. Situated in the north of Myanmar, can reach only by air route. The breathtakingly beautiful confluence 43km north of Myitkyina is where the Maykha and Malikha Rivers meet: Maykha the ‘brother’ running sparkling, shallow and swiftly under sunny skies while Malikha the ‘sister’ flows silent and deep, shaded with rocky cliffs. Both generously give up gold flakes and nuggets all along their banks. Myitkyina also offers the best shopping for the traditional Kachin hand-woven fabrics and bags, treasured all over the country.
It was surrounded with snow peaked mountains and the weather is cold around the year. Flora and Fauna can be seen in the forest around Putao. The suspension bridges are the typical river crossing in this region. People of the Rawan, Lisu, Khamti-Shan, Jingphaw and Kachin are represented in the region. It is the nearest town to the base camp for Climbing Mt. Khakhaborazi (5889 meters), which is the highest mountain in Myanmar and in Southeast Asia.
Myitkyina is situated in 919 km from Yangon. It is the capital on the southern flank of Kachin State. Myitkyina in Myanmar means "near the big river."
Myitkyina is the capital of Kachin State in the far north of the country located 1480 km from Yangon or 780 km from Mandalay. It is just less than 42 km of Myit-Sone, the confluence of two headstreams (MaiKha and MaliKha). It is the northernmost of the river port and rail terminal in Myanmar. The population is a mixture of Kachin, Shan, Bamar people and some Chinese and Indians. The city has a population of about 150,000. Major religions are Christianity and Buddhism, but other religions such as Animism, Hinduism and Islam are also practiced.
Overland trade route to India and China, and the Second World War supply line to China along the Road pass through Myitkyina. The town was strategically important because of the route of the Ledo-Burma Road. Myitkyina can be reached by air from Yangon (via Mandalay) and which take 2½ hour via Mandalay. It can also be reached by train from Mandalay and it will take 26 hour.
Myitkyina is known for its colorful Kachin New Year festival in January called Manaw festival, where all Kachin come together in their full colorful costumes to celebrate the grand occasion with traditional dances, singing, and drinking of traditional rice wines. Manaw Festival held on 15 January annually is one of tourist attraction. Indawgyi Lake and Jade Land is a night stop tour and Waingmaw is a day tour from Myitkyina. 2 or 3 star accommodation are there.
Indawgyi An enchanting lake is the biggest one in Myanmar as well as the third largest in the world with the area of 333sq.km. Boat excursion to Shwe Myitzu pagoda in the middle of the lake and elephant ride, are recommended to experience. As it is also a residence of the world’s rare birds such as Sarus crane, Pelican, Stork, etc., bird watching tour is available as well. It is 64 km from Hopin Railway Station and 6 hours by train from Myitkyina.
Hpakant (Jade Land)
The famous jade producing zone is situated 159 km (7 hour drive) northwest of Myitkyina. Gold panning can be observed along the Uru River. The surrounding areas are totally covered by mountains; summer is only 3 months from the mid February to the end of April. Rainy season is from May to September and winter is from October to February. All the businesses depend on the jade market. Majorities are jade mine workers. All the foodstuff and goods are carried from Mandalay.
There are two routes to Hpakant from Myitkyina, Karmine route and Hway Khar route. Karmine route is only for the summer time. Landscape is very nice but the road is heavily potholed and bumpy. It is not recommended to travel to Hpakant during May to September. As heavy floods are usual. By using the Hwa Khar route, we can cross and drop byIndawgyi Lake.
There is only one hotel so far, Jade City Hotel, which is 2*. Two-storey building, rooms are bathroom attached, air-conditioned, satellite TV & mini-bar. It is located on the hill where we can get the overlooking view of the town.
The meals are served at hotel or simple local restaurants but clean and good foods.
Bhamo is a little known town most northerly navigable point on the Ayeyarwaddy River. It is the ancient gateway to China and until recently was off limits to foreigners; it remains an important center for cross border trade.
It is famous as a charming town with quality accommodation. The bustling daily market of Bhamo will be one of the best things to see. There you can see Lisu, Kachin and Shan participants from the countryside all wearing their traditional costumes. A portion of the old city walls of Sampanago – an old Shan Kingdom can be seen around 3km north of town. So, a visitor can go there by a horse cart – which the ride itself is quite entertaining.
The Ayeyarwaddy river expedition between Mandalay & Bhamo combines scenic interest with a study of local life and culture. The river varies enormously: it is vast, with endless winding channels just above Mandalay, dark and narrow through the 3rd Defile. It is a constantly changing landscape with a stunning back drop of mountains. If we are so lucky, working elephants can be observed during the river cruise.
The accommodation there is simple with 2 star hotel as the best available. It is clean, bathroom attached and some rooms have air-condition. The best accommodation available is 3 star. They are good hotels, fully facilities with bathroom attached, fridge and air-conditioned. The food quality is acceptable as in other places.
Summit (IQS) Award