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Myitkyina & Bhamaw


Beautiful scene of the confluence of Irawaddy River
in Myitkyina

Myitkyina is a Kachin market town. Although it can be reached by train from Mandalay being the northern most railway terminus, the almost-24-hour-train-ride can be really challenging. Domestic flights operate some two to three days a week from Yangon and Mandalay. A common reason for going to Myitkyina for a lot of travelers is to enjoy long river travel on the Ayerwaddy. Visiting Myitkyina and proceeding the journey down the river to Bhamo and then onto Mandalay needs a great spirit of adventure and requires some seven flexible days to spare to comfortably overcome the possible unexpected limitation of nature and logistics.

 


Pagoda in the middle of the
Indawgyi Lake

Kachin Dancers performed at
the Manaw Festival in Myitkyina

Just 27 miles (43 kilometers) north of Myitkyina, the Ayerwaddy River emerges from the foothills by Maykha and Malikha Rivers. It is known as Myit Sone confluence and is one of the most beautiful places in Myanmar with crystal-clear water rushing over the river stones.

From the confluence, the Ayerwaddy then spreads out and adopts the calm, noble personality that it will maintain for the most of its 1600 kilometer (1000 miles) journey till the coast. Although Bhamo can be reached from Myitkyina by public buses or private cars less than seven hours, travelers tend to try taking a fast river ferry passing jungles on the banks and the narrow, dangerous and beautiful First Defile. If you happened to travel on a slow boat, you would need to spend a night in a mid-way village called Sinbo. Most of the time, travelers end up travel by road due to two extremes: the current too rough (from June to October) or the water level too low (from December to May).

 


Public Ferry on Irrawaddy River
cruising from Bhamaw to Mandalay

Scenic Irawaddy River
in the vicinity of Myitkyina

Bhamaw is smaller than Myitkyina, but set prettily amid rolling hills. Colorfully dressed members of the Lisu, Rawan, Kachin, Shan and Palaung races can be seen in town on festival days. Some street bazaars open at 4am, with flickering candles dimly showing fruits, flowers and vegetables.

 
   

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