Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State is in the far north of the country, an important trade center between China and Myanmar. The mighty Ayeyarwady River was born at Myit Sone, just 42 km north of this town, the confluence of two swift-flowing mountain streams: the N’maihka and the Malihka. Myitkyina is the northernmost of the river port and the British built railroad terminal in Myanmar. The town was strategically important not only because of its rail and water links to the rest of Myanmar, but also because it was on the planned route of the Ledo-Burma Road. About 148 km west of Myitkyina, there is a place called "Hpa Kant", well-known for its best jade mines in the world.
The city has a population of approximately 150,000 comprising Kachin, Shan, Chinese, Bamar, and Indians. Other minor different ethnic groups also live in harmony with their own cultures, customs, dialects, dances and lifestyles. Their glittering costumes with silver trinkets wore on Kachin women would be gorgeous to the eyes of every isitors. Myitkyina is known for its colorful Kachin New Year festival in January (around 10th Jan) called Manao festival, where all Kachin clans come together in their full colorful costumes to celebrate the grand occasion with traditional dances, singing, and drinking of traditional rice wines.
At the far northernmost of Kachin state in Myanmar, surrounded by some of Southeast Asia’s highest ice-capped peaks of Himalayan Range, Putao sits on a hilltop of 420m above sea level. Mt. Hkakabo Razi soaring at 5889m, the highest peak in Myanmar and in South East Asia lies at the north of the town and is snowcapped year round. This is the home for the hundreds of butterfly species, the variety of endemic birds and also the region where many of world’s rarest flowers blossom. Many orchid lovers are especially attracted by the so called "Black Orchid" that can be found in the mountains east and west of Putao. This is the reason that a National Park was stablished by the government according to the continuous efforts of Wildlife Conservation Society –WCS.The immediate regions of Puta O offers stunning views of Himalayan range that borders northern India and Tibet and picturesque rice terraces, the forgotten hill tribes where their way of life unchanged for centuries, the untouched sub-tropical forests that have huge biodiversity, the scenic Nam Lang River valley and canyon where the headwaters of might Ayerwaddy begins its epic journey. In fact, the entire Puta O region offers many of picturesque & exciting treks in the world’s last greatest wilderness.Most of the inhabitants in Pauto are Kachin, Lisu, Bamar, Shan and some small tribes. It can only be reached by road during summer (for nationals) but is accessible year round by air. The most convenient season for visiting this area is from November to April.
It 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 centre for cross border trade. The river expedition between Mandalay & Bhamaw 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. Bhamo is an old trading port town, situated in Kachin State, on the bank of Ayeyarwaddy River. The Chinese border is only 80km (50miles) away and the infamous Ledo-Burma Road, which was developed by the Americans during 2nd world war, passes this town.Although there is a land route from Mandalay to Bhamo, it is extremely cumbersome but the river pedition between Mandalay & Bhamaw combines scenic interest with a study of local life and culture. If we are lucky, orking elephants can be observed during the river cruise.Visit to the Elephant camp and an old British hill station Seinlon can also be made from Bhamo. About 3km north of Bhamo, remnants of 15th century Shan Kingdom called Sampanago featuring ruined pagodas and grass overgrown city walls.
Loi-kaw, is the capital of Kayah Stat at the south of Shan high land on the Bilu River, a tributary of the Salween River. Situated in hilly forested country, Loi-kaw has timber and silk-processing industries and is the site of an important hydroelectric power plant. The Loi-kaw Area Irrigation Project is an important undertaking along the Bilu River. The town has an airstrip and is linked by a circuitous road to Toungoo, 70 miles (110 km) southwest. Otherwise, it is accessible by 6 hours boat trip from Inle Lake or 5 hours drive from Kalaw, hill station of southern Shan state.The maininhabitant is Kayah, also known as Karenni and has a population of about 30,000. Other minor tribes who live in the Kayah Stateare the Kayah, Gagho, Gagbar, Kayan (Padaung), Ma nu ma naw, Yin Baw, Yin Ta le` and Inn Tha. Shan and Bamar also live there. In the hill regions, you will find the Pa-O national race as well. Among them, Padaung (giraffe women) is the most well know tribes because of its particular traditional costumes with the long neck decorated with bronze spiral rings. Most Padaung lives in Pan Pat village, near Loikaw and you can do a day return excursion to observe their ways of living. One of their beliefs says that the longer the neck, the more beautiful the person is.Thiri-Mingalar Taung-kwe Pagoda is the landmark and the most venerated pagoda of Loikaw. Taung Kwe means separated hills and it is a pagoda crown over a separated hill from where a scenic landscape is so marvelous.
Capital of Golden Triangle and the most scenic town in the Eastern Shan State, Kyaing Tong lies about midway between the Thanlwin River and Mekong River valleys and once the Shan capital. Situated 163 kilometers north of the border town of Tachilek opposite Mae Sai, (Thailand) and 56 miles away from Mong Lar, a Chinese border town, the region is famous for its multi-ethnic population and blend of multi-cultures (Myanmar, China and Thailand).Its deliberate location among four nations - Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, and China thus Kyaing Tong make extremely important in terms of either geopolitics or military tactics. This area is internationally recognized as infamous Golden Triangle for the opium trades until recent years before the painful efforts to crackdown the planting and trafficking of opium & heroines by the Myanmar military with the help of international community.
After a long closed period following the narcotic trades and insurgent legacies, the trading business thrives again between four nations, where Kyaing Tong serves as a hub, and thus it should rightfully called the capital of Golden Quadrangle. And it’s challenging position of begin one of the most scenic regions in Shan State that rivals to Inle Lake, Kalaw, and Pindaya of nation’s tourist incentive sites, Kyaing Tong is now ready to serve as a new face in the Myanmar tourism as still untouched by the latter. Although you may have traveled a lot throughout the world, it is certain that Kyaing Tong will always be among the most enchanting places.For most of the people, the main reason to visit Kyaing Tong area is to explore the villages of colorful ethnic tribes mostly living on the steep slopes of the foothills of Himalaya. The trekking trips can be rated from easy to moderate and the minimum stay should be at least two nights, by using Kyaing Tong as your base. Currently overnight stays at the tribe villages is not allowed. Different tribal groups of Ang, Lahu Ahka, Akhu, Padaung, Kala, Shan, Chin, Lishu, Pao, Wa, Khun and Laui live around Kyaing Tong. These tribes surprisingly preserve their customs and traditions as well as their unique way of dresses till now and can be seen in the Local marketplace.The combination of the fabulous Golden Triangle of the hazy blue mountain, the residence of innocent hill tribes in traditional costumes would be unique experience for you. Wat Zom Khun and Wat In monasteries at Kyaingtong are beautiful wooden structures in the architectural style closer to Lao and Thai temples. Strolling around Naung Ton Lake in the evening is a wonderful scene.
Myeik (or) Mergui Archipelago is located in Tanintharyi Region, the most southern part of the country, comprises over 800 pristine & unspoiled Virgin Islands, dotted throughout the Admanda Sea between Myeik (Mergui) and Kawthaoung (Victoria Point).
These islands covered with tropical rain forest in the blue Adaman Sea, like emeralds on the blue carpet. There are marine parks, blue & turquoises coral gardens, rare and endangered bird species, the sea gypsy (Mokens) culture, silver-white powdery sandy beaches, glass-clear water, rich marine and land wildlife where the entire archipelago virtually untouched from the humans are some of the points that draws attention to the sea adventurers and those who’d like to escape completely from the hectic human society at least for a moment.
The World-class dive sites around the Archipelago are newly discovered and many are still remain to find. The virgin land of Mergui Archipelago is an ideal place for diving, sea kayaking, snorkeling, fishing and birding. The water is so clear that it is enough to see the coral reefs and tropical fish, while there are also abundant lagoon caves, bird nests and waterfalls.
Contrary to its enormous potential tourism, there are very limited accommodation options due to the slow and extraordinary concerns of bringing up the area to the tourism. For those who would like to take advantages of being pioneers to the world’s hidden paradise can have some options. For more details, please study our exclusive sea adventure offers Tips about SALONE OR MOKEN (Sea Gypsies of the Andaman Sea)
The nomads in the Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago of southern Myanmar are Salone or Moken (Sea Gypsies) who dwell on boats and wandering around the Adaman Sea in sunny season and rest on island during monsoon. They have amazing culture and ways of life. The typical technique of building boat, traditional fishing method, diving skill and swimming have been handed down from generation to generation. These friendly people main livelihood is diving for pearl, collecting shells and other valuable resources. A new museum to expose the collections about Salone’s culture will be established very soon.
Mogok, valley of ruby is situated 128 miles to the north-east of Mandalay (about 7 hour drive) and 60 miles to the east of Ayeyarwady river. The lovely Lisu and Shan villages adorn the misty valleys. The residents are mostly Lisus and Shans who make their living by mining and cutting, polishing and marketing gemstones. For centuries till nowadays, gems such as rubies and sapphires were found at Mogok abundantly and they bring the highest prices. Mogok also produces numerous gems of lesser quality such as – alexandrite, amethyst, apatite, aquamarine, black tourmaline, black John, danburite, flourite, garnet, green tourmaline, lapis lazuli, moonstone, peridot, quartz, rose quartz, spinel, topaz, white sapphire and zircon. So, you can observe and study about gem-mining and gem trade. Other prominent points are Chanthagyi Pagoda – the name implies you'll be immensely rich soon, Mogok gem-market, where you just watch others buy and sell and get thrilled, Shwepyiaye ruby mine, see the collection of gem gravels which are then washed and scrutinised the work of mining from start to finish, the lapidary works to study how the stones are cut and polished, ready for making jewelry, Daw Nan Kyi taung to take a sunset view of Mogok and to gaze wistfully towards those lovely Lisu villages. At Kyatpyin, 7 miles from Mogok on your return journey, you have the opportunity to see all kinds of gem-sites, large and small, worked in different method.
Sittwe, formerly called Akyab, situated on an estuarial island at the confluence of the Kaladan River, Myu River, and Lemyo River, is the capital of Rakhine state, known for its Indian cultural influence. Rakhine State is separated from the mainland by the Rakhine Hills. Still remain the colonial buildings but the traditional houses made of teak wood and bamboo, are in typical Rakhine style. Sittwe itself is of limited interest, except for its huge local fish and general market. For most tourists, Sittwe is just a hurry-and-leave point for those heading to Mrauk U, a popular tourist destination in the Rakhine State, can be reached only via Sittwe. Others advisable highlight that are worth-seeing, the waterfront, Rakhaing State cultural Museum, Jamei mosque, old watchtower and a couple of Buddhist museums. Sunset to the horizon of the sea from “Point” of Sittwe is also splendid.
The important free trade port in 16th Century and, once the capital of the powerful Rakhine Kingdom andone of most spectacular royal cites of Asia, Mrauk U is now an interesting archeological site with several ancient temples and buildings from its prosperous time. Among them, a couple well-known ones were renovated while others in various stages of decay, hidden with dense jungle vegetations and collapsed by the strangling green vines. Noted for its fort-like temples and pagodas of stone and brick, the most highlight point here is the massive Shitthaung Pagoda enshrined with 80000 images of Buddha and over 1000 figures are engraved on its interior walls A European visitor, Father SebastiaoManrique vividly illustrated Mrauk U’s metropolis appearance and the city’s richness he’d seen at the Mrauk U market during its victorious time in 17th century. Although Mrauk U can be reached via Sittwe by road trip from Yangon, the only and best accessibility to Mrauk U is to take a flight from Yangon to Sittwe and then a five-hour lovely boat trip along scenic Kaladan River. Depending on the seasonal demand, there might be a couple of flights from Thandwe (Ngapali Beach) to Sittwe. From Mrauk U, you can do an extension visit to some typical Chin villages along the Laymyo creek where the tattoo face Chin ladies can be seen who marveled their traditional woven fabrics. The Royal Palace and the archeological Museum are also interesting.