Kachin State lies to the north of Myanmar with snow-caped
mountain ranges and green and lush forests. It is also the place where the
world-famous Myanmar's principle river, the Ayeyarwaddy, originates. The
highest peak in Southeast Asia - Hkakabo Razi rising 5881 metres is the
landmark of the state. Moreover, the state is also known for its precious
natural resources of the best jadeite in the world.
Myitkyina, a hill station of cool and pleasant all the year round, is the
capital of Kachin State and it is home to colourful ethnic races and their
festivals. Myitkyina is the northern most railway terminal, 919 miles from
Yangon and 487 miles from Mandalay. There are air links connecting from Yangon
and Mandalay. Flights from Yangon to Myitkyina take about two and half-hours.
Myitkyina and its environs, long-forbidden to foreigners, have recently become
newly emerged destinations for international travellers. It is ideal starting
point of excursions to tribal villages, Jade mines and Myitsone, the river
confluence (40 km from Myitkyina) where two Himalayan streams of Mehka and
Malikha meet to form the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River.
Many ethnic tribes can be seen around Myitkyina. The region is occupied by
approximately 14 different ethnic groups. Most of the people of the state are
Kachins and the groups of tribes include Jimphaw, Lashi, Lisu, Rawang, Shan
and Bamar. The main economy is on agriculture where shifting cultivation still
prevails in the hills. Rice, wheat, maize, ground nut, sesame, pulses,
chillies, onions, tomato, sugar cane, tobacco, tea and vegetable are grown.
Fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and pears are also products of Kachin
Myitkyina, a gateway to the world renowned jade mines of Hpakant, today become
the centre of jade processing and marketing. It is situated about 148 km west
of west of Myitkyina. The places worth visiting around Myitkyina are Myitsone
(river confluence), Hpakant (jade mines) and Kachin Cultural Museum. Another
fascination in Myitkyina is the Manaw ritual. On the occasion, all the ethnics
minority dance uniformly circling the pillars erected in the field.
Kachin State is renowned for its scenic natural beauty with pristine jungle
areas and it is famous as a resort where one can relax and enjoy the environs.
The highest mountain area in the far north is literally yet intact by tourism
but represents a strong potential for eco-tourism in the future. At present,
an important part of this region has become a national park as some wild life
species, which were declared extinct elsewhere in the world, have been
discovered in the region.
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Mt. Hkakaborazi, with the height of 5881 metres above sea
level and the highest peak in South East Asia is not only a beauty but also
pride of Kachin State. This virgin peak is located in Nangmon Township in
Puta-O District of the Kachin State. It is situated in the extreme North of
Myanmar and is perennially snow-caped, being part of the Eastern Himalayan
The Hkakaborazi protected area formed with mountain ranges, waterfalls, rapid
streams and ravines of eastern Himalayas covers 3812 square kilometres and it
is the largest natural park in Myanmar. The headwaters of the mighty
Ayeyarwaddy River, Myanmar's main artery for commerce and navigation are to be
Wild orchids bloom in great profusion on Hkakaborazi. The mountain stands
virgin until conquered for the first time in 1996 by a team of Japanese and
Myanmar climbers. Over 45 kinds of herbal plants, 25 kinds of eastern
Himalayas species of mammals, 82 kinds of reptiles, 360 species of birds
peculiar to Himalayas and butterfly species peculiar to icy region have been
put on record. The survey undertaken by the biological expedition clearly
witnessed that the richness of the region's flora and fauna and its unique
eco-system that has remained largely undefiled by the hand of man.
The remoteness and inaccessibility of the region has helped to maintain the
pristine purity of its forests and eco-system. The richness of its
biodiversity deserves to be maintained and fostered in the interests of coming
generations. Hkakaborazi region was designated as a Protected Area on January
30, 1996 as this area actually meets all the criteria to be upgraded to the
status of a National Park and in order that the unique qualities and
biodiversity of the Hkakaborazi eco-system be maintained intact in all its
unspoilt natural beauty.
Around Hkakaborazi area nearly a thousand numbers of people live in 22 small
villages. The people are descended from Tibeto-Myanmar group. They are of
Rawan, Lisu and include the last remaining members of the Tarong tribe, an
endangered race of diminutive people, none of them are more than 4 feet in
height. The people in this area practice shifting cultivation of paddy, wheat,
beans, maize, millet, mustard and yams. As the environ area is filled with
full of beautiful flora and fauna, environmental protection has been
maintained at Mt. Hkakaborazi for eco-tourism purpose and it stands
challenging for the adventurous mountaineer until today.
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Puta-O, a town in the farthest north of Myanmar, is
situated in the north of Myitkyina. Puta-O is a small and quiet place,
surrounded by snow-capped mountains stretching from Tibet in the northwest.
Steep fields in the valleys around are cultivated. There are gardens of hill
rice, maize, cereal crops, cucumbers and gourds. The slopes from 2,750 metres
to 3,660 metres are covered with almost pure conifer forests.
Puta-O is 1,169 kilometres from Yangon and can be reached by air route.
Domestic flights from Yangon to Puta-O take about two and half-hours and about
two days drive from Mandalay by car. As the city is surrounded with snow
peaked mountains, the weather is cold around the year. Diverse flora and fauna
can be seen in the forest around Puta-O. There are also many different ethnic
minority tribes around the city.
Puta-O is the nearest town to the base camp for climbing Mt. Khakaborazi. It
is rising 5881 metres and the highest and most beautiful mountain in Myanmar
and South East Asia. The region where tributaries of River Ayeyarwaddy
originate is unique and picturesque. It is a place where mountaineers can
enjoy their climbing. Overnight hiking trip to nearby villages and subtropical
evergreen and rain forests offer visitors a very unique view of the northern