Union of Myanmar
Myanmar's most northern state is a mountainous
region occupied by approximatly 14 different ethnic groups, the
major ones being the Jinghpaws or Kachins. Kachin State is just
opening up to tourism and will soon become an important destination
with its magnificent scenery, the great Ayeyarwady River and a fascinating
mix of ethnic minority people, whose lives have changed little over
The town of Myitkyino has always been a trading
centre between Myanmar and China and, being the largest town in
Kachine State, is the best base for visiting nearby Kachine villages.
West of Myitkyina lies Indawgyi Lake - altough
somewhat inaccessible due to the poor roads, the lake is huge and
has unique natural beauty.
South of Myitkyino lies the town of Bhamo, on the
Ayeyarwady's eastern bank, close to the second defile of the mighty
Ayeyarwady River. This is the most dramatic passage of the river,
being only 90 meters wide, with cliffs towering 270 metres above
the water on both sides.
In the far north of Kachin State stands Myanmar's
highest mountain - Hkakabo Razi. First climbed in 1996 by a Japanese
expedition team, this mountain is 5,889 metres above sea level and
is snow capped year round. The nearest town is Patao, located in
the foothills and several days walk from the higher mountains. Due
to the limited infrastructure, the only way to reach the higher
slopes is to organise an expedition.