Ayeyarwaddy river flows from north to south through Myanmar. It is the country’s largest river and the most important commercial waterway. Originating from the confluence of the Maikha and Malikha rivers, it flows relatively straight North-South before emptying through the Ayeyarwaddy Delta into the Andaman Sea.
Between Myitkyina and Mandalay, the Irrawaddy flows through three well-marked defiles.
• About 65 km (40 mi) downstream from Myitkyinā is the first defile.
• Below Bhamo, the river makes a sharp westward swing, leaving the Bhamo alluvial basin to cut through the limestone rocks of the second defile. This defile is about 90 m (300 ft) wide at its narrowest and is flanked by vertical cliffs about 60 to 90 m (200–300 ft) high.
• About 100 km (62 mi) north of Mandalay, at Thabeikyin, the river enters the third defile. Between Katha and Mandalay, the course of the river is remarkably straight, flowing almost due south, except near Kabwet where a sheet of lava has caused the river to bend sharply westward.
Perhaps cruising down the Ayeyarwaddy is the most pleasurable way, feel its pulse, live its legends and understand its history. While enjoying the river’s tranquility, life on the riverbank offers endless fascination. From the small teak and bamboo dwellings, children who run along the riverbank and the women washing and bathing, cultivating fields ploughed by ox carts, a river cruise gives a unique insight into the way of life of the country. Elegant monasteries rise above canopied trees, and ruined ancient temples reveal a wealth of historic treasures.
The Irrawaddy River still remains as Myanmar’s lifeline, the people and economy greatly depend on its vital natural source. Ferries, bamboo rafts, barges and fishing boats, all ply their trade along these waters, at a slow relaxed pace – check in the exceptional experience of south-east Asia.
Programme / 7- Day – Myitkyina – Bhamo – Mandalay
Leaving on Fri, meet with 6th day boat schedule at Sun, wed / Fri respectively
Leaving on Thur, meet with 5th day boat schedule at Mon. So that programme remains 6 days only.
Day ( 1) Fly to Myitkyina ( Air Bagan Tue / Thur / Fri / Sun ) Area description Myitkyina is the capital and is centrally located in the Kachin State. Different tribes of national races live in harmony with their own cultures, customs, dialects, dances and lifestyles. The glittering costumes with silver trinkets of the charming Kachin belles would be an enchanting sight. For souvenir, the Kachin woollen bag with silver trinkets would be a memorable gift. At the edge of the town, by the banks of the Ayeyarwaddy, gold panning and mining goes on day and night. There are two bazaars in downtown. At the market, there are many kinds of delicious foods such as Chinese noodle, rice noodle, wan tofu, pan thae noodle, and sticky rice. Ayeyarwaddy River is the place where many people go to swim and take a bath. The water is crystal clear. The river bank is also a nice place to walk in the evening.
Ayeyarwady, the most useful river in Myanmar has its source from this confluence and flows 1325 miles to Bay of Bangal. The Ayeyarwaddy River originates from the confluence of two large rivers, the “Mai Hka” and the “Mali Hka”; join at 29 miles north of Myitkyina to form the Ayeyarwaddy. The confluence of the Ayeyarwaddy is called “Myit-Sone” in Myanmar. Myit-sone area is so beautiful and scenic that it attracts many people to come and enjoy its natural beauty. There is another place called “Myit Sone Lay”, which means smaller Myit Sone, located about seven miles from downtown Myitkyina. Because it is closer than Myit Sone, many people often visit there to have picnic.
Sightseeing At first upon arrival, you will be asked by immigration officers for your purpose to Myitkyina. One can simply answer “enjoying natural beauty of Ayeyarwaddy and custom of Kachin people”. Later, go to hotel. For the rest of the day, visit cultural museum with its traditional artifacts, tribal costumes and cooking utensils. The majority of the people in Myitkyina are Kachin Christians although part of the downtown area has a Muslim population. Then, have a walk through Myitkyina market and river bank.
Day (2) Sightseeing Myitkyina and visit Confluence.
Morning, visit Myitsone, about 50 km north from Myitkyina. Myitsone is the origin of Irrawaddy River and is the confluence of two rivers flowing from the snow-capped mountains of Mai-Kha and Mali-Kha. It is a lovely and interesting place with much to see in a relaxed atmosphere. Enjoy lunch with fish barbecue on a raft in the river. On route back to Myitkyina, pay an evening visit to Jawboon hill tower and Kha-Rein-Naw resort.
Day (3) Myitkyina – Sinbo village Share a Motor Trishaw to the boat, landing some 20 min south of town, the Boat is a kind of floating bus which is long, narrow and low with a tarp draped over an aluminum tubing frame. The seats are small and are not designed for long legs. The upper part of the Ayerwaddy River meanders languidly along a wide flood plain. Life along the river goes _ Farmers tending to their crops, women washing, Water Buffaloes pulling carts, and small Gold mining operations are propping up all along the shore.
The Boat stops at various villages throughout the journey, dropping off and picking up passengers, goods, fowls etc… Late afternoon, arrive to Sinbo village for the night stop.
Sinbo Village is a quaint one. Walk around and explore it a bit. A Monastery, a market, tea shops, the usual…Some houses are built in the traditional bamboo Thatched hut style. Chickens and dogs are running around with the kids who are doing the smiling and waving.
Day (4) Sinbo village – Bhamo In the early morning, it is so nice to walk about early morning market. Small passenger boat is scheduled to leave between 08:00 ~08:30. This is due to the fact that the Ayerwaddy River is even shallower in these parts.
This stretch of the river is quite attractive; the passage is narrower and is lined with cliffs and some jungle. Between Sinbo and Bhamo, it comes across the first defile of Ayeyarwady river. This is also the area where one can see Ayeyarwady dolphins. Reach to Bhamo at afternoon.
Day (5) Bhamo Bhamo, with its close proximity to China (60 km) is an active trading town. The ruins of Sampanago some 5 km north of Bhamo are used to be Shan kingdom around 5th AD. It is recommended 45 min walk to Shwe Kyina pagoda where the ruins of Sampanago kingdom and Bamboo Bridge lie. Back to town by horse cart or three wheeler taxi. Afternoon, tour on-foot along the strand road and the market near the river is quite interesting.
Nice place for a sunset beer and some food on Gwa Ya Lake
Day (6~7) Bhamo – River trip down to Mandalay. Mon / Wed / Fri Carrier RV Pyigyitagon / Pyimyanmar operated by Inland Water Transport run by Government
Cabin available US$ 54 per person
Depart for jetty and board on passenger boat to Mandalay (Pyi Myanmar usually takes between Bahmo and Mandalay three day-two night long.) The scenery along the upper reaches of the Ayeyarwaddy is beautiful with riverbanks of lush bamboo and other floras, which passes through the scenic Second Defile. Overnight on board.