Ayeyarwaddy River flows from north to south through Myanmar. It is the country's largest river and 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.
Perhaps cruising down 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 Ayeyarwaddy River still remains Myanmar's lifeline, the people and economy ever dependent 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.
Myitkyina is the capital and 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 the place to walk about 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 "Maikha" and the "Malikha". 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.
At first upon arrival, you will be asked by immigration officers for your purpose to Myitkyina. Simply answer “enjoying natural beauty of Ayeyarwaddy and custom of Kachin people”. On 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 take a walk through Myitkyina market and river bank.
Morning visit Myitsone, about 50 km north from Myitkyina. Myitsone is the origin of Ayeyarwaddy river and is the confluence of two rivers flowing from the snow-capped mountains of Maikha and Malikha rivers. 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 the way back to Myitkyina, you may visit to Jawboon hill tower and Kha-Rein-Naw resort.
Share a Motor Trishaw to the boat landing some 20 min south of town. The boat is a sort of floating bus Long, narrow and low with a tarp draped over an aluminum tubing frame. The seats are small and 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 in to Sinbo village for the night stop.
Sinbo Village is a quaint one. Walk around and explore a bit. A monastery, a market, tea shops, the usual...Some houses built in the traditional bamboo thatched hut style. Chickens, dogs and kids running around will say Hello, smiling and waving.
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 lined with cliffs and some jungle. Between Sinbo and Bhamo, it come across the first defile of Ayeyarwady river. This is also the area where one can see Ayeyarwady dolphins. Reach to Bhamo at afternoon.
Bhamo, with its close proximity to China (60 km) is an active trading town. The ruins of Sampanago some 5 km north of Bhamo 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. 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
Depart for jetty and board on passenger ship 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 are lush with bamboo and other floras, which passes through the scenic Second Defile. Overnight on board.