Myitkyina is the capital of Kachin State in Northern Myanmar. The population of the city is around 150,000 and includes an ethnic mix of Bamar, Kachin and ethnic Indians.
Although today a sleepy backwater, Myitkyina was the site of a bitter battle between Japanese and Allied forces during the Second World War. The town was almost completely destroyed in the battle. The location of the town, in an opportunistic valley between India and China, made it strategic enough to be on the Ledo Road built by the US General Joseph Stilwell. Myitkyina could, one day, become an important way station for trade between the two Asian giants, India and China. For now, Myitkyina is a destination because of the journey. There is no road or river connection to Bhamo due to conflicts between "rebels" and the army south of the city) and because it is a staging point for trips to Indawgyi Lake and Putao (Jun 2012).
The best time to visit is in late Oct-early Feb.
Myitkyina is small. You can get anywhere in the city by trishaw or by walking.
If you arrive by train, turn left and walk along the main street to get to the city centre. After reaching an intersection with a clock tower, turn right and left to go to New Light Hotel, or left and right for the YMCA.
As of February 2018 foreigners are still barred from river or overland travel to Bhamo To reach Bhamo there is only one flight a week, Myanmar Air leaving at 1 pm Monday's. The flight is only 25 minutes and as of February 2018 the cost was $86 USD with taxes and travel agent fees. Other option is to travel to Katha and travel up river by boat.
Tuk tuk to the airport (10 minutes from town) will be around 3,000-4,000 kyat.
- 1 Su Taung Pyi Pagoda (ဆုတောင်းပြည့်ဘုရား). Historic pagoda of the ancient Bagan dynasty next to the Irriwady River, with a stupa and upright and reclining Buddha all onsite.
- 2 Sri Saraswati Temple (close to Myitkyina train station and central market). iconic temple
- 3 Kachin National Manau Park (ကချင်ရိုးရာမနောကွင်း), ☏ . Here you can visit the famous Kachin Manau sculpture, which is comprised of ceremonial pillars that are used for the Kachin tribal dance and ceremonial rites. If you time it around Jan 10th, you may be here during the annual festival. This features as kind of the cultural and religious centre of the Kachin people.
- 4 Kachin State Cultural Museum (ကချင်ပြည်နယ် ယဉ်ကျေးမှုပြတိုက်), ☏ . 9:30AM-4:00PM Tu-F. Ethnographic museum both about Kachin people and other cultures of Myanmar. A little basic.
- 5 Lang Na hka Waterfall (Sedung Waterfall) (လန်နခါးရေတံခွန်) (on road from Myitkyina to Sedung, about 15 km before you get to Sedung), ☏ . this is a very pristine waterfall you can see while walking across a suspension bridge.
Visit the memorial dedicated to the Chinese Expeditionary Forces.
One can find and buy the world's best jade and gems. Buy Kachin traditional dresses, handicrafts, and other national cultural textiles and food.
- Tsa pyi, Tsa hku.
- New Light Hotel. Rooms with free drinking water and shared baths. Larger corner rooms with outside balconies and private baths are also available. $30 USD (2018).
- YMCA. It seems foreigners are automatically allocated the most expensive rooms and you may have a hard time convincing them to give you one with a shared bath. Although you may pay more and get less, the YMCA are doing good work in educating internally displaced persons: by staying here you're helping support the local community USD10-14.
- Myitson (Mali Zup in Kachin language), the confluence of Mali and Nmai Rivers and the starting point of the Irrawady River, 32 km from Myitkyina
- Indawgyi Lake