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Google+

Salween River Map - Cruise Pha An

 

The southern half of the Salween river or Thanlwin is the most eastern stream in the country, coming in from China and forming the border to Thailand after a while until finally emptying the flood at Mawlamyine, the former Moulmein.

In recent years a focus point for lots of quarreling since there where many attempts from the Thai side to make some dams for hydroelectric generation, which always got a fierce answer from the local people.

With water of grey-green color the Thanlwin winds away through vast savannahs, flanked in the distant west by the Zingyaik range, and on the east by the Tway-kabyin peaks. Hills and valleys are everywhere, a ideal setting to build some dams for electricity generation.

The banks are clothed with rare beauty, with waving grasses, and forests of wild

cotton trees in bloom. At this season they break into a splendor of cardinal blossom, devoid of foliage. The rich tracery of their boughs is cut with the clarity of a cameo against the Blue Mountains and great sunsets.

We stop at little villages

on the way to pick up passengers, village girls come down to the ship's edge with trays of papayas and red plums, bosom deep in the river; and they laugh as they sink yet deeper in their efforts to reach

the passengers on board. Each of these, leaning forward over the rails, takes what he or she needs, and puts the price into a little cup in the middle of the tray. After the engine roar and we move on, there are other boats and ships with their white sails full blown from the wind. People glide by in a small canoe and the steamer whistles and off we move. There are caravan Shan or rather traveling trader, with their pack-baskets ranged in line upon the upper deck, and blazing turbans on their heads. There are groups also of Panthays in blue, and Yunnanese in satin caps ; and at one end of the deck, a party of Christian Karen who sing  

hymns in a strange tongue, to the familiar tunes of an English parish church. As we approach Pita-an the limestone hills come nearer to the liver. The Kaw-gun caves lie at the end of a narrow water on our left, and at Pha-gat, a little higher up, the width of the river contracts. Kawgun cave is close to Pha An township, Kayin State. This is a lime stone cave of about 60m height and 100m long.

Similar to other caves

in the country myriads of Buddha statues and votive tablets some statues are from the 15th Century, others are newer.  Through these gateways there is entry into a dreamy world of wide calm waters, of wooded islands, and distant peaks : and the form of Zway-kabyin. Here we are very near the turning point of the range, and its form changes completely within a few hundred meters of our ascent up the river.

The river runs by it under high banks,

rich with grasses and plantain-groves, to the gateways of Pita-gat. Below the house in the cast, and first lit by the day, is a sheltered harbor in which the cargo dinghies lie, and the white masts of sailing vessels rise straight from the water. Here at all hours there is life: bullock-

Pha An Salween River Map
Pha An Salween River Map

carts wait to ship and unship their burden, while the red cattle browse under the trees ; women and girls come down to laugh and bathe ; Myanmar's squat on the sloping bank and smoke with philosophic calm. There is a monastery on a hill, to the lofty summit of Zway-kabyin and its pagoda like a lighthouse on its crest.

At night at this season, the hill Karen set fire to the jungle near its top, and then there is a wonderful circle of fire hung up against the starry sky, a thousand feet above the world. The water is more clear than the muddy Irrawaddy and even cold in the hottest weather.

Once a year at the harvest season

when all would go on pilgrimage, the pagoda on the summit of the range is visited by all in its neighborhood who can manage the arduous climb. The view it offers is one of extraordinary variety and beauty. Pha-an itself is one of the main centers of trade with the Shan States, a seaport with picturesque elements of frontier life and trade, Panthay caravans and merchandise from China and traders from Thailand.

 

 

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