Myanmar Mountains

Myanmar Mountain , Hkakabo Razi, Climbing & Adventure

Putao trekking & more, Mt. Popa is the most most famous in the country, a extinct volcano near Bagan. The real high ranges with peaks up to almost 6000 meters (Hkakabo Razi) are in the north, this are the offshoots of the Tibetan Himalayas, perfect for adventure tours and trekking.

Adventure travel in Burma

has often the northern region as destination, they are very isolated which makes travel in this area rather difficult. The infrastructure is not good at all and transportation is difficult because of that almost no foreigners until now have been there with the exception of some British adventurers during colonial times.

This destinations are for the adventurers who want to explore new frontiers but under a controlled risk, not ending up with some mad fundamentalists who fight each each other since decades.

Putao the former Fort Hertz which was one of the remotest outposts of the British colonial troops is the capital of this region, some adventurer and botanists came with them.

There is an airport with daily flights to Yangon, the area is slowly receiving more and more trekking tourists, since its pristine and genuine environment plus climber who try to conquer Mt. Hkakabo Razi and around (picture below) this is the country and South East Asia’s highest peak at 5,900 meters. In 1997 a group of Japanese and Myanmar climbers managed to get up to the peak as the people ever, some English already tried this around hundred years ago but where not successful.

A snow caped ranges have glaciers and plenty of snow all year long. The region is populated with mainly coniferous trees and some larch. The real problem is withChinese and local poachers. The nature is beautiful with plenty of waterfalls and wild streams.

The plain of Putao, closely surrounded on three sides by high hills which pour their innumerable streams into this central sump, is not a pleasant place in summer.

The rainfall for six months averages  150 in., the humidity rarely falls below 75 per cent saturation, and the average maximum temperature for the same period is about 90 F.

Rapids and Waterfalls

Rapids and Waterfalls of the north

Hkakabo Razi

Hkakabo Razi glazed with snow and other mountain in Myanmar

But the fine winters

and superb views, glazed with snow, are some compensation for the many discomforts of the rainy season. The rain-washed air is clear as crystal and the mountains looked very close.

Away to the west, the ranges which separate the Mali Hka from the Dihang, a tributary of the Brahmaputra, rise abruptly from the edge of the plain, so near that they mask the 12,000 foot peaks just behind them. Here is the Hkakabo Razi, Myanmar’s and south east Asia highest mountain.

Further north, the Irrawaddy or Ayeyarwady-Brahmaputra divide grows higher, Noi Madive, a peak almost due north and 50km distant, rising to over 15,000 feet; and another 50km north of  Noi Madive is the Diphuk Pass, one of three or four passes over the Irrawaddy-or Ayeyarwady Lohit divide in 120 miles. Ten miles north-cast of the Diphuk Pass is the snow peak Ka Karpo Razi, with almost 6000m, the highest mountain in Myanmar and south-east Asia;

A little south of the Shingrup Hkyet (pass) over the main range can be seen. In winter these mountains appear as a wide arc of snow. But in July it gets very hot with a terrific thunderstorms over the hills. As rivers go in south-east Asia, and particularly as compared with the rivers on either side of it, namely the Brahmaputra to the west, the Salween and Mekong to the east, the Irrawaddy is a rather small, or at least a short river. It is barely 1500 miles in length, whereas the Brahmaputra is over 2500 miles, the Mekong about the same and the Salween not less than 2000 miles.

The snow, and not only at the area where Hkakabo Razi is, chills the air flowing in from the plains and from the sea and adds still more rain and snow. In the mountains heavy precipitation is frequent, long before the monsoon breaks in central Myanmar. Large snow patches lying unmelted throughout the summer, while above 15,000 feet there is many permanent snow, the last remnants of glaciers which once covered almost the whole of the country north of latitude 26′.

Travel in Burma Putao trekking

Travel in Burma Putao trekking tour

Hkakabo Razi in the distance

Myanmar Himalaya and Hkakabo Razi in the distance

Large snow patches in Kachin state near Hkakabo Razi

Large snow patches at Kachin state near Putao


These snow patches on Hkakabo Razi

and elsewhere are no longer considered as glaciers only because they have so far shrunk that the weight of snow is not sufficient to form ice. But though motionless, they are relatively as permanent as glaciers. There is a more curious reason for the persistence of snow beds at low altitudes, sometimes so low as 10,000 feet, throughout the summer. The mountains north of Putao at the headwaters of the Irrawaddy or Ayeyarwady are exceedingly steep, alpine valleys like the Singhku and its tributaries exceedingly narrow and deep. As a result, quite early in the year, the snow begins to avalanche

Picnic in the mountains

Picnic in the mountains and a vw tent online

wild Myanmar mountain stream

Wild mountain streams trek from Putao

Mountain rivers

Here are the sources of the Irrawaddy

Mountain rivers


down their sides and pile up in immense mounds, blocking the streams, which presently tunnel beneath the beds. Some of these avalanche beds cover several acres, and sunk deep in the ravines never get an hour’s sunshine. Further protection is afforded by a layer of earth and stones, dust and vegetable debris which rapidly accumulates over the surface, some of it washed down the alluvial fans, but much of it blown by the wind; eventually it may reach a thickness of several inches.

The peaks around are not the only snow peaks of the north. The whole length of the Salween ‘Irrawaddy divide for some 200 miles north of latitude 26′ is sprinkled with snow peaks. Many small glaciers amongst which its four major streams rise.

This then seems to be the true explanation of the great summer rise of the Irrawaddy or Ayeyarwady: heavy precipitation in the mountains throughout the year, together with a locking up of a vast quantity of water during half the year, creates wild mountain streams.

Exactly why the area around gets so much rain and snow, especially during the winter month, is not very clear; but we must remember that this region is not very remote from the sea. Putao is about 600 miles away of the Bay of Bengal, within 1000 miles of the Gulf of  Thailand and within 700 miles of the Gulf of Tong King.

If we take Putao as centre, and with a thousand-mile radius describe an arc from the east coast of India to the south coast of China, it will include nearly half the Bay of Bengal and the entire Gulf of Tong King, just touching the Gulf of Thailand a sea area larger than the whole country.

In no other region in the world is perpetual turbulence and a continuous passing of great air currents more likely than over the network of deep sub-tropical valleys and snow-covered peaks; and the peculiar formation of the country itself contributes to their birth, maintenance and evolution.

It is possible that owing to the continuous destruction of forest by the hill tribes and recently by Chinese poachers with big money to distribute, with consequent loss of soil, quicker run off, and lack of roots to take up water of the mountain rivers, the Irrawaddy is gradually rising to greater flood heights in less time than formerly.

A adventure travel tour

is probably the best to explore that area. As for the snow line in the Myanmar Himalaya around Hkakabo Razi, the glaciers have long been in retreat, and would appear to be still retreating, while the ‘permanent’ snow beds may be decreasing in size. If there is a general amelioration of climate, whether due to warming up or to a smaller precipitation, the snow line will rise and snow melt be

Hkakabo Razi and other peaks in the region.

reduced delivering less water to the mountain rivers. The Hkamti plain is dotted with a number of small Shan villages each with its rice fields.

The largest is Putao itself, here and there, sometimes from the midst of the paddy fields, clusters of crumbling pagodas rise and there are unpretentious monasteries in the villages where a few yellow-robed monks with shorn pates perform the rites of the Buddhist religion. The sweet tones of the gongs ring out across the plain at all hours.

Three distinct types of vegetation are met with, namely, forest, occupying the terraces and drier ground; swamp, covering much of the plain to the north too; The forest is composed of the same trees met with at similar altitudes — up to 3000 feet, more or less.

There are stretches of magnificent forest to the east, between here and the Mali Hka, which bounds the plain on that side. Near villages, much of it has been reduced to a dense growth of scrub and fern by cutting for fire’wood.

Amongst a great variety of trees are Quercus semiserrala, Altingia excelsa, Pterospermum (P. semisaggitalum), Sarcinia, Magnolia, various Laurels, figs, Elaeocarpus, Sterculia and a tree with narrow oblong leaves over a foot in length, probably a species of Goniothalamus.

Wide stretches of artificial sward occur near Putao and else’where on the banks of the many small streams which wriggle across the plain.

A small crimson flowered orchid (Spiranthes) and a creeping Lysimachia with golden-yellow flowers, very like the British L. Nummularia or money-wort, grow in the turf. A variety of plants grow in the villages and in Shan gardens, many of them

tours of Burma

Tours in Burma near Hkakabo Razi

mountain people myanmar

Kachin Girls in the snow

Myanmar Himalaya Trekking

Myanmar Himalaya Trekking


flowering gaily in the cold weather. Very striking then are the hedges of sunflower.
The people in the valleys catch fish in thorn-lined conical fish traps, with nets or harpoon. They also eat barking deer, gooral, serow, pheasants and monkeys. When these food sources are scarce, thevalley population will eat anything from snails and frogs, to lizards, snakes and wasp grubs.


Trekking in the virtual shadow of Mt. Hkakabo Razi

through cold weather, mist hangs over the peaceful and serene surroundings almost 6 months of the year.

Popa Mountain

is in the center of the country far away from Himalayas but probably the most popular . Popping out from the plains close to Bagan. It’s a extinct volcano with a monastery andBuddhist temple on top. The area is really attractive and a attractive day trip from Bagan,the area opens real insights into the countryside.

At the foot of the hill lives a monkey colony and be very careful when visiting this place, the monkey like your glasses and once they have it, they are gone, Popa Mountain is also called the Abode of the Nats, remains of animistic times.

Popa Mountain

Popa Mountain close to Bagan

Nats Myanmar

Nats and Mount Popa