A trip down the Irrawaddy River – Part 3 – Leaving Sinbo

When we woke up in our guesthouse in Sinbo, Kachin State, on February 16th it was frigid and foggy outside.

James, a Kiwi, did his best to see how long his morning cigarette ash could dangle while he kept smoking it:

These veggies were being chopped up for our breakfast:

After eating, we headed down to the riverbank to catch our boat to Bhammo. This boat was sitting with a new coat of paint:

A few boats waiting for their time to shove off and down the river:

As we were sitting in our small boat, waiting to leave, I couldn’t help but notice the message on the boat next to us:

Another thing I noticed on the boats was how they kept the turbines centred at the back – some had springs, but the tension on many was maintained with cheap bungy cords:

The trip down the river to Bhammo went fine. We got stuck on sandbars a number of times, so people had to get out and push, but we each arrived in one piece and settled down for a couple nights at a cheap hotel in Bhammo. The next day I went on an adventure with one of the Austrians…

A trip down the Irrawaddy River – Part 2 – A Sinbo Stopover

When our boat stopped in Sinbo, Kachin State, after several hours on the Irrawaddy River, everyone clambered out onto the shore. Us four foreigners headed to the only guesthouse where foreigners were allowed, then I took a walk around the small town before evening came.

This monkey was tied beside the outhouse. I felt like untying him, but there would have been no way to do that since he was kinda fearsome:

These two stupas, one relatively new and the other very, very old, stand close to the bank of the river:

Down by the water were a bunch of old boats sitting around slowly rotting, and a bunch of newer ones being built or repaired. Here are some shots of three beached boats and some men working on others:

On the walk home, a local asked me to sit down with him for a bit to chat. Of course, he spoke no English so the conversation was extremely limited. But his kids were playing around, so I took a few pics of them:

The day wasn’t particularly eventful, but it was relaxing and nice. The next morning we were up nice and early to continue down the river… photos of that in a couple of days.

A trip down the Irrawaddy River – Part 1 – Myitkyina to Sinbo

I arrived in Myitkyina in the morning on February 15th and immediately caught a tuk-tuk to the bank of the Irrawaddy River to catch a boat back downstream toward Mandalay. Why? Because, I had actually come by train for the purpose of travelling down the river. While the train only took 20 hours going north, the boat trip back south would take nearly a week.

At the launching point for the boats, I met some other foreigners intending to do the same as me – two Austrians both named Chris (I forget if one of them was Kris, but at least one was named Chris, like me), a German, and a Kiwi. Nice guys, and I ended up travelling with them for the next few days.

Some boats moored on the riverbank close to where we boarded our small boat to begin the journey.

One of the guys named Chris, boarding the boat in Myitkyina with his bike:

A tuk-tuk driver drove down the beach to wash his vehicle:

The skipper of the boat next to us was cooking his breakfast as we pulled away:

I bought some hard-boiled quail eggs, which are tiny and taste almost the same as chicken eggs – tasty and cheap.

The water pump output:

A couple of Buddhist monks sitting near me:


There are many, many gold miners on the Irrawaddy River. They set up small stations to try and find gold in the silt. Here are some gold miners at their camp on a sandbank:

That day, we ended in Sinbo, a small town on the river bank, where I took a bunch of photos that appear in the next post.