Myitkyina is the capital of the Kachin state in northern part of Myanmar and is located on the west bank of the Ayeyarwady River. It is 550 km north of Mandalay and 50 km from the Chinese border. The city lies on the Ayeyarwady plain and is surrounded by high mountains. The city is an important trading center between Myanmar and neighboring China. It has around 285,000 inhabitants and most of the Kachin are Baptists or Catholics. There are about 15 churches in the city. In Myitkyina live Kachin, Shan, Indians, Karen, Chinese and Gurkhas.
The Pagoda is idyllically situated on the bank of the Ayeyarwady River. The full name of the sanctuary is Lawka Manaung Sutaungpyae Pagoda. It is also known as the 'wish fulfillment pagoda'. It is the oldest pagoda in Myitkyina. It was built in 1113 by King Alaungsithu of Bagan on a journey through the country. The stupa is gilded and two brightly painted lions guard the entrance to the complex. The pagoda, located about 1 km south of Kachin National Manau Park, is the revered sanctuary for Buddhists who live in and around Myitkyina.
Putao is the northernmost city in the country and located at an altitude of around 430 m. Different ethnic groups live in Putao, especially Kachin, Rawang and Lishu, and there are several churches, because many inhabitants are Christians of different faiths; Catholics, Baptists and others. Agriculture and hunting are the only sources of income in this region. Hkakabo Razi, the highest peak in Southeast Asia at 5881 m above sea level, and other snow-capped mountains are visible from Putao. It is cool in Putao all the year round.
A trip to Myitsone is very worthwhile. The place is about 40 km north of Myitkyina. Myitsone means "confluence". It is the Ayeyarwady that starts here in the area. It arises from the confluence of the Malikha and Maykha, both of which originate in the eastern Himalayas. The Ayeyarwady is 2210 km long and the most important river in Myanmar. It winds south of Myitkyina through steep gorges and then past Mandalay and Bagan through the central plain and the Ayeyarwady Delta until it flows into the Andaman Sea.