makhya Myanmar

January 08, 2019

Other trips in Burma:

Rafting the Maykha River, Myanmar, 2019

Situated in Myanmar a stunning country that is fast becoming one of the top tourist destinations is Asia as the government evolves from the Military Junta that had a lot of people not wanting to travel in Myanmar. The Burmese and all the other casts that make up Myanmar are a very friendly and welcoming making this a great country to visit with all the natural beauty that it has.We were lucky back in 2003 to be the first group of rafters and kayakers allowed to explore some of the rivers that are flowing through Myanmar.

In the far north of Myanmar, on the borders of Tibet and Northern India, lies one of the last great wilderness areas in the world. Here in the eastern reaches of the Himalayas, the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River is born, before it begins its epic journey southwards to Mandalay and out into the Bay of Bengal. The Maykha is one of the main tributaries of the Ayeyarwaddy flowing down from the himalayers in a very remote 260 klm gorge that has only been paddled 3 times.

This is our “Everest of Rivers” and the Maykha is one of the most extreme white water rafting and Kayakin trips on the planet. So if you are wanting a cushy ride this river is not for you! Our expedition will take you through some of the remotest untouched forest left on earth and will also challenge some of the biggest rapids you will have ever seen or heard!! This exclusive trip is demanding but after completion you will find it one of the most exhilarating things you have ever done and you’ll have visited people and places where time has stood still.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Meet and greet at the airport and transfer to hotel. Take a deep breath before embarking on the sights and sounds of Yangon a beautiful city. If you have never been to Myanmar before, you’re in for an amazing experience.That evening our staff will escort the group to dinner in one of Yangon’s better restaurants and we’ll run through the itinerary, check gear requirements, and introduce our team to the expedition members.

Day 2:Have the day to explore the amazing city of Yangong with its assaults on all your senses. Visit one of the most spectacular and peace full shrines in the world the Shreda gong. Go downtown and visit the great markets for any last minute shopping for the trip or just sit back and relax in one of the many restruants in town! At 6pm we will have a pre-departure briefing and double check that we have everything and will then head off for a meal together and retire for the night early to get us ready for the flight to the very orth of Myanmar.

Day 3 :We have breakfast then head to the airport for our flights north as we hop through Mandalay to Myitkyina and then Finaly Putao Where we are met and wisked off to a local lodge .where we really start to get the feel of where we are! And prep our gear for the truck ride to Ratbo the next day.

Trek to Bang Nam Dhim. First thing in the morning our Local Guide will show up at the Village Headman’s house with crew of Men and women who will carry all the expedition gear two days to the river. These wiry people with quick smiles and quiet manners have left their plots of land were they etch out a meek existance for a couple of days for the chance to earn cash money, a rare thing in this part of the world.The loads are divided up between our group of porters who will then tie their loads up with a yok lie harness before swinging it onto the shoulders or having the extra thump line which goes across their forhead so they can ease the loads off their shoulders. We really try to look after the porters and have three porters for each raft, so they swap around when they need to as these are heavy loads. This part of Myanmar sees no tourism, and the villages and farms along the way are much the way rural Myanmar has been for hundreds of years. In this remote part of Myanmar, the villagers have seen only a handful of westerners and their smiles and friendship are genuine. Its quiet an experience watching the parade of colourful proters with their loads head off into the jungle with their loads !We camp at small villages generally using the spare hut for travellers and buy fire wood for cooking off the head man.These villages generally have only 4 or 5 huts so the population near doubles when our team comes into town !!

For the most part the trail winds through dense sub-tropical forest with lush vines and creepers entwined in sculptured trees. Legendary British explorer Frank Kingdon-Ward passed through this area in the 1920’s and described the area as one of the most beautiful places he had ever been, walking through a living paradise of old growth climax forest As we leave Gawle village behind on the 3rd day we climb steeply to the pass that separates us from the Mayhka river valley. Upon cresting the top of the pass we catch our first glimpse of the Mayhka river below.Then we start an extremely steep descent through thick forest before we reach the Maykha river and the suspension bridge that will take us across it and into the village of Bhang Nam Dhim.. Where will will have a farewell dinner with our porters and start getting things ready for the river !!

Day 8-24:Well after Getting this far the really big Adventure starts/ !!! We will load all the rafts and pack our gear in all the water proof barrels and bags and get set to embark on a river Journey of a life time. With water flows in Jan feb it should be nice an easy start with mainly some big grade 3 rapids to get us use to some of the action and geology this region will expose us to. For the next 15 days or so we wont see much human influence as we snake our way down towards our goal. There are over 250 rapids we will have to negotiate wethere it be in the water or portaging around some of the huge ones! Because the maykha has only been run 3 times (twice by us) most of the rapids don’t have any names except for the couple of huge ones that remain welded in our Brains !!30 kilometers above Bhang Nam Dhim two tributaries meet and join forces to become the Nam Tamai, the main Myanmar artery of the Mayhka. The Nam Tamai flows at about 4,000 cfs (cubic foot per second) a champagne blue colour. Below After collecting 2 more tributaries below Bhang Nam Dhim the river becomes the Maykha

The Maykha river cuts through gorges with dense Jungle that is hardly penetrable ocasionaly we will run into a hunter who will be just as starteld as us seeing the colourful flotilla and all the mod equipment compared to his hand made bamboo raft to cross the maykha in the flat bits to his hand carved crossbow with his pouch of poison arrows on his back! Or maybe he is just fishing as in the clear deep pools you will se huge schools of fish. Every now and then we will pass under a village that is perched high up in the mountians and if the villagers see us their curiosity will get the better of them and will wander down and take a peek and ask how can when we do this ! on previous trips we have had villagers crying saying you will die in the water falls down below !! don’t continue! As Myakha in the local language means impossible river !!
When initially researching the river from maps we estimated that we had about 85 miles with an average gradient of 12 ft/mile, and 60 miles at 25 ft/mile. With these gradients we had been concerned that there wouldn’t be too many extreme rapids but the river consistently manages to store gradient for one to two miles then let it all go at once with impressive results. Frequent scouting is mandatory, and portaging very difficult due to the constricted river channel and conglomeration of house sized boulders. It is only on the last few days that the river eases and spreads, and it is possible to paddle without so much scouting. After days of continuous hard rapids It’s a novelty to be able to see the bottom of a rapid from the top. During this time we will edge our way down the river taking the best and safest options With a load of mandatory Scouts and sometimes portages to get round some of the biggest White water you will have seen. There will be plenty of time to be taking photos for the brag rights as people you show the photos to wont believe it !. And hopefully we will have a some one taking vid so we can make an epic DVD out of it like the last trip ! There will be days on the river where the sheer beauty of the rapids will have us in awe of this mighty river not to mention some of the most outrageous rock formations caused by centuries of monsoon water.
As we slowly make our way to Laugkhang our finish point on the river the days just before this we will probably run into Chines loggers and maybe the odd minning camp as civilisation creeps up the Valley into this hidden wilderness . When we do reach laugkhang it will mark the end of the river part of this journey although from there down has still a lot of white water that hasn’t been run before it Joins the Malikha river and truly becomes the Ayeyarwaddy river Myamars life source. At Laugkang we will book ourselves into one of the most celubrious Hotels and town and have if available !! hot shower to wash of the river sand we have collected and have a great meal that is cooked by us !!! and of course the celebratory drinks !!

Day 25 : After an easy breakfast will will load up all our gear onto our mode of transport and if all goes according to plan it takes 12 hours and 70 miles from Laugkhang to get to a real road at Myitkyina, where we’ll overnight in one of the towns best hotels.

Day 26 : Flights back to Yangon then transferred to our waiting hotel were we can really relax and have a hot shower and enjoy some of the finer things we have come un a customed to !! Then its last minute nic nac shopping at the markets before a .group dinner in one of Yangongs finest restaruants for the celabration of our incredible trip !! Then after for those with the energy some late night drinks!

Day 27 :Nice break fast before we take our airport transfers, to our flights back home or to the next adventure !

White water Asia leadership on the trip and planning assistance before it.
All Airport transfers 4 star accommodation in Yangong for 3 nights all accommodation on the trip after leaving Yangong . All meals outside of Yangong
all arrangements in the field, including camp meals, cook staffs, group gear and rafting equipment tents . Flights in Myanmar
Excluded from the basic trip cost are
international airfare
insurance (see Insurance section below)
optional tipping off-river and to leader, guides and river staff
airport transfers if arriving earlier or later than trip dates
excess baggage charges
International airport taxes
any meals noted as “on your own”
personal items like drinks,snacks laundry, souvenirs, etc.

Dates and Prices

Price $9,000US
Dates Trip to be confirmed Jan 8th 2019

What to bring?

  • A pair of river shorts or swimming costume.
  • A pair of Chacos or similar sandals. Trainers are also okay.
  • Long sleeved shirt to wear under your life jacket.
  • A baseball cap for under the helmet to keep sun off.
  • Wide brimmed sunhat.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Chums for fastening your sunglasses to your head.
  • Nalgene or similar water bottle.
  • Carabiner for fastening water bottle to your boat.
  • Thermal Top Medium weight – Heavyweight Capilene or polypropylene is the best.
  • Waterproof sunscreen and lip balm SPF15 minimum
  • Lightweight long trousers.
  • Lightweight long Sleeved shirt.
  • Fleece jacket.
  • Down jacket
  • Ladies should bring a long skirt or sarong to cover your legs whilst in the company of locals.
  • Underwear.
  • Glasses or Contact lenses. Disposable lenses are ideal.
  • Toiletries. Toothbrush, toothpaste, biodegradable soap and shampoo.
  • Forget the cosmetics and hair dryer! But we do suggest moisturizer.
  • Hand wipes
  • A 3-season sleeping bag and thermarest sleeping mat
  • Travel Pillow.
  • Small pack towel.
  • Headlamp or head torch and spare batteries.
  • Shoes or boots for the trek.
  • Insect Repellent.
  • Any medication you may be taking.

Optional Items

  • Your favourite book or a journal for recording your river memories.
  • Sketchpad.
  • Photographic or video equipment. We recommend bringing your own waterproof casing and a cleaning kit as sand gets everywhere. Bring a spare memory card or plenty of film. Also bring spare batteries for your camera.
  • Waterproof disposable for the “action” on the raft shots.
  • Swiss Army Knife or Leatherman.
  • An iPod or other music preferences. We have speakers.

Personal Spending

  • The only money that you need to bring is for meals in town, souvenirs, DVD, personal items and the beer kitty for the raft trip if you drink. Please remember that many of the countries we visit do offer Credit Card and ATM facilities and for a small charge you can withdraw cash either from your account or Credit Card for convenience.
  • If you wish to pass on a gratuity to your guide we leave this entirely up to you.
  • Basically, we advise you to keep things as light as possible, without skimping on the essentials.

Trip Reviews

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