Burma's largest river begins at the merging of the Himalayan N'mai and Mali rivers in the north of the country and proceeds south until it reaches its delta on the Andaman Sea. Like the Nile, the Irrawaddy feeds an extensive network of irrigation canals which water the vast rice paddies of the south, and is still today a major traffic route for goods. The river course passes through numerous and diverse ecozones including monsoon hills, sheer tropical defiles, dry flood plains and forests of teak and rhododendron, while fauna include boar, leopard, macaque, otter, wild dog, turtle, saltwater crocodile and Bengal tiger.

  • Mandalay

    This former capital of Burma was immortalised by Rudyard Kipling in his steamy poem of the same title, and later by Frank Sinatra in a song version of the poem. Still later Robbie Williams wrote a song called 'The Road To Mandalay', while in 2017 gaffe-prone Boris Johnson was stopped by his ambassador from reciting Kipling's colonial-era song in Burma's most sacred temple.

    Today the city is regarded as the centre of Burmese commerce and culture and boasts architectural glories such as the Royal Palace, the Atumashi Monastery, the Yunnanese Temple and the Kuthodaw Pagoda with its 729 inscribed stupas, earning it the nickname 'the world's largest book'.

  • Yangon

    Formerly known as Rangoon and Burma's capital until 2006, this city contains the Shwedagon Pagoda, the country's most sacred Buddhist temple, as well as the tomb of the last Mughal Emperor.

    In the heart of the commercial district, among a great number of colonial-era buildings, can be found the reputedly 2,500 year old Sule Pagoda, fringed with golden stupas and said to contain a strand of hair donated by the Buddha in person.

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