TREE works in 24 locations around the country.
BOGALAY (Bogalay EC)
Bogalay is a small city located deep in the Ayeyarwady Delta Region and south west of Yangon. It can be reached by both water transportation and by land. It is a lively port city but provides the chance to see how different delta life is to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. Bogale is a transit point to the nearby Meinmahla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary, where you can see migratory waterbirds; saltwater crocodiles (the largest reptiles on the planet); and, if you are lucky, the rare Irrawaddy dolphin. There is also an option to visit the islands 10km south of Meinmahla Kyun where sea turtles nest; you can witness the conservation program and some natural turtle nests on the largest islands, Gayetgyi and Gadongalay. With permission, you can stay overnight on Gadongalay Island and join the locals for their nightly high-tide patrol along the beach in search of turtles.
DAWEI (Dawei EC)
Dawei is the capital of Tanintharyi Region, formerly Tenasserim Division. It is situated about 614.3 km (381.7 mi) south of Yangon on the northern bank of the Dawei River. The population is approximately 150,000. Dawei is a port at the head of the Dawei River estuary, 30 km (18.6 mi) from the Andaman Sea. Nearby Maungmagan beach served as a retreat for the British during colonial days. The beach has a long line of palm huts housing family restaurants where you can order fresh crayfish and crabs. There are plans to construct a deep-water port in Dawei. The Dawei Project includes the development of the Dawei deep seaport, industrial estate, pipeline along the road-link to Thailand and highways and railroad to Thailand. Dawei has the distinction of being one of the wettest places in Myanmar and it appears to rain almost constantly here during the monsoon.
HAKHA (Hakha EC)
One of the new ECs for the project. It is the capital of Chin State and located in the north west of Myanmar. Hakha is more than 1,800 meters (6,000 feet) above sea level, founded on a small highland plateau, and although it is relatively small in land area, it is the largest city of the whole state. Hakha is built on the slope of a large mountain, in a U shape. Although it is located in the tropics, because of the high altitude, the temperatures in Hakha are much cooler for each season compared to those in the plains. It is fairly cold during the cool season months. Sometimes, the temperature drops to as low as −2 °C (28 °F). It can also be very windy in winter. The predominant religion in Chin State is Christianity. The first Baptist missionaries who arrived in Hakha in 1899 opened a mission station. Later other missionaries did extensive mission works throughout the Chin Hills and converted most of the Northern Chin State to Christianity within a century.
HLEGU (Hlegu EC)
Hlegu is a medium sized town just one hour drive from Yangon on a well-surfaced road. Frequent buses keep the two well connected, and Yangon’s proximity makes Hlegu a well-provided town. The surrounding countryside is flat agricultural land including paddy fields. Largely spread along the main road, the town has numerous small shops, and a market for fresh fruit, vegetables and meat. Shops include chemists, snack shops and mobile phone shops and the town has internet cafes, and at least intermittent mobile phone coverage. There are plenty of restaurants, street food vendors, tea shops and road-side bars. Hlegu EC is about half a kilometre from the start of Hlegu town, but as the town is long and narrow those based there may want to invest in a bicycle to get easily to and from the markets and shops.
HPA-AN (Hpa An EC)
Hpa-an is in Kayin state around 8 hours by bus from Yangon. The Kayin, though consisting of numerous different ethnic groups, are subdivided into the Pwo and the SgawKayin, who have developed different languages. Hpa-an is surrounded by a wrinkled chain of limestone mountains, sometimes reaching a height of over 2,000 meters (6,562 ft). The countryside can be explored either by taxi or motorbike. The moment you set out along the road to Mawlamyaing, you will be stuck by the extraordinary shape of Mount Zwekabin, which the Kayin people venerate as a symbol of peace. It is more than 1,000 meters (3,281 ft) high, and is difficult to climb, so you will need to take plenty of water with you. At the foot of Mount Zwekabin is a large field containing thousands of over-life-size statues of the Buddha. There are also many nearby caves.
KATHA (Katha EC)
Another of the new ECs for the project, Katha is a town in Sagaing Region, Myanmar, on the west side of the Irrawaddy River. Katha is 12 hours by train north of Mandalay. Katha can also be reached by ferries that run on the Irrawaddy River between the upstream town of Bhamo down to Mandalay. The main economy of the town is fisheries and farming of kidney beans. Katha is known for having inspired Kyauktada, the fictional setting of George Orwell's Myanmar Days. Orwell himself served at Katha in 1926-27 in the Indian Imperial Police. The British Club (including active tennis court), police station, and town jail are locations mentioned in the novel that can still be visited today. In September 2019, the Katha Heritage Trust opened a museum at the house that Orwell lived in during his time in Katha. The two-story wooden building had been an attraction for Western tourists. The museum features portraits and a picture of Orwell, and a painting of the house. One stated aim of the trust was to cooperate with the Orwell Trust in the United Kingdom to restore momentos of Orwell's time in Katha.
KENG TUNG (Keng Tung EC)
One of the new ECs for the project, Keng tung is a town in Shan State, Myanmar. It contains several lakes, the largest, Naung Tung Lake, lies in the western part of the city. Another focal point is the Standing Buddha which you won’t be able to miss, wherever you are in the town. The Buddha dominates the skyline and can be seen from almost all parts of the town and soars to a height of some 60 feet. It stands on a hill that overlooks the town. Kengtung is one of the more remote places in Myanmar. Coming here, you will be rewarded with pretty scenery and a quaint town. One of the great highlights is the chance to visit the local villages that surround the town. Here you can get a glimpse of how local ethnic groups live and work in modern day Myanmar and you can also enjoy trekking and hiking through the lush jungles that abound here. As Keng Tung is in Shan State, you can also spend time sampling what many people will tell you is some of the most delicious food in the country.
KYAUKPHYU (Kyaukphyu EC)
Another of the new ECs for the project. Kyaukphyu is a major town in Rakhine State, in western Myanmar. It is located on the north western corner of Yanbye Island on Combermere Bay. It is situated on a superb natural harbor which connects the rice trade between Calcutta and Yangon. Getting around on water is the main mode of transportation and traveling. In 2014, the population of Kyaukphyu was estimated at 44,500. Kyaukphyu Special Economic Zone is a 1,600 hectares (4,000 acres) Myanmar special economic zone being developed in Kyaukphyu. The project initially began as a joint venture between the Chinese and Myanmar governments, but has since transitioned to private developers. Maurice Collis, a famous British writer, lived in Kyaukpyu in 1920s. His house, situated in the outskirts of Kyaukpyu is maintained as a historic building.
LASHIO (Lashio EC)
Lashio is a sprawling market town with a significant Chinese population. It is a four-hour drive from the Chinese border at Mu-se. Lashio is a large but unassuming place that straddles a gently sloping valley ringed by dragon-backed ridges, abrupt hillocks and terraced vegetable plots. Once the seat of an important Shan saopha (sky lord), the town played a pivotal role in the fight against the Japanese in WWII. It was the starting point of the Myanmar Road, which supplied food and arms to Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang army. Most of the city’s old wooden homes were destroyed in a disastrous 1988 fire however a few interesting pagodas still survive. On the western bank of the Irrawaddy River lie the Sagaing Hills, one of the most beautiful places in Asia with many magical and peaceful pagodas to explore.
LOIKAW (Loikaw EC)
One of the new ECs for the project. Loikaw is the capital of Kayah State. It is a low-key, low-rise town on the Pilu River, dominated by the hilltop pagoda of Taung Kwe Zayde. Virtually rocketing from the landscape is this explosion of craggy limestone and white and gold stupas. The mountaintop Buddhist temple compound is Kayah State's most famous sight. Snail soup is a local speciality believed to have health-giving properties and the Shwe Daw Yaik restaurant close to the bus station is the place to sample it. Shwe Let Yar is considered to be Loikaw's premier curry restaurant. Ask for the curry of the day and don't be afraid to try the delicious balachaung (a spicy dip). A string of beer stations sit side by side on the riverfront here with terraces overlooking the river. The Amazing bar, a rooftop restaurant and bar, has proved a hit with cashed-up locals. For visitors, it offers the best Western food in Loikaw, as well as gentrified Myanmar dishes.
MAGWE (Magwe EC)
Magwe is a large town and the region’s capital. It is situated in the dry zone in the central Bamar historical heartland about 50 miles from the ancient site of Bagan. The town has many beautiful old colonial buildings, many of these house government and administration offices. The main business of the town seems to be administrative and governmental, but there are also 6 universities with a total of 57 different departments. These attract students from all over the country to Magwe. There is an army base to the north of the city and it is common to see uniformed officers around the town. The EC is situated in an area surrounded by universities on the main road about 10 minutes’ drive from the main market, MyomaZei. There are lots of teashops and beer stations in and around Magwe, the ones on KannaLan next to the river are particularly pleasant.
MANDALAY (Mandalay EC)
Mandalay is the second-largest city and the last royal capital of Myanmar. It is considered the centre of Myanmar culture and religion, having numerous monasteries and more than 700 pagodas. It is located 716 km (445 miles) north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River. The city has a population of approximately 1 million and is the capital of Mandalay Region. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan, in the past twenty years, has reshaped the city's ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China. The natural focus of Mandalay is an abrupt hill, rising above a vast moated and walled square that once contained the sprawling royal city. Mandalay is the economic hub of upper Myanmar - the commercial heart lying south and west of the fort. Quieter monastic districts are further west towards the Ayeyarwady.
MAWLAMYAING (Mawlamyaing EC)
Mawlamyaing is the fourth largest city of Myanmar. It is situated 300 km south east of Yangon and 70 km south of Thaton, at the mouth of Thanlwin (Salween) river. The city of 325,927 is the capital and largest city of Mon State and is the main trading centre and seaport in south-eastern Myanmar. The Mon name for Mawlamyaing means "damaged eye”. A Mon king was said to have lost his powerful eye in Mawlamyaing. The town is situated in the Salween River delta, where the mouth of the Salween is sheltered by Bilugyun Island as it enters the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea. It is flanked by low hills dotted with ancient pagodas to the east and west. The city is composed roughly of 75% Mon, or some mixture of Mon, plus Kayin, Bamar, Indian, Chinese and other ethnic groups.
MEIKTILA (Meiktila EC)
Meiktila is a fairly large town by Myanmar standards. The climate is hot and dry for most of the year, slightly cooler during the winter months of December and January. The rainy season lasts for around 3 or 4 months during June, July, August and sometimes into September. When we visited in June there was a beautiful breeze blowing across the lake, meaning that the temperature was very pleasant and the air was fresh. The college staff tell us that there is a breeze most of the year, making the temperature more comfortable than other towns in the region. The lake is the focal point of Meiktila and a lovely place for a stroll or bike ride. It was constructed around 1000 years ago by a Myanmar king and it is absolutely huge, legend says that it used to reach all the way to Mt Popa (95kms away!). The lake is ringed by pagodas and promenades and there is a lovely walkway out to a small floating pagoda just near to the bridge in the centre of the town.
MONYWA (Monywa EC)
Monywa is a city in Sagaing Division around 136 km north-west of Mandalay on the eastern bank of the Chindwin River. It is situated along the Mandalay-Budalin branch railway line but is best reached by bus as the road from Mandalay is in reasonably good shape. It is interesting to know that the name of the city in Myanmar is “Village of the women cake seller”. According to legend, a Myanmar King fell in love with a seller of cakes from this town and made her his Queen. He named the town Monywa (“Mon” is Cake, “Ywa” means Village). Monywa is a major trade center for agricultural produce from the surrounding Chindwin Valley, especially beans, orange pulses and jaggery (palm sugar).
MYAUNGMYA (Myaungmya EC)
Myaungmya is a small country town and the district capital. It has been around since the colonial times and even lays claim to being the ‘Bagan of lower Myanmar’. It is located in the Delta, on a river bank. The Delta is a tropical zone with a 6 month monsoon and 3 months of summer and 3 months of winter. During the monsoon season it is very humid, but the river means there is also an occasional breeze. Myaungmya is a real watery Delta town, situated on a river with rivers cutting through it and permeated with a sense of river life. There are large bustling markets selling fish, meat vegetables and fruit. Foreigners are few and far between and are therefore quite a novelty. Local people are curious but always courteous and friendly. Myaungmya is approximately one hour from Pathein by car. The EC is situated on the main road into town from Pathein.
MYITKYINA (Myitkyina EC)
Myitkyina is the capital of Kachin State and is situated in a picturesque valley 145 meters (476 ft) above sea level. It is 487 miles north of Mandalay. The journey takes around 24 hours by train. Myitkyina has a lively market in the centre of town. You can see river fish, meats and vegetables on sale next to tiger traps, opium pipes and displays of lizards, insects and animal parts used to make medicine. On the hills around the city are pagodas with white brick walls and gilded roofs. A little way from the city center is the great Manau Square where in January the Kachin celebrate their National Day with a lavish festival involving traditional costumes, music and animal sacrifices. Just 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Myitkyina lies the source of the Ayeyarwady river, which winds its way through the whole of Myanmar and is the country's most important lifeline.
PAKOKKU (Pakokku EC)
Pakokku is a district of the Magway Division in central Myanmar. Pokokku town is situated about 30 km 16 miles) northwest of Bagan on the Ayarwaddy River. Pakokku is a typical upper Myanmar market town. The main crops are tobacco and cotton. There is a cigar factory and hand weaving workshop. There are many old wooden monasteries which were used as Buddhist study centres in the time of the old Myanmar kings. Outside of the town is the little known archaeological site of Pakhangyi where there is a museum and a spectacular 19th century wood carved monastery.
PATHEIN (Pathein EC)
Pathein is a port city with a population estimated at about 500,000. It is the capital of the Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar. Pathein is the fourth largest city and is situated 190 kilometers (120 miles) west of Yangon. Pathein has a scenic waterfront and many Buddhist temples, including Shwemokhtaw Pagoda, a Buddhist temple originally founded (according to local legend) by King Asoka of India in 305 BC. The coastline along the Bay of Bengal is surrounded by the Arakan Mountains. The beaches of Chaugtha and Ngwesaung lie about one and a half hours to the West. Pathein is famous for its colourful, hand-painted parasols.
PYAY (Pyay EC)
Pyay is 260 km (160 miles) northwest of Yangon. It is situated between the Bago and Rachkine mountain ranges. It is a small, quiet town with wide tree lined avenues with a population of approximately 123,000. It is an ancient city and there is a UNESCO world heritage site – Srikhittaya which can be visited. At the centre of the town is a clock tower. Another central point is the statue of General Aung San. The main Buddhist temple is the Shwesandaw pagoda. Across the river (via a long bridge) is the Shwebontha pagoda. The EC is situated 2 miles south of the town near to a military base. To the west is the Ayarwaddy River. To the North are various villages.
YANGON (Yankin EC, Thinganyun EC)
Yangon (Yangon) is a former capital of Myanmar (Myanmar) and the capital of Yangon Region. Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw, Yangon, with a population of over five million, continues to be the country's largest city and the most important commercial centre. While many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, Yangon still has one of the largest number of colonial buildings in the region today. Yangon is the most ethnically diverse city in the country. The majority of the population is of Bamar (Myanmarn) descent but there are also large communities of Indians and South Asians and the Chinese still exist especially in the traditional downtown neighbourhoods. Most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a gilded pagoda and stupa 99 metres (325 ft) in height; it is located in the centre of Yangon.
SAGAING (Sagaing EC)
Sagaing is the capital of the Sagaing Division. It is a centre of Buddhism. More than 600 stupas and monasteries and 100 meditation centers can be found here. The population is approximately 300,000. Sagaing is located about 20 km southwest of Mandalay near the former royal city of Ava at the Irrawaddy. The 700 m long Ava Bridge crosses the Irrawaddy and connects Mandalay with Sagaing.
TAUNGGYI (Taunggyi EC)
Taunggyi, the capital city of Shan State in the eastern part of Myanmar, is a former British Hill Station. It is known for its scenic beauty and pleasant climate. Taunggyi is now the business and cultural centre of the Shan State and is populated by around 150,000 inhabitants, which makes it the 4th largest city of Myanmar. Taunggyi is situated about 500 kilometres north of Yangon and about 100 kilometers southeast of Mandalay. The town, on a steep mountain side in the southern reaches of the Himalaya, is mainly inhabited by the Shan ethnic group. Taunggyi is a good place to enjoy the sight of many colourfully dressed hill tribe people. The famous Inle Lake is located in Shan State, about 30 km south of Taunggyi. The journey from Taunggyi down to Inle Lake area takes about an hour.
TAUNGOO (Taungoo EC)
Taungoo is a city in the Bago Region of Myanmar, 220 km from Yangon, towards the north-eastern end of the division, with mountain ranges to the east and west. The main industry is in forestry products, with teak and other hardwoods extracted from the mountains. The city is known for its areca (betel) palms, to the extent that a Myanmar proverb for unexpected good fortune is equated to a "betel lover winning a trip to Taungoo". There are several interesting temples, a lively central market and a pretty lake. Kayin State is less than 22 miles east and Kayah State another 40 miles further east.