Katha and Upper Irrawaddy: Back in Time

Katha, seemingly unknown to most travelers, hold a special historical value by being the outpost station of Britain in the colonial time. It is also where George Orwell – the famous author – resided during his youth working as a policeman. The town is almost inaccessible to foreign visitors and in order to reach this remote town, the only way is through the cruise trip upstream from either Bagan and Mandalay.

Once you embark on this particular itinerary, it will place you to places that rarely any traveler has set foot on before. Passing through the popular Mingun you will arrive in The Third Defile where the current is harsh and plentiful as the water rush down from the Himalayan Heights.

Mingun Paya

Afterward, we will arrive in Kyauk Myauing – a charming and typical town whose population’s main occupation is farming and potteries. 

Resume the expedition, we will arrive in Kha Nyat an important archaeological site and then go toward Hti-chaing. Between these two town is the dolphin ground where by luck you can spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin on the verge of extinction. 

Irrawaddy Dolphin

Being a former British outpost station, Katha naturally still has structures from the colonial times with designs influence by Victorian style. One major standout is the British Club House which were a focal point in the sad novel of Orwell. The building still stands tall and proud nowadays but no longer serves as a club house. It can be found in the northern part of the town and requires special permission to enter inside.

British Club House

Next to the club house is the tennis ground which is still in use even now and George Orwell’s old house. Obviously with the existence of the club house, there is also a golf course nearby however it is not kept in the best condition and mostly reserved for the local. Another highlight in town is the resting place of some ancient ship of Irrawaddy Flotilla Company which were sunk to avoid the seizing of the Japanese force during the World War II. 

Orwell's Old House

After leaving the town and going upstream again, we arrive in The Second Defile. One of the most iconic sights that have been immortalized through painting and photos from the very first Anglo-Burma War. The towering steep mountain sat dormant beside the mighty Irrawaddy River has inspired many artist to create masterpiece of this faraway land.

Old photo of the Second Defile

These are some of the major highlights you will be able to experience with the cruise trip toward the Upper Irrawaddy. The journey will be full of learning experience about the culture and history of the struggling nation. 

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