Mytchinya had only just opened to tourists a couple of months before so I decided to have a look around. I was traveling with my mate Dave and he was up for an adventure as well. Mytchinya is located in Katchin state, Northern Burma. Mytchinya is located on the Ayerwaddy River and is surrounded by remote and majestic mountains.
After a couple of days treasure hunting around the town we managed to locate some nice amber that didn't cost an arm and a leg, but there wasn't much else around. I was specifically looking for a beautiful textile made in the region by the Jingpaw people who were from this area but all I could find were modern examples made with synthetic yarns. The ones I wanted were a mix of wool and dog hair. Maybe if I got out into the hills id have more luck, I’d heard that tourists were now allowed to ride motor bikes in Mandalay, so I found a policeman and asked him if Dave and I could ride, he said yes, but only if we wore a helmet. After promising him about the helmet, we went in searchofbikes. Atthe railway lines a bunch of young crew were hanging out, so we asked them if we could rent their bikes. We had to convince them that foreigners were allowed, then they said why not, how's $10 a day. No problem.
The next day we headed off and after talking the night before, decided to head to China. On the map the Chinese boarder didn't look that far. We headed north out of town and across the Ayerwaddy river, the views were great, beauty every where, vast networks of rice paddy, interspersed with giant bamboo forests, a myriad of creeks to the east and the mighty Ayerwaddy river heading south to our west. Now this was fun! We powered along on our crappy 125cc Chinese bikes. After taking a turn to the east we started to head into the hills, the jungle was amazing so green and alive. The riding was pretty good too, one section of mud through a small town was memorable, mud everywhere, and lots of laughs, I think we did it three times with all the local people in hysterics! Ah this is the life. Flat tyres were particularly common for Dave, which kind of sucked, luckily in Burma any one can fix a flat from the smallest kid to the oldest lady. We headed deeper in to the jungle and came to a town where they were mining gold in the river. The scenery was wild, massive bamboo and teak forests and beautiful clear creeks and rivers. Mist floated all around us and there were butterfly's of all shapes and colors everywhere, a really cool spot. Not long after Dave and myself were separated.
Dave needed to attend to nature so pulled off the road and went down a sidetrack, he was ahead of me and I didn’t see him so kept riding. I rode for another hour and a half, I must have been pretty close to the border but I hadn't caught up with Dave. I turned back now worried that he had crashed off the side of the road. I was riding back and came round a typical jungle corner onto a little flat with some rice growing, Crack! What was that? I think some one may have shot at me. Full speed to the next village, Don't F around in the golden triangle! When I came to the next village I spoke to an old guy who said he had seen Dave go past, he said that I was most probably shot at by one of the farmers or possibly by a soldier or a resistance fighter thinking I was a spy. Not too uncommon by the sound of things. Quite a few people had gathered by this time, they all said that we were the first white people that had been in the area for along time. An old lady piped in with, you be careful young man there is a tiger around. Every one agreed that a tiger did visit the village a few days before and that I should indeed be careful. I said bye and headed off in search of Dave .I found him not too far away pushing his bike with another flat back to the village I had just left. An hour later we left and headed back to Mytchinya again.
It was mid afternoon and really hot and clear, we were both really sun burnt on our arms and the tops of our legs so we stopped and caked mud and stuck teak leaves to our arms. This worked well but a long sleeved top would have been great. About an hour later we were stopped at a military checkpoint, ok here we go. The guard asked why we were trying to enter Burma from China; we were in big trouble he told us. I told him that we had ridden from Mytchinya and were on the way back there. It took a while to convince him but when we did he told us we must go back immediately and if stopped to say that he had sent us back. We had evidently ridden through 2 checkpoints without being stopped. He had been sleeping and had missed us on the way through. Nothing but nice scenery from then on till we reached Mytchinya and some dinner followed closely by bed. Oh and a shower to clean off the mud. The next day a guy I had met had found me some of the textiles I wanted which was great. We hung around a few more days then headed south
I took some really cool photos but when I arrived back in Thailand my SD card was mysteriously missing from my camera, which was a bit annoying. This area was closed to travelers a few months after we left so I guess we were lucky we saw what we did