Home / Exotic & Adventurous / Khakaborazi/Hkaborazi Mountain

 

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To move, to breathe, to fly, to float. To gain all while you give. To roam the roads of lands remote. To travel is to live. -Hans Christian Andersen

In the foothills of the Himalayas in northern Putao situate Mt. Khkakabo Razi, the highest snow-capped mountain in South East Asia. Towering at 19361 ft, 5889 meter is a very important watershed area for the eastern Ayeyarwady river (Nmaihka). Locally known as Ahtanbum meaning mysterious Sprit abode, thus no one dare venture it in centuries. The flagship trek of the area lies more than 440 kilometers away from nearest airstrip which takes nearly 6 weeks to complete.

Like the main Himalayas, these mountains are heavily affected by the monsoon. Khkakabo Razi is certainly not a walkup. Huge cliffs, hanging glaciers with large crevasses, and corniches, makes it a mountain not to be toyed with. The approach to the mountain is a major obstacle: Streams have to cross over instable bridges, over huge gorges. For the most part, journeys are made on foot along footpaths that hug the mountainsides and wind through dense jungle undergrowth. This is a place of pristine beauty, exotic cultures and some of the most radical topography on earth.

Getting There

By Air (Recommended) – Air Bagan, Air Kambawza and Myanmar Airways (Domestic) schedule to operate twice weekly flight respectively between Mandalay, Myitkyina and Putao. Puta-O is now better known as the starting point for climbers looking to reach the Mount Khakabo Razi base camps.

By Bus/Road – Serenely remote, Puta-O can be accessed by road most of the year (sometimes the roads aren’t accessible during monsoon). The roads are in a very bad shape and taking a private might cost you more than a flight ticket.

Getting Around

There are limited numbers of motor vehicles available in Putao. Sharing one vehicle among many clients is common due to limited resources.

Things To Do

The Summit

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The adventure is out there.

Hkakabo Razi actually was a mountain range thus there are many gorges between mountains and several peaks of 5000 to 5500 meters. One consider lucky to spot the Hkakaborazi at one single try which usually hidden behind the mist and cloud thus people hardly see it. Its northern face is rather step reef with “jagged rocks” having pile by pile of rock surface looks the mountain somewhat scary. Also it makes such scary sounds having stone and water falling down owing melting ice which brings stone boulders down along with them in to the river bed.

The important factor to be considered before climbing the mountain is the timing. The serious thread would be of avalanche which could wipe out everything in no time. Thus you simply have to choose when there is no avalanche in the mountain which will be during monsoon months of June and September in which you have relatively easy path to scale but will have to suffer twice to get to the base by mean of wet, over flow of torrent water in the stream, mud and leeches. You can still do it during October and November where there is less rain and leeches but dry weather yet not too much snow in the mountains.

 Puta-O Town

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Once home to the British colonial outpost of Fort Hertz in Kachin state, Puta-O is now better known as the starting point for climbers looking to reach the Mount Khakabo Razi base camps. Serenely remote, Puta-O can be accessed by road most of the year, though you’re better off taking a domestic flight into the town. Accommodation is limited if you’re a foreigner, and visitors will usually find themselves at the Puta-O Trekking House or the more luxurious Malikha Lodge. Both are more than willing to assist in arranging for attempts on Mount Khakabo Razi or trips into the national park. Be sure to set aside a reasonable block of time, as some of the more arduous treks can take as long as 15 days, though it will be worth it. Putao has a small morning market, where you can buy cheap woolen hats, fleeces and cheap boots imported from China.

Trails at Khakaborazi National Park

 

Khakaborazi was established first in 1996 as a nature reserve and then as a national park in 1998 in order to protect the biodiversity around the mountain which is the perfect habitat for rare butterflies and various kind of Orchids. The park supports a combination of vegetation types from dense tropical lowland jungle, through subtropical hill forest and temperate rainforest to high altitude alpine meadows and glaciers.The park supports a combination of vegetation types from dense tropical lowland jungle, through subtropical hill forest and temperate rainforest to high altitude alpine meadows and glaciers. Here is the list of popular trails destinations.

1)      Machanbaw –A small administrative town 22 km south Putao. Beautifully set up with colonial style, connected by 211 meter long Malikha suspension bridge. On a hill near Machanbaw is the so-called “Stone Dragon”, a natural rock formation that looks like a giant Mulashidi suspension bridgedragon.

2)      Mulashidi – Meaning in Lisu “ the village stands in the thatch field along Mula River ”. Beautifully set up Lisu village lies 14 km south of Putao connected by 159 meter long suspension bridge and provides a fascinating view to the mountains as a backdrop.

3)      Namkham – Originally by Hkamti name meaning “Golden river” but later transformed in to a large Rawan village, situate at the bottom of Namhti mountain range, rich with biodiversity of flora and fauna. Famous for its production of Grapefruit, Washington Naval, Vlincha, Ruby and King Oranges and Maerica Lime which once introduced by missionary from USA.

4)      Nam Htu Koo – A large Lisu village, situate 20 km west of Putao on the cross road to blazing 3495 meters high Mt. Lancrumadin, one of the prominent mountains is the area. A perfect overnight trek or day return bike from Putao. Agriculture is of main source of living thus Namhtunkoo has a large plain of rice field fill with much of activities especially during the harvest Nov/Dec which should not be missed.

5)      Nomung Nomung – The last frontier town is situated 125 km north of Putao at an altitude of 500 meters above sea. N omung Township probably is one of the most sparsely populated areas in Asia having two people per square mile ratio. Inhabitat by several species of snakes, tiger, leopard, bear, monkeys, samba, barking deer, Black Mountain, goat mole and birds. And there live Takin, red mountain goat, flying squirrel and domesticated wild ox (mythun) on the mountains in the northern part of the region

6)      Ziyadum – It is situated about 60 kilometers west of Putao with an altitude at 1040 meters. Ziyadum is one of the last frontier villages in Myanmar. Inhabitants are predominately Rawan tribe. This area is beautiful with pristine forests and fast flowing rivers. Ziyadum is center points for many mountains in the areas such as Phonyin, Ziya, Pangram and Phungam which all are of snow-capped during winter.

Fort Hertz

It was a remote British Military outpost in northeastern Myanmar in the district of Putao in Kachin State in the present town of Putao. It was named after William Axel Hertz. Hertz led the first expeditions into the far north of Myanmar in 1888, was responsible for the 1912 Gazateer of Kachin Hills area and served as the first Deputy Commissioner of the Government in the Putao District. The military post was established in 1914 and given the name Fort Hertz in 1925 consequent with the retirement of William Hertz from the Indian Civil Service.

The last surviving Tarongs

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Named after their original Tarong river valley in China. They are known as “Pigmy of Myanmar” as average height is 4 ft. Unfortunately they are less capable compare to other tribes in the region. Population has been decreasing every year since they have no more marriage partner thus forced to merry among the closed family which caused a massive defection on newly born thus are about to extinct. Tarong live in a region of breathtaking scenic natural beauty, amid pristine forests that are host to myriad exotic flowers and plants and constitute the habitat of many rare species of wild animals.

River Rafting

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Rafting expeditions (mainly organized by local trekking houses) , whether on the easy Mula/Malikha river, moderate Namlang river or the ever challenging and adventurous Maykha river, are staffed by experienced raft guide and support professionals. This is a place of pristine beauty, exotic cultures and some of the most radical topography on earth.

 
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