The Irresistible Irrawaddy
The Irrawaddy river system is the wet backbone of Burma and filters four main rivers as it drains thousands of square kilometres of rich fertile land and is a home to hundreds of species of fish, birds and mammals. This river system is one of the reasons why Burma is very rich in natural resources.
Flowing down from the foothills of the Himalayas, the ice cold pure natural waters would traverse over 2,000 km, sustaining life all the way, until it finally meets the warm coast of the Andaman Ocean. There are a number of connecting canals running off of the Irrawaddy used mainly to trade goods and transport people. Up to this day, these are still being done regularly. When Burma was colonized by the British, they used this river almost all the time.
Today, the river is popular because it houses the famous but endangered Irrawaddy dolphin. In fact, this precious dolphin is one of the reasons why tourists, especially those who love nature, are constantly visiting Burma. The site of this animal is simply amazing. If you are lucky, you might also get to see the Irrawaddy crocodile.
The River is still home to the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin that has attracted visitors and inspired sightseers for many years. There is also the well-known salt water crocodile at the mouth of the Irrawaddy that turns the brackish water as its home just where this famous river drains into its delta.
Though the river is busy most of the time because of all the trade and transportation going on, it might be difficult to find serenity in the river. But there are still a lot of great spots to hang out in. Being one with the water is essential and is really life changing.
The Burmese Coast Mangroves is one of the greatest prides and joy, not only of Myanmar, but the whole of Asia. It is a home to many eco systems. Trees are all over the place but lately, the mangroves have been jeopardized. First, people have seemed to prioritize land development. Moreover, timber is being continuously logged in the area. It is illegal but no one can seem to put a stop to it. Second, there is a great build-up of residue around the mangrove. Because of this build-up, the supposed progress is being affected. This, in turn, results to continuous deforestation though the Irrawaddy River tries to battle it. There is a lot of fertile soil around but there is simply no improvement on increasing, or at least maintaining, the amount of trees present. Good thing, there are many people who have genuine concern for the forest and are constantly trying to reverse the process. For instance, there is the Mein-ma-hla Kyun Wildlife Sanctuary which is a wetland conservation effort which dedicate themselves in prioritizing nature over property and land development.
This majestic river represents the calm and tranquil flow of everyday life for a large part of Burma’s culture. The Irrawaddy has inspired the Burmese as if a token of peace for eternity and it is quite rightly, part of their spirituality. With a rich history of providing the diverse and beautiful culture of Burma, the river would provide the perfect back drop to all the colourful images of an ancient lifestyle still honoured today.