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MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideGeography

Size & Shape

Myanmar covers an area of 671,000 sq km, sandwiched between Thailand and Laos to the east and Bangladesh to the west with India and China bordering country to the north. The country extends from approximately 28*N to 10*N latitude; the Tropic of Cancer crosses the country just above Mogok in the Mandalay Division and also interescts the Chin, Kachin and Shan states.

The shape has been likened to a parrot facing west, with the beak touching Sittwe(Akyab), the claws gripping Yangon, the tail extending down the Tanintharyi peninsula, and outstretched wings forming the three northernmost states. Its greatest length from north to south is approximately 2000km, while east distance is around 100km.
The Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea form the southern boundaries of the country. The central part of the country is marked by expansive plains and wide rivers emptying into the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Martaban (the upper Andaman Sea). Mountains rise to the east along the Thai border and to the north, where you find the easternmost end of the Himalayas (highest elevations around 6000m).

River

Most of the country's agriculture is centred along the floodplains of the 2000km Ayeyarwady River (spelt Irrawaddy in former times), which flows south from its source (actually the confluence of two rivers), 27km north of Myitkyina, to a vast delta region along the Gulf of Martaban south-west of Yangon. Navigable year round for at least 1500km, the Ayeyarwady has played a major rolein domestic transport and communications for centuries. At the height of British rule, as many as nine million passengers a year were carried along this huge river by the colonial Irrawaddy Flotilla Company. The company even operated a class of luxury paddle wheelers fitted with polished brass-and-wood trim.

Other major rivers are the chindwin (navigable for 792km), which joins the Ayeyarwady between Mandalay and Bagan; the Kaladan (navigable for 177km), which flows from Paletwa in the southern Chin State to the Bay of Bengal at Sittwe; the Sittoung (formerly Sittang; non-navigable due to strong currents), which flows through Taungoo and meets the sea between Bago and Mawlamyaing; and the Thanlwin (formerly Salween; navigable for just 89km), which has its headwaters in China, and for some distance forms the border between Myanmar and Thailand before eventually reaching the sea at Mawlamyaing. The Mekong River forms the border between Myanmar and Laos.

Mountains

The Himalayas rise in the north of Myanmar, and Hkakabo Razi, right on the border between Myanmar and Tibet, is the highest mountain in South-East Asia at 5889m. Gamlang Razi is only slightly lower at 5835m. West of Bagan towards Rakhaing, Mt Victoria rises to 3053m. A wide expanse of Yangon, but hill ranges running north-south separate the central plain from Myanmar's neighbours.

Coastline

Myanmar's coastline extends 2832km from the mouth of the Naaf River near Bangladesh to the southern tip of Tanintharyi Division near Tanong, Thailand. Coastal barrier and delta islands are common in the estuarial areas stretching from the Rakhaing State to Mawlamyaing. Off peninsular Myanmar, farther south, over a thousand continental islands dot the littoral sea, forming a mostly uninhabited island group sometimes called the Mergui Archipelago.

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