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September 9, 2012

The Kanadan river journey

by swebackpacker
Boat on Kanadan River

The mighty Kanadan River flows through the Rakhine state of Myanmar into the Bay of Bengal.  The area around Kanadan River was once the most important farming area of the whole mainland South East Asia feeding millions of people with rice. After the British walk out of Burma leaving Myanmar to be ruled by despots of different kinds this farming area has dwindled from its glory days. Nowadays it can´t even support its own inhabitants with rice for the day, maybe not even bring rice to the people of Rakhine state. For the brave few backpackers who dares to go to the remotest corner of the world it has been a wet dream to do the Kanadan river journey. I turned this wet dream into an unusually wet river journey in the rainy season of 2007. Are you thinking about going? Please dream on Rakhine state are now closed and the Kanadan River Journey impossible. I will keep feeding your dreams with pictures and ideas from my river journey on Kanadan River.

I left Yangon 09:30 in the morning going to the airport for a flight to Sittwe on the west coast. Sittwe is a fishing town in the Rakhine state just south of Bangladesh. This was not a common flight to Sittwe it was a very unusual flight. All passengers had entered the flight but the three first rows in the aircraft had been left empty. Apparently there were more people coming.

Boat on Kanadan River 2

A Buddhist monk entered the aircraft everyone were silent.  The local people admiration and holy silent feelings could almost be touched on when the monk preceded to seat number one. The second highest Buddhist monk of Myanmar was one of the passengers to Sittwe.

Govrnment boat arriving at a small village along the Kanadan River during rainy seanson

In Sittwe the Buddhist monk and his staff left the aircraft first of all a lot of people were meeting him. The monk entered the arrival building between two rows of monks and through the main door. All other passengers walked on the wet grass to use a side door into the arrival building.

Small boy looking out on the sea of people then the boat arrives a small village along Kanadan River

I stayed at centrally located hotel Palace and paid 10 US$ per night (2007). This was a clean well-kept hotel room with air-condition, toilet and shower. The receptionist refused payment in Kayats he took US$ only. I walked down to the harbor pier for a view of the Bay of Bengal. Later on a man told me that this was not the Bay of Bengal it was the river mouth of Kanada. It´s hard to believe it’s so wide that one couldn’t see to the other side.

A small village along Kanadan River

According to the guide book the best restaurant in Sittwe was Kan Si Man. I followed the direction in the guide book but didn´t find the restaurant. I asked a man about Kan Si Man he said it´s next door to Hotel Place. The government had forced the owner to close and move restaurant to Hotel Palace and change name to River Valley. The seafood at restaurant River valley was really very good. This was the best food for the whole tour around Myanmar.

Old women in a small village along Kanadan River

I went up early 05:50 next day since the government boat left for Mrauk-U at 07:00. The price for a sun lounger on upper deck was 4 US$. The boat journey was expected to take 8 hours.

Small boat on Kanadan River

. It was very difficult go on board since there was a plank between the harbor pier and the upper boat deck. It was maybe four meters down to the water surface. Three meters wide gap between pier and boat. The plank was two decimeters wide. The plank weighted up and down then moving from the pier to the boat. I wouldn’t dare thinking about the consequences of falling into the water with a backpack of maybe 25 kg on your back.

Bicycle Trishaw men in Mrauk-U during rainy season

The boat journey started in heavy monsoon rain after a couple of hours the sky cleared and one dared to use the camera. The boat docked at three small villages on the way up to Mrauk-U. This was a great event in each village with a sea of people on the harbor pier. We arrived at Mrauk-U at 15:00 in the afternoon.

© SWEBackpacker, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material including pictures without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to SWEBackpacker with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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