Katha is an isolated harbour of almost 24,000 inhabitants by the magnificent Ayeyarwady River in Sagaing Region in Upper Myanmar and bordering the mountains of Shan State in the east. It is where Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name, George Orwell, lived from 1926 to 1927 as an officer of the British Imperial Police Force. And on first glance nothing seems to have changed there since.
Nearly US$3 billion, or at least 5 percent of Myanmar’s current annual gross domestic product – that’s the estimated value of the umbrella atop the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. “As it stood overlooking everything it seemed to explain all about Burma,” Rudyard Kipling wrote about it.
On the banks of the Yangon River, a rusty warehouse that used to stockpile rice and other goods has a new set of doors.
The suspension bridge sways dramatically across a wide, shallow river to the left. To the right, an ornate red gate marks the entrance to Taiwan’s Taroko Gorge National Park – one of the seven natural wonders of Asia.
The flag of Myanmar is soon set to flutter from the world's highest peak thanks to the largesse of tycoon U Tay Za. A team of the country's most experienced mountaineers is setting off this month for a two-month trip to Kathmandu, Nepal, which will be their base for an assault on Mount Everest.