About Putao


Putao and the surrounding area lie above the Tropic of Cancer, in a zone characterized by subtropical, broadleaf, evergreen forest up to 2000m; temperate, semi deciduous, broadleaf rainforest from 2000m to 3000m; and evergreen, coniferous and sub-alpine snow forest passing into alpine scrub above 3000m. The highlands north of Putao are considered one of the most pristine Himalayan environments in Asia and could become a major ecotourism destination if made accessible to foreigners. The locals’ often refer to the surrounding peaks as the Ice Mountains.

Putao itself is small and picturesque, with a population of about 6000 people. The elevation is 402m above sea level. The army has a strong presence here, including its own nine hole golf course near the military camp. At the Myoma market in town, there are bamboo and wooden handicrafts, and medicines made from local plants. On Sunday following morning mass, many in the church congregation go to the market to watch videos. The most interesting feature of the town is found next to the Mahamuni Pagoda, where the chime bell is made from the propeller of a wrecked WWII aircraft.

During the late British colonial era, a military post called Fort Hertz was based in Putao. By the end of WWII most westerners used this name instead of Putao- it still appears on some older maps. Most of the population of around 10,000 is Kachin and Lisu, followed by Myanmar, Shan and various other smaller tribal groups.

Hkakabo Razi stands 5889m high and is, as its name suggests, snowcapped year-round. Satellite peaks in adjoining massifs include Namni-Lka (4664m) in the Adung Valley and Diphuk-Ha (4360m) in the Seingku Valley. A protected ‘trans-frontier reserve’ has been proposed by neighboring countries.

Interesting Places in Putao: Myoma market, Mularshidi Suspension Bridge.


Names of the places & synomyms

NamKham (Namkhan)

Shinshanghku (Singzanghku)

Dazungdum (Dazungdam)

Dahaungdum (Dahondam, Dahawngdam)

Tashutu (Tazhutu, Dashutu)