Photo: A day on the river.

Jaun Yua

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A trip to Jaun Yua can include a wander around the remote and friendly village, a boat trip up the picturesque Ye River and a spectacular sunset visit to a hilltop pagoda. This fascinating and unusual half-day excursion was suggested and facilitated for us by the helpful Starlight Guesthouse staff.

If Ye town isn’t already far enough off the beaten path for you, then Jaun Yua village, around 15 kilometres upriver, should do the trick. Often noted on maps as Kyaung Ywa, this large and very traditional riverbank settlement has a population of Mon, Karen and a tiny minority of Bamar. The Thai border lies around another 15 kilometres east of here. The Ye River emerges from the border hills passing Jaun Yua before meandering across the plantations and paddies of the coastal plain to Ye and on to the mangroves of the estuary. Locals here refer to the river by the same name as their village.

Boat for heading up the Ye River. Photo taken in or around Jaun Yua, Ye, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Boat for heading up the Ye River. Photo: Mark Ord

From the village jetty, your guide will hire a motorised longtail boat to carry you further upriver. Our stops included a beautiful sandy beach, a tiny riverbank pagoda and a small fruit farm. The river at this point has a mainly rocky bed so it’s crystal clear and perfect for swimming off the sandy beach. Karen people float large rafts of bamboo, cut in the hills upstream, to sell in the village and watching them punt the wide rafts downstream is fascinating. Another sight may be the myriad sheets of betel nuts drying on sandbanks. Our guide told us they were one of the village’s main crops, being exported from here as far as India.

A large gold and green painted column or tower emerging from the waters and topped by a Buddha image indicates a small pagoda at a fork in the river. Here we went ashore to visit the pagoda with its small chedi and nat shrines and to take a look around the temple’s fruit and vegetable garden. How far upstream you go depends upon water levels and how much time you have, but during dry season you may find yourself getting out to push at certain points. The tree-lined river is beautiful and a good spot to catch glimpses of kingfishers, herons and egrets along the banks.

Punted down from the hills by Karen, the rafts are dismantled and the bamboo sold in the village. Photo taken in or around Jaun Yua, Ye, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Punted down from the hills by Karen, the rafts are dismantled and the bamboo sold in the village. Photo: Mark Ord

Back in the friendly village, a wander around and stop at a local tea shop was followed by a climb up to Shwe Maw Daw, the hilltop pagoda at the western end of the village’s main street. A flight of steps lined with Buddha images takes you up to a gold-painted chedi on the summit, from where you’ll get stupendous views of the surrounding countryside, back over the river and across to the mountains on the border.

We hired our own motorbikes and paid the village boatman while the guesthouse owner found one of his English students, who hails from Jaun Yua and was more than happy to show us around his home town. If you don’t wish to hire a bike yourself then alternatives include return boat all the way from Ye, riding pillion on a moto-taxi or seeing if Starlight can dig up some kind of van or tuk tuk. We paid 10,000 kyat to the boatman but that obviously depends upon how far you go. We tipped our amateur but excellent local guide a similar amount.

Not too shabby: the Ye or Jaun Yua River. Photo taken in or around Jaun Yua, Ye, Burma_myanmar by Mark Ord.

Not too shabby: the Ye or Jaun Yua River. Photo: Mark Ord

Ours was a half-day trip but you could make a day of it by hiring a boat all the way from Ye and back and perhaps grabbing some chicken and rice in the market for a riverbank picnic. Jaun Yua village has several simple curry shops too. Whichever way you go, it’s a fantastic trip and strongly recommended.

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Jaun Yua
15 kilometres upriver from Ye.

Location map for Jaun Yua

Popular attractions in Ye

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 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ye.
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