Northern Myanmar is a region of Myanmar.
 Other destinations
Kachin State has been de facto independent from central government's control since 1962, when the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) unilaterally seceded from the Union of Myanmar. A peace deal struck in 1994 after a government army offensive made the arrangement more or less permanent, with the KIO-controlled area formalized as Kachin State Special Region #1, although KIO itself promptly split up into squabbling factions and the internal situation remains precarious at best.
In Special Region #1, Mandarin will get you a lot further than Burmese (or English).
 Get in
Getting in depends on where you're going. For access to government-controlled areas like the capital Myitkyina, there are direct flights from Yangon, although the adventurous may also opt to travel by train from Mandalay (24-30 hours). For the rebel-controlled north, you'll either have to battle your way through massive bureaucracy to secure permits, or take the easier way out and enter via China.
 Get around
Myitsone (Mali Zup), a confluence of Mali and Nmai Rivers, a naturally splendid for hangout and fun.
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 Stay safe
 Get out