With a population of around 150,000, Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State has been a strategic domestic and international trading post for centuries.
It's importance is reflected in its varied ethnic composition, which includes Bamar, Shan and Kachin people and small populations of Indians and Chinese.
The city is located near both the source of the Irrawaddy River and also Indawgyi Lake, one of the largest inland lakes in South East Asia.
Like Putao, it makes a wonderful base for a few days trekking, visiting Kachin villages as you stroll in the sunshine among the forested hillsides.
It's an obvious stop on any route north, reached either by train or by air from Mandalay.