Thanlwin and Gyaing Rivers, Myanmar (Burma) – January 3rd, 2009
This radar image allows us a sharp view of the Thanlwin (visible from North-South) and Gyaing (East-West) Rivers flowing through Myanmar (Burma) and emptying into the Andaman Sea near Mawlamyaing (Moulmien).
The Thanlwin River rises in Tibet, where it is known as the Salween River, after which it flows through Yunnan, where it is called the Nujiang river. It then leaves China and meanders through Myanmar and Thailand (where it is known as the Salawin) on its way to the Andaman Sea.
The river is 2815 km long (click on the thumbnail to open a view including its more northern reaches). For most of its route the river is of little commercial value, as it passes through deep gorges and is often called China’s Grand Canyon. The Thanlwin is navigable for only 89 kilometres from its mouth, and then only in the summer rainy season.
It is home to over 7,000 species of plants and 80 rare or endangered animals and fish. UNESCO said this region “may be the most biologically diverse temperate ecosystem in the world” and designated it a World Heritage Site in 2003.