Yaw Region

Yaw MorningYaw region, a region comprises of Gantgaw, Hteeling and Saw Townships, is a region traditionally renown for, or more correctly, notorious for witchcraft. Many Burmese believe that people in Yaw region are masters of witchcraft very well, and they are afraid of the Yaw people. However, I believe these are all false rumors, or rural myth.

The region is situated between the two mountain ranges – Chin Hills in the west and Ponetaung Hills in the east. Because of a lot of rivers and streams flowing in these regions, farms here are generally quite fertile and productive, and the people are quite well off.

The roads to this region are quite rough. Most are just dirt roads. You also have to pass the Pongtaung and Pongnya ranges on these dirt roads, making the trip quite dangerous.

You can take a bus from Mandalay to Gantgaw, the region’s capital. The trip will take the whole day. On your way you will pass Bahin village where many fossils were found.

There are actually not much to see in Gantgaw. The town is quite small, but it is famous for Gantgaw longyi. There are one or two guest houses in Gantgaw. However, they are not very clean.

One thing about the language. They speak Burmese but a different dialect, so it is very difficult to understand what they are talking. Be patient, and kindly ask them to repeat.

Although traditionally famous for witchcraft, there is no trace of such kind in Yaw as far as I could see. And the people are very nice and friendly. You can ask for help anywhere in Yaw, either for lodging or for a meal. And there is no thief in Yaw reagion! You can left your door open and go out the whole day and nobody will steal anything from your home.

19 thoughts on “Yaw Region”

  1. Let me say that rumors about witchcraft of Yaw region have been faded away thesedays. Actually, people from Yaw Region are so simple and generous. It is a difficult work for them to make others hurt. And there are very beautiful scenes in Yaw region. I think transportation difficulty hinder the region from being a travel destination. Now, one air port and rail way station has been opened and running the business, so we can hope Yaw region will become a popular travel site of Myanmar.

    1. In my thought, Yaw people are bi-relationship with Chin and Burman people. So their culture also mostly relationship with Chin and Burmese.We Chin Historians remarked that the Yaw region was ancient dwelling place of the Chin. But nowaday most of historian forget about link between Chin and Yaw. So we need to do more research for that.
      Thanks alot

  2. Thank you for your comment. I have traveled, ate, stayed and slept in various parts of Yaw regions for three years recently, but had found no evidence of witchcraft in Yaw region. Actually, it really is a very nice place. People are also very friendly and generous. I was forced to sleep on the way while I was traveling to Chin Hills because of my bus broke down on the way. Every time, strangers offered me a nice bed, a delicious breakfast and tons of friendship and generosity, and I will never forget them.

    One note about the airport. The airport in Kyauk-tu (near Saw) stopped functioning after a few months’ of service. And the railway link is also horrible: it takes the whole day from Ye-myet-ni (between Gantgaw and Htilynn) to Kalay. The tunnel to cross Pon-taung is officially opened but no train uses this tunnel yet, I don’t know the reason.

    It would be a very nice idea to develop this region into tourist destination, especially as visitors will be able to continue to Chin Hills after Yaw region. However, I think tourists will be more interest in Chin Hills than in Yaw region.

  3. I have many friends in Yaw region and I had been to many many villages and towns in the area. As long as I was in Yaw region, I never worried about what to eat or where to sleep. The Yaw people are super friendly and very generous.No matter you are a stranger or a neighbour, the Yaw people will treat you the same and take care of you like their own. The best people of Burma are found in Yaw region.

    1. Yes you are right. People in Yaw region are very friendly and I will never forget their generosity and friendliness as well as their simplicity.

  4. Sandar, you are so right. Yaw people work so hard from dawn to dusk every single day. They survive without depending on the government’s assistance for the last 40 years. Beans and sesame oil are plenty. At the same time, teak and other kinds of hard wood are pletny too in Yaw region. I wish development programs are brought in this region to wipe out the outdated belief like witchcraft. I just love the Yaw people whether they are accused of having witchcraft or not. I just love to live among them.

  5. Anybody can tell me how to get to Yaw region?
    Any bus from Mandalay? Monywa? Pakokku?
    Is there any licensed guesthouse there for foreigners?
    I only ever bought cloth made in Gantgaw…would like to visit the area someday…

  6. what do you mean by licensed accommodation for foreigners? There are many many guest houses in Gangaw the Yaw city. Only the thing we do not have in Gangaw is Hotel, and Motel. However, you can safely stay in guest house. Yes, as you guess it is. You can visit to Gangaw and have wonderful experience with Yaw People.

  7. The people from other parts of Myanmar are afraid of our Yaw people because of that witchcraft . when I went to Yangon, people never eat the food that I cook.So sad, I really would like to remove that witchcraft thing from our history.

Leave a ReplyCancel reply