Features - The Irrawaddy Magazine
Black Gold Rush

Oil fields abandoned by Burma’s state-owned oil company have turned into a lawless arena for local drillers and petrol smugglers.

Yangon’s Pedal Power

The commercial capital’s ubiquitous “sai kaa” cycle rickshaws support a sizeable workforce, and offer a unique way to see the city.

Talking Peace, Thinking War

Burma’s vaunted “peace process” is in danger of collapsing, as the beating of war drums begins to drown out the sound of talks.

A Day in the Valley of Darkness

A Polish explorer travels to Hukawng Valley, which he describes as Burma in miniature — a place where the entire country’s problems are concentrated.

‘The Last Headhunter’

A Polish writer travels to a remote village in northern Burma and sips tea with a former Naga chief headhunter.

Growing Opium Makes Economic Sense for Kayan Farmers

Farmers in the southern tip of Burma’s Shan State say that growing poppies can earn them 10 times more than planting other crops.

Craftsmen and Toymakers Struggle to Survive in Sagaing

Burmese traditional arts face a dwindling market in Sagaing, the cultural sister city of Mandalay that is famous for pottery and papier mâché.

Left Behind, Elderly Find an Advocate in Burma

A co-founder of the Free Funeral Services Society turns her attention to assisting the elderly who are left behind when their younger caretakers die.

Burmese Food Truck to Deliver Street Eats With a Side of Tolerance

Fund-raising is under way to launch the Rangoon-based Harmoneat truck, which will serve dishes from various ethnic groups along with a note about cultural traditions.

Japan’s Thilawa Aid Widens Burma Factories vs Farms Divide

Critics say the landmark Thilawa special economic zone is pushing families deeper into poverty, and accuse local officials of strong-arm tactics to force resettlements.

Burma Land Grab Victims Turn to Black Magic

Frustrated by a lack of resolution through conventional means, some land grab victims in Burma are turning to old ways: curses and black magic.

A Murky Story

The legend of the Dhammazedi Bell, supposedly lost in the murky Yangon River, has long chimed with dreamers and schemers alike.

The Lotus of SoHo Comes Home

After a successful run in one of the world’s fashion meccas, a designer brings her talents back to her homeland.

Forgotten, but Not Gone

Half a millennium after the Portuguese first set foot in Myanmar, their legacy lives on in a remote corner of the country’s north.

Making Opium (and the Past) Go Away

A peculiar little museum in a remote corner of eastern Myanmar’s Shan State shows how to eradicate drugs—and erase history.

Burma’s Clunkers Scrapped in Rush for ‘New’ Cars

As Burma’s reform-minded leadership opens the economy, automakers are seeking pole positions in what might become one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

The Banyan Trees of Pindaya

The beautiful centuries-old trees at a cave complex in Shan State create the perfect atmosphere for a famous mile-long pagoda festival.

From Civil War to the Refugee Camp to the Newsroom

Saw Yan Naing writes about the obstacles he overcame before becoming a senior reporter at The Irrawaddy and joining the East-West Center’s Jefferson Fellowship.

Water Supply Strains to Meet Demands of Growing Rangoon

Pressure on Rangoon’s water supply is growing as the urban population increases and development projects put greater demand on the main pipe feeding the city.

Burma Opium Fight Failing; Soldiers Shooting Up

A village in Burma’s remote northeast lays bare the country’s struggle to rein in its narcotics problems, from rising poppy production to rampant drug addiction.