Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing,
Text on page 153
THE TRADE ROUTES OF UPPER BURMAH.
Three routes proceed from Bham to Momien, viz., Sawaddy, Loaylone, and Ponline. I travelled over the last two, and, therefore, am in a position to give an opinion on their respective merits, and as the first was reported on by a Burmese surveyor who had accompanied us by the latter route, I can contrast his experience of the Sawaddy road with mine by the other two.
Before describing the general characters of these routes, it should be observed that they are more or less hill-paths made by the Kakhyens, who, like other mountain tribes, do not generally select their routes as being the easiest, but the shortest ways. If a steep hill-spur intervenes between a Kakhyen and a point he wishes to make for, he seldom thinks of rounding the spur by the gentle slope along its side, but carries his path right over its crest, and as this principle has been almost universally adopted, the routes, as they at present exist, cannot be regarded as giving any fair indication of the capabilities of these hills for road-making, for it should be no difficult task for an engineer to lay out a road even from Tsitkaw to Manwyne, that would be little more than a gentle gradient that might be travelled with little or no fatigue. The construction of a good cart road from the plains of Burmah to the Shan states would be mere child's play, compared with such gigantic undertakings as the cart road from the Terai to Darjeeling, and those to other hill stations of India. What is at present wanted, however, is to indicate the route from Bham to Western China that offers the fewest difficulties to traverse, apart altogether from any contemplated improvements that might be ultimately achieved through engineering skill.
The Ponline and Loaylone routes respectively follow the northern and southern sides of the comparatively narrow valley through which the Tapeng precipitates itself from the Sanda valley to the plains of Burmah ; and the Sawaddy, or as it is sometimes called the Kaungtoung route, lies to the south of the Loaylone road. They have all a north-eastern course over the Kakhyen hills, the Ponline route making for the valley of Sanda, the Loaylone either for Hotha, or the valley of Nantin, and