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States and divisions - Ayeyarwaddy division
Ayeyarwaddy division is where the Ayeyarwaddy river splits into many streams and drains into the Andaman sea. The Ayeyarwaddy delta is a level flat plain with the exception of low western hills, the extension of the Rakhine mountain range. Many river streams rich in minerals collected along hundreds of kilometers of run through the middle of the country, islands, swamp land, wet land, sands, muds and mangrove forests, bush forests and large rice fields are the topography of the division.
According to the geographic study the forming of the delta is not yet complete, and is still expanding.
The division is the largest rice producer of the country. Apart from rice it produces sesame, ground nut, jute, maize, tobacco, and fruits such as bananas, mangoes, coconuts and so on. Drainage is the main problem facing the agriculture industry due to heavy rains, river flooding, low land, and close proximity to the sea.
River and sea products are also popular; and there are agriculture related industries such as rice mills, jute mills, as well as shipping and trading industries in the division. A cement production plant is in Kyangin on the western side of the Ayeyarwaddy river, in the north. The tidal and mangrove forests in the division produce firewood that is used within and outside the division. Due to the insufficient supply of gas, oil and electricity, firewood is still the main energy source for many parts of the country. Pathein, the capital of the division, is one of the major sea ports of Myanmar. It is located 104 km from the sea mouth via Ngawun river. Most of the rice export out of the division leave the country from Pathein port.
Transport and tourism
Until 1990's the division has been ignored by majority of foreign tourists due to lack of proper transportation and accommodations. The road from Yangon to Pathein is now in somewhat good conditions, travel time being around 4 hours. The road between Pathein and the famous Ngwe Saung and Chaung Tha beaches on the Bay of Bangal is also improving. Up to March 2004 it is necessary to cross the Ngawun river by boat to the western side to continue to the beaches. The construction of a bridge may be finished in a few years.
The road linking Pathein to Sagaing division (Monywa, Kale, etc.) is being developed. The road passes the plain of Magwe division between the Ayeyarwady river and the western hills of Rakhine and Chin states. Local people have been traveling on this route as well as to the northern Rakhine state, and Chin state. However foreign travellers are rarely seen on this route. There is no basic facilities such as toilets, rest areas, proper food shops, telephones, accommodations along many hundreds of kilometers long route.
Travel to the towns and islands in the south of the division is possible by boats or combination of river and land. There are regular ferry boats linking major towns of the division and Yangon. Smaller towns and villages could be reached by hiring small private boats. Most tourists travel to Pathein for a night and continue to the beaches on the west. There is a plan to build an air field near Ngwe Saung beach. Kanthaya beach to the north of Chaung Tha, is beautifully located between the sea and the lower hills of Rankhine range. Travel is possible by road.
Accommodations are concentrated in Ngwe Saung, Chaung Tha and Kanthaya beaches and the capital Pathein.