Bhamo is a city of Kachin State located in the northernmost part of Myanmar (Burma), 186 km (116 miles) south from the capital city of the state of Myitkyina (Kachin). It lies on Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River, within 65 km (40 miles) of the border with the Chinese Yunnan Province. The population of 47,920 inhabitants (2009 census) consists of Shan and Chinese, with Kachin peoples found in the hills around the city. Bhamo is also the administrative center of Bhamo Township and Bhamo District.
Bhamo was a major trading post with the Chinese Empire up to the 19th century when copper coins out of China flowed into Burma through Bhamo. The records of VOC (United Dutch East India Company) identified the copper coins as an important profit source, and also mention the presence of Customs Office in Bhamo, regulating the border trade.
During 1869-1879, Bhamo was the seat of the British colonial Assistant political agent. As of 1935, the city was situated at the river's highest navigable point and was the terminus of caravan routes from Burma and India, by which jade was brought into China.
The city of Bhamo was once named Sampanago, the capital of Shan predecessor kingdom of Wanmaw, now extinct. The ruins of the old city walls, which date from the 5th Century, are found about 5 km (3 miles) from the modern town.
A Myanma Airways flight is available once per week, as are 3 times per week river ferries. Bhamo is the terminus of river ferries out of Mandalay. There is no river ferry between the state capital Myitkyina and Bhamo. The land route between Mu Se District (Muse, located in the Northern Shan State) and the city of Bhamo, is in poor condition.
Bhamo is among the official border trading cities between Myanmar and China. It is home to Bhamo Degree College.