Myanmar - Tourism
Padaung (Long Neck) People
One of the most striking of these groups is the long necked Padaung national living in the Shan State of Myanmar. Their unique attractiveness is their well acclaimed brass rings on the women’s necks. There are two kinds of Padaung, one who puts rings on women’s necks called “ long-necked Padaungs” and the other, without rings on women’s necks called short necked Padaungs .Interesting to note is how padaung women put the rings on their necks, a tradition passed down from their great grand parents to this day. At the early ages of five or six years, spiral brass rings are put around the Padaung girl’s neck. More neck rings are added every four years, up to nine times until the age of (45). By the last round, the rings will weigh about (5) kg. This custom of neck rings has attracted a great deal of interest.
Myeik or Mergui Archipelago, located in southern most part of Myanmar, comprises over 800 beautiful islands. Due to its virtual isolation, the islands and surrounding seas are alive with an amazing diversity of flora & fauna and very beautiful underwater scenes and marine life.
The only human inhabitants in this area are sea gypsies, namely Salon (Moken) in Myanmar. They live on boats during dry season and remain on land during rainy season. They still practice the same fishing and boat building techniques used for generation.
Being affectionate to sea, much skilful in swimming and diving, their ways of life and customs are so characteristic that traditional festival will be launched intending to attract international tourists as well as to operate marine eco-tourism around the islands in Myeik Archipelago of Myanmar.
Nat Ma Taung (or) Mount Victoria National Park is located in Kan-pet-let, Mindut and Matupi townships of southern Chin State. It covers an area of 279 square-miles, and is established in 1994. The Mountain is about 320 miles, from Yangon to Bagan-Nyaung-Oo, by flight, Bagan-Nyaung-Oo to Chauk, 18 miles by car, Chauk via Seikpyu to Hsaw, 68 miles by car and Hsaw to Kan-pet-let, 12 miles by car or Hsaw to Mindut, 42 miles by car. Nat Ma Taung national park preserve rare species of Myanmar Orchids.
Mount Hponkan Razi
Hponkan Razi is situated in Putao Township, Kachin State, in the uppermost part of Myanmar. Hiking, Walking and recreation in the natural forest environment is the main attraction of this mountain. There are opportunities for observing the tradition, culture and life style of indigenous hill tribes. Hponkan Razi is usually snow-capped half the year. Rare mammals and bird species dwell in this region, which can survive in high altitude. Observing 30 mammal species including Red Panda, Takin, Red goral which can be found in East-Himalayan. There are over 200 bird species including Monayrit and hill pine forest, evergreen forest, medicinal plants and wild rare orchids.
Mount Khakaborazi is Southeast Asia's highest mountain, located in Kachin State, in the northern Myanmar. The elevation of this mountain is 5,881 metres (19,294 ft). It has extended from the range of the Himalayas. The coordinates are 28°19'59"N, 97°28'00"E. The peak is enclosed within Khakaborazi National Park. It is entirely mountainous and is characterized by broad-leaved evergreen rain forest, a subtropical temperate zone from 2438 metres to 2743 metres (8,000 ft to 9,000 ft), then broadleaved, semi-deciduous forest and finally needle-leaved evergreen, snow forest.Above 3353 metres (11,000 ft)the highest forest zone is alpine, different not only in kind from the forest, but different in history and origin. Still higher up, around 4572 metres (15,000 ft) cold, barren, windswept terrain and permanent snow and glaciers dominate. At around 5,334 metres (17500 ft) there is a large ice cap with several outlet glaciers.
Mount Khakaborazi was first ascended on September 15, 1996 by Takashi Ozaki (Japan) and Nyama Gyaltsen (Myanmar).
Rafting and river expedition trips in Myanmar are available with some of the tour operators. The Nam Lang River expedition in Kachin state combines the thrill of Class 3 and 4 white-water through thickly forested canyons, with a closer insight into the people and way of life unchanged for centuries. The Nam Lang River is without a doubt one of the most exciting journeys in Myanmar.
Air Ballooning in Bagan
Myanmar has the ancient city Bagan in the middle plains of the country. Visitors from all over the world have always been excited to view the “finest sights” of the world which include the city of Bagan. Now, international and local tourists can have the inspiration of viewing the sights of Bagan from a hot air balloon too.
The Balloon flights usually take place early in the morning. At sunrise and before sunset are the best times for the viewers to go up. The flight usually takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour. From the Balloon, one can see the most magnificent monuments and the unforgettable scenes in Bagan. Balloons over Bagan is a private Myanmar company that is committed to the preservation of Bagan and its environment. A contribution from each flight will be donated to community programs that directly benefit the local population. Balloons over Bagan operates from October to the end of March with a total capacity of 40 passengers per day.
Ngapali Beach is situated about 7km away from Thandwe, one of the ancient Rakhine towns. The beach stretches about 3 km with soft white sand fringed by coconut palms. It serves as the best ground for sunbathing and recreation. Ngapali is the most famous beach in Myanmar. It is said to have been named after the Naple of Italy by a homesick Italian. It is famous for its natural and unspoiled beauty up to this day. There are only natural scenic beauty of the blue sea, white sand and the lovely sun. The sea is cobalt blue, without any dangerous marine animals and clean. Bicycle tours are available to visit the nearby villages.
Chaung Thar Beach
Chaung Thar Beach is located 40 km to the west of Pathein in Ayeyarwady Region. It is about 5 hrs drive from Yangon. It is attractive and wide with not only coconut palms but also casuarinas trees found at the back of the beach. Two small islands can be seen offshore. The crab dishes of Chaung Thar Beach are also delicious and well-known. Fresh coconut juice will make anyone feel relaxed. There are bungalow type hotels along the beach with modern facilities. Myanmar, owing to its natural environmental diversity is rich in many sites that feature untouched coastal areas, calm and peaceful ocean waters and wide stretches of unpolluted sandy beaches. While listening to the whispering of the wind in the trees and among the palm fronds and to the regular sleep inducing beat of the ocean breakers as you relax in your rattan chair amidst the balmy breezes you will find yourself visibly relaxing and your cares and tensions slipping away.
Ngwe Saung Beach
Ngwe Saung Beach Resort, opened in the year 2000, is one of the loveliest and most pleasant beach resorts in Myanmar. Located in the Ayeyarwady Region, some 48 kilometres from the town of Pathein, Ngwe Saung, with a beach frontage on the Bay of Bengal with its clear blue waters, its white crested waves, sandy beaches and unspoiled and pollution-free natural surroundings, is indeed one of the best places to select for a holiday interlude of rest and relaxation. The beach stretches for 15 kilometers. Ngwe Saung’s natural attractions are its blue waters, its extensive beaches, its silvery sands, its scenic and occasionally rocky shoreline, all set against a backdrop of tropical rain forests and the towering Rakhine mountain range. The bungalows provide quality service to foreign tourists and domestic visitors and provide a quiet haven of peace and relaxation.
Yangon - Pathein / Pathein - Yangon
The cruises from Yangon to Pathein take about 18 hours which are operated by Department of Inland Water Transport.
Mandalay - Bagan – Mandalay
The cruises leave at Gawwine Jetty in Mandalay and traveling downstream to reach Bagan. On the way to its destination, the cruise passes through Mingun and Sagaing along the Mighty Ayeyarwady. It takes about 2 hours to reach Mingun and another 2 hours from Mingun to Sagaing. Mingun and Sagaing are also the main places of Myanmar Culture. From there, it takes about one night to reach Bagan. At sunrise, the cruise reaches Bagan, stopping at Shwe-kun-char jetty in Bagan. During the whole journey, there are deck performances of Myanmar Traditional Dances and breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea, coffee, water are served on board. There are also stops and visits at popular places. The way back to Mandalay is the same route as the way to Bagan.
Travelling through the Chindwin River is also another amazing experience in Myanmar. The journey starts from Mandalay and ends at Bagan. The journey passes Monywa, Mingun, Kalewa, Mawlaik, Pakhan-gyi, Pakkoku and finally reaching Bagan. Popular places such as Pho Win Taung, Shweba Taung, Kanee, Kyidaw, and Mawlaik are visited on its way.
The Irrawady Flottila arranges fantastic Mekong River Cruises. The Mekong River flows through Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar and the river cruises are arranged to meet every touch of the different cultural heritage sites of the Greater Mekong Subregion.
Train expeditions in Myanmar are unforgettable events. The beautiful scene and natural view from the train window show the unchanged lifestyle for years. The green paddy fields, mountain ranges, the blue sky, the scenic nature and the people’s lifestyles are great wonders of the train journey. During the Japanese occupation in Myanmar, a number of gauge engines from Japan were adjusted to run in Myanmar. More of the additional machines were brought with the allied forces. Still the pre-war designed trains can still be found in Myanmar. There are steam locomotives which are getting extinct in the world today. There are trips which take about 14 days traveling from Yangon. The destination plan starts from Yangon and passes by Thazi, Mandalay, Lashio and Bagan. There are also trips from Yangon to Namtu and then upward to Nashai, Namyao, and return trips from Nashai to Lashio by coach.
Vipassana Meditation in Myanmar
Myanmar is a multi racial and multi religious country. About 90% of the people in Myanmar are Buddhists. Many Vipassana Meditation Centers based on Buddha’s teachings are widely opened throughout the country. Vipassana meditation is taught in Myanmar during the ten-day residential courses. This period has been found to be the minimum requirement for new meditators to understand the technique and its benefits through their own experience. Here is some information on the Meditation Centres so that one can plan the Meditation trips in Myanmar.
Chanmyae Yeiktha functions mainly as a meditation centre but it is also a monastery with resident monks who are the meditation teachers. It is for foreigners and Myanmar meditators alike. Foreigners are well catered for and often have their own quarters and schedules. Men and women's accommodation are separate, clean and simple, complete with bed linen and mosquito nets.
Mahasi Meditation Center
Buddha Sasana Nuggaha Organization was founded in 1947 in Myanmar with the objective of propagating the Buddha Sasana through scripture learning and practice of Vipassana meditation. Non-profit in character, the Mahasi Meditation Center is operated with subscriptions from its members and voluntary donations from devout Buddhists throughout the country. The Center is within easy reach, only about twenty minutes drive by taxi from the Yangon International Airport, or about ten minutes by car from downtown Yangon.
Dhamma Joti was opened in October 1993 with Goenkaji and Mataji present for the first three courses. Goenkaji expressed his happiness at being able to repay the debt of gratitude to Myanmar for maintaining Dhamma in all its purity. On the opening day, the elder monks of the State Monks' Organization called the "State Sangha Mahanayaka Organization" were present and gave Ovada Kahtha (blessing and advising talk) to the audience.
Mogok Vipassana Yeiktha
This Yeiktha is founded by Sayadaw U Vimala. Mogok Vipassana Yeiktha has a way of meditating using the Mogok Vipassana Circle.
Myanmar is a land full of richness in nature and the diversity of species. The ecosystems in this country constitute one of the biological reservoirs in Asia. The land area of Myanmar is 261,228 square miles, with a variety of natural resources, plants and animals. The Ministry of Forestry is responsible for maintaining the forests of Myanmar. There are over 7,000 plants and over 1,000 endemic species. Also, there are about 1,000 bird species, 300 mammals, 350 reptiles on record. The richness of the biodiversity in nature gives Myanmar a potential for Ecotourism. The general concept of ecotourism is to restrict the number of visitors within the carrying capacity of the ecotourism site. The allowable tourism level at such areas will vary with the tolerant sensitivity of the type of forests and its environment. Now there are nature reserves and wildlife sanctuaries for ecotourism development. Some of the ecotourism sites are mentioned here.
National Kandawgyi Garden
National Kandawgyi Garden is located in Pyin Oo Lwin, Mandalay. The Area is about 344.81 acres and was established in 1915. This Garden was formerly known as National Botanical Garden. It serves as a recreation centre and an ecotourism site.
Moeyungyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary
Moeyungyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Waw Township, Bago Division. It is a land of 40 square miles. This sanctuary was established in 1986.This sanctuary is to conserve resident and migratory water birds and their habitats.
Inle Lake Sanctuary
Inle Lake Sanctuary is a wetland sanctuary and located in Naung Shwe, Pinlaung and Peh Kon Townships of Southern Shan State. It covers an area of 642.32 square miles and was established in 1985. This sanctuary is to conserve and protect natural vegetation, wetland birds and fresh water fishes in Inle sanctuary.
Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary
Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary is located in Minbu, Setote-taya, Saku and Ngapeh Townships of Magway Region. The total area is 213.4 square miles. It was established in 1940. This sanctuary is to conserve the deer of Myanmar and the dry zone.
Myanmar is rich in nature and resources. The elephant is not only of great cultural and historical significance in Myanmar, but is also of major economic importance in the country's timber industry. The elephants of Myanmar are providing an invaluable service to the country not merely by supporting the national economy but, more importantly, by conserving the environment.
Myaing Hay Wun
Located in Taikkyi Township of Yangon Division, Myaing Hay Wun Elephant Camp covers an area of 10 acres. It was established in 1986. It is easily accessible by car from Yangon to Taikkyi Township and only about 90 minutes drive. The wildlife in this camp include Elephant, Guar, Banteng, Barking deer, Wild boar, Hare Wild cat, Green Peafowl, Ruddy sheld duck, Hill myna, Blossom-headed parakeet, Pheasant, Red jungle fowl, Quail, Dove, Duck, lesser tree duck, Butterflies, Moths, Snakes, Monitar lizard, Ground lizard and Chameleon. Along the trekking journey by riding elephant you will see beauty and serenities of natural virgin forest and its surrounding would be unforgettable.
Pho Kyar Forest Resort
Pho Kyar Forest Resort is located in Yedashe Township of Thargara. It is 10 miles 2 furlong from Thargara, in the area of Swa forest reserve area, on the bank of Thaing creek. The resort has 20 acres in area. This forest is accessible from Yangon via Swa Township by car which is about 204 miles. Like many other forest resorts, it has a great opportunity to study natural forest plants including different species of hardwood, large forests teak wood, other valuable forest plants, different life span bamboos, cane and various floras.
The Andaman Sea is a body of water located in the southeast of the Bay of Bengal, south of Myanmar, west of Thailand and east of the Andaman Islands. It is a part of the Indian Ocean. It is roughly 1200 kilometres long (north-south) and 650 kilometres wide (east-west), with an area of 797,700 km square. Its average depth is 870 meters, and the maximum depth is 3,777 meters. Hence with the area that Andaman occupies, there are many marine lives, rare species of plants and undersea lives.
Underwater Gardens (Andaman Sea)
Whale Sharks are found in the Myanmar marine life of the Andaman Sea. Manta Ray is found at Myanmar's Black Rock, North Twin and Klaus Reef. Gray reef sharks from Myanmar's shark cave and juvenile silvertip reef sharks from the Myanmar Banks are popular species to observe when diving. Giant Anglerfish are astonishing giant anglerfish, perfectly disguised on the reef as a sponge. Myanmar Black Rock also has some 20 black blotched stingrays. At Western Rocky Island of the Myeik archipelago there inhabits aggressive big red octopuses. In the depths of the Myeik Archipelago, tile fish use their mouths to build enormous mounds of dead coral. When threatened, the fish dive head first into the rubble. These species remain non descriptable by scientists and provisionally named them Hoplolatilus hopei, or Hope's tilefish.
The Myeik Archipelago (Mergui Archipelago) is off the western shore of the Malay Peninsula in far southern Myanmar. It consists of more than 800 islands, varying in size from very small to hundreds of square kilometres. The local people are an ethnic minority called the Moken, sometimes known as sea gypsies, although this term actually covers several groups in Southeast Asia. They are the sea-dwelling people and they follow a traditional way of life, doing things such as fishing and building boats in the way they have been done for centuries. They can be found living on their traditional boats during the dry season, but usually keep to land in the rainy season. Liveaboard cruise is the way for visitors to reach diving areas with names such as Big Bank, Rainbow Reef or Silvertip Bank. The best diving conditions in Myanmar exist from December to April.
Yangon, the commercial city, is the main gateway to Myanmar. Evergreen and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful lakes, Yangon has earned the name of the Garden City of the East. Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya on the site of a small village called Dagon when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755. The name Yangon means “End of Strife” which was anglicized to Rangoon. The present day Yangon covers over 350 sq. km. and has a population of over 6 million.
Mandalay is the ancient capital of Myanmar during the Konbaung Period. The city has the Royal Mandalay Palace which has been renovated after a great fire. The Palace has been built with the Myanmar cultural taste. The Mandalay Hill and the Moat are also some more to see.
Bagan was the first Myanmar Empire which was founded by King Anawrahta. Bagan was a rich city during the ancient times and it was said that almost everyone donated and built temples and pagodas. Some of those ancient monuments and ruins are still found in Bagan today.Bgan is one of the richest archaeological sites in Asia. The most famous monuments in Bagan are Ananda Temple, Thabbyinnyu, Dhammayangyi and Shwezigon Pagoda.
Mrauk U is an ancient destination with cultural heritage in Rakhine State. The Mrauk U Kings established the kingdom and the prominence of the traditions. Today, many remains and ruins of temples and pagodas made of the sandstones show the richness of Rakhine’s cultural destination.
Beikthano or the Ancient Center of the Pyu People of Myanmar is transliterated from “Vishnu”, the Preserver, the second of the Hindu triad. It is the oldest of the 3 ancient Centres of Pyu Civilization. Chronologically Beikthano flourished during the 1st to 5th centuries AD, the second being Thayekhittayar (Srikestra) now called Hmawzar which lasted from the 5th Century to the 7th Century.
Another significant Pyu site, Hanlin, lies about 11 miles south-east of Shwebo in Upper Myanmar. There is a group of villages with numerous small modern pagodas to the south of the old fortified city. This locality is noted for hot saline springs.
Tagaung is situated on the east bank of the river Ayeyarwady, 127 miles north of Mandalay and 56 miles north of Shwebo. Its civilization dates back to the early Christian era with Pyu culture.
Nyaunggan is located in Budalin Township, Monywa District, Sagaing Division. An ancient cemetery, near Nyaunggan Village, Budalin Township, was excavated during 1998 and 1999.
Bicycling in Myanmar blends adventure and the time to taste the cultural heritage of the country. This type of trip is planned for those who are ready to experience fun, active, safe, scenic and carefree vacation. Tourists get to explore the places as they cycle especially, the way of living, history, the cultivation and so on. Bicycling destinations are usually Taunggyi, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, and include crossing over rivers, mountain and hills, and country lanes. Bicycle tours provide visitors the best possible opportunity to intimately experience the country in a physically active journey yet a relaxing way. It is with a bicycle the cultural-diversity and the natural-prism of Myanmar's reality can be enjoyed. Cycling round Myanmar is like cutting through quiet back-roads between rice fields, temples, and scenic countryside. Passing through many small villages, includes metting people with their curious, friendly and polite attitude to the cyclists. The transportation, accommodation and bicycling necessaries are arranged and planned by the tour operators in Myanmar.