Tourism

Infrastructure crucial to tourism: minister

Myanmar received 3 million tourist arrivals last year, a 51 per cent increase on the previous year, according to Htay Aung, the minister for hotels and tourism, adding that infrastructure must improve if the sector is to grow.

Htay Aung said: “Basic infrastructure projects play a crucial role in the development of tourism as the country sees a massive influx of visitors.” 

Hosting the Asean Tourism Forum 2015 in January could contribute a lot to the development of the sector, he added. 

Bagan: a victim of its own success

People wait to see the sunset from the top of Shwesandaw Pagoda in the ancient city of Bagan. (Photo - Reuters)

As Myanmar has opened in recent years, tourists have flocked to Bagan to clamber over its distinctive landscape of thousands of pagodas. But the industry threatens to destroy the heritage on which it depends.

The gateway to India

The trade zone in India’s Zokhawthar is located just opposite Myanmar’s Rih Khaw Dar. (Photo – EMG)

A light drizzle was falling one Sunday morning in the border town of Rih Khaw Dar in Chin State.  When I looked out the window of my motel room, I saw a red and white bridge over Ciau Creek with the border trade zone of India’s Mizoram State in the background. Plantations dotted both side of the creek, and crows of roosters echoed through the hills.

Mt Poppa calling out

Mt. Poppa (Photo - EMG)

Mt Popa, also known as Poppa Taungkalat, is located near Kyaukpadaung and is one of the major tourist attractions in central Myanmar. Some people believe Mt Popa is the spiritual centre of Myanmar and is often associated with Bagan, which is only 48 kilometres away, in traditional folktales.

The mountain is a steep-sided extinct volcano that rises 2,417 feet above the dry surrounding plains.

Shan: Simply irresistible

The famous Gokteik Viaduct in northern Shan State. (Photo - Sai Tun Nay Hlaing/EMG)

LASHIO 

Tourism in the northern Shan State has been increasing year after year, especially at the famous Gokteik Viaduct, Hsipaw and the surrounding areas.

Myeik tourism reaches 17-year high

Snorkelling resorts in the Myeik Archipelago have attracted around 2,000 foreign visitors this year since January, according to the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism (Myeik Branch).

Last year, tourism revenue hit a 17-year high, Ks 57.99 million (US$57,991) and $329,470.

Entry fees to Kawthoung District and Myeik District are $50 and $80, respectively, for local tour agencies. For foreigners, the fees are $100 and $150, plus an additional $20 per day for tourists who stay more than five days.

Tourist arrivals down in Mandalay

Mandalay — Popular destinations in Mandalay have seen a significant decline in the number of tourists arriving during May. 
During the previous travel season, Mandalay received a larger number of tourists with monthly arrivals above 35,000 in January and February. Tourist arrivals rose until April. According to the region’s Immigration and National Registration Department, tourist arrivals from January to April this year amounted to about 200,000. 

A walk in the Switzerland of Myanmar

A trekking holiday came to mind about a year ago as I was reading an article about trekking from Kalaw to Inle Lake written by a westerner. I didn’t have time to do that trek until last month. My friend and I decided to start our journey with a 24-hour train ride from Yangon to Kalaw that took us through the high mountains of Shan State.

A holiday in poppy fields

The Wa Self-Administered Division’s deplorable claim to fame has always been its poppy fields.   But the Wa authorities have a new plan – converting the poppy fields near the capital Panghsan (aka Pangkham) into a tourist attraction. 

The Wa area is in Shan State and the Wa leaders like to refer to their region as the Wa State, to the dismay of Myanmar authorities who have long resisted the idea that the Wa is a sovereign state or province, but is, instead, merely a special region.

Parliament building as tour destination

The Parliament building will now be officially open to visitors, locals and foreigners, as part of the Hotels and Tourism Ministry's plan to promote tourism in the quiet capital of Nay Pyi Taw.
 
Included in its tourism marketing plan are buildings in the city like the international airport and hotels. According to a source at the ministry, the Nay Pyi Taw website will be launched soon.