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.
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.
The tourism industry will get a boost with establishment of a tourism development bank, according to the Myanmar Tourism Bank.
The proposed development bank will provide loans, technological assistance and communications. The move comes as a result of a high influx of international tourists. The tourism sector showed a profit of US$ 1 billion in 2014 with that expected to double this year.
Inlay Lake and the surrounding region in southern Shan State are proving to be extremely popular tourist destinations for foreigners and Myanmar visitors alike, according to the Powered Schooner Club.
April has been a busy month for locals visiting the region and Inlay Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda was very crowded with visitors on April 21, the club reported.
"There are many foreigners who can be seen everywhere," said Soe Min from Nyaung Shwe Township.
Over two million foreign tourists visited Myanmar before December this fiscal year, and most of them arrived via border gates, sources from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism say.
With summer upon us, there’s no better way to escape the horrid heat than by making a day trip to Pyin Oo Lwin, a scenic hill station and the former summer capital of British Burma. With an elevation of 1,070 metres, Pyin Oo Lwin, just 67 kilometers east of Mandalay, makes for the perfect summer getaway. I set off under the scorching sun for Pyin Oo Lwin in mid-March from Mandalay’s 35th Street, hoping for a quick, cool high-altitude downtime.
With more than five million visitors expected this year, Myanmar's tourism master plan is under way with support from the Asia Development Bank and the Norwegian government, according to the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
The master plan, which covers 2013 to 2020 and includes 38 long- and short-term projects, is projected to cost about US$486.6 million, said Htay Aung, Union Minister of Hotels and Tourism.
The ministry has currently received $215.6 million for 21 projects, according to Hlaing Oo, director of the ministry.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has speculated that tourism at Chaungtha and Ngwe Saung beaches will see record numbers this year.
A total of 38,897 tourists, primarily from Germany, Switzerland, China, Japan and France, visited Chaungtha beach in January and February this year, while a total of 18,699 tourists, primarily from China, Germany, France, the US and the UK, visited Ngwe Saung in the same period.