Sabbath Days In Lenten Months

The Sabbath days cover the rainy season every year for the Myanmar Buddhists. During the lenten period the first sabbath day falls on the full-moon day of Wazo. The last sabbath day ends on that of Thadingyut. For each month there are four sabbath days, i.e, the
8th waxing day, the full -moon day, the 8th waning day and the 15th waning day. Altogether there are thirteen sabbath days begining the full-moon day of Wazo to that of Thadingyut.
The pre-sabbath days are also assiduously observed during the lenten months. There are many Wut (religious) associations organized by the ward elders in almost every town and village. They go round the towns and villages at about 3:00 p.m. on the days before the sabbath days during the lent. A group of young men, all attired in white linen clothes, carry the rounded or square-shaped wooden trays on their shoulders. In each tray are placed porcelain plates to accept the donated fruits bananas, pineapples, papayas, durian, apples, mangos, mangosteen etc., and various kinds of Myanmar cakes. Striking the vibrating triangular brass gongs (kyesi), they go round the streets.
On the pre-sabbath days, the Buddhist nuns also go round the streets and accept rice and cash from the donors of the houses to which they approach on the doorsteps.
On the sabbath days long before dawn at about 3:00 a.m., members of the Wut (religious) associations carry “hswan paves” (tray of offering) on their shoulders together with sliced and cut fruits and cakes that were collected yesterday evening- Striking the vibrating tringular brass gongs (kyesi) and playing the musical instruments, they go straight to the prominent pagodas to offer hswan (cooked rice), fruits, cakes, water, flower and candle lights to the Buddha images just before dawn.
On the pre-sabbath days, almost every housewife of the Buddhist families is busily engaged in preparing “hswan hin” (curry to be offered to the Buddhist monks). They may go to the market and buy the necessary items like meat, fish, prawns and vegetables. They cook meat or fish curries in the evening to be offered to the monks on the Sabbath day.
The elderly men and women of each households get up early in the morning at about 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. on the Sabbath days. They sit on the matress in front of the Buddha image in their houses and pay obeisance to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. At about 9:00 am, they go to the monastery to keep the stricter observance of the eight precepts carrying hswan-oke (a set of porcelain trays with cooked rice, curries, fruits and cakes.)
When they reach the monastery, they pay obeisance first to the Buddha image and then to the Kyaung Htaing Sayadaw (presiding monk at the monastery). At about 10:00 a.m. when all the Buddhist laities are in full attendance, the presiding monk leads the recitation of the eight  precepts. After that th laities offer hswan to the presiding monk together with other members of the Sangha who are to stay at this monastery throughout the lent.
Then, the laities are served with cooked rice, various kinds of curry, fruits and cakes. Next, the laities spend the rest of the day at zayats ( rest houses built on sacred premises) discussing the religious matters with each other or tellying the beads.
Those who do not go to the monasteries to keep sabbath invite the monks to their houses and offer hswan.
The stairways and the platforms of the prominent pagodas are thronged with worshippers. They offer hswan,fruits,flowers,water and candle lights to the Buddha images and Zedi in joyful reverence. A prominent monk delivers a religious sermons to a gathering of laities in the Aryonkhan Tazaung or Dammaryone. The recitation of a religious sermon lasts about two hours.
Source from traveller journal, 14 to 20 July,2014

India to reopen the Road to Mandalay

For more than a century the Road to Mandalay has evoked longing, nostalgia and the exotic East for artists ranging from Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell to Frank Sinatra and Robbie Williams.
Now travellers from India will be able to share their passion for Burma’s beauty when its eastern border is opened to a new bus route from Imphal to Mandalay, the former capital and gateway to the country’s tribal north.
A new highway is expected to be completed by October, when travellers will be able to board a bus from. Imphal in India’s Manipur. state to Mandalay more than 14 hours away for around E20.
The hidian and Burmese governments believe the road will dramatically increase trade between the two remote regions either side of the border at Moreh, and pave the way. for greater investment as Burma continues its emergence from decades of isolation under military rule.
The route will open new travel possibilities not only for lovers of Kipling’s Barrack-Room Ballads and Orwell’s Burmese Days, but also for the descendants of those who fought along it in one of the fiercest battles of the Second lVorldWar. It was at Imphal and nearby Kohima that British, Indian, Burmese and Nepali soldiers finally stopped the Japanese advance in heroic hand to hand combat.
More recently it has been one of the world’s busiest drug trafficking routes in the transportation of heroin and amphetamines through Asia to Europe.
Traders on the eastern side of the border have also dispatched  Burmese teak to India while buying Indian pressure cookers, bicycles and cheap medicines.
Officials from both countries believe the slim volumes of legitimate trade will increase dramatically when the road opens in October and again later when it opens to freight traffic.
Indian officials confirmed they had reached agreement with the Burmese co.unterp.arts on the new route in a meeting in the capital Nay Pyi Taw earlier this month.
Discussions began under the previous prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, but a deal eluded his officials. His successor, Narendra Modi, is determined to raise-India’s profile and improve its political and trading relationships with its immediate neighbours,particular those in South-East Asia.
The new road is one of a number of planned strategic highways to connect India with Kunming in China and Singapore via Thailand and Malaysia. China earlier reached agreement to reopen the Stilwell Road built during the Second World War to supply arms from British India to Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist Chinese forces.
The Indian government said the agreement was made after its officials briefed their Burmese colleagues on a number of road projects it had undertaken in the country, including 70 bridges on the Tamu-Kalay-Kalewa Friendship Highway – part of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway.
Sonny Nyunt Thein of the Burmese government- linked. think tank Egress said he welcomed the developm ent because those living
close to the border desperately needed the economic benefits it would bring. “There is’no public transport there and to be honest trade is definitely needed”.
Burmese historian Thant Myint-U, who is also, an adviser to the country’s president Thein Sein, said despite the evocative place .’Road to Mandalay’ commands in literary memory, there has never been a proper road between India and Burma.
Source from traveller journal, 14 to  20 Julyl,2014

JICA estimates the number of tourist arrival 20.4 million in 2030

The tourist arrivals and local travellers will be raised up to 20.4 million and 29.3 million respectively after the Myanmar Tourism Master Plan project is implemented in 2030, estimated by JICA.
Tourism Master Plan is started to implement to attract the tourists to visit and used up to US$ 486.60 million then in 2030, the tourist arrivals will be improved to 7 million numbers, announced by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MOHT).
There were 300,000 staff members working in the tourism sector in 2013. At the start of Tourism Master Plan and in 2020, the staff force will be increased up to 1.49 million numbers.
Myanmar Tourism Master Plan is drawn in cooperation of MOHT, Norway government, Asia Development Bank and project team leader Dr. Paulraw Gars. The project will start to implement In 2013 then six strategies are laid down for the successful of the project.
The main project is operating as short term plan from 2013 to 2015 and as long term plan is from 2013 to 2030.
The vital sectors in the project included the facts of upgrading the quality of service, planning the trip systematically, planning and preventing the rituals, improving the quality of products and developing the infrastructure of tourism related businesses.
The hotels number is raised up to 1000 numbers with 38,722 rooms to meet the demand of visitors in May, 2014.
Source from traveller journal, 14 to 20,July,2014

New five airports to facilitate at five towns

For the facilitation of foreign and local travellers non-airport five towns are selected to construct airports depending on requirement in aviation sector, learnt per source of Directorate of Civil Aviation.
Currently, Hantharwaddy Airport (Bago Region) is under construction. The upcoming airports will be set up in Naungmon (Kachin State), Pa-pun (Kayin State), Man-aung (Rakhine State) and Coco Islands (Yangon Region). Tenders will be invited to private companies at the end of 2014 for the construction of airfields.
Moreover, within 2014-15 financial year Nay Pyi Taw International Airport and airports at Myitkyina, Kalay, Loikaw and Minesett will be upgraded.
Such upgrade and new extension are carried out with the aim for receiving nearly 600,000 local and foreign visitors in 2014-15 through airports. Last year, there were nearly 500,000 foreign and local travellers used airports .
By reconstructing new airports, the number of travellers will be high up and international standard high-tech security will be established. Appropriate service is needed as business in Myanmar widens.
Most visitors arrive at Nyaung U, Heho, Tachilek ,Putao, Thandwe and Dawei among 33 local airports. Myanmar has 69 airports in total. At present, 33 airports with 3 international airports and 30 local airports accommodate service to passengers.
Source from traveller, 14 to 20,July,2014

Implementing e-Visa system

The Ministry of Immigration and Population invited the tender for implementing the e-Visa system to technology related entrepreneurs so as to enable foreign visitors travel conveniently in Myanmar.
The bidding companies can collect the information related to the tender at Office No 48, the Department of Immigration and National Registration, Nay Pyi Taw.
“e-Visa is only operated on internet so from any country can apply easily without limitations,” said the responsible person of the Ministry of Immigration and Population.
At present, the expense and cash collecting system are discussing with the Central Bank. For technology matters invited the private companies to operate.
The e-Visa system will be cooperated between the Ministry of Immigration and the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, then the former was permitted to work in April, 2012.
This is the first time of implementing the e-Visa system in Myanmar and the system will allow the tourists to travel efficiently.
Source from traveller, 14 to 20-July,2014

Easy shipments of gifts to tourists’ home countries

Most of the tourists are interested to buy the Myanmar traditional handicraft, paintings and traditional handmade paintings at the souvenir shops. The shop owners submitted at the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism to lay down a system for the convenient of shipping the gifts to the buyers’ home countries smoothly. Souvenir sale proceeds increased more than the estimated in 2013-14 financial year, read at the website of the Ministry.
Depending on the level of tourist arrivals, the souvenir shops will be extended to open and upgraded the quality of products and service then designed as one stop service.
The tourist arrival will be raised up to 3 million in 2014 estimated by the Ministry, the income of souvenir shops are also increased than the previous year.
“In Bagan, lacquerware traditional handicraft and sand paintings are most popular and these are easy to pack and carry if it is in normal size. But they are reluctant to buy big lacquerwares as these are difficult to carry. In this case, they order the sellers to pack and ship by air to the destination which they mention by giving all packing charges and shipment costs. But we are unable to accept the buyers’ order, because we have no facilities for foreign shipments,” said Ko Lwin from a painting shop in Bagan.
The national income in government organizations is increasing up to US$ 192.883 million in 2013, US$ 237.221 million in 2014 by the tourism sector.
Source from traveller, 14 to 20,July,2014

Air KBZ connecting Yangon-Chiang Mai in August

Air KBZ and Man Yadanar airline will cooperate as Code Share to be convenient the passengers between Yangon and Chiang Mai, Thailand in coming October, said a responsible person of Air KBZ.
Air KBZ started to fly in April, 2011 and Man Yadanar airline started local transport in February 2014. They will coordinate as Code Share Yangon/ Chiang Mai/Yangon trip in October 2014. Air tickets will be sold at the cheap and reasonable price as well as for the convenient of travellers. Advance booking for two weeks and one month acceptable.
“We cooperate with Man Yadanar airline for the convenient of travellers and to meet the demand. So the passengers will be comfortable,” said the responsible person from Air KBZ.
For Yangon/ Chiang Mai/Yangon trip, the passengers can take Air KBZ for departure to Chiang Mai and Man Yadanar for return to Yangon. Then the aircraft will continue to Mandalay.
Source from traveller, 14 to 20-July,2014

20 RBE trains arrived from Japan

The passengers are more relied on trains for local transportation, so the Ministry of Rail Transportation had purchased 20 numbers of RBE trains including 10 aircon from Japan had arrived Yangon since May, announced by Myanma Railways.
The traffic jam problem can be solved by increasing the number of trains in Yangon and the transportation system will be more effective. By enhancing the number of trains, the traffic jam problem will be overcome in the future.
The RBE trains will be tested the engine and strength then announced which routs will be used to transport and the times of transportation.
At present, there are 100,000 passengers use the train for city transportation. Japan will help to improve the train transportation system in Yangon for the relying by all 3 million people in Yangon next 20 years.
The Ministry will extend five new railway tracks in Yangon in coming 2040 and the total number of railway lines will be increased up to 8 numbers, 350 km in length.
Speedy underground train and sky train wil i be constructing in coming 2025 continuously.
Source from traveller, 14 to 20-July,2014

Direct landing rights with UK, USA, Luxembourg and Butan will be renewed

The direct landing of aircrafts in UK, USA, Luxembourg and Butan will be chanced in 2015 by amending the terms and conditions of existing contracts, announced by the Department of Civil Aviation.
“We are arranging to sign the contract with these four countries in the coming year. If the contracting process with other countries is completed earlier, we will continue to contract with these countries. The time for contracting with these countries are different. We will renew the old contracts by including some terms to be relevant with the current situation. After signing the contracts, the airline companies will get more opportunities,” said the Deputy Director General U Nay Win of DCA.
In the past, only one airline was allowed to fly between these countries and renewing terms include to fly without limiting the number of airlines, single designation is substituted by multiple designations.
After 2010, some contracts were already signed between Myanmar and other countries but some terms and conditions included in the contracts are not relevant with the current situation.
DCA has amended the contract with Japan on 1 February 2014 and Myanmar airlines can land directly on Japan airports.
The discussion between Philippines was held in May 2014, then the contract will be modified.
There are eight local airlines in Myanmar in 2012. 22 international airlines existed in Myanmar, then four airlines namely Nok Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Bangladesh Airline, Tiger Airways are extended to fly in 2013, so the total increased up to 26 airlines, according to DCA announcement.
Source from traveller, 14 to 20-July,2014

Union Minister urges to complete hotel construction in time

U Htay Aung, Union Minister for Hotels and Tourism urged to complete in time second phase of hotel construction within the State’s guest housing area for high-ranking officials and representatives who will attend the Second ASEAN Summit to be held at the end of this year.
He said at the coordination meeting for Second ASEAN Summit, held at Grand Royal ACE Hotel on 7 July, 2014.
He said that visitors from counterpart countries, EU member countries and international organizations will come to Second ASEAN Summit and so this time will be more participants than the first one. Thus, the construction needs to complete in time.
Besides hotel establishment, the landscape environs also need to be clean and tidy. All are urged for full cooperation, he continued.
At present, there are over 1000 licensed hotels and guest houses throughout the country. Nay Pyi Taw which will host ASEAN Summit
has 52 hotels with 4226 rooms.
Source from traveller, 14 to 20-July,2014