Sorely miss my very first Naga New Year Festival


The land of the Naga people (Naga Land) is located in north­west Myanmar and partly across the border in eastern India. I don’t know how big the land of the Nagas is in India as I have not been there although I have heard that it is very big. But, the area of the habitat of the Naga people inside Myan­mar constitutes a very big land tract running from the north-western extremity of Sagaing Region to the west­ern regions of Kachin State. It is a mountainous region. Mt. Saramati, one of Mya­mar’s highest mountains, is also there in the region. Naga tribes live in various regions like Tamanthi, Leshi, Khamti, Lahe, Shimbweyan, Nanyun, Pansaung, etc. Naga hill tribes could travel between these places on foot using mountain paths. But, plains people like us who want to travel to Leshi have to fly first to either Hommalin or Khamti and then continue the journey by car to Pinma Village. On the other hand, you can also travel by road directly all the way from Monywa to Thet Ke Kyin, from there to Phaungpyin, Homma­lin and Pinma. Whichever mode of travel you take, once you reach Pinma, you will have to cross   the Chindwin River to Tamanthi on the other side. You can travel by car the more than 40 miles of mountain road from Tamanthi to Leshi. You can travel that road by car without any difficulty only from mid-winter to the end of summer. In the raining season and the first part of winter, you can travel that road only on foot. You can also go direct to Tamanthi by steaming upriver along the Chindwin.

If you ant to go to Lahe, you can go direct to Khamti by air or boat. The road leading to Khamti is in good condition in the summer and winter. When you reach Khamti, you will have to travel to Sinthe Village by boat. It is 50 miles of motor road from Sinthe to Lahe. The road is in good condi­tion from mid-winter to the end of summer.

If you want to travel to Shimbweyan, Nanyun, Pansaung , you will have to take the Ledo Road at Namti, near Mogaung in Kachin State. You can travel by car to Tanai, Shimbweyan, Nanyun and Pansaung. These regions are the habitat of Naga tribes.

There are four main groups of Naga people, namely, Summara Naga, Hta Ngan Naga, Sun Naga and Hine Myay Naga. As it is said that the Summara Naga group comprises four tribes, the Hta Ngan Naga group eight tribes, the Sun Naga group three tribes and the Hine Myay Naga group 49 tribes, it could be said that there are a total of 64 Naga tribes.

The author has visited the Naga Hills before. I have gone there more than ‘sev­eral’ times. I went there to take documentary photos. The first time was in 2001. It was during the Naga New Year Festival. The Naga New Year Festival is held every year on January 151″.

The 2001 Naga New Year Festival was held in Leshi. The government also allowed foreign tourists to go to Leshi and take part in that year’s festival. The tourists were taken there as a package tour by private tour companies. The foreign tourists allowed to go to Leshi for the festival numbered about 40. (In succeeding years, the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism organized trips for foreign tourists to the Naga New Year Festival.) When we heard that foreign tourists would be present at that year’s festival, the author and his colleagues also made arrangement to go there. The author was accompanie on that trip by Photographers Moe Min (Rays), Mogok Soe Htay and Thaung Htike.

We went from Yangon to Mandalay by air. We con­tinued the journey by car four Mandalay to Monywa, Yay Oo, Kan Htoo Ma, Pyin Kaing and to Thet Ke Kyin. We travelled in two cars: one from Mandalay and the other belonging to Mogok Soe Htay. Friends Ko Soe Thein and Ko Toke joined us in another car at Thet Ke Kyin. We spent the night at Thet Ke Kyin and continued the journey the next day. We travelled through Htaung Tha, Tha Hnon Taw, Town Inn, Htin Hyu Gyaung, Ywa Thit, Baing Lei, Ohn Tha, Yaung Hee, Aung Chan Tha, and spent the night at Phaungpyin.

The next day, we trav­elled through the villages of Hway Kyaing, Nyaung Kone, Tha Nyit, Harpar, East Khamaing, Lwin Gyi, Nant­petkar, Aungbin, Hlwa Zin Kone, Hei Kham, Kuntaung, and spent the night at Hom­malin. Then, again the next day, we travelled through the villages of Kawyaar, Karmar, Tonmaheir, Mahn Baw, Maung Kham, Nanpon, Mein Nwe, Tonmalaw, HmawYone Myaing, Yet Pha, Mardi, Pinma, and crossed the Chindwin River at Pinma. It was a more than 240-mile from Thet Ke Kyin to Pinma. After crossing over to the Tamanthi side, we ate an early dinner and continued on to Leshi. After passing through Yan Nway, we slept the night at 21 Camp. We continued our journey the next morning and, after passing through Sone Kin, reached Leshi in the afternoon. It was just over 41 miles from Taman­thi to Leshi.

The Naga New Year Festival is held every year on January 15th and, that year, we reached Leshi on January 13th  two days be­fore the festival. Ko Sonny Nyein, movie star U Aung Lwin, Ko Soe Myint (Wa/ Tha) and party fromYangon, and Ko Khin Maung Lat (Chit Nyo) and party from Mandalay also came to that year’s Naga festival. The Naga New Year Festival was opened on January 14th  morning with the ceremo­nial raising of the auspi­cious pole. The whole of that day was spent in mak­ing preparations for next day’s New Year Festival. The hat (protectors) poles to be raised at pane were color­fully painted. On January 15th morning, the inaugural ceremony of the festival was attended by all the Naga tribes who had come from every corner of the Naga Land (in Myanmar) who took turns in dancing. Responsible leaders and elders spoke words of guid­ance and for remembrance on the occasion. Gifts were exchanged. The tribes sang traditional Naga songs to the beat of the big Naga traditional drum made of hollowed log installed at pane. Naga khaung yay (in­toxicating brew) and grilled and fried Naga nwar nok (domesticated wild oxen) meat were served in the morning of the ceremony while cooking for dinner that evening went on. The main menu was rice and oxen meat. The oxen meat was cooked in various ways: curried, grilled, baked and fried. The famous Shwe Lan Bo chilli paste of the Naga region was very, very hot.

At the festival, oranges from Sone Kin was one of the items served. Although these oranges were small, their taste was heavenly.

A big bonfire was lit that evening and all those pres­ent drank khaung yay and ate oxen meat and danced around the bonfire. First, each tribe danced by itself but later all the tribes mixed and danced by the bonfire. Later still, all the people who came to the bonfire party joined in the danc­ing. The New Year Festival carried on till well past mid­night. That year, a compre­hensive number of tribes joined in the festivities. Naga tribes like the Tankun, Para, Sheya, Khaung Be, Lei Naung, Ma San, Ponnyo, Nok Aur, Sun, Karyaw, Peinkoo, Yansi, Kyan Phan, etc., gathered at the festival. The number guests from the plains areas and foreign from the plains areas and foreign tourists (excluding guests from government depart­ments) numbered about 90. The guests had to put up at schools and government buildings like health and education departments in Leshi.

As far as the author remembers, there was an old helicopter pad at an elevated place on the upper levels of Leshi. From that elevated point, you can see Mt. Saramati and we were allowed to go there and watch.

The Ministry of Hotels & Tourism held the Naga New Year Festival under its aegis in the years that followed and it was held in Lahe in 2002, Lahe again in 2003 and back in Leshi in 2004. The author went to those three festivals up till 2004. Beginning from 2002, if the festival was held in Lahe, foreign and plains guests were sent from Yangon or Mandalay to Khamti by air, then to Sinthe by boat and thence to Lahe by car. If the festival was held in Leshi, guests from outside the re­gion were sent from Yangon or Mandalay to Hommalin by air, from Hommalin to Pinma by car, crossed the Chindwin by Z-craft to the Tamanthi side and thence to Leshi by car.

The author’s trip to Leshi in 2004 was his final visit to the Naga NewYear Festival which he attended four times every year since 2001. In 2004, the Naga New Year Festival had attained all the attributes of a modern festival. As far as the author can recall, modern ‘stage shows’ were held in parallel with the traditional bon­fire. This makes the author yearn more for the 2001 festival held in accordance with Naga ethnic traditions and customs.

How the author misses the very first Naga New Year Festival he had attended in 2001.

Source: The Traveller Journal


U Kyaw Yin, the Balloonist


Who would expect to find in a remote corner of the most southern tip of Myanmar, a native adventure- seeker braving open sky and space with a primitive balloon of his own making, and exhib­iting without any protective equipment, his gymnastic feats in the air, not only once but several times?

He was one U Kyaw Yin, or better known till today as Balloonist U KyawYin, though he is no more now.

Born in the year 1873 of father U Shwe Bwa and mother Daw Mann Ye of Pan Ta Lei village in Dawei township, in the Taninthayi Division of Myanmar, U KyawYin was the fifth son in the family. Since his childhood little Kyaw Yin took to acrobatics, gym­nastics, running, jumping, all kinds of activities that involved exertion and risk, which largely explained why he enjoyed physical fitness and good health till his old age. Born with strong will power, self-con­fidence and a love for sheer adventure, the little boy was destined to become a self-made balloonist of national fame.

He received only vernac­ular education at the local village school which taught only three Rs’ and there was neither science nor technology in the school curriculum. Yet he learned from experienced elders some basic principles of balloon-making and by trial and error he successfully constructed a balloon made of ordinary white cotton material, with a circumference of 100 cubits and a height of 30 cubits. A furnace fed by crude earth oil was lit just below the balloon which when filled with hot air and smoke swelled up and soared. It is said that in clement weath­er, his smoke filled balloon could rise up to an altitude of about two miles.

He was serving as a draw­ing master at the Govern­ment High School in Dawei town, when he first went up with his balloon in 1929. Partly because he had no technical or scientific train­ing in balloon-making and balloon-ascent, there were some difficulties in obtain­ing from the authorities permission for his balloon ascent. He was in his early fifties when he first went up with his balloon. There was an iron bar attached to the chain below the balloon, on which U Kyaw Yin performed marvelously his gymnastic acts as the balloon went up into the sky. He wore just simple Myanmar traditional dress including a headgear called ‘gaung baung’ without any protective equipment. In 1930, on an island in the Kandaw Gyi Lake, Yangon, while he was displaying acrobatics on the iron bar of his balloon, the balloon struck against the trees and the balloonist dropped onto the motor road. Luckily he only got some minor bruises on his chin and legs. When the bruises were healed dauntless U Kyaw Yin made many more bal­loon-ascents.

His exploits were terribly dangerous. Many a time did he fall when his balloon met with accidents, but many a time he narrowly escaped death or even seri­ous injury.

Within a decade of his balloonist career from 1929 to 1939, at the age of 56 to 66 years, he used five balloons for 55 ascents to give several gymnastic performances in the air, all over the country. Most of his shows were fundraisers for the construction of pa­godas and schools. He won several medals and awards for his hair-raising feats.

His attempt at a world tour to display his bold ex­ploits unfortunately failed. Had it ever succeeded, he would have made an early entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. However, on British Civil Serviceman named Maurice Collis who later became a writer of world renown gives in his book Into Hidden Burma the following credit to the Myanmar balloonist:

“One day a man called Maung KyawYin came to my house and asked permission to make a bal­loon-ascent. The balloon, I learnt, was lifted by hot air, like the paper balloons sent up at festivals… Needless to say, I immediately granted the permission and warned the head of police, Mr.Hall, to expect a big crowd on the day fixed. The ascent was to be from the flat shore below my house.

“Before dawn the sound of voices came up from the town. This sound of voices before dawn in the darkness is beautiful. It came from the crowds hastening to take up positions to witness Kyaw Yin ascend in his balloon. At seven I went down the hill. By that time quite ten thousand people had assembled. The hill was so thickly covered with bright clothes that it seemed massed with flowers. The open space by the sea edge was covered. In the middle, behind a palisade, the black cloth balloon swelled up, I entered the enclosure. A furnace was lit below the balloon,which was thus filled with hot air and smoke. The notabilities present de­sired me to present a gold medal to Kyaw Yin. Soon the balloon was straining and Kyaw Yin, after pros­trating himself to the four quarters of the sky, took hold of his trapeze, told his men to let go the rope so and was whirled upwards, hanging head downwards from his bar. There was no wind and he went up straight, but after 250 feet the air in his balloon cooled and he began to descend. A slight draught now carried it over the sea. There was a shout from the crowd and a rush for the bank. But I had ordered the port launch, the Jalinga, to follow him in such a contingency, and as he was precipitated into the sea, the launch crew rescued him. The balloon lay on the sea, smoking like a dying dragon. Soon Kyaw Yin was seen arriving, standing on the roof of the Jalinga. The crowd gave him a great ovation. People were mad with joy. It was a great spectacle for quiet Mergui. KyawYin pressed through the crowd to where I sat in my car. I gave him my hand.

He took a risk in going up so near the sea, though the early morning was generally without breeze or, what there was, from the sea. The drift of air that carried him out was a surprise and he might have been drowned, for a fast ebb was running. Shaken by the danger he had escaped, and moved by the ovation, he was in a state of great emotion when he came ashore, as were all the spectators in their admiration of his feat and joy at this escape.”

His last balloon-ascent was performed in Dawei town in 1939, and it was in that year that he passed away peacefully.

Source: The Traveller Journal

Timor-Leste Prime Minister and his wife visit to Nay Pyi Taw

THE MIRROR (13.9.2013)

The group of representa­tives led by Prime Minister of Timor-leste, Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao and his wife paid a visit to Myanmar Gem Museum at 2 pm on 12th September.

The prime Minister and his group wandered around the museum and the officials explained about the museum.

Then they also visited U-ppata Sandi Pagoda and watched the royal white elephants at “White Elephant Houses” beside U-ppata Sandi Pagoda.

Source: The Traveller Journal

Many types of service companies will no longer be eligible to receive an MIC Permit

In a forthcoming update to Notification 1/2013 of the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC), the famous list of permitted activities for foreign investment, it is possible that many types of service companies will no longer be eligible to receive an MIC Permit. In a tightening of the policy to date, the MIC tries to limit the application of tax and investment incentives to other activities such as manufacturing, real estate development, hospitality, infrastructure, power and resources. It is expected that services which require a high amount of capital expenditure such as telecommunication and construction may be unaffected by the policy shift.

Companies in information technology, engineering, consulting, financial services, transportation and other types services may be affected by the new policy. It may be possible that the Government will move more types of service companies to the list of activities which require a joint venture with a Myanmar citizen.

Currently, an MIC Permit is the only way to receive the different benefits and protections of the Foreign Investment Law (FIL). Besides tax exemptions, the FIL provides that foreign investors may lease land, open bank accounts in foreign currency, remit funds overseas, import materials and equipment, employ foreign and local staff, obtain financing and offer security to lenders. The FIL also provides that investments may not be nationalized. Some of these arrangements are also possible for non-MIC foreign owned companies, but the benefits and protections are not as comprehensive and not organized as transparently as under the FIL. For example, a foreign owned company without an MIC Permit may also receive permission from the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank to remit foreign currency overseas, but the right to do so and the applicable process is not set out as clearly under the FIL. For a company with an MIC Permit, it suffices to receive MIC approval for the remittances at the outset. Foreign investors, including those who invest in service projects, worry about losing the non-tax benefits and the clarity of the FIL.

Part of the problem is the organization of the FIL. Arguably, its provisions do not automatically apply to all investors but only to those that have received an MIC Permit. In fact, “investor” under that law is defined as a person that has received the MIC Permit. It was originally conceived as a system where every investor would receive a permit. In that sense, not giving a foreign owned project an MIC Permit means it has none of the benefits or protections under the FIL.

We have suggested to the Government it would alternatively be possible to keep service companies within the system, if necessary without tax incentives. Decoupling the tax incentives from the other benefits and protections of the FIL seems to be possible under the FIL if one takes into account not only art. 27 but also art. 12 j) of the FIL.

We will keep you updated on this development. In the meantime, do not hesitate to contact us to discuss how the new policy might affect your plans in Myanmar.

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UNESCO will visit to investigate Hanlin, ancient city of Pyu, for World Heritage Status

VOICE DAILY (10.9.2013)

“United Nations Educa­tional Scientific and Cultur­al Organization (UNESCO) will pay a visit to Hanlin which was a civilized ancient Pyu city from 2nd BC to 9th BC to investigate for World Heritage Status in January, 2014″, said by U Myint Than, assistant director of the Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library in Shwebo.

“As a bid for World Heritage Status, 33 brick structures are excavated and being maintained and prepared according to the UNESCO’s standard. And an Archaeological Museum is built in Hanlin Village”, he said.

According to the Depart­ment of Archaeology, National Museum and Library in Shwebo, “Re­garding with the prepara­tions to be considered for World Heritage Status and about maintaining ancient heritages of Phy people, the public talks and puz­zles are arranged for the residents and 362 students from Halin Village High School.”

U Myint Than said that the brick structures and ru­ined building of the ancient city are being preserved and the boundary stone pillars are also being set up. More­over, the high standard toi­lets, the sign-boards which show the directions of tour­ist attractions and repairing roads are undertaking. During the visit of UNESCO to the three ancient Pyu cities, Beikthano, Hanlin and Sri Ksetra in August for the World Heritage status, some difficulties occurred because of the squatters” , said by the official from the Department of Archaeolo­gy, National Museum and Library.


Launching on inscription of historical buildings to start this month

VOICE DAILY (10.9.2013)

“The progress to inscribe the Yangon’s colonial build­ings can be started at the end of this month”, said by the authorized woman from Yangon Heritage Trust. This plan is collaborated with the Yangon Heritage Trust and the electronic company, Philips. It is intended to inscribe about 200 historical buildings in Yangon by spending US$ 75,000.

“The exact date is not yet sure and it can be next month”, she said.

“According to the original plan, it is aimed to begin the preparation in September and finish all inscription works of about 200 colonial buildings according to the list of YHT, within two years”, announced by those two organizations at the World Economic Forum.

Yangon Heritage Trust was established in 2012 and its mission is to promote and protect the Yangon’s architec­tural heritages. The details of the historical building will be described on the plaques.

Source: The Traveller Journal

Visitor numbers seem to surge in open season and severe hotel room shortage to hit

DAILY ELEVEN (11.9.2013)

It is learnt that the surge in visitor numbers will in­crease in the coming open season and the hotel room supply will struggle more to meet demand than the previous year, according to Tourism Industry.

There has been tremen­dous growth in visitors to Myanmar as it began polit­ical reforms in 2011, and as a result, hotels have been experiencing serve room shortage and extremely high room rates from the end of the year 2011.

At present, the tourist arrivals in this rainy season outstrip the last season and it is expected to continue for the upcoming tour season. There are also some inquiries and preparations to visit Myanmar.

“FIT (the visitor who come with their own plans) doesn’t use to make detail arrangements. As the package is arranged to not be confused, the high price problem is always found. This problem hasn’t solve yet. It can be solved when the room supply will increase. Now, SEA Games and ASEAN Summit lead to serious repercussions on the room rate. After those occasions, the situation will change and more rooms can be available ,” said by U Aung Din, MD of Nature Lovers tours company.

The number of Tourist arrivals reached over one million in 2012 as the first time. Ministry of Hotels and Tourism expects to reach 1.5 millions in 2013 and 2 millions in 2014, During this year Janu­ary and August, 440,000 visitors have come through Yangon International Airport.

The tourist arrivals through Yangon Inter­national Airport have increased double from 2010 to 2013. Not only the number of business men and visitor for social mat­ter but also travelers with different visas are growing rapidly.

“FITs are more than the package tours at present. FITs choose to stay small hotels with fair prices rather than the big ones.” They have already searched the informations before coming to Myanmar,” a tour guide said.

The main tourist destina­tion, Yangon will experience a major shortage of hotel rooms for the next five years, according to Jones Lang La Salle Hotels and Hospitality Group.

Minister of Hotels and Tourism has given licenses to 834 hotels, motels and inns and 30,401 rooms all over the country in July.


Source: The Traveller Journal


Former Myanmar Railway Headquarter to turn into five-star Hotel

7DAY DAILY (15. 9.13)

Daw Nan Nwe Phay, MD of Myanmar Mega Trand company, Myanmar Railway Headquarter will be turned into five-star Hotel with the investment of US$ 15 million.

“MIC called the tender for former Myanmar Railway Headquarter, situated at Merchant road on Yangon and Myanmar Mega Trand won this tender to build ho­tel. The preparations began in June, 2012”, she said. This building will be built as a five-star hotel and it will become the first five-star hotel owned by Myanmar national. This hotel will be opened ten months later after making the contract with Yangon Region Chief Minister.

“We are going to make the contract with Yangon Re­gion Chief Minister within a few days. But the date has not confirmed yet’ said by Daw Nan Nwe Phay.

The hotel project will be constructed by Do Sim Engineering and Con­structed Company which has registered in Myanmar this January, according to U Maung Maung Lwin, the Director of the company.

“Myanmar Mega Trand company had intended to collaborate with three Korean companies while submitting the tender to get 50-year permit and these companies resigned after getting the permit”, said by U Maung Maung Lwin.

Daw Nan Nwe Phay said, “As the Korean companies had resigned, we will invest 100% instead of 50-percent investment.”

Myanmar Mega Trand Company is a garment company which formed the joint venture with the Korean company since 1997. It is their first time of submitting the tender and won it in first try.

MIC called the tenders for the high Court of Yan­gon Division and the Min­istry of Ministers to build the museum, for Myanmar Railway Headquarter to establish hotel. Myanmar business men got these tenders.

It is estimated that there will be 154 rooms in this five-star hotel and it can employ 450 workers. According to the statistics of the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism, there are only five-star hotels, owned by foreigners and 210 licensed hotels with 9,000 rooms in Yangon.


Source: The Traveller Journal


MAI fly free of charge for Myanmar migrant workers in Malaysia

7DAYDAILY (16.9.13)

Daw Aye Mara Thar, Marketing manager of MAI said that MAI will fly free of charge for remain­ing over 1000 Myanmar migrant workers who want to come back from Malaysia.

There are over 1,000 Myanmar workers who registered in Myanmar Embassy in Malaysia to come back to Myanmar. Some people who were arrested by Malaysia police and lived in camps also include in this group. “We will provide assistances freely for all who want to return home. It is learnt that there were still over 1000 workers.” said by Daw Aye Mara Thar from Myanmar Airways International.

167 legal workers including children from Malaysia had arrived to Myanmar on 13th Sep­tember. Sitagu Sayadaw donated 500 Ringid for the release of prisoners and the free tickets are provided by MAI and Air KBZ.

In June, MAI and Air KBZ helped over 3,000 Myanmar migrant workers to return home with free of charge.

Source: The Traveller Journal

No up-entrance fee for Su Lay and Botataung Pagodas yet

7 DAY DAILY (13.9.13)

Though it is said that the foreigner entrance fee for Shwedagon Pagoda would be raised starting from October, there is no plan to rise the entrance fee for Botataung Kyaik DayAt Pagoda and Sulay Pagoda.

“We have no current plan to rise. But I am not sure for later,” said U Aung Su, member of Botataung  Kyaik Day At Pagoda trustee broad.

Botataung Kyaik Day At Pagoda has seen foreign tourist entry since 2 years ago. The entrance fee has increased from U.S $ 2 to 3 later last year.

“In the previous years, Asians come as foreign tourists whereas Europeans visit here now,” said the member of Botataung Kyaik Day At Pagoda trustee broad.

The news is received that no plan to be up the present entrance fee U.S $ 2 has come out yet. For tourist safeguarding, Tourism Police carry duty with day shift and night shift, said the member of Botataung Kyaik Day At Pagoda.

After being up from U.S $ 5 to 8 for Shweda­gon Pagoda entrance fee, signboards with English version at stupas, Bud­dha images, statues and significant places will be hung and pamphlet with English language will be delivered for free.


Source: The Traveller Journal

The Workshop for Inlay Lake Long Term Restoration and Conversation

THE MIRROR (13.9.2013)

The Union Minister, U Win Tun, the Deputy Ministers, the committee members of Inlay Lake Restoration and Envi­ronmental Conversation, Shan State National Races Affairs Minister, the Secre­tary of Norway Embassy, Ms.Marte Briseit, Mr.Bijay Karmacharya, the Country Programme Manager of UN-HABITAT, the officials from ILD, UN Organiza­tions, NGOs, INGOs, the local people and media persons attended the work­shop.

According to the speech of Union Minister, U Win Tun, “It is found that there are some environmental pollutions in Inlay region and the government is taking actions to prevent the decays and maintain the good conditions of lake. To establish the project, the government will use hu­man capital and financial resources and collaborate with local organizations, NGOs and INGOs. Inlay Lake “Long Term Resto­ration and Conversation Plan” is based on the statistics of UN-HABITAT and Forest Department of Myanmar.

It is learnt that the re­searchers from UN-HAB­ITAT will explain the technological facts and the plans concerned with long term project. The author­ities will discuss to form Inlay Lake Development Authority (ILDA) and establish Inlay Lake Trust Fund to implement the effective actions.

Then the Secretary of Norway made a speech and the country manager of UN-HABITAT discussed about the long term plan of Inlay Lake Restoration and Conversation. This workshop will be held from September 12th to 13th.


Source: The Traveller Journal

Myanmar possessing 859 hotels and Yangon with 217 hotels having 9451 rooms to be high-up

DAILY ELEVEN (13.9.13)

Myanmar has granted licence to 859 hotels and guess houses. Yangon, the commercial city, having 217 hotels and 9451rooms runs the top, according to the source of statistic of Hotels and Tourism Ministry.

859 Hotels getting licence granted from the Director­ate of Hotels and Tourism possess 31321 rooms. 217 hotels holding 9451 rooms in Yangon, 90 hotels owning 3886 rooms in Mandalay, 40 hotels included 2640 rooms in Nay Pyi Taw, 76 hotels containing 2351 rooms in Bagan, Naung Oo and 66-hotel having 1837-room have been opened and licence for hotel is given regionally.

In Yangon, Center Point Tower Hotel, Rose Garden Hotel, Shangrila Hotel and Novotel Yangon Hotel projects are underway to be constructed with foreign investment.

In Center Point Tower Hotel project being estah­lished by Thai L.P Holding Co., Ltd, office rooms have been opened and then 300 hotel rooms will be com­pleted to set up within 2013, as a respective source.

Rose Garden Hotel proj­ect being constructed by Hong Kong based Emerald Rose Garden Ltd will be fin­ished in building 200 rooms in 2013 and 88 rooms in 2014 totalling 288 rooms. On Kan Taw Gyi Lake Avenue Road, Shangrila Hotel project-in progress with the setting up of Singapore based Shangrila group will include Serviced Apartment and business class room. As the first step, to open 2 Ser­viced Apartments having 240 rooms at the end of this November is proceeding.

Novotel Yangon Hotel project being built by Max Myanmar Company would be international standard hotel with 366-room and is being planned to open within this year.


Source: The Traveller Journal

Amendment of laws and reasonable room rent needed for developing tourism

To boom tourism industry, it is needed for tourism law to suitable with the current time and for hotel room rental fee to be stable, expressed the point of view from Myanmar Tour Guides Association.

Currently, Myanmar is applying 1993 hotel and Tourism Law. As some facts in these laws are not consistent with present time, it is necessary to amend these laws, Secretary U Ko Ko Latt, Myanmar Tour Guides Association.

“The key challenge for global tourist to Myanmar is increasing price of hotel room. The charge should be stable systematically run by hoteliers abiding codes of practice. For long term, perfect service is a must. Otherwise, tourists will visit Myanmar one time and they don’t think to visit again because of high expenditure. That should not be. The State needs to heighten 2014 budget for tourism promo­tion. Only after knowing about budget, experts and advisors can suggest,” he said.

For regular tourist entry, it is required to draft Long Time Plan and to get full urban illustrations such as water, electric, transpor­tation and service. So that tourist rate which the State hopes will be reached, he added.

Since tourists who visit Myanmar would like to know Myanmar culture and tradition, to be preserved and upgraded cultural regions is necessitated, the experts spoke out.

Ministry of Hotels and Tourism has permitted 1132 licences to tour operators, 190 licences to transportation operators and 3343 licences to tour guides.


Source: The Traveller Journal

Collection of visitor’s fee of Ks.2000 to Mandalay Hill from foreign tourists postponed


News has been received that the collection of visitor’s fee of Ks.2000 to Mandalay Hill from foreign tourists with effect from October 1st has been postponed.

U Nyo Win, treasurer in the board of trustees of Mandalay Hill, said thus: “Collection of the fee has been postponed because some work-projects that would provide additional service to foreign visitors have not yet been com­pleted. We cannot say yet when the fee would be collected”.

Services that would justify the collection of the fee include the building two viewing places from where foreign visitors could watch the sunset and the renovation of escalators and lifts, said a member of the board of trustees.

Presently, Ks. 1000 is being collected as fee for the use of cameras. But, as the revenue thus generat­ed is too small to cover the work-projects meant for the convenience of foreign tourists, it has been decided to collect a visitor’s fee, said the board of trustees. The board of trustees said that the collected fees would be spent on work-projects providing services to foreign visitors and for the development of Mandalay Hill as a whole.

U Win Zaw Oo, secre­tary of Myanmar Tourist Guides Association (Man­dalay Zone), said that they would send a letter containing suggestions with regard to the col­lection of Ks.2000 from foreign tourists visiting Mandalay Hill.

He said: “Foreigners could misunderstand the collection of fees at the pagoda. That is why we are sending our sugges­tions”.

According to tourist guides, foreigners visit­ing the Maha Myat Muni Image have to give Ks. 1000 in addition to the fee for Mandalay Hill and tourists are not fully satisfied with the situation.

Each foreign tourist has to pay Ks.10,000 as zone fee, valid for five days, for visiting Mandalay, Amara­pura, Inwa, Paleik, etc.

Source The Traveller Journal

Myanmar Tourist Guides Association to post travel information and photographs on website


According to U Ko Ko Latt, secretary of the Myanmar Tourist Guides Association (MTGA), the Myanmar Tourist Guides Association will post trav­el news and information and photographs on its website.

The MTGN’s website is www.myanmartour­ and travel news, informa­tion, travel documentary photographs, web links of tourism organizations and NGOs abroad and web links to books that should be read by tourist guides are posted on it.

U Ko Ko Latt said: “Pres­ently, we have posted the Guide Directory on the website for the provision of guide service to foreign tourists. We will make the Directory more compre­hensive later on”.

It is learnt that a forum on which guides could write would be added shortly to the website. On the forum, guides could provide their personal data, travel information, travelogues and photo­graphs. They could also use the forum to learn what they want to know.

The Myanmar Tour­ist Guides Association (MTGA) was established in 2011 and presently has a membership of over 3000 tourist guides.

Mottama Hotel Zone Project disallowed due to fears of harm to natural beauty and religious structures


It has been learnt from the Mon State Government that it will not allow the hotel zone project and the building of a holiday resort on the Mottama mountain ridge in Mottama town in Mon State because of fears of damage to the natural beauty of the ridge and religious structures on it.

News have been circulat­ing that hotel zone projects are going to be constructed on the Mottama mountain ridge and it is learnt that landowners and real estate agents are already selling plots on the ridge.

The Mon State Govern­ment has not allowed the hotel zone projects which, if implemented, would harm the natural beauty of the ridge and religious buildings on it.

A senior official from the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism in the Mon State Government said thus: “The government has not allowed the hotel zone project on the mountain ridge. There are religious buildings on the ridge while it could harm the ridge’s natural beauty. A hotel zone project involves the building of many hotels. There is simply no room to build hotels on the ridge”

It is learnt that, al­though hotels would not be allowed to be built on the mountain ridge, they would be allowed to be built at the foothills of the Mottama mountain and at the site of the old railway station.

A Mottama resident said thus: “After news emerged that hotels would be built on the mountain ridge, an acre of land on the ridge jumped from the normal price of Ks.0.2 million to Ks. 10 million. There are monks taking up residence on the moun­tain ridge. There are also monasteries on it. If the project is implemented, all of them would have to move away. So, not allow­ing the project is good in a way”.


As there are tourist attractions in the ten townships of Mon State, visits paid to Mon State by foreign tourists jumped ten-fold since 2011.

There are 17 hotels and seven guest houses suitable for foreign tourists to stay in Mon State. The state government said it is making efforts to better the situation.

As there are tourist attractions in the ten townships of Mon State, visits paid to Mon State by foreign tourists jumped ten-fold since 2011.

There are 17 hotels and seven guest houses suitable for foreign tourists to stay in Mon State. The state government said it is making efforts to better the situation.

More Spanish, Thai and Korean tourists visiting Mandalay tourist zone


The president of the Myanmar Tourist Guides Association in Mandalay tourist zone said that the number of foreign tourists visiting Mandalay in 2013 is higher than last year and that Thai and Korean visitors are prominent among them.

He said: “More foreign visitors have come this year. Spanish tourists are prominent among visitors this month. You could say that this month is trav­elling time for Spanish people”.

He added that there are over 1000 licenced tour­ist guides in Mandalay and, therefore, the ratio of guides to tourists is still acceptable, that it is desired that unlicensed tour operators work with licences and that guides should attend training courses to become better guides.

Ko Toe Toe, a licenced tourist guide in Mandalay with about ten years expe­rience, said that the places most frequented by foreign tourists are Inwa, Golden Monastery and U Pein Bridge, that from Manda­lay, foreign tourists also visit Pyin Oo Lwin, Thibaw in Shan State, Monywa and Sagaing, Mingun and from Pakkokku to Bagan and that a tourist guide earns from $25-30 per day.

About 1.005 million foreign tourists came to Myanmar in 2012-2013. According to the Myanmar Tourist Guides Associa­tion, four tourist zones, namely, Yangon, Man­dalay, Bagan and Inlay, have been established and about 2000 out of about 4000 licenced tour guides in the country are working in these four zones.

Source: The Traveller Journal