Cost of visiting Shwedagon for foreigners rises to Ks 10,000

Shwedagon Pagoda is the national landmark of Myanmar. Photo: Phoe Khwar

According to the board of trusteeship of the Shwedagon Pagoda, as of 1 December, the entrance fee for foreigners to visit the Shwedagon Pagoda will go up to Ks 10,000.
The price increase was originally going to be imposed starting 1 June, but at the suggestion of the Myanmar Travel & Tour Agency, it was decided that six months notice should be given.
Presently, Ks 8,000 is being collected from foreign visitors. With the increased collection, arrangements for giving better services are under way.
“In last summer, there were few visitors to the pagoda because of the burning heat while in January, February and March foreign visitors came. With the increased collection of entrance fees, provision of better services is under way”, said U Win Kyaing, the deputy head of the office of Shwedagon Pagoda’s Board of Trusteeship. It has been learnt that 36,674 tourists visited the pagoda in May. From the end of January to the end of April, there were over 250,000 visitors to the famous pagoda. Out of all international visitors to the Shwedagon pagoda, those from a neighboring country, Thailand, were the most numerous, followed by guests from China and Germany.

Ko Moe

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar 

Elephant sanctuary to be opened in Ye Nwe

An elephant sanctuary will be opened jointly by the government departments concerned, an elephant conservation group from Australia and Mingalar Myanmar NGO, according to a report in the City News Daily yesterday.
In Myanmar, Elephant is one of the animals which need to be given priority to take care. The elephant conservation camp will be opened with an aim to prevent the endangered species from extinction. The elephant conservation camp is planned to be opened at Ye Nwe forest reserve in Bago Yoma.
Although we don’t need the wide space to take care of sick elephants, we need a much wider space for the healthy elephants to feed and go around naturally. Currently, we are still discussing with the government to open the elephant conservation camp, said an official from the Mingalar Myanmar NGO.
Similar elephant conservation camps have been opened in 14 countries by now with the assistance of the elephant conservation group from Australia.—GNLM

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Interbank market to launch this year

Photo: Shutterstock

Questions raised by several international investors attending the 2017 investment forum were about the risk concerning exchange rate fluctuations. The Central Bank of Myanmar already had a plan to control it, said Daw Sandar Oo, managing director of Myanma Insurance during an interview with The Myanmar Times on June 7. 

Daw Sandar Oo confirmed that the interbank market is going to start this year and is taking measures at the moment regarding the collaborations between the Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The interbank market is a financial system of trading currencies where banks and financial institutions exchange different currencies. 

“We make daily auctions. It used to be one-sided trading as no one wanted to sell, and only wanted to purchase.

“Then the Central Bank has to do the selling. So we have considered moving the daily auction from the Central Bank to the interbank market.

“In this way, the banks will make selling and buying and that will actually reflect the market rate,” she said.

The Central Bank set the foreign exchange rate through daily auctions and has encountered difficulties in setting a rate which reflects the real market situation. Hence, Central Bank officials decided to switch to the interbank market, said Central Bank deputy governor U Set Aung in February.

Source : Myanmar Times 

Emirates to commence direct flights between Yangon and Phnom Penh

An Emirates plane seen at Lisbon’s airport, Portugal. Photo: Reuters

Dubai-based premium airline Emirates will launch a new route between Yangon and Phnon Penh, Cambodia on 1 July.

The route is the first direct flight between Yangon and Phnom Penh, Cambodia since 2014.

The airline will offer discounted fares to Cambodia’s capital from 5-30 June 2017, with round-trip ticket prices starting from USD 242 for Economy Class and USD 692 for Business Class.

Tickets can be purchased at Emirates office in Myanmar, which is located at 6th floor, Myanmar Center Tower 1 (HAGL), 192 Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township, Yangon.

A non-stop route between Dubai and Hanoi will also begin on 1 July.

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar 

Shwedagon Pagoda entry fee increase put on hold


Pilgrims visit the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Aung Htay Hlaing / The Myanmar Times

Shwedagon trustees have suspended plans to increase the entrance free of the pagoda for about six more months after getting a directive by the department of archaeology, national museum and library under the ministry of religious affairs and culture.

The board of trustees of Shwedagon pagoda had intended to increase the entrance fees from K 8,000 to K 10,000 from June 1. The announcement had been made in early May.

According to an archeology department directive they had to report six months ahead before any increase was made and that’s why they weren’t allowed to do it.

“This is not only applicable to the Shwedagon pagoda but also for all things happening in the country. A discussion must be made with the stakeholders involved first before making a final decision on policy. It is very important,” Daw May Myat Mon Win, vice chairman of Myanmar Tourism Federation told The Myanmar Times.

“This is because although the change in entrance fee does not affect the free independent traveller it does affect package tour operators as they have sold their packages a year in advance. This means they cannot amend the prices in their itinerary,” U Ye Tun Oo, Chief Executive Officer of Vivo Myanmar travel and destination told The Myanmar Times.

So the Union of Myanmar Travel Association, UMTA submitted to the ministry of religious affairs and culture that notice of six months should be given for any price change according to a press release on May 31 by UMTA.

“It is better if they took more time to discuss this and with more people so there are more options. For instance, recently Siem Reap increased the entrance fee to almost double the original amount but no one complained about that. So we should copy their business model and see how countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia charge,” Daw May Myat Mon Win said.

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Fourth Mon-Taninthayi tour in June

Colorful fish, corals and sponges on the coral reef in Kawthoung, Taninthayi Region.

The Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board Marketing Committee will introduce the fourth Mon-Taninthayi tour starting from 3 till 9 June. The committee will introduce this trip with an aim to enable local people to observe significant tourist attraction in Myanmar .
During the trip, locals can view the nature of the island of Kawthoung town and beaches of the Myeik archipelago.
Visitors will leave Yangon for Dawei on 3 June. Myanmar Heritage Trail Tourism will arrange an overnight stay in Dawei before proceeding to Myeik the next morning.
The third day of the trip will be to Kawthoung via Myeik. Visitors will spend two days on the islands around Kawthoung town then leave for Mawlamyine.
Tour organizers will include visits to famous pagodas and significant destinations in Mawlamyine. The group will arrive back in Yangon on 9 June. The trip arranged by Myanmar Heritage Trail Tourism Rally will promote the trip through the media. The trip is believed to be able to promote Myanmar’s tourism sector, said Daw May Myat Mon Win, chairperson of the Myanmar Tourism Marketing Association.

Myat Noe Thu

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar 

New Bagan info centre opening soon

The construction of an information center in the Bagan cultural zone for local and foreign tourists will be completed by the end of May.

According to Assistant Project Manager for the Bagan Tourism Development Project, Daw Yu Yu Lin, from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the project will be completed by the end of May.

“It will be finished by the end of this month. After completion, the centre will be transferred to the government. At present, we do not know which department runs it,” she said.

The center will provide all information on the ancient cultures and traditions of the region, hotels and tourism,” Daw Yu Yu Lin said.

An old school located in the west of Shwe Nandaw, part of ancient Bagan, was renovated and redesigned to be the new information center at a cost of US$ 150,000.

This was done after an MOU with the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism was signed in February.

“The centre is located in convenient place and all Bagan-related information will be available in a single place,” she added.

A Nyaung-U resident, U Than Hlaing, said, “Such centers should be present everywhere. It is convenient because all essential information can be obtained in a very short time.”

The three information centres are run by the Ministry in the Bagan cultural zone.

Translation by Zaw Nyunt

Source : Myanmar Times

KBZ to provide 24-hour service for trade-related payments via MPU


Customers seeking information about around the-clock service for trade-related payments through Myanmar Payment Union-MPU system.

Kanbawza Bank has prepared to offer its around-the-clock service for trade-related payments through Myanmar Payment Union-MPU system, said U Aung Kyaw Myo, Deputy CEO of the KBZ Bank.
The announcement for the payment system change came at the workshop on trade transaction payments with Myanmar Payment Union (MPU) system and expanding the fully online licensing system for export and import products held at the Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI) office in Yangon recently.
“Today is the time when we all are making efforts for development of import and export industry. Financial sector plays an important role in the drive for the trade sector. KBZ Bank has prepared to provide the 24-hour trade-related payment service to traders with the use of the Myanmar Payment Union system,” said U Aung Kyaw Myo.
The first stage will be introduced at Nay Pyi Taw headquarters, Yangon export and import office, Muse 105 trade zone and Myawaddy Trade Zone with the digital banking system.Customers can make payments via a point-of-sales (POS) system of Kanbawza Bank at the offices and by an e-ecommerce system via the internet website of the Ministry of Commerce for the 24-hour service.
The MPU system change has been under preparation to be introduced at the remaining border trade zones.Thanks to the system change, customers can make payment with the use of an ATM card. Meanwhile, the cost for transaction is reduced from 500 kyats to 200 kyats for one time. The workshop was also attended by Director-General Daw Than Than Swe of the Central Bank of Myanmar, U Yan Naing Tun, Director-General of the Trade Department, MPU’s CEO U Zaw Lin Htut, and invited traders.

Thura Lwin(Eco)

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Lake full of lotus flowers in Meiktila attract flocks of visitors

A man rows a boat in Meiktila Lake which has full of lotus flowers in the Wunzin Ward in Meiktila, Mandalay.

THE number of people visiting lake currently full of lotus plants situated in the western part of Wunzin Ward in Meiktila Town, Mandalay Region has increased, with local fishermen generating more income as visitors take sightseeing boat tours.
Several groups of day trippers including university students in downtown Meiktila have been visiting the lake, which is one of the more romantic destinations for couples, residents say.
“The price for those wishing to take a sightseeing boat tour is Ks1,000 per head,” said a fish catcher from Kalamagyun Village in the western part of the lake.
He said that there have been only a small quantity of lotus flowers on the lake in past few years. But presently the lake is full of white lotus flowers and has become a popular destination, attracting mostly domestic visitors from the region and nearby areas.
The lake is also being used as the natural setting to photograph both male and female models as well as couples wishing to take pre-wedding photographs.

Chan Tha (Meiktila)

Source :  Global New Light of Myanmar 

Yangon plans airport-downtown shuttle service

The new buses from Ankai Company are seen.  Photo: Ankai
Authorities are working on setting routes for a shuttle service business between Yangon International Airport and downtown Yangon.

With new buses imported from China, the service will be placed into operation soon, said Dr Maung Aung, Secretary of the Yangon Region Transport Authorities.
An agreement to buy 1,000 new city buses for the roads of Yangon was signed in April between Yangon Bus Service and two Chinese companies.
The China Yutong Company and Ankai will sell 500 buses each to the YBS. Delivery of the buses are expected soon, officials said.
The YBS needed buses for their commuter service, for which the Yangon Region Government and Chinese Government ne-gotiated to supply city buses on a government-to-government (G-to-G) basis and finally entered into an agreement that would have the buses arrive in Yangon starting at the end of May, said Dr Maung Aung.— Su Hnin Le

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar