Monthly Archives: May 2017

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

Golf tourism needs long drive out of bunkers

Myanmar is far from a golf tourist destination despite having many courses in different cities, said U Phyo Wai Yar Zar, vice chair of Myanmar Tourism Federation.

Speaking to The Myanmar Times, he said that golf tourism has a potential niche market but the local courses are not up to the expectations of international golfers.

“We have to try hard if we want to make Myanmar a golfing destination. We can count the number of courses that are of international standard. But that number cannot be compared with other regional countries which have already developed the game and facilities,” U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said.

There are no more than 10 tour agencies offering packages, including golfing.

In Vietnam, there are 32 international courses. Myanmar has about 60 courses in the whole country.

Daw Su Su Tin, vice chair of Myanmar Tourism Marketing Committee, said, “Some tourists have tried golf courses in neighbouring countries. A few tours operators are offering a golf program in their itinerary but we cannot promote golfing tourism too much.”

“Myanmar has fine weather, not as expensive as other countries and has a huge potential for golf tourism development,” she said.

U Phyo Wai Yar Zar added, “People know Myanmar as a cultural tourism centre. Perhaps now is the time to promote traditional sport related tourism like chinlone (caneball) and other Myanmar sporting events.”

“Chinlone as a sporting event cannot be found in other countries. Relevant government departments should make it popular as a tourism product,” he said.

“Also, the golfing market is for high-end tourists who are mostly big spenders. Other facilities such as high-end restaurants and amenities need to be developed,” he said.

Currently, there are no more than six or seven international fine dining restaurants in Yangon.

U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said, “We should first get the primary requirements done up and then continue with other things,” he said.

“As I know, there’s no website, specific market figures on golfing for tourists. Concerned authorities need to build up the human capital first and the required infrastructure before promoting golf as a product,” he said.

“We have no information yet about the various courses and it is hard to find out who are those interested in golfing in Myanmar. Golfing is the best way to attract visitors as part of tourism,” U Phyo Wai Yar Zar said.

Source : Myanmar Times

Smoke-free zones to be designated in public areas

A sign banning smoking is displayed around the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Smoke-free zones are to be designated in public areas in six regions and states. Photo – AFP
Public areas in cities across six regions and states will be designated smoke-free zones this year.

Dr Than Sein, Public Health Foundation chair, said, “We will designate smoke-free areas in public locations to prevent youths from smoking and to protect from diseases that are caused by passive smoking.”

The six regions and states that will have smoke-free zones are Mandalay, Yangon, Sagaing, Magwe regions, Kayin and Shan states.

The public areas to be designated smoke-free zones are hospitals, schools and pagodas in the townships from the six regions and states,

Dr Than Sein said the plan will be implemented with the cooperation of the regional and state governments.

U Naing Win Tun, a local of Mandalay and a smoker, said, “The plan of designating non-smoking areas is a way of protecting the health of children, elderly and women. That is why it is very good. But, there should be a plan for smokers and smoking zones should be designated for them.”

Currently, workshops are being held in the Mandalay and Magwe regions by the Public Health Foundation about designating smoke-free areas,

Discussions are also being held on designating smoke-free areas at three famous pagodas in Mandalay city, according to Dr Than Sein.

Translation by Win Thaw Tar

Source : Myanmar Times

Colonial structure in Toungoo needs renovation


The colonial-era building in Toungoo.


SITUATED in a village in the western part of Toungoo in Bago Region, a 100-year-old crumbling colonial building, which is currently used as a village monastery, needs renovation, said an abbot of the monastery.
The old residents of Ohpogon Village in Kinseik Village-tract say that the old building was the home of a family during the colonial era and had since been used as a branch office of Kempeitai, Japanese military police, said Sayadaw U Kawthala who moved to the building two years ago.
The Sayadaw said the roof and other parts of the two-storey structure have worn out, urging well-wishers to take part in the renovation plan. Taungoo was a dynasty that flourished between 1510-1539 and 1551-1552 and is famous in Myanmar history.
The city has numerous ancient structures including pagodas, temples, stupas and other historic attractions. Taungoo celebrated its 500th birthday in 2010.

Ko Lwin (Swa)

Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Training to be held to conserve Ayeyawady dolphins with SMART technology


The Ayeyawady dolphin is an endangered species with a population less than a hundred.

To observe and conserve the Ayeyawady dolphin with SMART technology, 26 officers from Directorates of Fisheries of three Regions and States were trained as a second batch on May 8-9 under the arrangement of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), according to Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
Officials from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has taught and educated 20 officers from Sagaing, 4 officers from Kachin State and 2 officers from Mandalay Region at the Institute of Directorates of Fisheries in Sagaing Region, said U Han Win deputy head of Department of Fisheries in Myanmar.
Using the SMART technologies in the Ayeyawady dolphin conservation areas can give better results in seizing illegal fishing and maintaining law and order of those areas by getting the update information. SMART software application enables to collect the data by the SMART Rangers in the conservation areas.
That can record threats to Ayeyawady dolphin, bio diversities, and natural distinct features, action taken against illegal fishing and distances and frequencies of monitoring.
As a result, management works on conservation of Ayeyawady dolphin will be more effective.


Source : Global New Light of Myanmar

Uber enters Myanmar with a licensed taxi service


Uber has launched its service in Myanmar, the Southeast Asian country formerly known as Burma, over a month after going public with its expansion plan.

With a population of 50 million people and rapidly increasing internet adoption, Myanmar is seen by many tech firms as a market with much growth potential. Grab, Uber’s chief rival in Southeast Asia, entered the country’s capital Yangon in March with a beta launch, but Uber’s arrival in the city is notable because it comes with the backing of the national government. Principally, that’s because the service will only work with licensed drivers, Reuters reports, using the same model as Grab.

There’s plenty of logic behind that change of approach. Even after operating in Asia for four years, Uber’s service sits in a grey area that sometimes sees governments clamp down on ‘unlicensed’ drivers. In Myanmar, authorities are taking its arrival as an opportunity to advance its digitization since it doesn’t offer an immediate threat to existing taxis.

“I personally welcome Uber,” Phyo Min Thein, chief minister of the Yangon Region, said in a statement. “I believe Uber will help Myanmar becoming an ideal market in Southeast Asia by providing safety and improved services to our people and international tourists.”

U.S. ambassador Scot Marciel added that Uber can “improve urban mobility” and strengthen relations between the two countries.

The Myanmar launches marks the 57th country where the U.S. ride-sharing service is operational, but this market may just be its most intriguing. The internet was barely accessible in Myanmar before the country’s democratization in 2011, while cell phones and SIM cards were priced beyond almost all residents. Yet today, Myanmar has over 50 million registered SIM cards and an estimated five million-plus Facebook users.

“The country has leapfrogged straight to the world of smartphones and data,” David Madden, who runs Phandeeyar, a community project in Yangon that’s backed by Omidyar Network, told TechCrunch recently. “It’s only a matter of time before other international tech companies recognize the opportunity.”

It’s unclear when, or indeed whether, Uber will up the ante by introducing services like UberX, which enable anyone with a car to become a driver. Any such move would test its relationship with the government, which looks to be the pillar for this expansion.

Source :

Bagan cultural zone to be included in UNESCO

Pilgrims to Bagan, a region to be considered for the Memory of the World register, as seen on May 8. Maung Zaw / The Myanmar Times

A draft plan to designate Bagan as one of the World’s Heritage sites will be submitted to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in September.

Union Minister in the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko on May 6 said that Bagan would be expanded and spruced up.

“This will include Tant Kyi Taung (Tant Kyi Hill) which is on the western part of Ayeyawady river (in Magway region) and Yone Hloot Kyoon in the eastern part of Bagan. The area is estimated to be more than 20000 acres.

“The original area of the Bagan ancient cultural zone was 27970 acres and it will be 48099 acres after expansion. Although zones are expanded, they will not remove the townships, villages, hotels, motels and restaurants,” he said.

“These are the instructions of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to us. She said to give first priority to the residents when submitting the application to UNESCO. The residents will have to worry less about now and we will give priority to them if buildings are constructed in new areas,” he said.

Currently, Bagan’s ancient cultural zone is specified as Ancient Zone, Monumental Zone and Protected Zone. Bagan Myo Thit (new Bagan) and Nyaung Oo townships will be put into the Protected Zone and hotels and restaurants in those areas will be open for the long term and new buildings will also be constructed, he added.

“Unesco’s recognition will boost the value of our country’s treasures. If the area is included in the Memory of the World register, it will create many opportunities for locals in the region. We are expediting the process for regional development. The locals will suffer if we are late in registration,” said Thura U Aung Ko.

Department of Archaeology and National Museum (Bagan branch) director U Aung Kyaw Kyaw said in order to get Bagan included in the Memory of the World register, two teams are currently working on a draft to be submitted. At present, 60 percent of the draft has been completed, and UNESCO will send a reply regarding any additional requirements for the application submitted by Myanmar in January 2018. The investigations by UNESCO will take one whole year, and the result will be released in 2019.

Previously, an application to include Bagan in the Memory of the World register was sent in 1996. However, the application was rejected, partly because of poor management and partly due to the fact that Bagan was not classified as a heritage zone at the time. A reapplication is underway.

Ancient Pyu kingdoms were the first in Myanmar to achieve world heritage status, when UNESCO recognised these as world heritage sites in 2014. Some of the requirements for recognition include whether the natives value the region in the application, whether the region is internationally well-known and beneficial for the present and future generations.

– Translation by Khine Thazin Han and Swe Zin Moe

Source : Myanmar Times