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Myanmar - The Internet Travel Guide (FAQ) (part 1/2)

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Archive-name: travel/myanmar-guide/part1
Url: http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar
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MYANMAR (Burma) - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide


Myanmar is also known as Burma. The country has a long and varied
history, from kingdom to outpost of the British Empire to independent
country (see also the book below).

The main tourist spots are Yangon (Rangoon), Mandalay, Inle Lake,
and of course the huge temple area of Bagan (Pagan).


Places
 Bagan
 Bago
 Inle Lake
 Kalaw
 Kekku
 Kyaik-Tiyo
 Lashio
 Mandalay
 Sagaing
 Taunggyi
 Yangon


General Information
 Geographical Information
 Climate
 People
 Politics
 Events
 Visa
 Embassies
 Border Crossing
 Travel Permits
 Money
 http://www.oanda.com/convert/cheatsheet?user=pmgitgExchange Rates and Currency Cheat Sheet
 Mail
 Telephone
 Internet
 Hotels
 Food
 Health


Transportation
 Flying
 Trains
 Boat
 Bus
 Car


**************************************************************************

MYANMAR (Burma) - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2005, Peter M. Geiser

http://www.pmgeiser.ch
http://www.pmgeiser.com
http://www.mineralwaters.org
http://www.dussy.ch

**************************************************************************

INTERNET HOTEL AND TRAVEL GUIDES

New series by Peter M. Geiser and Sibylle Dussy, with many photos:
 HONG KONG        http://www.pmgeiser.ch/hongkong
 JAPAN            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/japan
 MACAU            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/macau
 SWITZERLAND      http://www.pmgeiser.ch/switzerland

"Classics", FAQ of rec.travel.asia
 CAMBODIA         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/cambodia
 CHINA            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/china
 LAOS             http://www.pmgeiser.ch/laos
 MYANMAR (BURMA)  http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar
 TIBET            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/tibet
 VIETNAM          http://www.pmgeiser.ch/vietnam

Hotel guides
 INDIA            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/india
 INDONESIA        http://www.pmgeiser.ch/indonesia
 MALAYSIA         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/malaysia
 NEPAL            http://www.pmgeiser.ch/nepal
 SINGAPORE        http://www.pmgeiser.ch/singapore
 THAILAND         http://www.pmgeiser.ch/thailand

**************************************************************************

BAGAN

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/bagan.htm


Located 193 km south of Mandalay, and covering 42 km2, Bagan is one of
the richest archeological sites in Asia. Also known as the city of the
four million pagodas, Bagan is one of the ancient capitals of Myanmar.
There are more than 2000 pagodas built during the Bagan Dynasty
founded by King Anawratha in 1044 AD.

The main pagodas are: Ananda Pagoda, Damayangyi Pagoda, Hti-lo-min
Pagoda, Shwegugyi Pagoda, and Shwesandaw Pagoda.

Near the Ananda Pagoda is the Bagan Museum. It contains images and
sculptures found in temples around Bagan.

There is now a lot of restauration going on. Some of it is done poorly
in terms of archaelogical work, but most locals maintain that the
temples are first and foremost for Buddhists and not for tourists.

Entrance to the archeological zone is FEC 10.

Worthwile is also the market, close to the road.

There is now a new Bagan, not far from the old town. The inhabitants
of the old town close to Bagan's temple area were forced by the
government to move from the old to this new place. There are several
reasons, one being that the govenment doe not want them to talk to
foreigners, but more likely to protect the area, as many temples have
been damaged by local treasure hunters in recent years.

To get to Bagan, take a plane from Yangon. It takes about 1 hour. From
Mandaly it is a 5 to 6 hour drive or an overnight cruise on a boat.


Transportation

There are horse carts with drivers that take you to the various site.
They charge about USD 5 per day.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/bagan.htm.

Restaurant

The Royal House Restaurant offers well prepared meals. During
dinner, there will be a traditional marionette show.

There is also a very good, but pricey Italian restaurant.


**************************************************************************

Bago

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/bago.htm


Located some 80 km north of Yangon, Bago (or Pegu) is a nice day trip
from Yangon. It sports a large Pagoda and the largest reclining Buddha
of the world.


Transportation

The bus takes two hours to get there. It leaves from the local
terminal near the airport and costs MKK 150.

A second class train ticket costs 2 FEC for foreigners. Trains are
less frequent and less punctual than busses.

**************************************************************************

INLE LAKE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/inlelake.htm


This lake, just 30 km south of Taunggyi is one of the most beautiful
spots in Myanmar. Once much larger, today it is 22.4 km long and 10.2
km wide and about 950 m above sea level. The main town at the north
end of the lake is Yaunghwe.

Around and on the lake live the Intha, one of Burma's ethnic
minorities. There are still quite a few living in houses on stilts on
the lake.

It is no wonder, that with this environment the Intha children learn
to swim before they can walk. To keep track of their young by tying
bells to their ankles. In the beginning they use wings made from
gourds.

The Intha are skilled fishermen with a unique fishing technique. A
conical trap made of bamboo or wood with a net inside is thrust into
the water. When the fisherman feels (with a string) a fish caught in
the net, he releases the net, and with some luck, a fish is caught in
it. To scare the fish, so that it touches the net, a pole is used in
the other hand to stir the water near the net.

They also have a very special way of rowing: standing upright in the
long and narrow boats, they use the leg for moving the row, leaving
both arms free to handle other equipment (e.g. nets.) However, one arm
is used to give the oar some leverage.

Known widely as fine craftsmen, the Intha excel as silversmiths,
blacksmiths, carpenters and as weavers of cotton and silk.

But also the farmers have developped some interesting skills. They use
floating mats woven of dried reeds and grass covered with mud to grow
crops. These mats are as long as 60 m, but very narrow, so that they
can be easily worked from a boat. The term gardener gets a new meaning
with some Inthas towing this "land" behind them and selling off slices
according to the needs of their customers.

There is a market every five days at Inbawhkon. Inbawhkon is at the
narrowest part of the lake, about two thirds of the lake's length
towards the south.

Each October, during two weeks there is a big religous festival. An
ornamental barge carrying the image of the mythical "karaweik" and
four sacred figures tours the lake. The figures are thought to have
been brought from Malaya by the 12th-century king Alaungsithu.
According to the legend, the Buddhist devotee placed them inside a
cave near Inle.  Re-discovered centuries later, they have become
increasingly significant in religion. Today, it is no longer possible
to make out any features, since they are compleately covered with
gold. After the big boat finishes the tour, the leg-rowers gather for
the most important regatta.

To visit the lake, you will have to pay an admission fee of USD 3.

The Shan State Museum in Yuangshwe was home to Sao Shwe Thaike,
the last Shan King in Burma. He gave up his kingship and became the
first President of Burma in 1948. In 1962 when Ne Win seized power he
was imprisoned and died in jail. One of his sons was killed by the
military. Most of his children, and his widow live in Canada and are
working for democracy in Burma. His son Harn Yuangshwe works full time
for the NCGUB.


Hotels

The Inle Inn Country Guest House at the Yonegyi Road is a nice place.
The host is very knowledgable about the area.

PYI Guest House in Yaungwhe has singles for USD 5.

The Woody Guest House in Yaunghwe offers doubles for USD 10 to 18.


**************************************************************************

KALAW

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/kalaw.htm


Hotels

The Parami Guest House has doubles for USD 12.


**************************************************************************

KEKKU

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/kekku.htm


First seen by a Westerner in 1996, Keeku is located 45 km south of
Taunggyi. There are several thousand pagodas, built between the 12th
and the 16th century, surrounded by countless Buddha statues.

Kekku was founded by the Yun Tai people. The Yun Tai moved south
towards what is now Thailand. Nowadays, the Pa O of the Karen nation
live in this region. Their traditional costume are black clothes with
a colourful cloth wrapped around their heads.

The place is still actively used, as is evident when in March tens of
thousands of Pa O devotees from all over the region celebrate the full
moon festival.


Hotels

The hotel Golden Island Cottage belongs to a community of Pa O
people. The profits from the hotels are reportedly used to develop the
region with building better roads, schools and energy supply.


**************************************************************************

KYAIK-TIYO

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/kyaiktiyo.htm


Newly opened to foreigners, the Golden Rock of Kyaik-tiyo is the
most-visited sight in Myanmars intra-tourism. It is a round rock,
leaning for a part over the deep gorge. Legend has it that a hair of
Buddha hold it in balance. You have to walk the 11 km long pilgrims
way.

There is an entrance fee of USD 6 and another fee of USD 6 if you want
to take pictures. For the long walk you may hire a porter for USD 4
there and back.

At the top is a hotel with a bar for foreigners.



**************************************************************************

LASHIO

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/lashio.htm


Hotels

In Lashio, the Mao Shweli Hotel charges MMK 300.


**************************************************************************

MANDALAY

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/mandalay.htm


Mandalay was the last capital before the British colonialisation.
Perhaps this accounts for its being the most typical city in Myanmar,
retaining its old charm.

A popular place to go is Mandalay Hill. Situated a couple of hundred
meters above town, it offers an excellent view over the city. There
are four staircases, one from each direction. A road leads part-way up
to an escalator to the top.

A bicycle costs about MMK 150 for one day. A trisaw (a bicycle with
two passenger seats, back to back, at the side) with driver is about
MMK 500 per day.

The new airport of Mandalay has been officially opened on 17 September
2000. It is located about 37 km south-west of the city.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/mandalay.htm.

**************************************************************************

SAGAING

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/sagaing.htm


Located 21 km south-west of Mandalay on the west bank of the
Ayeyarwady River, Sagaing was the capital of the independent Shan
kingdom from 1315 to 1364, and later again from 1760 to 1764. Today it
is mainly a meditation center.

Near the Sagaing Hill are over 600 monasteries for both monks and
nuns.


**************************************************************************

TAUNGGYI

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/taunggyi.htm


The capital of the Shan State is very popular for its cool climate. It
is a good starting point for an excursion to the Inle Lake.


**************************************************************************

YANGON

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/yangon.htm


After King Alaungpaya (the founder of the Kon-Baung Dynasty) conquered
the viallge Dagon in 1755, he renamed it to Yangon, meaning 'end of
strife'. The village's strategic location in fact warranted a total
victory over Lower Myanmar. In 1851 the town was annexed by the
Britain and subsequently refounded. The new city was designed and
constructed in a chequerboard fashion, with the roads running
north-south and east-west. It's architect was the same Lieutenant
Fraser that also designed Singapore.

Nowaday it is a bustling city of some 5 million inhabitants, covering
an area of over 570 sq km. It is the countries administrative and
economical center.


Sights

Swe Dagon Pagoda
The main attraction in Yangon (Rangoon) is the 110 m high Swe Dagon
Pagoda, looking down onto the city from a hill. Its surface is plaited
with over 30 tons of gold, brought since hundreds of years by millions
of pilgrims. It dates back 2500 years. According to the legend, it was
built by two merchant brothers that have received eight hairs of
Buddha. With the help of a number of heavenly creatures and the king
they discovered the hill where in a small chamber the relics of other
Buddhas have been enshrined. They added the new hairs and covered the
chamber with a golden slab. Then they built succession of pagodas,
starting with a golden pagoda followed by a silver pagoda, a tin
pagoda, a copper pagoda, a leaden pagoda, a marble pagoda and finally
an iron brick pagoda. Entrance is about USD 5 - 7.

Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda
One of the largest in Myanmar, this reclining Buddha dates back to
1966. The original from 1907 has been demolished in 1957, after
suffering heavily by the climate. It is located a short distance
beyond the Swe Dagon Pagoda.

Sule Pagoda
In the center of Yangon is the over 2000 years old Sule Pagoda. Its
said to enshrine a hair of Buddha, thus its Mon name Kyaik Athok,
which means 'the Pagoda where a Sacred Hair is enshrined'. The
octagonal shape makes the 46 m high structure an unusual sight.

Botataung Pagoda
In the legend the relics of the Buddha brought from India some 2000
years ago were acompanied by thousand military leaders (thus its name,
composed from 'bo', leader and 'tahtaung', thousand). The hollow
inside of the 40 m high spire has been turned into a museum displaying
many ancient relics.

National Museum
On display are many old artifacts, among them the Lion Throne of the
last king of Myanmar, Thibaw and the 19th century Royal Regalia. It is
at 26 Pansodan St. Opening times are Mo. - Fr., 10 am - 3 pm,
admission USD 4.

Zoological Garden
On weekend and public holiday there are elephant shows and snake
dances. It is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm, admission is USD 5.

Kaba Aye Pagoda
The 'World Peace Pagoda' was built only in 1952 for the Sixth Buddhis
Synod in 1954 - 1956. Located 11 km north of the city, both its
diameter and its height are 34 m.

Mahana Guha
Near the Kaba Aye Pagoda is the 'great cave'. This completely manmade
cave measures 139 by 113 m.

Mai-Lamu Pagoda
Situated in North Okkalapa some 20 minutes' drive from the city
center, this pagoda is famous for its giant images showing the lives
of Buddha.


Transportation

A taxi from Sule Pagoda to the airport is about MMK 300.


Hotels
Reserve your hotel online at 
http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/places/yangon.htm.

Restaurants

The Pyae-Pyae Restaurant and Beer Pub at 514, corner Merchant
and Sekkamtha Streets offers excellent, clean food. A rice or noodle
dish with vegetables, beef or chicken costs around MMK 150, a mug of
Myanmar draft beer is MMK 90. On the upper floor is a Karaoke
facility.


Shopping

Bogyoke Zay Market
Also known as the Scotts Market, this market is famous for a wide
range of traditional merchandise. Goods include silver, ivory, teak,
lacquerware, mother-of-pearl and crushed shell boxes, monks'
umbrellas, Shan bags, lungyis, baskets, and watercolour cards. Near
the Shwedagon Pagoda, mainly religious tools are sold. The market
closes at 17:00.


**************************************************************************

GEOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/general/geography.htm


Area          678'500 km²
Capital       Yangon
Borders       Bangladesh (193 km), India (1463 km), China (2185 km), Laos
                 (235 km), Thailand (1080 km)
                 coastline 1930 km
Highest point Hkakabo Razi, 5881 m

Time          GMT plus 6.5 hours

Measures      pyi: 1.5 kg, viss: 2.2kg
Electricity   230 V, 50 Hz

In the Web-version of the Internet Travel Guide at
http://www.pmgeiser.ch there would be a map right here.

**************************************************************************

CLIMATE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/general/climate.htm


Myanmar has three seasons. The winter is cool and dry and lasts from
November to February. After that is the hot summer until May,
resulting in teperatures in the 30s. In May the rainy monsoon season
starts and lasts until October.

The best time to visit is during the winter, from October to
February. It is pleasantly cool and the sky mostly cloudless.

Yangon

 Month       Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

 Air    C     29   31   34   35   33   32   31   31   31   31   31   29
        F     83   87   93   95   91   89   88   88   88   87   87   83

 Water  C     28   28   29   30   29   30   29   29   28   28   28   27
        F     82   82   84   86   84   86   84   84   82   82   82   81

 h sun/day     8    8    8   10    8    6    5    5    5    6    7    8

 days rain     0    0    0    2   15   25   27   26   21   11    3    1


Clothes

Thin cotton is the best clothing. During the cool season it is
advisable to bring a light jacket or a warm sweater.

The best bet during the rainy season is an umbrella. A plastic poncho
is too warm for most of the year. You'll sweat enough to get as wet as
if you'd not wear one.

Sandals are convenient. All foot wear must be taken off when entering
pagodas or monasteries. Shorts and briefs are not allowed.

Make sure you take warm clothes with you if you visit the mountainous
regions, like the Shan State. It can become quite cold there in the
night.

**************************************************************************

PEOPLE

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/general/people.htm


Population      48.1 mio (annual growth rate 1.61%) est. July 1999
                68% Burman, 9% Shan, 7% Karen, 4% Rakhine and Chin,
                3% Chinese, Kachin, Mon, Indian and Assamese minorities
Language        Burmese, also Karen, Chin, Shan and Kachin dialects,
                some English in the cities
Literacy        83.1% (male 88.7%, female 77.7%)
Religion        89% Theravada Buddhist, 4% Christian, 4% Muslim,
                1% animist, 1% Hindu


**************************************************************************

POLITICS

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/general/politics.htm


The Union of Myanmar (Pyidaungzu Myanma Naingngandaw) is in effect
under the dictatorship of SLORC (State Law and Order Restauration
Council.) This military junta assumed power on 18 September 1988
contrary to the will of the people. In 1990 elections were held by
SLORC. The democratic movement won 457 of 490 seats, but SLORC refused
to let them govern.

Executive branch
Chief of State, Prime Minister, head of government and Chairman of
SLORC General Than Shwe (since 23 April 1992).

Legislative branch
In theory the People's Assembly (Pyithu Hluttaw) with 485 seats.
Elections were last held 27 May 1990, but they never assemble. It
effectively was dissolved after the SLORC coup of 1988.

Judical branch
None! The Council of People's Justices was abolished after the SLORC
coup of 1988.


Political parties and leaders
USDA  (Union Solidarity and Development Association), general
       secretary Than Aung
NUP   (National Unity Party, pro regime), leader Tha Kyaw
NLD   (National League for Democracy), chairman Aung Shwe, general
       secretary Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. This party won in the elections
       of 1990 a stunning victory of 457 out of 490 seats!
       Unfortunately, SLORC has refused to transfer power to the
       elected party.
NCGUB (National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma), leader
       Sein Win (who is elected prime minister, but not recognised by
       the military government.) The group, consisting of individuals
       that have been legitimately elected to Parliament, had to flee
       to a border area where they formed a parallel government in Dec
       1990.
KIA   (Kachin Independence Army)
UWSA  (United Wa State Army)
KNU   (Karen National Union)
MTA   (Mong Tai Army)
ABSDF (All Burma Student Democratic Front)


Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, founder and leader of the National League for 
Democracy, was put under house arrest. In 1991, she won the Nobel
Peace price. On 10 July 1995 she was finally released from house
arrest, but SLORC still refuses to relinquish power.

**************************************************************************

EVENTS

http://www.pmgeiser.ch/myanmar/general/events.htm


January      4      Independence Day
February    12      Union Day
March        2      Peasant's Day
March        *      Full Moon Day of Tabaung
March       27      Armed Forces Day
April        *      Thingyan (Water Festival and Myanmar New Year)
May          1      May Day (Workers Day)
May          *      Full moon Day of Kason
July         *      Beginning of Buddhist Lent
July        19      Martyrs' Day
October      *      End of Buddhist Lent(Light Festival)
November     *      Tazaungdaing (Light Festival)
November     *      National Day
Dec/Jan      *      Kayin New Year
December    25      Christmas Day
            **      Idul Athwaha
            **      Dewali

* The date varies according to myanmar calendar year.
** The date is notified separately.


Pagoda Festivals

A report by Vicky Bowman

Pagoda festivals are a central part of life for Buddhists in Burma.
For the people in the towns, they are a good excuse to take a few days
off work, club together with friends to rent a car, and see the rest
of the country while gaining merit in the process. For the paddy
farmer they are a well earned rest after getting the harvest in in
Dec/Jan. For basket weavers and  blacksmiths they are a chance to sell
their wares. For the bands of travelling actors and musicians, they
are a constant source of bookings. Pagoda festivals have given rise to
a sub-economy, peopled by "twelve festival traders" or
seh-hniq-pwe-thee, who move each month to a different festival. They
include artisans and fortune-tellers, people who set up tea-houses,
beauty parlours and rest-houses for festival goers, and pickpockets
and assorted hangers-on.

The majority of pagoda festivals coincide with full moons (Burma
operates a lunar calendar). They may last a week or a fortnight, or
even several months. Some of the major "gazetted" festivals and full
moon days in 1995 are listed below (1996 dates will of course be
different, according to the moon). Waxing days (la-san) means days
leading up to a full moon, waning days (la-souq or la-pye-kyaw) means
days following a full moon. (NB every third year there is a "second
Waso" to fit the lunar calendar to the climatic one).

Nat or spirit festivals (nat-pwes), while not a part of mainstream
Buddhism, are equally central to Burmese life. The majority of
festivals take place in central Burma during the months of December
(Burmese month of Nattaw), March (Tabaung) and during Buddhist Lent,
July-September (Waso/Wagaung/Tawthalin). They usually either start or
finish on the full moon day. They have numerous common features: the
ablution of the nats (the festival usually honours a particular nat);
offerings and dances; merchants and hawkers; pilgrims arriving by
bullock cart; music blaring from loudspeakers and liberal use of
perfume and alcohol.


CALENDAR OF MAJOR NAT AND PAGODA FESTIVALS IN BURMA

The following represents only a selection of the festivals which take
place in Burma every year.  The length and exact timing of the
festival may vary. Check locally for confirmation and exact details of
timing.


PYATHO - 15 January Full moon

Ananda Pagoda Festival, Pagan


TABODWE - 14 February Full moon

Kyaikkasan, Kyaikkalo and Kyaikwaing pagoda festivals, Rangoon: all
take place in the month of Tabodwe.

Mawdinsoun Pagoda festival, SW tip of Burma (boat trip from Bassein)
(also Tabaung). The pagoda is on a beach.

Zee-daw Nat festival for Ye Yin Kadaw (cross Chindwin river at Monywa
and travel 22km along Yemabin road.  Held at Zeedaw and Maungdon on
8th day of waning moon to new moon,and 1st to 7th days of waxing moon
of Tabaung.

Pakkhan Nat festival (Pakkhan is on west bank of the lower Chindwin
river, between Pakokku and Pandawbyin), held from 1st to 16th days of
waxing moon of Tabaung  in honour of U Min Kyaw.

Ahlone Nat festival for Ma Ngwe Daung (12 km north of Monywa on the
Shwebo road): 7th day of waning moon to new moon of Tabaung.

Ava Nat festival, for Thon Ban Hla: 10th day of waxing moon to full
moon of Tabaung.

Taunbyone Nat Festival (NB not the main one) held on 10th and 11th
days of waxing moon of Tabaung, to celebrate the return of the
Taungbyone brothers.

Mingun Nat festival (north-west of Mandalay, 1 hour by boat) 5th to
10th days of waxing moon of Tabaung, for the Brother and Sister of the
Teak Tree.

Sameikkon Nat festival  (east bank of Irrawaddy, due north of
Myingyan) to honour Shin Nemi, held from 10th day of waxing to full
moon of Tabaung.

Bawgyo Pagoda festival, 17 miles from Kyaukme, 5 miles to Hsipaw, Shan
States - the main festival in Shan states, and the most revered pagoda
in Northern Shan States (the Paung-daw-oo at Inle Lake being the most
revered in the South). Held from the 10th waxing day of Tabaung to the
first waning day.


TABAUNG - 15 March Full Moon

Manuha Pagoda festival, Pagan

Maymyo Nat festival - 1st to 5th days of waning moon of Tabaung, for
Ko Myo Shin.

Shwesettaw Pagoda festival, west bank of Irrawaddy, opposite Prome
(continues until Tagu)

Aungban (near Kalaw, Shan States) Shwe-Ohn-Hmin Pagoda festival

Shwedagon Pagoda, Rangoon - ceremony to celebrate enshrinement of
Sacred Hair Relic

Shwenattaung Pagoda Festival, Prome

13-17 April 1995 (varies from year to year) - Thingyan Water Festival
for the Burmese New Year

Like the Thai Songkran. Most fun in Mandalay and Rangoon.  But no fun
at all if you don't enjoy having cold dirty water poured down your
neck (Foreigners are a particular target  and you are expected to grin
and bear it).

Mount Popa Nat festival, held from the night of the 13th to noon of
14th waxing moon of Tagu - to celebrate return of Taungbyone brothers
from China


TAGU - 14 April Full moon

Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival, Pegu

Kutheinaryon Pagoda Festival, Salin (West Bank of Irrawaddy, SW of
Pagan) begins 8th/9th day of waxing moon of Kason, continues until
9th/10th waning day.

Kyaukse Nat festival held on 14th day of waning moon to new moon of
Tagu, to honour Shwe Sagadaw (Kyaukse is on the main road between
Meiktila and Mandalay)


KASON - 13 May Full moon

Buddha was born, died and achieved enlightenment on the full moon day
of Kason (in different years)

Festival of offering water to sacred Bo (banyan) trees celebrated
throughout Burma

Alms-offering ceremony at Neikbeinda (monasteries three miles north of
Prome)


NAYON - 12 June Full Moon

Mahlaing (Pan-aing) Shwemudaw Pagoda festival held from 8th waxing day
of Nayon to 8th waning day of Nayo. Mahlaing is 23 miles from Meiktila
on the road to Myingyan. Pan-aing is 2 miles off the road. Typical
up-country pagoda festival. Festival market specialises in cotton,
tobacco (both locally grown) and toys.

Thihoshin festival, Pakokku (north of Pagan on west bank of Irrawaddy)
also held from 8th waxing day of Nayon to 8th waning day of Nayo, with
traditionalplays (although not, for the last few years, puppet shows).
Local specialities include thanakha logs, jaggery, longyis and checked
cotton and wool blankets. The pagoda is said to have been built by
King Alaunsitthu.


WASO - 11 July Full Moon  (Dhammakya Day)

Kyauk-yiq pagoda festival, south of Myaung, north of Myingyan, on West
bank of Irrawaddy (also Wagaung)

Kyaukse Nat Festival, 1st to 3rd day of waxing moon of Wagaung, in
honour of Shwe Sagadaw


WAGAUNG - 10 August - Full moon

Taungbyone nat (spirit) festival, 10 miles north of Mandalay (from
10th day of waxing to full moon of Wagaung). Burma's most famous nat
festival which any nat-gadaw ('nat wife' or medium) worth his or her
salt must attend. Lasts six days. Very crowded and boisterous. Watch
out for pickpockets.

Amarapura (south of Mandalay) Nat festival - Irinaku/Yadanagu pwe, for
Popa Medaw, mother of the Taungbyone brothers. 7th day of waning moon
of Wagaung to new moon.

Myittha Nat festival (between Mandalay and Meiktila) - 8th day of
waxing moon until full moon of Tawthalin, in honour of the nat
Shwe Nabe

Mount Popa Nat festival - from 9th to 13th days of waning moon of
Wagaung - to celebrate departure of Taungbyone brothers for China


TAWTHALIN - 8 September  Full Moon

Inle Lake leg-rowing festival and Paung-daw-oo Pagoda festival (held
between Tawthalin and Thadingyut). The pagoda festival is held on or
around the full moon of Thadingyut. The Buddha images are taken from
village to village around Inle Lake. The tour lasts about 19 days.


THADINGYUT - 8 October Full Moon

End of Lent, Buddha's descent from Tawatimsa Festival of lights
throughout Burma for about three days around the full moon day

Kyauktawgyi pagoda Festival, Mandalay

Myathalun Pagoda Festival, Magwe (east bank of Irrawaddy between Prome
and Pagan)


TAZAUNGMON - 6 November Full Moon

Continuation of the festival of lights on the full moon day

Particularly good in Shan state, including Taunggyi - people release
hot air balloons with candles or set miniature lighted boats afloat
(also Northern Thailand)

Kathina robe offering ceremonies, robe weaving at Shwedagon, "padetha
trees" seen throughout Burma - wooden frames decorated with money and
other offerings for the monks.

Kyaiktiyo Pagoda festival (Pagoda on the Golden Rock) - continues
through until March


NATTAW - 6 December Full Moon

Mount Popa Nat Festival Full moon to 6th waning day - Mount Popa - for
Mahagiri

Full Moon to 5th waning day - Prome - for the Prome Brothers

Taungbyone Nat festival, 14th day of waxing until full moon, for the
Taungbyone brothers. The shrine is opened at the end of the afternoon
and on the following day, King Anawrahta's proclamation is read,
originally made after his departure to China in quest after the
Buddha's tooth relic.

Other festivals which I do not have dates for:

Thihataw Pagoda festival near Shwebo
Shin-pin-sekkate pagoda fetsival, Minbu
Hniq-kyeiq-shiq-su Pagoda festival, Myingyan
Shwezigon Pagoda festival, Pagan

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MYANMAR (Burma) - Peter M. Geiser's Hotel and Travel Guide

Copyright (c) 1995 - 2005, Peter M. Geiser

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