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:: Chiang Mai (2-D/1-N)
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:: Timeless Laos (6-D/5-N)
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MYANMAR ELITE TOURS
Bldg 18, Flat (5-B) 5th Floor,
Mahar Zeya Street, Yekyaw,
Pazuntaung Township,
Yangon, Union of Myanmar
Tel : +(951) 9000052, 294977
Fax :+(951) 9000052
Mob: +(959) 516 4335, 4310 8864
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http://www.myanmarelitetours.com

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MYANMAR IN A NUTSHELL


a beautiful, winking wonder that blazed in the sun, of a shape that was neither Muslim dome nor Hindu temple spire.....

described by Rudyard Kipling (circa 1898)

MYANMAR, formerly known as BURMA, is recognized by the world as THE GOLDEN LAND. It is enriched with significant cultural tradition, great natural beauty and an amazingly eventful history more than 2,500 years of Buddhist civilization.

OFFICIAL NAME & LOCATION:

Myanmar, also called Burma, or officially UNION OF MYANMAR, is a country lying along the eastern coasts of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea in south-east Asia. To be more accurate, Myanmar lies between Latitudes 4’31’ and 28’31’ North and Longitudes 92’10’ and 101’11’ East.

AREA:

The country covers an area of 677,000 square kilometers (261,228 square miles) ranging 936 kilometers (581 miles) from east to west and 2,051 kilometers (1,275 miles) from north to south. It is a land of hills and valleys and is rimmed in the north, east and west by mountain ranges forming a giant horseshoe. Enclosed within the mountain barriers are the flat lands of Ayeyaewaddy, Chindwin and Sittaung River valleys where most of the country's agricultural land and population are concentrated.

FRONTIER LINE:

The length of contiguous frontier is 6,159 kilometers. The total length of Myanmar-China boundary is 2,204 kilometers (1,370 miles); Myanmar-Thailand 2,107 kilometers (1,309.8 miles); Myanmar-India 1,338 kilometers (831.8 miles); Myanmar-Laos 238 kilometers (147.9 miles) and Myanmar-Bangladesh boundary is 271 kilometers (168.7 miles).

COASTLINE:

Myanmar's coastline extends 2832km from the mouth of Naff River in the west to the southern tip of Taninthary Division near Ranong, Thailand. Further south, over 800 continental islands dot the littoral sea, forming a mostly uninhabited island group called the Myeik Archipelago.

CLIMATE:

The location and topography of the country generate the "dry and wet monsoon climate" pattern. Seasonal changes in the monsoon wind directions create
Summer months - February through mid-May;
Rainy period - from mid-May through late October and
Winter seasons - November through January. Daily extremes of temperature are rare. The directions of winds and depression bring rain, and although it is always heavy in the coastal areas during monsoon season, it seldom creates hardships. The favorite months to travel are October through January when the days are not so hot, averaging in 32 Celsius and nights are in 20 Celsius.

RELIGION:

While the majority of Myanmar, around 87 per cent, practice Theravada Buddhism, there are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists. However, there is complete freedom in religion among Buddhists or non-Buddhists in Myanmar. An appreciation of Buddhism may probably help foreigners who want better understanding of the Myanmar temperament.

POPULATION & PEOPLE:

As of 2005 the population is estimated to be about 54.3 million according to the census made on world population day on July 15 2005. Though ethnologists have identified 135 different ethno linguistic groups, the eight major races are Bamar, Shan, Mon, Kachin, Kayin, kayah, Chin and Rakhine. There are still a good number of Indian and Chinese people.

HABITAT:

Myanmar is endowed with a rich diversity of habitat types arising largely from its unusual ecological diversity. It is home to 135 different ethnic groups including 8 major races, nearly 300 known mammal species, 300 reptiles and about 100 birds species, and a haven for about 7,000 species of plant life. Myanmar has abundant and varied flora and fauna. You will be enthralled by the history and culture of this beautiful country.

THE LAND OF HUMAN ORIGIN:

MYANMAR is one of the earliest homes of mankind, probably the land of human origin or the cradle of humanity. Teeth and bits of jaw from a tiny, squirrel-sized animal that lived 40 MILLION YEARS ago in what is now Myanmar (Burma) suggest primates originated in Asia, not Africa as was believed, researchers said. A team of researchers from France, Japan, and Myanmar say the little animal, which they have named BAHINIA PONDAUNGENSIS, was probably the ancestor of modern apes, monkeys and humans. Jean-Jacques Jaeger of the University Montpellier-II in France and colleagues found the fossils in a layer of red clay, along with a complete lower jaw from a more advanced primate called Amphipithecus. 



HOW TO GET IN:

UNQUESTIONABLY, the best way to enter into Myanmar is by air to Yangon. Chiang Mai to Mandalay is also possible by Myanmar Airline (Air Mandalay) once or twice a week, depending on low/high tourist season.

Land Crossings: FROM Ranong (Thailand) to Kawthaung (Myanmar) or Mae Sai (Thailand) to Tachilek (Myanmar) or Ruili (China) to Mu Se (Myanmar) is apparently legal. But you will need a prior arrangement for your visa to fly to Yangon and maybe Mandalay. However the possibility of land crossings can be changed from time to time and it is always best to check with embassy first before you plan to enter into Myanmar.

INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS:

YANGON has direct air-links with Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Singapore, Jakarta, Dhakka, Calcutta, Kunming, Doha, Paro (Bhutan), Taipei, Hong Kong, Delhi, and Vientiane. 14 International Airlines including Myanmar Airways International operate scheduled flights in and out of Yangon, but some don't. Some are Thai Airways International, Silk Air, Biman (Bangladesh), Air China, Phuket Airlines, Silk Air, Malaysian Airlines, Druk Air, Austrian Airlines, Indian Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, . Myanmar Airways International operates six flights a week to Bangkok, thrice-weekly to Singapore and twice-weekly to Hong Kong.

Airline   Code Routes Inbound Outbound
Air China   CA Kunming - Yangon Wed/Sun  same
  MU   Kunming - Mandalay Mon/Wed/Fri same
Air Mandalay     6T Chiang Mai - Yangon Sun same
    Chiang Mai - Mandalay Thursday  
Bangkok Airways  PG Bangkok - Yangon  Daily same
Biman (Bangladesh)    BG Dhakka - Yangon - Bangkok Wed/Sun same
Druk Air (Bhutan)    KB Paro-Calcutta-Yangon-Bangkok Mon/Thu Tue/Fri
Indian Airlines    IC Calcutta - Yangon Mon/Thu same
Lauda Air  OS Milan - Yangon - Phuket    
    Vienna - Yangon - Phuket    
Malaysia Airlines    MH Kuala Lumpur - Yangon Tue/Fri same
Mandarin Airlines    AE Taipei - Yangon Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat same
    Hong Kong - Yangon Mon/Fri same
    Delhi - Yangon  Tue/Thu/Sat Mon/Wed/Fri
Myanmar Airways Intl' 8M Kuala Lumpur - Yangon  Thu/Sun same
    Singapore - Yangon  Mon/Wed/Fri same
    Bangkok - Yangon Daily. 2 on Tue/Thu/Sat same
Phuket Airlines 9R  Bangkok - Yangon Mon/Wed/Fri  
Silk Air MI Singapore - Yangon  Daily. 2 on Wed/Sat same
Thai Airways TG Bangkok - Yangon  2 daily same

AIRLINE OFFICES IN YANGON (Rangoon)
 

Intl' Carrier Destination
Air China (CA): No.B 13/23, Shew Kainayei Housing, Narnattaw Road, Quarter N0.7, Kamayut Township

Kunming

Air Mandalay (6T): 146, Dhamazedi Rd, Bahan Township

Chiang Mai

Austrian Airlines (Lauda) (OS): La Pyayt Wun Plaza Suite 808 37 Signal Pagoda Rd. Dagon Township Vienna
Bangkok Airways (PG): 0305, 3rd Floor, Sakura Tower, 339 Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Kyauktada Township Bangkok
Biman Bangladesh (BG): 106/108, Pansodan Street, Kyauktada Township Dhaka, Bangkok
Druk Airlines (KB): 52, Phyapon Street, Sanchaung Township Bangkok, Dhaka, Paro, Calcutta
Indian Airlines Limited (IC): 127, Sule Pagoda Rd, Kyauktada Township Calcutta, Bangkok
Malaysia Airlines (MH): 335/357, Bogyoke Aung San Street, Pabedan Township

Kuala Lumpur

Mandarin Airlines (AE): 353/355, Bo Aung Kyaw Street, Kyauktada Township Taipei
Myanmar Airways International (8M): #08-02, Sakura Tower, 339 Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Kyauktada Township Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Delhi
Phuket Airlines (9R): 1168/71, 25th - A Fl, Lumpini Tower, Sathorn, Rama IV Rd, Thungmahamek, Bangkok Bangkok
Silk Air (MI): #0202, 2nd Fl, Sakura Tower, 339 Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Kyauktada Township Singapore
Thai Airways International (TG): #1101, Ground Fl, Sakura Tower, 339 Bogyoke Aung San Rd, Kyauktada Township Bangkok, Chiang Mai

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS:

Air Mandalay (6T): #146, Dhamazedi Rd, Bahan Township Tel: (Head Office) 501 520, 525 488 (Airport) 720 309, 652 753~54

Nyaung U, Mandalay, Heho, Thandwe, Sittway, Tachileik, Kyaing Tong

Yangon Airways (HK): #166, level 5, MMB Tower, Upper Pansodan Rd, Mingalar Taung Nyunt Tsp. Tel: 383 106, 383 107

Nyaung U, Mandalay, Heho, Tachileik, Kyaing Tong, Sittway, Thandwe, Kyauk Phyu, Myitkyina, Kaw Thaung, Myeik, Dawei

Air Bagan (W9): #56, Shwe Taung Gyar St, Bahan Township. Tel: (Head Office) 513 322, 513 422, 513 266 (Airport) 653 343, 653 347

Nyaung U, Mandalay, Heho, Kyaing Tong, Tachileik, Pathein, Myeik, Myitkyina, Putao, Dawei, Kaw Thaung, Kalay, Monywa, Sittway, Thandwe

Myanmar Airways: #104, Strand Rd, Kyauktada Township. Tel: (Head Office) 274 874, 277 013, 273 828 (Airport) 662 692

Nyaung U, Mandalay, Lashio, Kyaing Tong, Tachileik, Myitkyina, Putao, Myeik, Dawei, Kaw Thaung, Sittway



ELECTRICITY:

Myanmar uses 220V, which can occasionally be up to 300V and drop to 100V when it is on. The short power cut is not uncommon even in capital Yangon. March through May the electric power is supplied in rotating system from quarter to quarter in and around Yangon. Most of the popular tourist destinations still have rationing. However all the major hotels have their own generator.

TELEPHONE INFO:

                Country Code: 95.

Yangon Area Code: 1 follow the 6 digit no
Mandalay Area Code: 2 follow the 5 digit no
Bagan Area Code: 61 follow the 5 digit no 
Inle Area Code: 81 follow the 5 digit no

OVERSEAS CALL:

Available at hotels roadside telephone booths or shops.

INTERNET/EMAIL AVAILABILITY:

Myanmar Post & Telecommunication Department and Bagan Cybertech provides internet and email services using their proxy servers. There are now many places with computers for surfing and emailing in Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan in addition to the major hotels in popular tourist destinations. However, some web sites cannot be viewed and some web-based mails (yahoo, hotmail etc.) cannot be logged on or email client programs like Outlook Express, Eudora etc. cannot be used.

TIME:

Myanmar Time is 6:30 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+6:30)

BUSINESS HOURS:

Government Offices: 09:30 to 16:30 hrs
BANKS: 10:00 to 14:00 hrs
Companies: 09:00 to 17:00 hrs

CURRENCY:

Myanmar currency is Kyat. (Pronounced as chat) 
Notes: Kyat 1000, Kyat 500, Kyat 200, Kyat 100, Kyat 50, Kyat 20, Kyat 15, Kyat 10, Kyat 5, Kyat 1.
Foreign Exchange Certificate (FEC): 20 units, 10 units, 5 units, 1 unit.

MEDIA:

Radio Myanmar - Radio Myanmar is on air in English from 08:30 to 09:00 hrs in the morning, 13:30 to 14:00 hrs in the afternoon and 21:00 to 22:00 hrs in the evening.

TV Myanmar - TV programs start from 07:00 to 10:00 hrs in the morning and again 16:00 hrs to midnight and satellite News can be watched at 18:00 and around 21:00 hrs in the evening. On every weekends, TV Myanmar extend its programs also in noon starts from 11:00 to 15:00 hrs.

Myawaddy TV - This TV station transmits in the morning from 07:00 hours to 8:30 hrs and in the evening from 16:00 hours to midnight. Like TV Myanmar, it also transmits noon program from 11:00 to 14:00 on weekends.

NEWSPAPERS -  The New Light of Myanmar is the only newspaper in English. Two local newspapers in Myanamr are -- "Myanmar Alin" (The New Light of Myanmar) and "Kyemon" (The Mirror).

NAME CHANGES:

In post 1989, all the colonial names given to country, people, towns, rivers, streets etc. are renamed phonetically closer to Myanmar pronunciation. Here's to name some:

(Old) Colonial Name (New) Myanmar Name (Old) Colonial Name (New) Myanmar Name
Burma/Burmese (Country/People) Myanmar Pagan (Town) Bagan
Arakan (People/State) Rakhine Pegu (Town) Bago
Karen (People/State) Kayin Prome (Town) Pyay or Pyi
Akyab (Town) Sittway or Sittwe Rangoon (Town) Yangon
Allan (Town) Aung Lan Sandoway (Town) Thandwe
Amherst (Beach) Kyaikkami Syriam (Town) Thanlyin
Ava (Town) Inwa Tavoy (Town) Dawei
Bassein (Town) Pathein Tenasserim (Town/Division) Tanintharyi
Fort Hertz (Town) Putao Irrawaddy (River) Ayeyarwady
Henzada (Town) Hintada Salween (River) Thanlwin
Hsipaw (Town) Thibaw Sittang (River) Sitthaung
Kentung (Town) Kyaing Tong Fraser (Road) Anawrahta Lan
Martaban (Town) Mottama Godwin (Road) Myoma Kyaung Lan
Maymyo (Town) Pyin Oo Lwin Merchant (Road) Khonthe Lan
Mergui (Town) Myeik Strand (Road) Kannar Lan
Moulmein (Town) Mawlamyaing or Mawlamyine Lewis (Street) Seik Kan Thar Lan
Myohaung (Town) Mrauk U Scott (Market) Bogyoke Zei

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS & SPECIAL EVENTS OF FESTIVITIES (2006~7)

Public (Gazette) Holidays
 

Date

Name

Significance

January 4 Independence Day The day of regaining the independence in 1948 after more than a century under British colony
February 12 Union Day The day of signing the Pin-lon agreement by the leaders of disparate racial groups under the guidance of general Aung San
March 2 Peasants’ Day To honor the country’s majority peasants
March 13* Full Moon Day of Tabaung The day is believed by Myanmar to be the auspicious day for the construction of new Pagodas
March 27 Armed Forces Day On that very day in 1945 General Aung San and his comrades decided to fight back the Japanese who were occupied the country at the time
April 13~17* Water Festival Days & Myanmar New Year Day The days of pouring water which is believed to cleanse the body and mind of evils of the year that was left behind
May 1 May Day (Workers’ Day) Same as international
May 11* 

 
Full Moon Day of Kason “Thrice blessed day” – the day of Buddha Birth, the day of His Enlightenment & the day of Entering Nibbana
July 19
 
Martyr’s Day
 
Commemorating the day of assassination of general Aung San and his comrades in 1947
July 9* Full Moon Day of Waso Beginning of three-month-long Buddhist Lent period during which Buddhist monks are not permitted to travel but restricted to their monasteries for spiritual retreat; and inauspicious to marry or move house for lay people
October 6*
 
Thadingyut Lights Festival End of Buddhist Lent and throughout the country is illuminated to celebrate Buddha’s return from Tavatimsa (a celestial realm) after preaching sermons there for three months of the Buddhist Lent
November 4* Tazaungmon Light Festival
 
Another light festival called Tazaungdaing is more or less a folk festival probably without having any Buddhist significance
November 14* National Day To commemorate the day in 1920 when students of Yangon College and Judson College boycotted the University Act made by the British colonialists
December 25 Christmas Day Same as international
* Those dates vary from year to year according to Myanmar Lunar Calendar

Special Events of Festivities

 
August (Waso/Wagaung)
Taungbyone Nat (Spirit) Festival: (Aug 3~8 2006)

A popular festival among Myanmar nat-gadaw (spirit medium) held in Taungbyone, approx. 20km north of Mandalay is simply to keep the two Taungbyone Nat brothers happy. This seven day noisy and boisterous festival attracts thousands of country’s spirit worshippers.

August~September (Waso/Wagaung)
Yadanagu Nat (Spirit) Festival: (Aug 8~22 2006)

Another nat festival mainly to appease Popa Medaw (mother of the two Taungbyone nat brothers) who made her short stop here when she returned from Taungbyone to her abode at Mt Popa. Another crowded Nat festival takes place in Amarapura, 11km south of Mandalay. 

October (Tawthalin/Thadingyut)
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival: (Sept 22~Oct 9 2006)

This Pagoda festival is held on a grand scale for 18-day around the Lake Inle. Four Buddha statues are ceremoniously toured from village to village on the huge royal barge tugged by leg-rowing boats. Perhaps the most interesting event is their unique boat races participated by local leg-rowers.

Thadingyut Lights Festival: (Oct 4~6 2006)

This festival marks the end of the Buddhist Lent. Throughout Myanmar streets, houses and public buildings are brilliantly illuminated and festooned with colored electric bulbs to celebrate Buddha’s return from Tavatimsa (a celestial realm) after preaching sermons there for three months of Lenten period. Pagodas are also crowded with people doing meritorious deeds. It is not only a time of festivals and rejoicings – particularly after the solemnity of the previous three months - but also of paying homage as a gesture of gratitude to teachers, parents and elders. 

Dummy Elephant Dance Festival: (Oct 5~6 2006)

On Yangon - Mandalay motor road, there lies a thriving town called 'Kynuk-se’ situated some 48km to the south of Mandalay. This town is noted particularly for the dummy elephant dance which is annually performed in the month of Thadingyut. The main feature of this festival is the elephant dance to the accompaniment of music - on life-size white paper elephant decked with regal trappings carries on its back a replica of the sacred Tooth of Buddha or some relies of an Arahat while a black paper elephant follows as the finale of the procession. Each of these paper elephants is borne and animated by two men inside. The black paper elephant dance merrily to the procession music and thus it is the centre of attraction during the carnival.

November (Thadingyut/ Tazaungmon)
Shwezigon Pagoda Festival (Oct 28~Nov 19 2006)

This festival takes place in Shwezigon Pagoda in Nyaung U (Bagan). The main feature of this pagoda festival is that numerous candle lights and fireworks are carried in procession before offering to the pagoda. In fact, Pagodas festivals could be viewed as the Myanmar equivalent of western fun fairs. One can find food stalls, toy shops, shops selling sundry consumer goods, magic shows, puppet shows and dramas. People young and old alike simply love to have a stroll around the place where there is a pagoda festival.

Balloon Flying Festival: (Oct 30~Nov 4 2006)

This festival is annually held in Taunggyi, a capital of southern Shan State lasting for 6-day. This is originally belonged to Pa-O people, one of the ethnic groups in the region. Hot-air balloons are released day and night, competing over their beauty and the altitude they gain. Daytime flying is meant for competition of either Pagoda or animal figures and night time is for beautifully decorated fireworks.

Tazaungdaing Lights Festival: (Nov 3~4 2006)

The month of Tazaungmon is an occasion of another lights festival. But this time is a folk festival, probably pre-Buddhist rather than Buddhist origins. Houses and public buildings are colorfully illuminated again. The month is the special time for offering robes to the monks who can now travel to see and pay respects to their parents and teachers after long months of seclusion in the monasteries. However the significance in offering robes and other requisites in this season is meant only to the needy monks. So the offering should dedicate not to individual monk but to the Holy Order as a whole. This is knows as offering of Kahtein (Kathina in Pali) robe.

 

Festival of Robe-weaving Contest: (Nov 3 2006)

The weaving and offering of Mathothingan (non-stale robe) is held on the eve of full moon day of Tazaungmon on the platforms of the prominent Pagodas. This kind of robes are called non-stale robes because they are to be woven and finished within the limited space of the night – between dusk and dawn, and then offered to the Buddha Images. Teams of women show their prowess at weaving and compete with one another to complete robes overnight. The largest weaving competition takes place on the platform of Shwedagon Pagoda.

Kakku Pagoda Festival (Nov 3~5 2006 and Mar 11~13 2007)

Kakku stupas (religious monument) complex, recently discovered site in Pa-O territory, lies some 30km east of Taunggyi. Unique and magnificent collection of more than 2000 stupas are said to be the merit of King Asoka of India. These centuries old ancient stupas are unheard of by many historians and unlisted in tourist guide books.

December (Tazaungmon/Nadaw)
Mt. Popa Nat (Spirit) Festival: (Dec 3~4)
 
Since the Bagan era, Popa is the home to Min Maha Giri (Lord of the Great Mountain). Thousands of animals were used to sacrifice during this festival before King Anawrahta ascent to the throne in 11th century. Spirit possession and overall drunken rapture are somehow part of the Nat festival. There is another festival held in Popa around August to celebrate departure and return of the Taungbyone Nat brothers from China.
January (Nadaw/ Pyatho) 2007
Manao Festival: (Jan 10 2006)
 
Major Manao (also spelt Manaw), held in Myitkyina on Jan 10 (Kachin State Day), draws Kachin groups from all over the state and beyond. Kachin Duwas (hereditary chieftains) organize annually Manao festival to placate or pay homage to the Kachin Nats. The celebration involves the sacrifice of cows or buffaloes and all the participants, young and old alike, dance to traditional music.
Anandar Pagoda Festival: (December 26 2006 ~Jan 2 2007)

This festival takes place in Anandar Pagoda in old Bagan. Bowls of alms filled with crops are offered to Buddhist monks who all wait in a long line. Pagoda festivals in Myanmar also serve as the market venue for local festival traders who travel from festival to festival like basket weavers, textile weavers, potters, and food vendors plus music and dance. One can see pilgrimage and holiday outings on country oxcarts.

Naga New Year Festival: (Jan 13~15 2007)

Naga people (once head-hunters) celebrate their biggest festival called ‘Kaing Bi’ each year in January. This is usually organized by Naga Festival Committee including location chosen and detailed preparation under the guideline of government. This year is said to be held in Lahe (Hkamti). Every Naga sub-clan from entire region participates in this occasion, and hence it is the great chance to see varieties of unique Naga people gathered at one place.

February (Pyatho/ Tabodwe)
Maha Muni Pagoda Festival: (Feb 11~12 2007)
 
The centerpiece of the festival is the highly venerated Mahamuni Image. Thousands of people from near and far make pilgrimages to Mahamuin Pagoda and incenses are burnt in large flame in symbolic of offering heat to the great Image. The Image is thronged by many worshippers during the festival and caretakers have to installed tele monitors in four cardinal points of the complex in order for worshippers to pay their homage through tele monitors to the Image.
March (Tabodwe / Tabaung)
Shwedagon Pagoda Festival: (Mar 13 2007)

The last month of the Myanmar lunar calendar usually falls in March. This is a time of pagoda festival and the largest one of the country is Shwedagon Pagoda festival. At the foot hill grounds of the Pagoda are filled with rows of bamboo and thatch huts which are food stalls, toy shops, shops selling variety of products from all over the country, magic shows, musical show, puppet shows and dramas.

Pindaya Shwe U Min Pagoda Festival: (Mar 11~13 2007)

In this colorful festival held in this peaceful and quiet town you can see different ethnic minorities such as Pa-O, Danu, Palaung including Myanmar-speaking Taung-yo people. 

Bawgyo Pagoda Festival: (Mar 11~13 2007)

This Pagoda festival is the one of the oldest and largest in northern Shan State. As the Pagoda is the most revered one in the northern Shan State, it naturally attracts thousands of pilgrimages near and far including a large numbers of traders. It lies just 8 km north-west of Thibaw which is getting popular among travelers due to its cool climate and relaxed atmosphere.

April (Tabaung/ Tagu)
Water Festival: (Apr 13~16 2007)

Tagu is the first month of Myanmar lunar calendar and the Myanmar New Year is ushered in by water festival. The true spirit in pouring water during water festival is to cleanse the body and mind of evils of the year that was left behind. This kind of spirit is probably faded nowadays in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay, where the revelers celebrate the festival in a most raucous manner. There are water throwing pandals erected along main thoroughfares in cities, and many youngsters also go round in cars and enjoy themselves splashing water at one another. But it is not all fun and play; even though the wild celebrations are rampant, the Pagodas and monasteries are teeming with people doing good deeds. As a whole, it is the merriest festival held at the hottest month of April for three or four days as in Thais’ Songkran.

New Year Day: (April 17 2007)

Today marks the beginning of the New Year when people of all ages spend their time at the Pagodas and monasteries with the serious purpose of doing good deeds. It is time of ceremoniously washing Buddha Images, offering alms food to monks, washing the hair of elder ones, feeding and releasing animals.

May (Tagu / Kason)
Pouring water on Bo (Bodhi) Tree Festival: (Full Moon Day of Kason – May 11 2007)

The second month of the year once again involves in pouring water, but this time on the sacred Bo (also spelt Bodhi) tree. This festival is held on full moon day of Kason, which is the “Thrice blessed day” for Myanmar Buddhist people – the day of Buddha Birth, the day of His Enlightenment & the day of Entering Nibbana. Throughout the country, men and women of all ages go to their local Pagodas in procession to pour water on the sacred Bo tree. The largest celebration takes place on the platform of Shwedagon Pagoda.

June (Kason / Nayon)
Wicker-ball Festival: (June 25~July 24 2007)

The third month of the Myanmar is a month of thunder, lightning and rain since the monsoon is in full swing and makes June relatively quiet in Myanmar. Nevertheless, there are still some festivals for fun-loving people. The most interesting even is wicker-ball festival takes place at Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay. Traditional wicker-ball players from all over the country participate in the month long contest that tradition has going on over 70 years. This is the best event to watch Myanmar traditional chin lone <wicker-ball> playing match.

July (Nayon / Waso)
Waso Full Moon Event: (Full Moon Day of Waso – July 9 2007)

Full moon day of Waso in July commemorates the Buddha's first sermon. Waso, the fourth month of the Myanmar calendar, also marks the beginning of three-month-long Buddhist Lent period during which Buddhist monks are not permitted to travel but restricted to their monasteries for spiritual retreat. New robes and other temporal requirements are offered to the monks in the pomp and pageantry. Young people also go out and gather flowers of the season to offer at the pagodas.

 
 
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