Theme Week Myanmar

Monday, 24 June 2019 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Theme Weeks, UNESCO World Heritage

Pathein © panoramio.com - oikk/cc-by-3.0

Pathein © panoramio.com – oikk/cc-by-3.0

Myanmar, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and also known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. To its south, about one third of Myanmar’s total perimeter of 5,876 km (3,651 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km (1,200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. As of 2017, the population is about 54 million. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometres (261,228 square miles) in size. Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1997. The largest cities are Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyidaw (capital city), Bago, Hpa-An, Taunggyi, Monywa, Myitkyina, Mawlamyine and Magway (List of cities in Myanmar).

Early civilisations in Myanmar included the Tibeto-Burman-speaking Pyu city-states in Upper Burma and the Mon kingdoms in Lower Burma. In the 9th century, the Bamar people entered the upper Irrawaddy valley and, following the establishment of the Pagan Kingdom in the 1050s, the Burmese language, culture and Theravada Buddhism slowly became dominant in the country. The Pagan Kingdom fell due to the Mongol invasions and several warring states emerged. In the 16th century, reunified by the Taungoo dynasty, the country was for a brief period the largest empire in the history of Mainland Southeast Asia. The early 19th century Konbaung dynasty ruled over an area that included modern Myanmar and briefly controlled Manipur and Assam as well. The British took over the administration of Myanmar after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in the 19th century and the country became a British colony. Myanmar was granted independence in 1948, as a democratic nation. Following a coup d’état in 1962, it became a military dictatorship under the Burma Socialist Programme Party.

For most of its independent years, the country has been engrossed in rampant ethnic strife and its myriad ethnic groups have been involved in one of the world’s longest-running ongoing civil wars. During this time, the United Nations and several other organisations have reported consistent and systematic human rights violations in the country. In 2011, the military junta was officially dissolved following a 2010 general election, and a nominally civilian government was installed. This, along with the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and political prisoners, has improved the country’s human rights record and foreign relations, and has led to the easing of trade and other economic sanctions. There is, however, continuing criticism of the government’s treatment of ethnic minorities, its response to the ethnic insurgency, and religious clashes. In the landmark 2015 election, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a majority in both houses. However, the Burmese military remains a powerful force in politics.

Golden Rock and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda © flickr.com - David Stanley/cc-by-2.0 Pathein © panoramio.com - oikk/cc-by-3.0 Shwe Bone Pwint Pagoda in Taunggyi © Heinz_Htetz/cc-by-sa-4.0 Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon © flickr.com - calflier001/cc-by-sa-2.0 Bagan © flickr.com - Corto Maltese 1999/cc-by-2.0 Floating tomato garden on Inle Lake © Ralf-André Lettau
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Golden Rock and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda © flickr.com - David Stanley/cc-by-2.0
Since 1992, the government has encouraged tourism in the country; however, fewer than 270,000 tourists entered the country in 2006 according to the Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board. Myanmar’s Minister of Hotels and Tourism Saw Lwin has stated that the government receives a significant percentage of the income of private sector tourism services. The most popular available tourist destinations in Myanmar include big cities such as Yangon and Mandalay; religious sites in Mon State, Pindaya, Bago and Hpa-An; nature trails in Inle Lake, Kengtung, Putao, Pyin Oo Lwin; ancient cities such as Bagan and Mrauk-U; as well as beaches in Nabule, Thandwe, Ngwesaung, Myeik. Nevertheless, much of the country is off-limits to tourists, and interactions between foreigners and the people of Myanmar, particularly in the border regions, are subject to police scrutiny. They are not to discuss politics with foreigners, under penalty of imprisonment and, in 2001, the Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board issued an order for local officials to protect tourists and limit “unnecessary contact” between foreigners and ordinary Burmese people.

The most common way for travellers to enter the country seems to be by air. According to the website Lonely Planet, getting into Myanmar is problematic: “No bus or train service connects Myanmar with another country, nor can you travel by car or motorcycle across the border – you must walk across.” They further state that “It is not possible for foreigners to go to/from Myanmar by sea or river.” There are a small number of border crossings that allow the passage of private vehicles, such as the border between Ruili (China) to Muse, the border between Htee Kee (Myanmar) and Phu Nam Ron (Thailand)—the most direct border between Dawei and Kanchanaburi, and the border between Myawaddy (Myanmar) and Mae Sot (Thailand). At least one tourist company has successfully run commercial overland routes through these borders since 2013. “From Mae Sai (Thailand) you can cross to Tachileik, but can only go as far as Kengtung. Those in Thailand on a visa run can cross to Kawthaung but cannot venture farther into Myanmar.” Flights are available from most countries, though direct flights are limited to mainly Thai and other ASEAN airlines. According to Eleven magazine, “In the past, there were only 15 international airlines and increasing numbers of airlines have began launching direct flights from Japan, Qatar, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany and Singapore.” Expansions were expected in September 2013, but yet again are mainly Thai and other Asian-based airlines according to Eleven Media Group‘s Eleven, “Thailand-based Nok Air and Business Airlines and Singapore-based Tiger Airline“.

Here you can find the complete Overview of all Theme Weeks.

Read more on Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar Tourism, Myanmar.travel, Burmese cuisine, Culture of Myanmar, Tourism in Myanmar, Burmese contemporary art, Myanmar architecture, UNESCO.org – Myanmar, Wikitravel Myanmar, Wikivoyage Myanmar and Wikipedia Myanmar. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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