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Greetings from Myanmar Upper Land | culture & travel  and welcome to Mandalay.

We are a small but reliable company specializing in cultural tours in and around Mandalay. We care for our cultural heritage and would like to share our traditional life with you, enabling you to experience our region and to meet its people. We try to operate our tours as responsible and sustainable as our still developing country allows.

Customized tours upon request – Except for our guided One Day Tours we can also arrange   multiple longer inclusive tours through the entire country and for any group size.

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Myanmar sets a hot pace for tourism

Myanmar’s tourism master plan has 21 projects that are critically important to help the country grow its tourism at an impressive pace through to 2020.

Tourism Promotion and International Relations Department director, Daw Khin Than Win, told Global New Light of Myanmar that 12 projects identified in the master plan are being undertaken by Ministry of Hotels and Tourism in cooperation with development partners.

“A project for tourism development in the Bagan region in conjunction with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and another focusing on Mawlamyine and Kyaik-hto regions in cooperation with Asian Development Bank are among the ongoing tasks that will run for the next two or three years.”

Myanmar’s Tourism Master Plan (2013 to 2020) was released in 2013 covering  six strategic programmes, as well as 38 priority projects up until 2020.

Asian Development Bank is backing the plan with loans and grants to fund the projects.

The plan outlines a growth in tourism revenue from USD534 million in 2012 to USD10.18 billion in 2020, while the 38 projects in the plan will cost USD486.6 million.

Twenty one projects are identified as critical to the plan’s success and they will cost USD215.6 million.

The goal of the master plan is to keep the country’s tourism industry growing at an impressive pace and thereby generating more income and employment.

The director noted: “We have an ambitious target of 5 million visitors, this year, following a record-breaking more than 3 million arrivals last year.”

The 2014 boom gave the country slightly more than 1 million visitors on top of the 2 million visits of 2013. In 2014, the country earned USD1.14 billion, up from USD926 million.

As of 31 March, Myanmar has 1,148 licensed hotels with 45,331 rooms across the country. Among them, 59 hotels with 4,904 rooms are in Nay Pyi Taw, 298 hotels with 13,990 rooms are in Yangon and 148 hotels with 6,069 rooms are in Mandalay.

There are 77 hotels in Bagan-NyaungU region and 93 in the Taunggyi/ Inlay region, both popular tourist spots among foreign visitors.

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Myanmar sees over 400,000 tourists visiting second largest city in 2014

Myanmar’s second largest city of Mandalay in the north received more than 400,000 foreign tourists in 2014, revealed the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism on Tuesday, predicting a rise to more than 500,000 in 2015.

According to the Mandalay regional immigration authorities, 464, 577 foreign tourists visited the country’s cultural hub city during the year, an increase of 60,385 from 2013.

 Most of the tourists came from East Asian countries of China, Japan and South Korea, travel agencies said.

 The top tourist attractions in Mandalay city include the Maha Muni Buddha Image, Mandalay Hill, Yankin Hill, Taungthaman Lake, Myanmar Sankyaw Golden Palace, Golden Monastery, ancient Inwa City , Kuthodaw Pagoda and Taungthaman Bridge.

 Myanmar received 3.05 million tourists in 2014, up 49.5 percent from 2013.

The country’s tourism earning hit 1.14 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, breaking the record of previous year’s 914 million U.S. dollars.

 Statistics also show that foreign investment in the hotels and tourist sector reached 2.157 billion U.S. dollars as of February 2015 after the country opened its door to the world in late 1988.

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Thai-Myanmar border checkpoint eyed as new tourist attraction

Thai-Myanmar border checkpoint eyed as new tourist attraction

by Surasak Tumcharoen

BANGKOK, March 16 (Xinhua) — Thai authorities are eyeing a Thai-Myanmar border checkpoint in the lower central part of the country as another Thai tourist attraction.

Named Daan Singkhorn, the Thai-Myanmar border checkpoint in Prachuab Kirikhan province could be developed into a new tourist attraction for both Thai and foreign visitors, said Provincial Governor Veera Sriwattanatrakul in an interview with Xinhua on Monday.

The border checkpoint, located at the western end of a 12- kilometer strip between the Thai shoreline straddling the Gulf of Thailand and Myanmar’s mountainous Tanintharyi region, has the potentials of being another tourist spot and at the same time serve as the gateway to southern Myanmar, according to Veera.

Western Thailand and southern Myanmar are divided by Tenasserim mountain range from up north in Mae Hongson province to down south along Malaya peninsula passing Daan Singkhorn.

“The authorities, including those of the National Security Council and the Foreign Affairs Ministry, should promote Daan Singkhorn border checkpoint as a permanent trading and tourist spot linking Thailand and Myanmar,” Veera said.

“Up to five million Thai and foreign tourists are expected to visit Daan Singkhorn border checkpoint on their way to the interior of Myanmar in a year,” Veera said.

Veera also called on the Thai authorities in Bangkok to resolve the dispute over the border demarcation line between the two Southeast Asian states as soon as possible. He said the ruling junta in Thailand should take steps to reach compromise on the dispute with the present government in Naypyidaw which is also headed by a former general.

A new Myanmar government could change the country’s foreign policy after a nationwide election scheduled later this year but Thai authorities should start opening talks with their counterparts in Myanmar regarding the proposal, Veera said.

According to Veera, while Hua Hin, a major beach resort city north of Prachuab Kirikhan, is viewed as the gateway to southern Thailand, Daan Singkhorn should likewise be deemed as the gateway to Myanmar’s Mergui archipelago in the Andaman Sea.

Veera said the border checkpoint, only about 300 kilometers south of the Thai capital, should be developed into a permanent tourist spot through the construction of more infrastructure projects and tourism-related facilities.

Prachuab Kirikhan province, including Hua Hin, could earn some 1.2 billion U.S. dollars every year in revenues from local and foreign tourists that would visit the proposed tourism site, the provincial governor said.

He said some investors have already bought lands in Prachuab Kirikhan to be used for the construction of tourism-related projects. These investors have envisioned that businesses in the area would flourish with the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community at the end of this year.

“Tourism-related businesses are expected to sprout throughout the province, especially in urban areas leading to Daan Singkhorn, if the border checkpoint would eventually be opened as the gateway to Mergui and other parts of southern Myanmar,” Veera said.

Presently hotels and guesthouses in Hua Hin and Prachuab Kirikhan have only a combined 20,000 rooms available for visitors and more should be built to accommodate those who may plan to visit southern Myanmar via Daan Singkhorn, he said.

Veera said foreign travelers may visit Daan Singkhorn and then proceed across the border to Mergui archipelago instead of coming from inside Myanmar.

Thailand’s Mae Sot in Tak province currently deals in cross- border trade and tourism with Myanmar’s Myawaddy town across Moei River up north from Prachuab Kirikhan province.


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Tours Around Myanmar ( Burma )

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Welcome to MANDALAY

Greetings from Myanmar Upper Land | culture & travel. We are a small but reliable company specializing in cultural tours in and around Mandalay. We care for our cultural heritage and would like to share our traditional life with you, enabling you to experience our region and to meet its people. We try to operate our tours as responsible and sustainable as our still developing country allows.
Customized tours upon request – Except for our guided One Day Tours we can also arrange multiple longer inclusive tours through the entire country and for any group size.

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Guided One Day Tour – Monday to Saturday

Outstanding tour visiting around Mandalay, just to book for your convenience to travel three ancient cities… Read More

Mingun bell


Guided One Day Tour – Monday to Saturday

Visiting Mingun bell, the second largest and un-cracked bell in the world and some uniquely ancient Pagodas at the other side of the river from Mandalay… Read More

Monastic education


Guided One Day Tour – Monday to Saturday

Visiting the highlight of Mandalay; Mahamuni Pagoda, Myanmar traditional handicraft workshop, Kuthodaw pagoda, Golden palace monastery, Royal palace and Mandalay hill for sunset… Read More

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Mandalay, Myanmar.

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Mon State to Turn Death Railway Site Into Tourist Draw

The Mon State government has awarded a company a contract to develop a museum, a hotel, a restaurant and other tourist facilities at the site of the World War II-era Death Railway in Thanbyuzayat Township, southeastern Burma.

State officials told The Irrawaddy that Tala Mon Company Ltd. had been granted the right to construct the facilities, adding that authorities hoped to develop the site soon in order to create an international tourist attraction in their state.

“We have historic pictures and we have [made] statues of the soldiers, and we will recreate scenes [from the Death Railway]—we also already have an old steam engine,” said Toe Toe Aung, the Mon State minister for civil development, adding that he expected the museum to be completed by June.

He said the state government would ask the Railways Ministry to construct a new, one-mile long piece of track that would symbolize the Death Railway, of which few traces remain in Thanbyuzayat Township. Toe Toe Aung said the budget for the project was yet to be determined.

Local media reported last week that an area of about 6.6 acres was being set aside for the plan.

Currently, the only reminders of the historic importance of the site are a large concrete signboard reading “Myanmar-Thailand-Japanese Death Railway line starts here,” and an old steam locomotive on a short piece of track. A damaged statue of a standing soldier can also be seen, its upper body lying in the grass.

The new project is being developed by the Mon State authorities, Toe Toe Aung said, adding that the British Embassy or the Commonwealth War Graves Commission had not been consulted.

“Until now, we don’t have any plans to collaborate with international bodies, including the British Embassy. But if they want to make suggestions for this project we will accept it,” he said.

The War Graves Commission maintains the grave site at Thanbyuzayat Township where several thousand victims of the Death Railway have been laid to rest, as well two other World War II grave sites in Burma, including the large Taukkyan War Cemetery on the outskirts of Rangoon.

Burma was an important theater of war during the conflict. During the occupation, the Japanese army forced tens of thousands of prisoners of war from Britain, the Netherlands and Australia, alongside many Burmese and other Southeast Asian nationals, to construct a railway connecting Thailand’s Kanchanaburi District with Mon State’s Thanbyuzayat Township.

More than 16,000 prisoners of war died during the construction, or about 38 prisoners for every kilometer of the 415-kilometer railway. With little or no medical care, they succumbed to sickness, malnutrition and exhaustion. Many suffered horribly before their death.

In Thailand, remnants of the railway and a memorial have long drawn thousands of international visitors, something the Mon State authorities hope to replicate.

“If we complete this construction project, Mon State will become developed more because a lot of foreign visitors are expected to visit this historic place,” said Naing Lwin, general manager of Tala Mon Company Limited.

He said the firm would build a museum, a hotel, a gift shop, restaurants, a bus station, a swimming pool and “a reception hall for wedding ceremonies.”

Naing Lwin said the firm was awaiting further instructions from the state government, but had already begun land survey in the proposed project area.

Tala Mon Company is owned by wealthy Mon businessman Min Banyar San, who has s interests in tourism and travel, including Tala Mon Bus Company.

Central government officials have said in recent years that they would like to develop the old railway into a modern railway link to Thailand, once Burma has a nationwide peace agreement.

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The Ancient Burmese City of Bagan Struggles for International Recognition

Propped up on bamboo scaffolding, two artisans are gently applying a dissolving solution to an arched ceiling inside Ananda, a signature temple of the ancient Burmese city of Bagan. They are removing layers of a white coating that served as a rudimentary protective barrier against abrasive rain and insect infestations but also concealed pictorial details. To one of the workers, a pious Buddhist, removing this veneer to expose the original 12th century fresco is spiritually fulfilling. “Each time I uncover an image of Buddha on the wall, I feel delighted,” he says. The care given to restore Ananda to its original form is the exception, however. Hundreds of other monuments in the area have been subjected to what conservationists regard as historical treason.

Though Bagan is less famous than Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, Egypt’s Luxor or Peru’s Machu Picchu, its historical treasures are no less impressive. Some 3,000 temples, monasteries and pagodas stretch across a 26-square-mile plain. From the 9th century to the 13th century, the area was the capital of a kingdom that consolidated and controlled most of modern-day Burma, officially known as Myanmar, and served as a hub of Buddhist scholarship. To this day, Bagan remains a centerpiece of national pride and religious devotion, which explains in part why the country’s recent rulers have been keen to make their mark on it.

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Culture ministry prepared to have Bagan added to World Heritage List

Preparations are underway to add the ancient temples and pagodas of Bagan to Unesco’s World Heritage List, after three ancient Pyu cities became the first sites in Myanmar to join the list in June, Deputy Minister of Culture said Sandar Khin told the Upper House on October 30.

“Bagan cultural region is now being prepared for entry on the World Heritage List,” she said, adding the process was laborious. “There are so many rules for this,” she said, explaining that these included administrative issues, border delineation and preservation. Activities have to be taken before application and more work done after a site is included on the list, Sandar Khin said.Bagan is located on a low-lying area along the Ayeyawady River in Mandalay. It comprises more than 2,200 temples and pagodas. Bagan kingdom flourished between the 9th and 13th centuries and was the first to unify the regions that have become modern Myanmar. The area is one of Myanmar’s main tourist attractions.

Sandar Khin made the announcement in response to questions from Major Myo Htun Aung about plans for including other cultural and historically significant sites in Myanmar on the World Heritage List.

Eight sites were submitted for the list in 1996, but shortcomings in the then-junta’s applications have been blamed for the failure to have them included.

Once on the list, the more technical and financial assistance can be received to help preserve the sites, and the listings also help promote the sites as tourism attractions.

Myo Htun Aung noted that Myanmar was rich in cultural heritage. He named seven beside the three ancient Pyu cities already on the list – Myauk-U, Pa-Da-Lin cave, Inle Lake, Min-Kun region, Mandalay, Innwa and Hantharwaddy. There are many more, the major said.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), the process to nominate Bagan to its World Heritage List began with an international consultation meeting in Bagan during October 10-12.

“The ancient archaeological site is at the top of the country’s priority list for future World Heritage nominations. The meeting will bring together experts from around the world to discuss the future safeguarding of Bagan under the World Heritage framework with national and local stakeholders. These inputs will be particularly timely in the face of accelerated development at the site caused by a boom in visitor arrivals and tourism-related investment,” Unesco said in a statement.

Bagan houses the spectacular 11th to 13th-century ruins of more than 3,000 Buddhist temples and monuments spread over an 80-square-kilometre plain in central Myanmar. Myanmar nominated Bagan to the World Heritage Committee in 1996, but the submission process, which usually takes years, ran into problems with Myanmar’s ruling junta.

Instead of getting the prestigious listing for Bagan, Myanmar succeeded in winning the first World Heritage listing for Pyu ancient cities in June this year. Three ancient Pyu cities – Halin, Beikthano and Sri Khsetra – were added to the World Heritage List in June. The Pyu kingdoms flourished for more than 1,000 years, between 200 BC and AD 900. The three cities are partially excavated archaeological sites.

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Permanent Residency System for Foreigners in Myanmar

NAYPYIDAW — A permanent residency (PR) system for foreign nationals will be implemented by October of this year, Burma’s immigration chief said last week.

“We will allow a PR system in four months, not later than October. The duration of permitted stay will start with a five-year term,” Minister of Immigration and Population Khin Yi told The Irrawaddy, adding that foreigners would be able to extend residency upon expiration of their five-year stay in the country.

The Ministry of Immigration and Population will invite foreigners and evaluate their applications based on a prioritization of the country’s needs, Khin Yi said.

The system will take a four-tiered approach in weighing candidates, with the forthcoming framework for permanent residency based in part on a study of the systems in place in other Asean member states and Europe.

“We will invite intellectuals and technicians, which the country needs. Secondly, [we] will invite investors. Third, former Burmese citizens. Finally, we will also accept Burmese citizens and his or her extended family who have studied abroad or went abroad for various other reasons,” Khin Yi said.

“Those who apply cannot enlist as civil servants or found a [political] party,” the minister said, adding that additional details would be released when the system is implemented, as some issues were still being discussed.

Khin Yi said that the law, which a team of 11 ministers is working to finalize, had already been “accepted” by President Thein Sein and Parliament.

“This is a new process for Burma, so it takes time,” he said. “We also have to harmonize this with existing laws, as foreigners will be staying here long-term. We will also allow [foreigners] to buy housing, so we also have to harmonize this with the condominium law. They might bring their children along, so we also need to harmonize it with laws on education and health care, plus the taxation law.”

A former Burmese national who now holds a US passport told The Irrawaddy that implementation of a permanent residency program would need to come with a simple and unambiguous framework, adding that some former Burmese were waiting for the roll out of such a system before returning to Burma.

Burma does not allow dual citizenship, under the country’s 1982 Citizenship Law.

A Ministry of Immigration and Population official estimated that about 8,000 foreign nationals are currently in Burma on long-term visas.

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Myanmar to add e-Visa points

YANGON, 28 October 2014: More airports and two overland entry points will be added to Myanmar’s e-Visa scheme, according to the Ministry of Immigration and Population. Two airports, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, will be added as well as four overland crossings along the border with Thailand, making it more convenient for international tourists visiting Thailand to extend their trips to Myanmar without the need to backtrack through Bangkok. At present the only entry point valid for the e-Visa is Yangon’s international airport. inside no 2According to the Irrawaddy media report, the service will soon be extended to Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports and overland checkpoints at Myawaddy, Tachilek, Kawthaung and Htee Khee once trials have been completed. The immigration ministry general director, Muang Muang Than, was quoted as saying: “We’re going to set up the machines, and we’ll conduct trials in Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. Once the system is working properly we will also introduce e-visas at four overland Thai-Burmese border stations.” Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw are the two main international gateways after Yangon. Officials did not give a timeframe for adding more entry points. The e-Visa system was launched at Yangon International Airport, 1 September and was used by 1,500 tourists during the first month, according to airport officials. In the initial phase, 41 nationalities were eligible for e-Visas. That has now risen to 67 countries since. Tourists from the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia are the top users, officials said. Once the online application and payment of USD50 is made, an approval letter is sent by email within five days and this can be used to get a stamp on arrival at Yangon airport. The visas are so far restricted to tourists and have a maximum stay of 28 days. They are valid for 90 days from the date of issue. Business visas can only be obtained through embassies or on arrival at the airport, but based invitation letters and other documents that need to be screened in advance. The e-Visa programme is part of its Myanmar Tourism Master Plan (2013 to 2020), which comprises of 38 projects. Implementation of the plan is expected to cost USD486 million. The returns could be significant if projections for tourist arrivals meet targets.

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