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Showing posts with label Vacations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vacations. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Myanmar - Mrauk-U still struggling to woo tourists

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Mrauk-U, a town surrounded by hills in northern Rakhine State, is known as the ‘Stone City’. It was given the name because its 14th-century pagodas are made of stone.
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Mrauk-U is home to 1552 ancient stone pagodas – historic structures that are still standing strong today, owing to the wisdom of the old Rakhine kings who ordered them to be built from stone that can withstand the weather on top of the hills.
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“These pagodas are over 800 years old, but younger than those in Bagan in the Mandalay Region that were built in the 11th century,” local hotelier U Hla Myint from the Mrauk-U Princess Hotel said.
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Although Mrauk-U’s pagodas are similar to Bagan’s pagodas in being located close to residential areas, giving the location huge tourism potential, Mrauk-U has not attained international stardom like Bagan.
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Mrauk-U’s tourist arrival numbers are still much lower. While Bagan recorded 280,000 tourists in 2016, Mrauk-U only managed to hit 4000 the whole of last year.
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Hoteliers said the reason for the poor numbers was the instability affecting Rakhine, even in areas far from Mrauk-U, since 2012.
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Since the crisis that brought political instability, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism imposed an order prohibiting hotels from accepting guests without official permission.
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Foreign ministries abroad also notified their citizens of the danger in Rakhine and discouraged them from visiting the state.
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Tourism in Mrauk-U has not been able to recover since then, even though the town is more developed, better connected, and even has an airport in the pipeline.
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Rakhine Hoteliers Association member Daw Ohnmar Khin said travellers needed to be informed that Mrauk-U was safe.
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 She said there should be more familiarisation trips organised with the collaboration of hotels and tour companies.
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“For Mrauk-U’s tourism growth, we need political stability. But we also need to get the right information out to let people know that Mrauk-U is a safe place to visit.
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“Not everyone knows about us so we need better promotion. We need to help travel agents bring visitors here,” she said.
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Mrauk-U has several prominent heritage sites such as the palace, Shit-thaung (80,000 Buddha images) Pagoda, Htukkanthein Pagoda, Koe-thaung (90,000 Buddha images) Pagoda and Laungbanpyauk Pagoda.
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In the Chin ethnic villages in Mrauk-U, visitors can meet women who have kept the tradition of having tattoos on their faces. For beautiful sceneries, tourists can visit the Laymro River that has water so clear the stones on the river bed can be seen.
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In 1996, local authorities first applied to UNESCO to get Mrauk-U’s archaeological zone recognised as a world heritage site, but were unsuccessful.
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The Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library of Mrauk-U is now trying again, with a team of experts conducting surveying work such as 3D mapping of the ancient architectural and cultural site, to draft a new application.
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There had been some conservation challenges when work was carried out to restore some of the ancient pagodas in Mrauk-U.
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One example was the the loss of the Shit-thaung Pagoda’s heritage value when conservation was not properly done.
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There were also concerns by nearby locals that they would be forced to move if the sites became UNESCO world heritage sites, Mrauk-U guide association chair U Kyaw Hla Maung said.
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“The people are worried about possible relocation. The authorities should talk to them and hear their views and suggestions before proceeding.
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“Do it like what State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi suggested for Bagan. Then they can also educate the people and help them understand why the UNESCO listing is a good thing,” he said.
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U Hla Myint said tourism would bring prosperity to the locals, who could sell crafts and find jobs in tourism-related businesses.
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Source - The Myanmar Times
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tham Morakot, Trang


Tham Morakot one of the fantastic attractions of the Unseen in Thailand
is located at the west of Ko Muk. The exciting journey to Morakot Cave besides
seeing the marvelous nature creation is the way to reach the cave by swimming
one by one into the entrance of the cave.


This can allow only a small boat to pass through during low tide along
the channel of 80 metres long. After passing the entrance to the other side,
one will stand at the large hall roofed by the sky looking like standing
inside the very large funnel. The sand beach will be seen in the middle to the hall
surrounded by high cliffs. Some species of plant are found either on the beach


The sunlight during midday will be straight through the mouth of the funnel.
The reflection of the sea creates the emerald color
as the name “Morakot Cave” which means ”Emerald Cave”.


Tham Morakot is visited by swimming or by small inflatable boats.
Starting from a ship, the swimmer has to enter the cave
until he reaches a water filled chamber,
which is lit by sunlight through a hole in the ceiling.
The entrance passage is rather small and low,
and it is passable only during low tide.


The name of the cave means Emerald Cave.
It describes the emerald colour produced by sunlight filtered through sea water.
Inside the cave is a secluded beach of white sand.


To get to Ko Muk and Morakot Cave, boat service leaves Kuan Tung Ku Pier
at 08.00 hr everyday charging 40 baht per person.
One trip by the rented boat will charge 400 baht and takes 30 minutes to Ko Muk.


Upon arrival at Sapanyao Pier in front of the island,
one have to rent a long-tailed boat to Morakot Cave rested
at the other side of the island (100 baht each).
Another way is to rent the boat from Pak Meng Pier
straight to Morakot Cave at Ko Muk.
The rate is 1,800 baht/day taking about 40 minutes.


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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Nai Thon beach, #Phuket #Thailand


Nai thon Beach is one of these little known beaches on the west coast of Phuket,
far from the crowded areas such as Patong Beach or Kata Beach.
People coming here are searching for a peaceful place
with just enough facilities and hotels not to feel too remote.


Phuket being such a small island you always can rent a car
and drive to Patong for a fun night out or further south for a discovery day.


The beach is an amazing long and wide strip well shaded by tall trees
and divided in two by a small rock formation.
Walk beyond these rocks to reach a more private area of Nai thon.



The sand is smooth and swimming is great during high season. Loungers, umbrellas
and drinks are available as well as several small restaurants.
Some of them start to look trendy, a sign of increasing popularity
and already new hotels are building nearby such as Pullman.



No Jetskies  or parasailing in sight yet, only few long tails boats bobbing here
and there and beach vendors are still discreet.
parking your car is easy in the shade of trees anywhere along the beach.
Across the road are few more bars, restaurants, a mini mart and even a tailor and a dive shop.


This is definitely a high season kind of beach, it looks
and feels quite abandoned during low season
and swimming is not recommended (July to November)


The easiest way to reach there is to drive to the airport
and turn left at the T intersection just before reaching it,
then drive few kilometers and turn right at the signs pointing to ‘Andaman White Beach Resort’
and Trisara Phuket Resort. The closest beach, not to miss,
is the secret Banana Beach, just 3 kilometers away.