Top 10 Things to do in Myanmar 2019-2020 Travel Guide

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Are you planning to visit Myanmar?

If so, you need to know that there are many festivals in Myanmar the whole year that make your visit more alive, knowledgeable and colorful .And, one thing is after harvest season, occupying many famous festivals around the country. Which is trending now? See the lists below.

Here is the list of top 10 things to do in Myanmar

1. Take part in Ananda Temple Festival – Bagan ( January 2020 )

With thousands of pagodas and Buddhist monuments, Bagan is extremely grand and fully filled with the famous pagoda festivals all year round. Recently, the Shwesigon pagoda festival has been held and the Ananda Temple Festival is coming closer. The temple is well known for its remarkable art and architecture and its festival stands out as one of the most famous.The temple is said to represent the endless wisdom of Buddha so that the festival is held to symbolize the limitless wisdom of Buddha. This massive celebration is the whole month long, occurring during the month of the Pyarthoin Myanmar calendar ( Dec-Jan,2020 ). The aim is to raise the fund for site conservation. And, this is after the harvest season, bringing the holiday and money to the people to donate and participate in the festival. And, they can buy to collect many things they need for the whole year at the same time. This is over 700 years old festival and people believe it takes luck and convenience for their life. Villages around the town come in traditional bullock carts to participate and camp around or stay at the monasteries for about one week. But, nowadays, coming in bullock carts become less and do not hope too much to see them. And, the funfair with thousands of stall and shops are offering from the food to domestic appliances. You can see many local made things such as pottery, traditional clothing, lacquerware, bamboo map.  One interesting thing I heard about the stall is that every year, most of the stallholders sell their products at the same place for many years. So, if you remember the place you bought, you may see the stallholder of previous year again. And, the playing cane-ball makes the festival amused and many local people are cheering them. Despite the whole month, the most thriving and alive day is on the full moon day of Pyartho, giving a donation to a thousand monks. The monks also recite the Buddhist scripts for three days. About a week around the full moon day makes the best time to visit the festival, giving the chance to see the real ritual and tradition of Buddhist.  So, come and join the festival, wander around the colorful local market, taste the traditional food, and speak to the local people.

2. Visit the Mahamuni Buddha Image Festival

Mahamuni is the most reverend image throughout the country. People said that the image is cast when Buddha was alive. So, many people all over the country come and pay homage to the image the whole year. It is the center of Myanmar people’s life and the sacred one of Buddhist. And, the festival takes place on the full moon day of Tapohdwe month ( Feb 8, 2020 ) and lasts for two days. Lots of people around the country come to pay homage to the image on the day. The glutinous rice contest is also held during the festival. The monks also recite the book of conditional relations. The festival also includes different kinds of entertainment such as dance, music, theatre, sports.

3. Naga New Year Festival

Naga is one of 135 ethnic groups of Myanmar, occupying many different subgroups. They live on the Chin mountain ranges and some are in India border. Naga region is the place where you can see the genuine culture and tradition which remained unexplored and original. According to the 2008 Myanmar Constitution, Naga became a self-administrative region, including the Lashi, Lahe and Nanyoon town. The Lahe is the Naga-headquartered town. So, it is a great idea to explore the Naga Region but the best time is to visit during the Naga New Year Festival. It has been held since 2001. The festival is alternatively held in each city ( Lashi, Lahe, and Nanyoon ) every year. In the coming 2020, it will be held in Lahe for three days, in late January. To join the festival, Naga tribes who are away from home come back because it represents the reunion of the relatives. It is held after harvest season before growing new ones. They make wishes for the coming year and share them with all and pray for good weather. During the festival, they hold the traditional dance in their traditional dress. A fire camp is also made and visitors can take part to dance in a fire camp celebration. On the day of the opening ceremony, visitors are offered with traditional rice and curries.Kaung Ye (traditional alcoholic beverage locally made from red millet) is also available for the festival. So, their colorful traditional dress, dance, musical instruments, and food are very interesting and deserve your visit. If you want to visit the festival, you need to hold some permits and we are offering the best service for it.

4. KachinManaw Festival- Kachin State ( January )

Myanmar gained independence from the British Empire on January 4, 1948. Six days later after gaining independence, the 10th January is designated as ‘the Kachin State Day.’ On the day, the first president of the country formed the Kachin State Council, inaugurating the Manaw booth in the SitarpuManaw field. The State government is also organized on the day and since that time, Kachin Manaw Festival is held in the SitarpuManaw field of Myitkyina Town, to commemorate Kachin State Day. It lasts from 4 to 8 days, hosting many people who come to participate with rice and traditional curries during the whole festival. The Manaw Festival ground is decorated with the Manaw poles in the center, adorned with the traditional motif in red, black and white. Moreover, worshipping the spirits is also part of the festival. Kachin people ware their traditional dress and hold the traditional dance, rounding the Manaw poles. The Manaw field and poles must be abolished only after one year, according to their traditional and cultural norms. Thus, the festival is wonderful and impressive and you should not miss visiting if you are planning to visit Myanmar in the coming 2020.

5. Kakku pagoda festival

Life in Inle Lake is extremely different and can give you the most blissfully enjoyable holiday. Take a boat ride in the lake and explore their lifestyle, floating villages, floating garden, traditional leg-rowing method, and traditional food.You can also see traditional handicrafts, silk weaving on wooden handlooms and a blacksmith shop. And, in this season, a special thing to do is to visit the glorious Kakku pagoda festival around Inle lake. This pagoda complex is filled with thousands of ancient pagodas which are date back to over 2000 years.  The Pa-O tribes who are living on Shan mountain ranges south of Inle Lake, hold the festival on the full moon day of Tabaung in Myanmar lunar calendar. And, it falls on March 8, 2020. It is the celebration for the successful harvest and the tribes sell their product and do merits by donating their earning. This is not only a religious festival but also a social occasion. Pa-O people gather at the complex, share the news, meet their old friends from other towns and villages and make some new friends. One thing not to miss is to catch the dawn of the Tabaung full moon day where Pa-O people in their traditional costume come and offer the alms to the Pagodas. They also make the traditional festive songs and dance for celebration. Do not hesitate to get a chance to see the indigenous Pa-O tribe celebration for the festival.

6. PaungDawOo Pagoda Festival-Inle lake

The most obvious and geat festival in the Inle region is the PaungDawOo pagoda Festival. The pagoda is located in the lake and the festival annually occurs during the month of Thadingyut in Myanmar calendar. It lasts 18 days and usually in October. It is also the most important one of Shan State. On the first day of the festival, four Buddha images are removed from their shrine in the PaungDawOoTemple and placed on the Royal Karaweik (mythical golden bird) barge. And, the 15 large boats pulled the barge, using the rope and next 15 boats are following behind, reciting the Buddhist scripts.And, then, the barge and the boats parade all around the lake for 18 days, stopping at many villages. During these days, celebrations such as traditional boat races are really exciting and amazing. Floating show of traditional dances and songs are also performed on the boats. The 2019 festival added the celebration of floating lights into the lake. On the last day of the festival, the barge arrives back at the PaungDawOo Temple and the final competition of boat races can be seen and the crowd cheered the respective teams. The festival will give you colorful feelings and create the most enjoyable moments in your life.

7. Tasaungtai Festival or Balloon Festival- Taunggyi

This colorful festival takes place at Taunggyi city of the spectacular mountain valley. This is a week-long festival of Tasaungmon month at the lunar calendar and usually is in November. On the first day, the crowd goes to the specially designated place in the town center and makes the competition launching balloons. You can also enjoy the show, traditional dance, songs, traditional food, and amusement parks during the week. These thousand of giant balloons are decorated with various patterns of burning candles, floating in the sky. It is extremely delightful and wonderful to see the beautiful sky view filled with a mix of thousand balloons and colorful fireworks. It is like a poetic painting. Launching the balloons is held both in the daytime and at night. On the day after the full moon, the competing teams are awarded the prizes. Create the perfect festive nightlife by participating in the festival.

8. Shwe Dagon Pagoda Festival – Yangon

Shwe Dagon Pagoda is the most reverend and glorious pagoda, making visible in all directions of Yangon. In the pagoda, the Buddha hair relic is enshrined. Many people around the country come to pay homage every day and donate the fund for the conservation and renovation of the pagoda. There are many festivals, taking place on the pagoda platform all year round. But the greatest festival is celebrated on the full mon day of Tabaung( March 8, 2020 ). Candle lights and oil lights are always at the pagoda. But, on the day, there will be more and some kinds of entertainment such as playing cane ball can be seen. Do not miss the chance to see the gilded pagoda with millions of candle lights.

9. Thingyan or Water Festival ( Myanmar New Year Festival )

The new year celebration of Myanmar people is really different from other parts of the world. No firework but a lot of water and it is called the Thingyan Festival. It occurs during mid-April ( in Tagu month in the lunar calendar ). It usually takes 4 or 5 days according to the Myanmar calendar. People pour water on each other and it means washing the physical and mental impurities of the year. Many Thingyan booths are built on the road all over the country and entertain both traditional and modern dance and songs on the booth. People douse the water with the pump and water gun to each other or pour the water on each other with cups or buckets. Everyone on the road is poured with water and the road is wet. You can also hear the Thingyan songs the whole day. The flower called Padauks are blooming all over the country in the period.In the former time, people gently spray the water to each other by sinking the Padauk twig in the water. During the festival, people do merit and take Sabbath. Young people pay homage and respect to elders and help them to take the bath, to wash the hair and to cut the nail. The traditional food of Thingyan called ‘Mont Lone Ye Paw” are offering free in every Thingyan booth. And, some houses host meals at the so-called ‘Satudithar’ booth and everybody can drop in and have the meal. The water festival is the most festive occasion of the whole year and I am sure you should join the festival for the new year’s experience which you have never seen before.

10. TaungByone Festival- Mandalay

TaungByone Festival is known as worshipping the nats ( spirits ) and many devotees around the country and spiritual mediums gathers at the festival. The history of the celebration of the festival is extremely interesting. On the King Anawyathar regime, the king traveled around the TaungPyone region and wanted to build a landmark pagoda. So, he ordered the army to contribute their labor forces for building the pagoda. And, in the army, there were two brothers who were adopted by King Anawyahtar. And, they are very strong and powerful men among others that make some ministers and generals jealous. The brothers spent all the time drinking and gambling so that they missed the king’s order and fail to do the contribution. So, the jealous persons got the chance to trap the brothers without setting the two bricks which are the brother’s duty to contribute to the construction of the pagoda. After completion of the pagoda, the king checked the pagoda and found the two bricks are missing. When he knows the reason for missing brick, ordered to execute the brothers. Since then, they became nats( spirit ) and the king deified them as the guardian spirits of the area and they are very popular among the believers. So, for worshipping them, this week-long festival is held every year during the Warkaung month in the lunar calendar, usually, fall in August. This is the most crowded and famous nat festival in the region.

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