Bagan’s local economy prospers amid travellers’ surge in Thingyan period

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Travellers are pictured against the background of Myinkaba Pagoda in Bagan during the Thingyan holiday.  Photo: Kanu

The beaches across the nation and Bagan were crowded with visitors during Thingyan long holidays from 9 to 17 April.
The Bagan residents expected most in April, the last Myanmar tourist season, and the Thingyan festival has not been held for two years due to COVID-19. This year, the government allowed to celebrate the Thingyan festival, and the travellers throng Bagan more than in 2019.
All the hotels, guest houses, food stalls, paintings and puppet shops saw good transactions, and the transportation services such as horse carts and electric motorcycles were also in good condition.
“There were between 4,000 and 7,000 visitors to Myinkaba pagoda per day in the Thingyan period. Unexpected Thingyan travels surged this year. It was more crowded than the previous Thingyan before the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been visitors so far since 12 April. This month is the final month of the travelling season and the Bagan, which was almost empty in tourism during the last two years, gets the best transactions during this Thingyan period. The residents are satisfied and run their operations as usual. We are also glad that the economy came alive unexpectedly during this recession. The international flights are also resumed, and we welcome the foreign tourists,” said U Tin Hla Oo, secretary of the Myinkaba pagoda board of trustees.
Hotels and guesthouses were fully reserved. Some visitors stayed at monasteries and houses in the Thingyan period. According to the residents, there were almost 100,000 travellers to Bagan per day between Thingyan Akyo Day to New Year’s Day.
“The most travellers visited on Thingyan Akyo, Akya, Atet and New Year day. No one expected that the region would host such numbers of visitors. The stalls, garments and regional product shops saw good sales worth about one million a day. We, hand painters, were also busy and earned a good income daily. The tourists came here, but it was just a few. The Bagan people get an unexpected economic opportunity during the Thingyan period. Local people rely on the travellers, and all are happy when they receive the news that the visitors will come. The Bagan region, full of Myanmar cultural heritage, always welcomes domestic and foreign visitors,” said U Zeya Than, a hand painter at Myinkaba pagoda.
There are 3,280 pagoda and stupas in Bagan. The visitors mostly visit Shwezigon, Dhammayangyi, Alotawpyae, Htilominlo, Ananda, Gadawpalin, Thatbyinnyu, Maha Bodhi, Buu Phaya, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, Manuha, Mya Zedi, Lawka Nanda, Shwesandaw, Ngatpyit Taung and also to Sarkyatpone, Sarkyathit, Shwekuncha, Shwelatetuu, Kyaukku, Myathet, Thameewat and Kyansittha caves.—Nyein Thu (MNA)/GNLM

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