Travellers ready for festival season

As November is the start of the open season, the people from Yangon and other regions are preparing for pilgrimage, PyinOoLwin and Lashio Tazaungdaing hot-air balloon festival, according to a Domestic Pilgrimage and Tour Operators Association, partner of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
Before November, the local travellers celebrated the Bo Min Gaung festival, and Taung Pyone festival and visited Bagan, Poppa and beaches and the pagodas were crowded with visitors during the Thadingyut festival. During this Tazaungdine festival, the people prepare for the hot-air balloon festival, hilly and beach resorts and pilgrimage by communicating with the agencies for land and airline services.
“The people are mostly interested in PyinOoLwin hot-air balloon festival than Lashio hot-air balloon festival. They are also interested in tours to Poppa, Bagan, Mandalay, Inlay and Pindaya. Some pay a visit to Chaungtha, Ngwehsaung and Ngapali and also to Maha Bodhi Myaing Sayadaw. We provide transport services by express cars and offer meals. We arrange hotel services. We offer tours from the period of the Tazaungdaing festival to the new year festival. The pilgrims will go to Kyaiktiyo Pagoda as the officials provide unusual services such as free truck services and accommodation services including Satuditha (free food booth). In the early period of the open season, we expect that there would be large numbers of local visitors and tourists later. In early this month, the ticket sales are on the rise,” said U Maung Maung Aye, vice-chair of the Domestic Pilgrimage and Tour Operators Association.
There are about eight million local travellers every year and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda hosts the largest number of visitors and Bagan Ancient Cultural Zone ranks second. From the Thadingyut festival in October to the Thingyan festival in April, the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda offers the longest festival days, hosts the highest numbers of visitors and is the most crowded place. According to 2018-2019 data, about three million visitors visited the pagoda.
For domestic tours, it was crowded with visitors in Thadingyut, Tazaungdine, the new year festival and the Thingyan period up to 2016. The tourism sector was suspended due to the outbreak of the Covid pandemic in March 2020 and the government resumed tourism in 2022. It was also crowded with visitors before the open season. In August 2022, the Kyaukpadaung Aba Aung Min Gaung festival and Mount Popa were packed with pilgrims and the visitors visited Bagan, NyaungU, Taunggyi, Mawlamyine (Kyaikkhami), Ngwehsaung and Chaungtha beaches in October. Moreover, people buy tickets to make trips in the chilly and crisp weather of November in advance.
The tourists’ interest in Myanmar with its unique natural resources and cultural heritage is high and there would be foreign visitors in the open season and the government reopens the tourism sector to create business opportunities for the residents in respective regions. Currently, people prepare for luxury tours including the Tazaungdine festival in this open season. — Nyein Thu (MNA)/GNLM

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