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Things to Do in Myanmar

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Ngapali Beach

Myanmar’s only fully fledged beach resort, Ngapali, 10km (6 miles) southwest of Thandwe, centres on a tranquil, palm-lined bay in the south of Rakhaing. Its soft, white shell sand, translucent water and wonderful seafood offer a welcome respite from the dust and humidity of travel inland. Visitors on luxury tours comprise the majority of the clientele here, served by a string of small-scale hotels dotted around the bay. For the time being the atmosphere is peaceful, with oodles of space on the sand. Fishermen from the nearby villages well outnumber tourists, and their boats bob around offshore unmolested by jet-skis and powerboats. All that looks set to change, however. Plans are afoot to extend the runway of nearby Thandwe airport to accommodate long-haul flights from Bangkok and Singapore, and a batch of ultra-swish five-stars is already taking shape in the surrounding palm forest in expectation of the coming bonanza.

Snorkelling and fishing trips offer alternatives to lounging on the sand in one of the string of breezy bars dotted along the bay. Most of the hotels are clustered at the north end of the beach, but it’s worth taking a walk south around the headland to the picturesque fishing village of Gyeiktaw, strewn behind a south-facing cove.

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Bogyoke Aung San Market

Bogyoke Aung San Market is situated in the heart of Yangon. on Bogyoke Aung San Road. The name of this road was also named after the market. The Bogyoke Aung San Market is the most popular market and a great tourist destination in Yangon. It is one of the precious colonial buildings you can find in Yangon.

The market was first built and inaugurated on the present premises in 1926. It was named Scott Market after Mr. C. Scott. the then Municipal Commissioner. Nowadays. it is called Bogyoke Aung San Market in honour of our national leader General Aung San who was assassinated in 1947.

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Hot-air Balloon

The arid Bagan plain is studded with more than 2500 Buddhist monuments dating from as far back as the 10th century. There were thousands more temples and pagodas in Bagan before a devastating earthquake struck in 1975.

Still, what remains is so impressive that it’s worth the early start and big bucks for a balloon ride (heading above-ground also provides respite from Bagan’s persistent hawkers).

Australian Brett Melzer and his Yangon-born wife, Khin Omar Win, started Balloons over Bagan with a single balloon in 1999 – today the company’s red balloons dominate the early-morning skyline.

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Teak Bridge

Near Mandalay, stroll along U Bein Bridge – said to be the world’s oldest and longest teak bridge. The 1.2-kilometre rickety walkway, which includes four covered pavilions and spans Taung Tha Man Lake, was built around 1850 from timber reclaimed from a former royal palace. It’s also lined with hawker stalls if you’re looking for a souvenir.

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Cycle

Want to poke around Bagan’s temples and pagodas at your own pace? Pick up a rental bicycle (or an electric bike if the weather is too hot) and a map, and head out over the flat-as-a-Myanmar-crispy- pancake landscape.

Highlights include Ananda Temple with its stunning gold spires. Take in a glorious sunset from Shwesandaw Pagoda.

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Thanaka

The yellow circles, squares and lines seen on cheeks, noses and foreheads of people throughout Myanmar is thanaka, a yellow-white cosmetic paste produced by grinding the bark of the thanaka tree on a flat, smooth stone with water. The milky yellow liquid dries quickly when it is applied to the skin.

Women, men and children apply thanaka to their faces, arms and legs for a variety of reasons. Thanaka is valued as a sunscreen and as a beauty product that keeps the skin cool, stops oiliness, tightens pores, improves the complexion and adds a pleasant, soft fragrance to the skin. Thanaka is also used as a medicinal product to treat acne, fungus, skin sores, measles, epilepsy, poisoning and fever.