Myanmar’s once-restricted tourist sites are becoming places of interest among the foreign visitors, according to the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism.
Many famous sites such as Mogok city in Mandalay Region and Mrauk Oo in Rakhine State were once barred to foreign visitors. Although many are now open, some still require special permits.
“In Rakhine, tourists are interested in Sittwe and Mrauk Oo. These places are no longer restricted sites. Currently, tourists are starting to visit Mogok. The tourists come from various lands – both eastern and western countries,” said Myint Tun Oo, Deputy Director of the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism.
Mogok is renowned worldwide for being home to high-quality gemstones especially rubies and sapphires. Foreigners were banned to visit the place until March 2013 when the Myanmar government reviewed the restricted sites for foreign visitors. The place can now be visited if the tourist has obtained the required special permit from the authorities.
Mrauk Oo is famous for having a collection of several ancient pagodas. It used to be a well known destination among tourists interested in history and culture. However, the visit to Mrauk Oo was banned when a communal violence broke out in Rakhine State last year. Permission is now required before arrival to visit the place.
Among the tourists who had applied the special permits to visit the earlier-restricted tourism sites include those from Thailand, China, India, Germany and the United States, according to the Ministry of Hotel and Tourism.
“Tourists will visit Mogok as it is open now. But there are still security concerns in Rakhine Region. Those taking interest in gems and precious stones and the natural lovers visit Mogok for the roads to the city are beautiful and full of nature. Visitors will be interested in the place,” said Zaw Win Cho, chairperson of the tourist guides association.
“We have to apply permits for tourists who want to visit Rakhine State. There are some tourists who have been to Myanmar for three or four times. They want to visit some new places, especially Mrauk Oo. They want to see ancient pagodas there,” said Kaung Set Zaw, General Manager of Golden Express Travel Company.
Source: Eleven Media