Myanmar has (once again) decided to ban temple climbing at Bagan

Visitors to the archaeological site of Bagan in Myanmar (Burma) will once again be banned from climbing its famous pagodas.

The authorities prohibited tourists from scaling the iconic temples last year, but backpedaled on the ban after tour operators expressed concerns that it would be bad for business.

The latest U-turn is thought to have been motivated by Bagan’s bid to become a Unesco World Heritage Site; in order to qualify for such a status, the authorities must show they are taking sufficient measures to protect the monuments.

Bagan’s vast field of temples – built between the 10th and 14th centuries – are considered holy sites in the Buddhist-majority country. But as Myanmar has opened up to the outside world, concerns have been raised that the ensuing increase in tourism has despoiled the historic site.

“Bagan’s ancient buildings have been there for many years and we are concerned about damaging the pagodas and the danger of hurting people,” the ministry said after the initial ban.

Though the intentions behind the ban are admirable, it will come as a blow to many tourists: watching the sunset from atop a pagoda is considered an essential experience when visiting Myanmar.

However, the authorities are reportedly considering a range of options to ensure holidaymakers can still get good views of the region’s sensational sunsets. They include the installation of a tethered helium balloon and the construction of man-made hills near the temple complex.

It is not known when the new ban will come into force, but already some temples are off limits to tourists after an earthquake in August 2016 left many buildings damaged.

Source : The Telegraph

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