More regions in Mogok open to tourists

Three more villages in Mogok Township in Mandalay Region of Myanmar will be opened to tourism due to the rising number of visitors to the area, officials of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said.

Starting this month, tourists will now be allowed to visit Kyauk Pya That, Pan-lin and Bernard villages along the old Mandalay-Matta-Singu and Mogok road, which has been repaired, said U San Yu, regional assistant director of the ministry.

Gem Market in Magok

“We have to consider tourists’ convenience and safety. After reviewing all the factors, we decided to expand tourism in Mogok,” said U San Yu.

Tourist visits in Mogok, famous for its rubies and other gems, has been suspended since 1996, for security reasons. Travel to the area was opened again at the end of last year, though permission from the ministry is required.

“Some 40 tourists used to visit Mogok every month on average, but now the number has ballooned to around 700 a month, including tourists from western countries,” said U San Yu.

Bernard Village, British Cemetery

One of the new areas open to tourism, Bernard village, has a British cemetery and old munitions storage facility from World War II. The villages in the area are expected to attract foreign visitors with their diverse ethnic people and traditions and mountainous landscape.

“Hotels for foreign visitors will be developed with the cooperation of business,” said U San Yu.

According to the regional government, the area has three privately owned hotels and one motel, with 100 rooms.

“This is a place of spectacular natural beauty. Since foreigners will be allowed to visit, business in the township is looking up. The expansion of tourism is good for people,” said U Myint Aung, a local resident.