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Myanmar eases travel rules

January 21, 2014 by TTRweekly

YANGON, 21 January 2014:    Myanmar’s immigration minister Khin Yi says the Muse-Shwe Li border gate will soon be upgraded to provide a new tourist entry point to the country.inside-no-511

The immigration minister told local media that the border gates between Myanmar and Thailand – including Tachileik-Mae Sai, Myawady-Mae Sot, Kawthoung-Ranong and Htee Khee-Sunaron – have also been upgraded as official international entry points for international visitors allowing them to travel freely to other destinations in the country and exit through a different checkpoint if required.

Visitors with valid passports and pre-issued visas from a Myanmar Embassy have been allowed to travel freely to most destinations in the country since last August.

According to the plan, foreign visitors holding a valid visa will be allowed to enter and exit Myanmar through the Muse gate, or exist through other points such as Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports.

Myanmar is opening up more and moreToday, visitors crossing the border at Muse must enter and exit at the same point.

“The ministry will carry out tasks for mutual visa exemptions, upgrade an online visa system and allow permanent residence for foreigners wishing to work or retire in the country.”

He added: “We will cooperate through our links with regional organisations like GMS, ASEAN, BIMSTEC, and ACEMECS to introduce improvements such as, installing advanced technologies at international airports, border gateways, and government departments to establish a real-time data system and systematic immigration border management systems during the next fiscal year.”

Last year, Myanmar fully opened four checkpoints on the Myanmar-Thai border, namely Tachileik- Mae Sai, Myawaddy-Mae Sot, Tiki-Sunarong and Kawthoung-Ranong.

Myanmar southern border town

Travellers can continue their journey to other destinations and it gives them the choice to exit through another checkpoint than the one they used to enter the country.

Myanmar has 16 border checkpoints with neighbouring countries, but most of them offer limited access.Welcome sign at the bordertown Kawthaung / Myanmar

Myanmar authorities also grants pre-arranged visa-on-arrival for visitors for visitors from 48 countries. It requires pre-approval from authorities. Once the traveller has confirmation that the visa-on-arrival has been approved they can travel to Yangon to have the visa stamped into their passport on arrival.

However, airlines are very reluctant to transport visitors who claim to have a visa on arrival approved. They argue that supporting evidence that a visa has been approved and will be issued on arrival is not clear cut.


Myanmar Holidays and Festivals

The Myanmar calendar subscribes to both the solar and lunar months, thus requiring an intercalary 30-day 13th month every second or third year. Therefore, the full moon days may change from one month to another in the usual calendar.

The exact dates of some of the holidays as well as the festivals are calculated according to the Myanmar lunar calendar, so the below details can change from year to year. Please check with us for details.

Independence Day (4th of January)

January 4th is Independence Day and an annual public holiday in Myanmar. Unlike other Independence Day around the world, this is not Myanmar’s National Day. The Myanmar’s National day is celebrate in late November to early December.

Britain made Burma a province of India in 1886 with the capital at Rangoon. From the very beginning there was a strong feeling of resentment against the rule of the British and Buddhist monks played an important role in the independence movement. The first Prime Minister was Ba Maw. Some Burmese saw the rise of Japan as an opportunity to gain independence from Britain. This led to the formation of the Burma Independence Army in Japan.

In March 1942 the Japanese took Burma and although many Burmese fought initially on the side of the Japanese in World War II, many others fought with the British. The Burmese army even switched allegiance from Japan to the allied forces in 1945.  The Panglong Agreement reached on February 12th 1947 and led to the unification of Burma as an independent state.

On January 4th 1948, the Union of Burma became independent from Britain and Burma became Myanmar in 1989.

Festivals and traditional activities across the country celebrate the date. Yangon festooned in patriotic colors to mark the occasion. Many men and women wear the national dress of Burma, which consists of a collarless shirt and skirt.

Union Day Wed (12th of February)

General Aung San, head of the interim Burmese government and representatives from the Shan states, the Kachin hills and the Chin hills met in Panglong to determine the future of Burma following the end of the Second World War.

Burma demanded that the British government restore independence to all of Burma. While instrumental in the Panglong agreement on the 12th of February 1947, Aung San did not live to see Burma gains its independence in January 1948.

This instrumental day in the country’s history books is an official public holiday in Myanmar. This day led eventually to the creation of an independent country in 1948.  And it honor the approved independence by the British.

For most of its residents, the day is a day for being among family and friends, as government officials and ministries organize parades and ceremonies to recall Union Day.

Peasants’ Day Mon (2nd of March)

Peasants’ Day is an annual public holiday in Myanmar on March 2nd and also known as Farmers’ Day. The holiday marks and honors the contribution of agriculture and farming to Myanmar.  70% of the country population works in farming and agriculture. The prosperity and success of the nation depends on those working the land. Over 60% of Myanmar’s Gross Domestic Product is generating from agriculture. The main agricultural product is rice and it is one of the biggest exporters of rice in Asia. The crops and products grown in Myanmar have been diversified in recent years, to ensure that the country is not too dependent on one particular crop.

Full Moon Day of Tabaung (8th of March)

Maka Bucha (also called Magja Puja) is pagoda festival. It is taking place in the last month of the year in the Burmese calendar. The date determined by the Lunar Cycle. Maka Bucha is a public holiday in several Mekong region countries such as Cambodia and Thailand as well as in Myanmar.

Celebrated with largest happening at the happening at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.

In the morning many Thai people wake up early to give alms to monks. In the evening, temples are full of people listening to sermons. Often they perform a ritual where they walk clockwise three times around the temple, holding flowers, incense, and a lit candle. Each of the three circuits represents one of the three jewels (ideas at the heart of Buddhism) – Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

 Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon

Armed Forces Day  (27th of March)   

Armed Forces Day is a public holiday in Myanmar on March 27th. Known as ‘Tatmadaw Nay’, it commemorates the rebellion against Japanese occupation during the second world war.

In 1886, Burma came under British control. From the earliest days of colonization, there was a strong feeling of resentment against the rule of the British. Some Burmese saw the rise of Japan during World War 2 as an opportunity to gain independence from Britain. Aung San was a prominent figure in the independence movement and exiled to China. He collaborated with Japan and with Burmese nationalist support, Japan took control of Burma in 1942. However Aung San came to realize that the Japanese had no intention of giving independence to Burma and on March 23rd 1945, he led the Burmese army in a rebellion against the Japanese that helped the Allied forces remove the Japanese from the region.

The key event on this day is a large parade by the Tatmadaw, the Myanmar military in Naypyidaw, the capital of Myanmar. Originally this holiday was called Resistance Day, but it was renamed to Armed Forces Day by the Tatmadaw.


Myanmar New Year Holidays /  Thingyan  (from 12-16th of April)

Burmese New Year takes place at the culmination of the Thingyan Water Festival. After three days of partying and sprinkling everybody with water during Thingyan, the traditional New Year’s Day festivities begin. This is a day to make new resolutions for the coming year, usually about changing bad behavior and promising to do more good deeds for a better karma.

An unusual custom is the releasing fish.  The fish are rescued from dried up lakes and rivers and  released on New Year’s Day into larger lakes and rivers with a prayer and a wish saying “I release you once, you release me ten times”.

On New Year’s Day, people offer food called Satuditha to passers-by and those celebrating new year.  Satuditha is an act that shows the important charitable side of Burmese culture.

Myanmars Water Festival Thingyan New Year Festival Myanmars Water Festival

May Day (Labor Day)  (1st of May)  

May Day or Labor day is a national holiday. Known as a commemoration of the achievements of the labor movement.

Full Moon Day of Kasong – First full moon in the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar

Buddha Purnima is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calendar and the most important festival celebrated with great enthusiasm.

The first full moon in the fourth month in the Chinese lunar calendar marks the exact date of Vesak. The date varies from year to year in the Gregorian calendar but is typically in May.

Although Buddhists regard every full moon as sacred, the moon of the month of Vesak has special significance. On this day Buddha was born, attained enlightenment (Nirvana), and attained Parinirvana (Nirvana-after-death of the body) when he died.


Burmese Martyrs’ Day ( 19th of July)  

The Martyrs’ Day, also known as Arzarni Day, is a public holiday in Myanmar on July 19th. The day marks the assassination of Aung San and several other cabinet members in 1947.

On the 19th of July 1947 gunmen went into a cabinet meeting at the Secretariat in downtown Yangon. They shot dead Aung San and seven other key leaders of the interim government. U saw, a political rival planned the assassination.  U Saw  found guilty and executed a few months later

Every Year on the 19th of July at 10.37 am, car horns are sound in the streets of Myanmar. It marks the exact time of the shooting. High-level government officials visiting the Martyrs’ Mausoleum in Yangon. The day is dedicated to Aung San and the other seven leaders, who were killed here.


Eid ul-Adha Day in Myanmar  (begin of August)

Known as Eid al-Adha, Eid ul Adha, Id-ul-Azha, Id-ul-Zuha, Hari Raya Haji or Bakr-id; the ‘Feast of Sacrifice’ is the most important feast of the Muslim calendar.

The day celebrate the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael in submission to Allah’s command. He was stopped by Allah before.

Eid al-Adha falls on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar. As the exact day is based on lunar sightings, the date may vary between countries.

The giving of charity in the form of money, food or clothes to the homeless or poor is a key tradition of Eid al Adha.


Full Moon Day of Waso (end of July – begin of August)

Also known as Dhammasetkya Day, this public holiday takes place on the full moon day of Waso, the fourth month in the Burmese calendar. It usually falls in July in the Western calendar.

The day marks the start of Buddhist lent and the anniversary of Buddha’s first sermon on the Four Noble Truths.

Pilgrims throughout the country gather wild flowers to offer at pagodas, and offer new robes to monks. During the period of Buddhist Lent, many Buddhists will abstain from eating meat, drinking alcohol or smoking.


Thadingyut Festival / Full Moon of Thadingyut (end of October)

The Festival of Lights marks Buddha’s return to earth and signifies the end of Buddhist Lent. Thadingyut holiday is the second most popular festival in Myanmar after Thingyan Festival.

This public holiday / festival in Myanmar takes place on the full moon day of Thadingyut, the seventh month in the Burmese calendar. The Thadingyut Festival lasts for three day from the day before the full moon through to the day after the full moon.

Devout Buddhists celebrate the descent of the Lord Buddha from the heavens as locals will decorate their houses with colorful lights, organize parties and partake in various events.

This is also the time to pay homage to monks, parents, teachers and the elderly, asking them for forgiveness for any wrongdoings, one has done over the past year.


Deepavali in Myanmar (mid of October)

Diwali (Deepavali (deep – lamp, vali – array)) takes place on the darkest night (the first night of the new moon) in the month of Kartik in the Hindu calendar. The festival is a time for rejoicing and renewal. Celebrations revolve around the triumph of good over evil, purity over impurity, light over darkness.

Diwali marks the return of Lord Rama, who was the seventh incarnation of Vishnu, from a fourteen-year exile.


Tazaungdaing / Tazaungmone Festival (end of November)

This festival marks the end of the rainy season in Myanmar and this public holiday in Myanmar takes place on the full moon day of Tazaungmone, the eighth month in the Burmese calendar. It usually falls in November in the Western calendar.

There are lots of events such as

  • providing robe and various requisites to monks at Ka-htain, Matho Thingan or Robe Weaving contest. A deeply-religious celebration sees many Burmese moving from their houses to temples and monasteries to offer new robes and other necessities to Buddhist monks (Khatein ceremony).
  • Hot Air Balloon Flying Festival all in this eventful month. Across Myanmar, hot-air balloons are lit with candles and released into the night sky.
  • The number nine is a lucky number in Myanmar. 9,999 candles are lit up as offerings to Buddha in the Chaukhtatgyi Paya Pagoda on the night of the full moon day of Tazaungmone.


National Day in Myanmar (late November to early December)

Myanmar’s National Day celebrations original are all about remembering the hardship and unrest under British ruling that commenced in 1920 and eventually led to the country’s independence in 1948. National Day is an annual public holiday in Myanmar.

But in 1920, on the tenth day following the full-moon day of Tazaungmone on the Burmese lunar calendar, students from the Rangoon and Judson Colleges began protests against the British administration’s Rangoon University Act of 1920.

The protests ignited a call for nationalism in the students, the basis of which formed the key elements of the movement for independence.

more detail



Day Name Date(2020) Number of Days Remarks
New Year’s Day 1 January 1 day
Independence Day 4 January 1 day Marks independence from British Empire in 1948.
Union Day 12 February 1 day Anniversary of the Panglong Agreement in 1947.
Peasants’ Day 2 March 1 day a day to mark and honour the contribution of agriculture and farming to Myanmar.
Full Moon Day of Tabaung 8 March 1 day Tabaung Pwè Pagoda Festivals.
Armed Forces Day 27 March 1 day Formerly Resistance Day (against the Japanese occupation in 1945).
Myanmar New Year Holidays 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 16, 17 April 8 days Pre-Thingyan Day, Commencing Day to Prime Day, End of Thingyan, Myanmar New Year Day.
May Day 1 May 1 day Worker’s Day.
Full Moon Day of Kason 6 May 1 day Anniversary of the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha celebrated by watering the Bodhi tree.
Martyrs’ Day 19 July 1 day Commemorates the assassination of Aung San and several other cabinet members in 1947.
Start of Buddhist Lent 3 August 1 day Full Moon Day of Waso
Thadingyut Holidays

End of Buddhist Lent

29, 30, 31 October

1, 2 November

5 days Pre-Full Moon Day, Full Moon Day of Thadingyut, Post-Full Moon Day

(Festival of Lights)

Tazaungdine Holidays 27,28,29,30 November 4 days Pre-Full Moon Day, Full Moon Day Of Tazaungmon
National Day 9


1 day Anniversary of the first university students strike in 1920.
Christmas Day 25 December 1 day The Birthday of Jesus Christ.
New Year’s Eve 31 December 1 day
Eid ul-Adha 1 August 1 day Eid ul-Adha Day and Deepavali Day will be separately announced on the days they will fall on.

Union Government

Deepavali 14 October 1 day
Kayin New Year Day Will not fall in 2020

Welcome to the Southern Islands of the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar

Visit the southern Islands of the Mergui Archipelago including the famous island of Horse Shoe Island and Comb Island with its amazing heard form blue lagoon.

southern end of the mergui archipelago

1 Say-Tan Island – Dunkin Island

South of Za-Det Island and northwest of Kawthaung lies this beautiful island, which is a great place for snorkeling. At the southern part of Say-Tan Island is a small rocky hill, which is a nice place for scuba diving. The waters around island are so clear, that you can see the seabed at 20 m of depth from the boat.
On this island you can enjoy a picnic style packed lunch on a beach. The fine white sand is a perfect place for your beach holiday photos. Feel free to take a stroll along the beach and listen to the sounds of the ocean and jungle.

Sunset over the Mergui Archipelago

2 Myin Khwar Island – Horse Shoe Island

Horseshoe Island is formed like the namesake and is one of the hidden beautiful islands in Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago. It is a small island near Zadetkyu and Cock’s Comb Island, which is also known as Emerald Heart Island. The island is also known as Myin Khwar Island in the local tongue and has a unique characteristic. It’s a breath-taking place, with crystal clear waters and powdery white sandy beaches.


3 Kyet Mauk Island – Cocks Comb Island – Emerald Heart Island

The island consists of limestone and does not have a beach, but a stunning lagoon that is shaped like a heart. The inlet changes the color of the water and that is why it is also called Emerald Heart Island. The water inside the inlet is very calm and perfect for snorkeling. The entrance to the lagoon is on the east side of the island and it is only possible to get through the opening on the surface when the tide is low enough. Often numerous sharks and lobsters can be found here too.


Why not check out one of our amazing packages to visit a few of southern Islands of the Mergui Archipelago or even all of these amazing Islands.


.Welcome to the Mergui Archipelago in Myanmar with its amazing island

Visit one of the mergui archipelago resort islands either Back to nature or One Island – One Resort retreat, the Mergui Archipelago cater for all

island of the Myrk Archipelago

1 Nga Khin Nyo Gyee Island – Boulder Island

Nga Khin Nyo Gyee Island is one of the farthest islands in the archipelago and located on the western side of the Mergui Archipelago. The island is covered with tropical rain-forest and invites guests to some easy to medium challenging hiking and trekking. On one of the many beaches around the island you will find a small resort with 20 bungalows. Besides sandy beaches there are many rocks and large boulders around, which give the island also the name “Boulder Island”. The island comprises of a mixed vegetation and is home for many birds, such as the white bellied Sea Eagle or the Brahminy Kite. The island is also the domicile of some monitor lizards, pythons, jungle mouse and many other animals. Nga Khin Nyo Gyee offers many opportunities for hiking, trekking, sunbathing, swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving.  Enjoy our back to the nature experience

Nga Khin Nyo Gyee Island - Boulder Island

2 Kha Yinn Khwa Island – Macleod Island

The island lies about 40 miles to the west from Kawthaung. The Andaman Resort is the only man-made construction on the island. The cottages and suites of the resort are strewn across the forest, but only just meters away from the beach. Macleod Island is still one of the unspoiled islands in the Mergui Archipelago and boasts great scuba diving, snorkeling, sea kayaking and fishing near and around the island. Amongst the many activities here, you will also be able to enjoy bird watching, trekking and jungle hiking on the island.


3 Nyaung Oo Phee Island

Nyaung Oo Phee is a secluded private island in the southern part of the Mergui Archipelago. The island’s more than 500 acres of land area include pristine white beaches and dense forest. Nyaung Oo Phee’s location in the Mergui Archipelago and its private setting make the resort very appealing to families. The island is a great place to discover a vast array of wildlife and sea species amongst untouched and colorful coral reefs during snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and even scuba diving.​ The Island is also known for its One Island – One Resort packages

Nyaung Oo Phee Island


4 Zar Det Kyee Island – Saint Matthew’s Island

Zar Det Kyee also sometimes written as Zadetkyi or Zadethyi Kyun Island, is also known by its British name Saint Matthew’s Island. This is the largest island of the southern group in the Mergui archipelago. The two prominent peaks, the highest being 864 m and located in the middle of the island and the other peak at 858 m rising at the southern end, give visitors entering the southern Bay a feeling of arriving at King Kong Island. The island is hilly and thickly wooded. Its northern side forms the southern shore of Hastings Harbor, where the Myanmar Navy base is located.


5 Zar Det Nge Kyunn Island (Hastings Island)

This Island lies about 60 meters above sea level and is located near Kampong Mah Puteh, a town on the west coast of Myanmar (Burma). This region is not really a tourist destination yet, but it is becoming more often visited and it does have a harbor, where vessels can anchor near a naval base.

Hastings Island is a narrow Isthmus with thick mangrove jungle and most of the natural vegetation is still intact. There are also white sandy beaches on the western side of the island and this place is great for scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing and kayaking. Some fishermen’s families live on the beach, surviving on what they catch from the ocean and hunting in the woods.


6 Taung La Bo Island

There are no scuba diving spots around the island. But it is a great spot for some amazing snorkeling and strolling on the pristine beach. Always keep your eyes in the sky too. You might be able to spot some sea eagle or kite hunting for lunch.

Why not check out one of our amazing packages and the other mergui archipelago resort islands or even all of these amazing Islands by one of our cruises.