Mingalar Bio Garden: Yangon Region’s first Community Based Tourism project

|travel sector
Feb 2017

The first CBT project in Yangon Region has just been launched in Kyaikthale Village, Twante Township.

Mingalar Bio Garden is a rural village project where life remains unchanged and visitors can observe home industries such as bamboo matt weaving and walk among working vegetable plantations among other activities.

Visitors have the option of staying overnight at one of the 6-person guesthouses which are designed in traditional village style.

The guesthouses provide mosquito nets and blankets and there are two bathrooms. An added bonus is the traditional stone slab and thanakha available for guests to apply to their faces for a very local experience.

The guesthouses are equipped with a medical kit, fire extinguishers and an emergency exits should any problems arise. More guesthouses may be added in the future depending on the amount of interest in the excursion.

The cost of sleeping and dining at Mingalar Bio Garden will be kept at a local, uninflated price. It is planned for tour packages to the village to be sold to licensed travel agencies.

The opening ceremony, held on the morning on Friday 17th February, was attended by Daw Pan Thinzar Myo, Minister of Kayin Ethnic Affairs and Oo Ohn Maung, Minister of Hotels and Tourism.

Minister Daw Pan Thinzar Myo said, “Our nationalities smile easily and are very shy. The very unique shy smile is what attracts foreign visitors”.

The minister added that the founding of CBT gave good job opportunities to locals as they can stay at their home and the international visitors can observe their village customs first-hand.

Kyaikthale Village is surrounded by interesting pottery and ceramic workshops and visitors may also want to see Paung Taw Choke Pagoda which the famous King Anawrahta built. Other interesting pagodas include, Mingalar Kantaw Aye Pagoda and Shwe Santaw Pagoda.

An ultimate experience of eating traditional village food in this scenic, rural setting can be rounded off with live performances of the traditional U Shwe Yoe and Daw Moe dance, Kayin Don Dance and a double dance in the evening.

Some travel agencies commented that the CBT project will attract many foreign visitors but the roads to Kyaikthale are far from completion and a few facilities are also lacking.

Oo Ohn Maung , Minister of Hotels and Tourism said that after the peace process has been successfully accomplished in conflict areas, more CBT projects such as this one should be implemented instead of building conventional hotels.

“The growth of CBT tourism can greatly benefit both tourism in Myanmar and economy of the residents as well.”

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