The government has re-opened some restricted areas in Kayah State to tourists this month, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism says.
Tourists can now enjoy local culture and traditions in Daw Ta Ma Kyi village in Dimawso township and Htat Kho village in Hpruso township in Kayah.
“These areas have good potential to draw tourists, but visitors were not allowed to go there because of security concerns,” said U Nay Moe Aung, head of 9Generation Force Tours in Kayah State. “Now tourists can visit these communities anytime they wish.’’
The Ministry of Home Affairs lifted the restrictions in Kayah to help the state’s campaign to attract more visitors.
Kayah is the smallest state in Myanmar, yet the most diverse, with 10 native ethnic groups in addition to the other ethnic groups from other parts of the country that reside there. Among its inhabitants are the Padaung ethnic group, known for their “long-necked” women who wear coils around their necks.
The group lives deep in the hills and mountains, over a day and a half travel by bus from Yangon or the ancient city of Mandalay.
According to Loikaw’s Department of Hotels and Tourism, the Home Affairs Ministry reopened seven villages in Dimawso, Hpasawng, Bawlakhe and Me-se townships this month to entice more visitors but only for day trips.
Loikaw is Kayah’s only township where the government allows foreign visitors to stay overnight.
Kayah is also seeking permission to open the border crossing between Me-se and Khun Yuam in Mae Hong Son province of Thailand.
The authorities lifted restrictions in Hpasawng, Bawlekhe and Me-se to take advantage of their border crossings for tourism development.
According to the department, 73,175 local tourists and 10,200 foreigners visited Kayah in 2018.