The Mandalay Regional government is now issuing permits to tourists seeking to visit Mogok region, said U Myo Thit, the region’s Minister for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation. Thanks to the move, travellers will not have to wait long for permits, he said.
“Previously, visitors had to submit an application in Nay Pyi Taw to visit Mogok. Then, they had to wait for one month or one and a half months for the permission. Now, permission is being granted by the regional government. So, tourists can now get permits to visit Mogok within five days,” the minister said.
Tourists planning to travel to the region now have to submit the dates of their visit, location of their hotel, and personal information of their licensed tour guide to the Mandalay Region’s Directorate of Hotels and Tourism. Mogok has been well-known for decades for its gemstones, especially ruby and sapphire. Most tourists visit the area to learn how ruby and other gemstones are mined. They also like to observe the traditional culture of the local people.
Mogok was temporarily closed to tourists and was reopened for tourism on 10 September 2018. A total of 490 tourists visited Mogok between September and December. They arrived in the region via Mandalay.
To develop the region as a tourist attraction, authorities in February gave the green light to foreigners visiting three more villages — Kyaukpyathet, Panling, and Bernard.
“Bernard Village is an ice village of Lisu ethnic. Panling Village has a joint venture for mining rocks and gemstones. Most tourists visited the Garden Gems Market in Mogok. The hotels, restaurants, and local producers of Mogok region will be back to regular business, if foreign travellers come here,” said Daw Phyu Phyu Myint, the chairperson of Mogok Garden Gems Market Brokers Association.
—Khine Satt Wai
(Translated by Hay Mar)