The national game is Chinglone; played in teams of six, the object of the game is to keep a cane ball in the air for as long as possible using any part of the body except the hands.
Burmese boxing is another popular sport; it can appear extremely vicious to the uninitiated spectator. Many Western sports are also played.
A large number of Buddhist festivals are held annually in Myanmar and provide an interesting way for visitors to experience local traditions and culture (see also Special Events in the General Info section). For serious practitioners, there are several centers for the study and practice of Theravada Buddhism, the most famous of which is the Mahasi Meditation Center in Yangon. The center was founded in 1947 by Mahasi Sayadaw, one of Myanmar’s greatest meditation teachers. Visitors wishing to participate in Buddhist retreats need to obtain a special, long-stay entry visa (allowing stays of up to 12 weeks). The application procedure takes up to 10 weeks. For further details about the necessary application requirements, contact the Embassy or Consular section at the Embassy (see General Info section).
Visitors can also attend performances of Myanmar’s traditional popular theater, known as pwe (show). Performances take place in a variety of contexts, including religious festivals, weddings, sporting events or even funerals, and sometimes last for an entire night. Of further interest are performances of traditional dance forms (nat pwes), which pay homage to the spirit world, or marionette theater (yok-thei pwe), widely practiced during the late 18th century in Mandalay and one of the most characteristic forms of national cultural expression.
This is encouraged by Myanmar Travels and Tours and there are a number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries which also offer trekking and safaris. The best parks are the Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park (located northwest of Monywa); Hlawga National Park (near Yangon, good for birdwatching); Popa Mountain Park (extinct volcano covered in forests in the desert area of central Myanmar); Lampi Island (Myeik Archipelago) (which can be reached by boat trips from Myeik and Kawthaung); and Shwesettaw Wildlife Sanctuary (located in Minbu).
Swimming and other types of watersports are possible on the following beaches: Kanthaya Beach (located on the Rakhine coast); Maung-ma-gan Beach (located on the Taninthayi coast in the south and reached from Dawei); Ngapali Beach (located on the Rakhine coast); and Chaung-tha Beach (located west of Pathein).
Football can be seen at Aung San Stadium in Yangon and on small fields throughout the country.
Travel Insurance Advice
Below is a list of vaccines or medication recommended for when you travel to Myanmar (Burma). You should arrange to see your doctor or practice nurse if at a travel clinic at least 6 weeks before departure and tell them where you are traveling to, incase there are any special or additional immunisation requirements at that time.
Remember to also arrange for any additional prescriptions that you may require for while you are away, but to be aware that doctors can now only prescribe a limited quantity under the NHS. As a further precaution always carry a first aid kit whilst holidaying to include a packet of adhesive dressings, some insect repellent, antiseptic cream and water sterilization tablets.
Hepaititis A Typhoid - Immunisation or tablets recommended for protection against disease, though this may be less important for short stays in first-class conditions.
Malaria - Immunisation or tablets recommended for protection against disease.
Yellow Fever - Immunisation essential if the traveler arrives from an infected country or area. (This will not apply if your journey is direct from the UK.)
Meningitis ACWY - No vaccinations required
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