Myanmar Turns a Mountain into an Eco Tourism Site

Myanmar, environment, religious tourism

Myanmar is planning to upgrade a mountain in the area of forest reserve in Banmauk, northwestern Sagaing region, as an eco-tourism site to attract more international visitors, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported Monday.

The upgrading of Zalon Mountain lying 19.2 km northwest of Banmauk (Sagaing Region) is part of the efforts of the Forest Department to boost the country’s smokeless industry by extending the new tourist destination with proper services, the departmental officials said.

The 180-meter high Zalon Mountain is situated 927 meters above sea level and the surrounding mountains are over 600-900 meters high with the granite mountain looking like an elephant and is very fantastic and attractive to visitors.

Besides, the Zalon Mountain Pagoda is one of the famous Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Banmauk, boosting tourist arrivals year by year.

According to official figures, 200,000 to 300,000 holiday makers visited the Zalon Mountain in the last peak tourism season. The surge in tourist arrivals in the area is the consequence of the upgrading of the road up to Zalon Mountain pagoda.

“The mountain road was opened on 12 November. And since then, Zalon Mountain is crowded with pilgrims,” said a trustee of Zalon Mountain pagoda.

The number of pilgrims visiting to Zalon Mountain pagoda has increased significantly when compared to the same period of last year. Most of the visitors come from the upper part of Myanmar with very few foreign travellers. The new status could then help bringing more awareness to this other Myanmar tourist attraction, a true jewel of religious architecture surrounding by a lush environment.

Myanmar is striving to promote eco-tourism, cultural tourism and community-based tourism in resource-rich areas such as historical landscapes, rivers, lakes, beaches, islands and forests.

Meanwhile, official statistics of the Ministry of Tourism show that tourist arrivals in the country hit 1.72 million in the first half of this year.

(Partial source: Xinhua)