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TAUNGGYI CITY

taunggyiCapital of the Southern Shan State lies 1,430 meters above the sea level and has a moderate climate. Taunggyi maintain ethnological museum where cultural objects, musical instruments, traditional dresses, household and farm implements, paintings, sculptures, arts and crafts of the different national races residing in Shan State in display. The most significant festival is the annual Tazaungdine Lighting Festival (Oct / Nov). Lu Ping festival commonly known as hot balloon festival celebrates by Pa O, one of the many ethnic groups in the region. On the occasion people enjoy fun and merriment by holding firework-launching competitions. 

The firework is in the form of rockets. There is also hot balloons competitions on the day and night occasions. Day balloons are usually in the form of Pagodas, and animals such as elephant, dragon or ducks while the night balloons usually in the shape of rugby ball, huge elongated paper balls with small lighted multicolored paper lanterns hung around their sides and balloons would sting along fireworks and fire sticks which are set off mid-air fireworks.
HOW TO GET THERE ?
Myanmar Airways and Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways operate scheduled flights for tourists to Bagan/Nyaung Oo, Mandalay and Heho (Taunggyi) during tourist season. Tickets are available at the respective Airways offices in Yangon and major tourist centers By overland, Express Trains to Mandalay or Yangon stop at Thazi junction, from where one can take a regular train or bus to Taunggyi. Visitors are advised to check with Tourist Information Services for flight/ train/ bus schedules.
WHAT TO SEE ?
Taungyi Market
It is the most fascinating place to watch the daily life of the minorities and their activities. One will be un-forgettable to see the flock of the tribals or ethnic people who come down the market to sell their luscious vegetables, fruits, and flowers at every five days market.
 
Taunggyi Museum 
It is an ethnographic museum in which one can see the life-size statues of minorities with the respective colorful dressing, their traditional weapons and utilities in addition to the dress of the late Shan Sawbwars (Dukes or Lords). It opens from 09:30 to 15:30 to except Saturdays and Sundays.
 
Nyaung Shwe
Monestry in Nyaung Shwe Nyaungshwe is the start for a visit to Inle Lake. The lakeshore and lake islands bear villages on stilts mostly inhabited by Inthar people. This ethnic group has migrated the region from the Tanintharyi peninsula in southern Myanmar. The Inthar settled in the area between the fourteenth and the eighteenth century. Their way of life is closely connected to the lake. They build their houses and pagodas on stilts in the water, grow their fruit and vegetables in floating gardens and harvest fish with cone-shaped nets stretched tautly over wood and bamboo frames. They engage in many home industries like weaving, woodcarving and forging (precious) metal. Many Inthar are buddhists and famous for their religious festivals and boat contests. There are approximately one hundred buddhist kyaungs around the lake and perhaps one thousand stupas. The Inthar are related to the Bamar people and dress just like them. Their customs and traditions are very much the same. They also speak the same language although they use different words for some objects.
 
Near Nyaungshwe there are some peaceful PaO vilages. The women wear dark blue or indigo clothes and colourful tubans. The villagers are very religious farmers and always busy. They grow wheat and rice as well as many kinds of fruits and vegetables, tea and coffee, not to mention lots of garlic. The main source of income for them however is the cultivation of leaves for the cheroots or Burmese cigars. Until recently they also cultivated poppies although they never engaged in the opium business. Their fields are clean and their houses are elegant, surrounded by colourful plants and trees with flowers. The interior of their house is sober decorated. On the wall there are pin-up pictures from a calendar or a magazine and a small buddhist shrine. The room has no furniture like a chair or a table. They sit and sleep on the floor. They keep their personal belongings behind a curtain in the bedroom. The Pao are good merchants and tradesmen. The village has a shop and many agricultural companies.
 
Far away from Nyaungshwe there are some Padaung villages. The Padaung are an ethnic minority of seven thousand people living only in this area. The women wear heavy brass rings around their neck. They are called long necks because the rings push the shoulder bone downward which seems to make the neck longer. Some Padaung families live separate from their tribal village in or near Nyaungshwe. It is not sure whether they have left their village voluntarily. Local people tell that they take good care of the Padaung families. They welcome foreign visitors in their courtyard if they pay an entrance fee. Only a small part of these revenues goes to the Padaung families. By selling textiles and jewelry the Padaung women try to make a living. They pose reluctantly in front of a camera and show little enthusiasm. What ever may have been an interesting social experiment has turned into a bizarre tourist attraction.
 
The ancient village of Indein on the western shore of Inle Lake used to be the seat of a government official in the time of the Shan kings. The official was a revenue collector of a lesser rank. The village is situated at the foot of a hill. On top of the hill is Shwe Inll Thein at the end of a long covered walkway with over four hundred wooden columns. The collection of weather-beaten stupas from the sixteenth and the seventeenth century has so far escaped restoration. The temple complex has nice stucco reliefs and devas or divine creatures and chinthes or griffins among numerous stupas. Many statues were robbed or damaged in the course of time because of unscrupulous traders and bad weather conditions. The slim design of the stupas is a clear testimony of former Shan architecture. Some of them still have their original plaster decorations while the metal hti on top is torn and twisted. From the temple complex there are great views across the natural environment of the lake down below and the hills up above. Local children have chosen the complex as their playground and are eager to pose for a picture.
 
Inle Lake 
Inle Lake, the Jewel of Shan State, is located about 30 km to the south of Taunggyi. This vast, beautiful and picturesque Lake, sheltered among the hazy blue mountains of 1524 meters, stretches 22.4 km long and 10.2 km wide. The lake itself is about 900 meters above sea-level and studded with floating islands.Inle Lake is famous for its unique one-leg rowers, floating villages and colorful markets. Ywama, the site of every five days floating "markets" and Inle Kaungdaing Spa are the places to be visited. Inle silk is quite popular in Myanmar and hand-looms silk weaving can studied at Inpaw-Khon village.
 
The celebrated Phaung-Daw-Oo Pagoda is situated in this Lake. Its festival is full of pageantry and ceremonial splendor that held once a year in October. There is the one special thing very peculiar and different from other countries. During the Pagoda Festival, the traditional unique one-leg rowers boat races is the most fascinating events for all the visitors far and near. It can only be seen during the festival of Phaung-Daw-Oo Pagoda that held in mid October.
 
Kakku pagoda complex
Kakku a hidden treasure an unusual, magnificent collection of Buddhist Stupas unheard of by historians and unlisted in guide books lies in the deepest Pa-oh territory, 26 miles south of Taunggyi the capital of Shan State. There lies more than 2000 stupas in a site closely packed together in ranks covering an area of approximately a square kilometer apparently unknown to outside world. Kakku area is covered and scattered by Pa-oh villages especially stretching along on both sides of the main road from north to south. 

The land route for tour groups starting from Taunggyi is possible and accessible for all year round. But tours originated from Inle Lake are considered to be possible only in the open season from late October to early May or before heavy rain falls. The yearly religious festival normally takes about one week. The climax of this festival usually falls on fullmoon of the Tabaung (Mid-March) every year. The Kakku pagodas festival also draws thousands of visitors from all parts of the Shan State. The weather around Kakku tends to be cold and dump in rainy season with the temperature ranging from 10-20 (Celsius). And normally dry in the summer month with temperature ranging from 20-35 (Celsius) and the average rainfall is 200-400 cm in the region. Normally muddy in the rainy season and more or less dusty in the summer months. Mainly due to widely use of bullocks carts within the villages as a means of transport and also to generate and regulate the flows of goods and services within the areas.

Mongshu
After Mogok, has become famous as the new ruby-land of Myanmar. Mongshu stone tract at Lihsaunghtauk hills has attracted a large number of national and foreign gem lovers. Te main market is in Taunggyi and Tachilek. Even the famous Mogok is surprised to hear the news of its rival. Some jewelers like to call the Mongshu ruby as 'red diamond'. For Myanmar ruby is the king but other gems must stand beside like queens, knights, bishops and castles. Mongshu stands a day and a half ride away by car to the northeast of Taunggyi.
SHOPPING
Colorful and full of life, the markets are attraction for visitors in search of native life and souvenirs. Hand-woven Inle bags and shawls, Shan jackets., Zine-me longyis and other cotton materials, hand-made bamboo parasols, earthen pots with beautiful designs, bamboo hats and wooden sandals are available.
 

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