Thursday, April 9, 2015

Myanmar Thingyan Guide 2015 for Tourists and Travellers

What to do in Myanmar during Thingyan

Myanmar is entering a week long Thingyan and  New Year holiday starting April 13th. The official holiday period is from 13th to 21st April.

If you are tourists or travellers during Thingyan period in Myanmar and not familiar with the festival, this guide could be a little helpful for you.

Most businesses including restaurants and supermarkets will be closed from 13th to 17th April. If you will be in Yangon during this period, it is time to stock up on grocery. Also, find out which restaurants will be open during Thingyan and where to party during Thingyan.

Super Markets Business hours

City Mart is extending their operating hours from 9am until 11pm on April 9th, 10th and 11th to allow Yangonites more time to shop at their stores. However, the extended hours is only for the following nine branches: City Mart Aung San, City Mart 47 St, City Mart Myay Ni Gone, City Mart China Town Point, marketplace by City Mart (Golden Valley), City Mart South Dagon, City Mart North Dagon (Shwe Pinlon), marketplace by City Mart (FMI).
Normal business hours on April 12th, 9am-9pm.
Closed from April 13th to 17th

Ocean Supercenter is also extending their operating hours from 9am until 11pm on April 9th, 10th and 11th at the following stores: Shwe Gone Daing branch, Pazundaung branch, North Point branch & Mingalar Mandalay branch.
Closed from April 13th to 17th

Where to eat?

Many restaurants will be closed on the first few days of Thingyan. Luckily, a few restaurants have decided to operate for the entire duration of Thingyan. Restaurants in 5 Stars hotels will also be opened: Belmond Governer’s Residence, Chatrium Hotel, Sule Shangri-la Hotel.

Restaurants in operation during Thingyan

Feel Restaurant Myanmar 
Only at these branches Pyihtaungsu Avenue St (near Shwedagon Pagoda), 115 Miles (Phyu), 286 Miles (Meikhtilar), Pyin Oo Lwin

105/107. Khayaebin rd, Dagon Tsp (near Belmond Governor’s Residence) Tel: 09 730 29973 11am to 11pm

Vietnam Kitchen
1A Phone Sein rd, Tamwe Tsp Tel: 09 43183989 8.30am to 10.30pm

Yoogane at Pearl Condo

The Fat Ox Bar
81, 50th st, Botahtaung Tsp (middle block) Tel: 099 73258587 5pm onwards

Happy Café & Noodles
104B, Inya rd, Kamaryu Tsp Tel: 01 536 985 7am to 11pm

Singapore Kitchen 
Yangon International Compound, Alone Rd, Alone Tsp Tel: 01 511 502 10:00 am – 3:00 am

Closed from 13th to 17th April
999 Shan Noodles
Manhattan Fish Market Yangon
Gekko Restaurant Yangon
Parami Pizza
Fuji Japanese Restaurant Hantharwaddy branch
Union Bar and Grill (Unsure about 18th)

Closed from 13th to 18th April
Fuji Japanese Restaurant (all branches except Hantharwaddy)
Shan Yoe Yar Fine Dining

Closed from 13th to 20th and 21st April
50th Street Café
Rangoon Tea House

Where to party?

Celebration of Yangon Thingyan Festival
When: March 20, 2015 – April 16, 2015
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Location: Karaweik Palace, Kandawgyi Palace, Kandawgyi Natural Park, Yangon
Activities: Welcome snacks and drinks, water sprinkling activity, photos in royal costume, Thingyan food
Contact info:
Karaweik Palace
+95 9 459 222222, +95 1 290545
More info:

Titan Thingyan Welcoming Party
When: April 11, 2015-04-07
Time: 6pm to 11pm
Location: Roof Alchemy Gastropub, Yangon International Hotel Compound, Ahlone Road, Ahlone Township, Yangon
Activities: Get wet and wild party, hosted by Titan Family & Entertainment, DJ Linn Linn (Pioneer Club)
Contact info:
More info:

Thingyan Music Festival (TMF) 2015-04-07
When: April 13, 2015 – April 16, 2015-04-07
Time: 9am – 6pm
Location: Yangon Thingyan Mandat, Pyay Road, in front of Kanbaung, Kamaryut Township, Yangon
Activities: DJs from around the region will be spinning.
Contact info:
TMF Organisers
09 4500 45007, 09 501 1713
More info:

Invaders Water Festival Mandat
When: April 14, 2015 – April 16, 2015
Time: 9am to 6pm
Location: Kabar Aye Pagoda Road, Bahan Township, Yangon
Activities: Music and dance, water activities
Contact info:
Invaders Organisers
09 2620 02526
More info:

Illuminati Thingyan Festival 2015
When: April 13, 2015 – April 16, 2015
Time: 9am to 6pm
Location: Illuminati Mandat Kandawgyi Kan Yeik Thar Road, near Power Light Restaurant, Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township, Yangon
Activities: Music and dance, water activities
Contact info:
Illuminati Ticket Sales
09 4210 58922, 09 550 1368, 09 25018
More info:

Monday, April 6, 2015

Happy Myanmar New Year and Celebrate Thingyan Water Festival

In exactly less than a week from now, the people of Myanmar will be celebrating their New Year, also known as Thingyan. It is believed that the word Thingyan was derived from the Sanskrit word, Thinkanta, or Sinkanta. It is the most important holiday throughout Myanmar. The festival is similar to Songkran in the neighbour country of Thailand. This year, Thingyan will be celebrated from 13 April to 17 April. It is the longest public holiday in Myanmar.

In the olden days, the people of Myanmar celebrated Thingyan by sprinkling the elderly such as parents and teachers with scented water using the sprouts of ‘thapyay’ (the leaves from Eugenia tree). These days, water is sprayed, splashed or doused to one another in public, regardless they are friends or family members. Do not take offence if you get splashed by strangers while walking down the streets in Myanmar during Thingyan, even if you are just observing. The Burmese people believed that the act of splashing water is a show of blessings and good wishes. Other activities include partying on the street and ‘mandat’ (stage), street parade on floats and sharing of home cooked food and drinks outside of their house to neighbours and revellers.

According to the Encyclopedia, Thingyan is linked to the Hindu tradition in which people splashed each other with specially prepared red liquid during the transition to a new year. Another source had it that, around the 10th century, the royalty in Bagan era carry out holding hair-washing rituals, called Thingyantaw. The purpose was to cleanse and purify their bodies, minds and spirits for the new year. For a proper royal rinse, a special water mix would be concocted, it included coconut water, water from the well, pond, lake, river, mountain, rain and melted snow, water that jewels have been dipped in and sometimes water from neighbouring countries will be added. This water concoction must then be added to another scented medicinal mixture which contains 28 herbal ingredients.

It is no doubt that the Water Festival has evolved over time. These days, it is a huge street trance party, far from it's royal beginning. As the festival deviates from its traditional root to a modern day event, there are more and more locals who look forward to take advantage of this long holiday period to focus on strengthening their spiritual belief by checking-in to meditation centers across the country. Others volunteer their time in religious group activities such as cleaning of the pagodas, monasteries and Buddha statues.

All the same, the team from Scapetour wish everyone a safe and Happy Thingyan. Play well and meditate well. In the spirit of Thingyan, let the bad luck from the last year be washed away and welcome the best in the new year!