Myanmar’s Ancient City Of Bagan Gets UNESCO World Heritage Status

Jul 30, 2019 | Escape, Myanmar, News

Burma – Temples in Bagan | Christophe Brisbois

Myanmar’s well-known tourist destination, the ancient capital city of Bagan, has finally been given a World Heritage Site status by UNESCO, more than twenty years after it was first nominated for listing.

This would be Myanmar’s second UNESCO site after the international organization granted the ancient Pyu cities of Sri Ksetra, Halin and Beikthano, the status way back in 2014.

The announcement was made earlier this July during the 21-member World Heritage Committee meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. The decision came in part with the recommendation of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS).

Tourism Boost

The decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to elevate the status of the historical site will surely bring a massive boost to the country’s tourism industry.

Tourism has always been the main driving force of Myanmar’s economy. According to the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) report, the Southeast Asian country, which was formerly called Burma, has seen a significant increase in tourism revenues reaching to $2.1 billion USD.

Sunrise from Shwesandaw, Bagan | Drouyn Cambridge

Tourism has always been the main driving force of Myanmar’s economy. According to the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) report, the Southeast Asian country, which was formerly called Burma, has seen a significant increase in tourism revenues reaching to $2.1 billion USD.

Although there’s a slight dip from what was originally projected, the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism remains optimistic that the industry will see further growth in the coming years.

Now that it bears the UNESCO stamp, the Bagan site will likely to draw in more visitors not only from within the region but also from around the world.

Other sites that were given the World Heritage status by UNESCO include the “Pink City” of India, the ruins of Liangzhu City in China, and the Plain of Jars in Laos.

Remnants of An Old Empire

According to Burmese history, the city of Bagan was founded around the second century AD by King Pyinbya and went on to become the Pagan Empire’s political, economic, cultural, and religious center.

Over the course of two centuries and a half, rulers of the empire commissioned the construction of religious monuments which comprised approximately 1,000 stupas, 10,000 small temples, and 3,000 monasteries, all contained within the area’s 104 square kilometers zone.

Over the years, natural calamities brought destruction to the famed ancient city.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Bagan suffered some of the most devastating earthquake occurrences. The one in 2016, which reached 8.0 magnitude, reduced nearly 400 temples into rubble.

Previous restoration projects initiated by the military government around the 90s has drawn flak from art historians and preservation experts because of the total disregard on the site’s original architectural style and heritage.

The Bagan Archaeological Department, with the backing from UNESCO experts has since been taking over the restoration efforts.

Sharpest Chess Queens Battle for World Champion Title

Two of the sharpest minds in women’s chess are doing battle this week in Shanghai with a world champion title on the line and a record prize fund as the game seeks to close the gender gap.

Malaysia’s Cut On Sand Export May Affect Singapore’s Expansion Plans

Malaysia issues a ban on the export of sea sand to Singapore, a move which, according to experts, could upset the island-state’s extensive expansion plans.

The Rundown: All about Japan

Here are all the things you need to know about Japan

Drive-By Blessings in Virus-Hit Philippines

Priests delivered blessings from the back of trucks and motorised tricycles in the Philippine Sunday, adapting the deeply Catholic nation’s traditions to the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

For Some Americans, Trump’s ‘Chinese Virus’ Has Dark Echoes

President Donald Trump’s insistence on speaking of a “Chinese virus” has a dark historical precedent for some Asian Americans, who say his word choice is fueling an at times violent backlash.

Scrapping Japan Cherry Blossom ‘Like Taking Hugs Away From Italians’

Preventing Japanese from gathering to enjoy cherry blossom season because of the coronavirus would be like “taking hugs away from Italians,” the governor of Tokyo said on Thursday.

Taiwan Prison Inmates Help Fight Coronavirus With Mask Factory

Behind the barbed wire-topped fences of Taipei Prison, a small group of inmates are hunched over clacking sewing machines, working overtime to churn out face masks and help ward off the new coronavirus.

Frenchman May Face Firing Squad for Smuggling Drugs into Bali

Two Thai women and a Frenchman could face the death penalty after they were caught smuggling drugs into Bali, the Indonesian holiday island’s customs agency said Monday.

Taiwan Quarantine Skipper Handed Hefty Fine for Clubbing

A man in Taiwan had an expensive night out after he was fined Tw$1 million ($33,000) because he skipped quarantine to go clubbing, authorities said Monday.

These Businesses are Booming in the Coronavirus Economy

The coronavirus pandemic has sent stock markets into freefall and industries to the wall, however many firms enabling more private, online and tech-based living are emerging as potential winners.

Philippines’ World-Beating Pool Stars Playing Out of Poverty

Pool isn’t just a game in the Philippines but a way to make a living, driving a fiercely competitive scene that has produced some of the world’s top players.

Nepali Climber Breaks Record for 14 Highest Peaks in Six Months

A Nepali mountaineer on Tuesday smashed the speed record for summiting the world’s 14 highest peaks, racing up all “8000ers” in just six months and six days, organisers said.

How Augmented Reality is Reshaping Southeast Asia

Augmented reality has all the makings of a disruptive technology that will create waves in almost every industry.

World’s Oldest Man Crowned in Japan Aged 112

A 112-year-old Japanese man has been crowned the world’s oldest male, claiming that smiling is the key to longevity.

World’s First: Japan Firm Develops Second Skin Spray-on Facemask

A Japanese cosmetics company Wednesday unveiled what it said was the world’s first spray-on skin, a moisturising facemask made of fibres one-100th the thickness of a human hair.

Stephen Chow Confirms News Of Upcoming “Kung Fu Hustle 2” Movie

Stephen Chow, the star and director of the hit cult-classic martial arts movie “Kung Fu Hustle” has all but confirmed that a sequel of some sort is now underway and the fans couldn’t be more excited for this news.

Fan BingBing is Back in Business

Chinese megastar Fan BingBing disappeared when she was fined for tax evasion cases. Now, she’s back in the spotlight again.

India: Modi’s Bold Claim ‘Open-Defecation Free’ in Question

India is to be declared “open-defecation free” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening, although experts question his bold claim that all 1.3 billion people in the country have access to a toilet.

Isolation Blues? Myanmar’s Ex-Political Prisoners Share Survival Tips

From meditation to memory games, former political prisoners in Myanmar are dishing out tips on surviving isolation in a pandemic as the country once severed from the world again closes its borders.

The Fight Against “Fake News” In Asia

As it has been with the rest of the world, regional Governments in Asia are hard at work in bringing down and preventing the spread of fake news in their respective constituencies.

Best Kid Friendly Places to Check Out While in Taiwan

Many parents forego travel the moment they have a child, Thankfully, Taiwan boasts countless Kid-Friendly destinations perfect for the entire family.

United Nations and the Asia-Pacific

A look into the United Nations, achievements and challenges in the Asia-Pacific

Largest Class-Action Suit Ever Filed in Australia Backed by Erin Brockovich

Tens of thousands of Australians are suing the government over chemical contamination of land, with the support of US advocate Erin Brockovich, lawyers behind the class action said Tuesday.

Sony’s PlayStation 5 set to Launch 2020 Holiday

Sony said Tuesday its next-generation PlayStation 5 console, with new immersive features giving players the tactile experience of virtual worlds, would launch for the 2020 holiday season.

Masks Go on World Tour as Hong Kongers Now Send Supplies Abroad

Hong Konger Adrian W. Chan is hunting for face masks to send to his parents in Canada, an increasingly common sight in a city once stalked by shortages and now trying to lend a hand as the coronavirus spreads overseas.

How Did Singapore Become one of the Richest Countries in the World?

Singapore has steadily risen through the ranks over the years as a gifted nation, becoming one of the richest and most admired nation in the world.

Japanese Spacecraft Bombed An Asteroid With Copper Cannonball

Japan’s space agency just dropped an explosive update confirming that its space probe, the Hayabusa2, has successfully fired an explosive device capable of blasting a crater on the asteroid Ryugu.

South Korea Task Force Daily Crackdown on Illegal Porn

In a drab government office in Seoul, a team of broadcast regulators spend their days watching online porn — the front line troops of South Korea’s attempts to crack down on spycam videos that mostly expose women.

Trash Talk: Asia is Not Your Dumping Ground

Developed countries send their waste to Asian countries with little to no warning

Delhi’s Rebel Gym Goers Risk Virus to Pump Iron

While top gym chains in India are shuttered over the coronavirus pandemic, many workout dens are defying government orders of a lockdown by staying open for their muscle-bound customers.

Indonesia on Fire: Losing Our Minds Over Blasphemy Laws

Indonesia is beginning to change its face of tolerance, to one of repression and radical Islamism.

Singapore’s Workaholic Culture: A Cause for Concern

Singapore’s toxic workaholic culture is causing long-term damage to the population.

Social Media Fakes: Australia Bushfire Disinformation

Tiger burns in Australia’s bushfires? It’s a 2012 photo from Indonesia. Young girl rescues koala? Actually an artist’s impression. Social media is packed with powerful images of Australia’s bushfires — but many are fake.

The Essential Milk Tea Crawl in Taiwan

While the rest of the world just caught up with the milk tea trend, the addicting drink has been a staple in Taiwan for many years. If you’re a true milk tea fan, head over to the country and have a milk tea adventure.

Children Get Less Sick from COVID-19, But Still Spread Virus

For reasons unknown, children rarely have severe symptoms when infected by COVID-19 and may even be a bit less likely to get the disease in the first place, experts told AFP.

Kim Jong-un’s Horseback Riding Signals New Policy Shift

New pictures of Kim Jong Un riding a white horse through a winter landscape to the summit of Mount Paektu, a sacred peak for North Koreans, have fuelled speculation that the young leader may be set for a major policy announcement.

Stars Arrive in Busan for Asia’s Biggest Film Festival

The night sky cleared over Busan Thursday after days of rain and wind as the city prepared to host Asia’s largest film festival and to welcome a glittering array of stars from across the movie world.

Celebrate the Year of the Rat: The Luxury Edition

This year, Rats are set to rule the world with their natural confidence, sharp wit, intelligence, and a strong sense of teamwork. Rats can be a force to reckon with, and they can run the gamut from being shrewd to being amiable and gentle. Can any of these lux items reflect the Rat in you?

Panda Bei Bei Will Leave Washington to China in His Own Boeing 777

Bei Bei was born in Washington and took his first steps in the US capital, but at age four, it’s time to head “home” — to China.

Japan: Enjoy Nature in These Breathtaking National Parks

Get to know Japan’s best key secrets – amazing national parks that will make you fall in love with the beauty and magnificence of nature.

Japan Festival Drops ‘Comfort Women’ Film

A local film festival in suburban Tokyo has come under fire for dropping a movie examining views on the highly controversial issue of sex slavery and Japan’s wartime military brothels.

Surveillance Giants Google, Facebook Business Model ‘Threat to Human Rights’

The data-collection business model fueling Facebook and Google represents a threat to human rights around the world, Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday.

Paris Ballet’s Foreign Dancers Achieving the ‘Impossible Dream’

Watching YouTube as a child in Australia, the idea of one day joining the ranks of the hallowed Paris Opera Ballet seemed nothing short of an impossible dream.

Meicai: China’s Unicorn Farm-to-Table Startup

Meicai is a website-slash-phone application that allows users to get produce delivered from a farm straight to the comfort of their homes. It was established in 2014 by owner Liu Chuanjun.

Animal Adoptions Soar in Australia During Virus Shutdown

Demand for rescue animals has soared in Australia as people stuck at home because of the coronavirus seek out cats and dogs to help them through the pandemic, officials said Wednesday.

Taiwan Expels Chinese Tourist for Damaging ‘Lennon Wall’

Taiwan has expelled a Chinese tourist for damaging a “Lennon Wall” that was put up in support of Hong Kong’s democracy movement, a move likely to irk Beijing.

Children Become Nuns to Escape Conflict in Myanmar

Teenager Dhama Theingi dreams of becoming an engineer and playing football, but for now she must rise for dawn prayers before pounding Yangon’s streets to collect alms as one of Myanmar’s growing number of child nuns seeking refuge from conflict.

Li Ziqi: Chinese Youtuber Skyrockets from Farm to Fame

The moment you wake up, Li Ziqi is already on her way to tend to her plants. As you’re stuck in traffic, she is enjoying the fresh breeze on her farm. Get to know the Chinese wonder girl that captured the world with her idyllic depiction of farm life.

Before and After: Visitors Vanish from Asia’s Most Visited Sites

As dawn breaks the unmistakable tapered towers of Angkor Wat emerge from the gloom – but for once there are no tourists jostling on its steps to capture Cambodia’s most famous sunrise.

Thai Cuisine Get Two Michelin Stars for the First Time in Thailand

Two restaurants in Bangkok have each earned a pair of coveted Michelin stars, the first time the leading guide has awarded the accolade to local establishments offering Thai cuisine.