Myanmar bans tourists from climbing temples

The temples of Bagan offer a spectacular panoramic view at sunset. Photo / 123RF
The temples of Bagan offer a spectacular panoramic view at sunset. Photo / 123RF

Tourists will no longer be able to climb the pagodas in Myanmar's ancient capital of Bagan, after its Government hit out against "disgraceful" tourist behaviour.

It had been a daily ritual for hundreds of tourists and local pilgrims to climb the ancient temples to watch the sunset over a landscape decorated with more than 2500 Buddhist statues.

In a Facebook post, Myanmar's Ministry of Culture said the ban would protect the buildings, which are considered holy by many locals and also protect tourists from accidents.

"Furthermore, despite warnings, people who climb the pagodas often behave badly, in a way that is culturally disgraceful such as wearing inappropriate clothing, dancing and sleeping [on the monuments]," the ministry said.

"We would like to announce that no one will be permitted to climb on the pagodas for any reason from March 1 onwards."

The temples of Bagan were built between the 10th and 14th centuries and are deeply revered by the country's Buddhist majority.

They became one of Myanmar's most popular tourist destinations, after the country emerged from strict military rule.

Despite the upcoming ban, Myanmar's Ministry of Tourism promotes the temples as a must-see.

"A panoramic view of this land at sunset will leave you with a lingering sense of awe and wonder," a description on its website reads.

Earlier this month, a German teenager received a life ban from entering Egypt after he scaled the Great Pyramid of Giza.

- nzherald.co.nz

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