Cultural Experience

Traditional Sports

My brief experience playing Chinlone (Cane Ball) in Burma was fascinating.  I attended the Traditional Sports Performance ceremony where I played this with the locals as well as some professionals. Cane Ball is the national sport of Burma (AKA Myanmar) and most Burmese are extremely prideful of the game that is unique to this part of the world.  The traditional game is over 1,500 years old and was once played and performed for Myanmar royalty.  The ball is about the size of a grapefruit and is made out of woven cane plant.  It is hollow, therefore light, and not too hard on the feet.  The game can be played two different ways.  One way consists of six players standing in a circle.  They juggle the ball with their feet and head just like that of a soccer or hacky sack player.  One star player may at times stand in the middle of the circle and steal the show by displaying his skills with fancy tricks.  For instance, one trick would be to kick the ball up in the air and quickly spin 360 degrees to kick it back up in the air again before it hits the ground.  Another common way to play cane ball is to split up into two teams of three people each and play soccer style volleyball.  This includes using a volleyball court and volleyball rules, with one exception being that everyone hits the ball soccer style which means that using your hands is not allowed.  In addition to the team style of play, there is also a solo performance that is only performed by women.

Culture Dining Experience

There are regional and religious variations in food consumed due to the wide variety of ethnic groups that live in Burma. For example, the Muslim Rohingyan people eat much more fish, seafood and chilli. They also observe Ramadan, like other Muslims around the world. Chin/Zomi people in Brisbane report eating a type of fermented meat sausage, and Karenni people in Brisbane report eating many different types of fermented vegetables and chewing beetle nut in Burma. In Burma, people may eat toast or noodles at breakfast and may not count this as a ‘meal’. Most ethnic groups eat similar dishes of rice and curry, usually served with a soup, salad and/or stir-fry, with variations in meat and available vegetables. In rural areas, people eat around a communal pot, using their fingers, and it is rare to see a fork or spoon. In other areas, spoons are the most common utensils. In urban areas, people eat at a table using plates and bowls, and communal food is placed in the middle of the table.Sometime they prefer to eat Green tea leaf salad ( Lephet thoke ), glutinous rice around a palm sugar stick, street food such as pork skewers, Mohinga (rice noodles in a fish-based, curry-flavoured soup) and fried tofu.

Traditional Face Tatoo

Settling near the Bangladesh – Myanmar border, the distinctive Chin tribe is best known of the intricate ink details covering their entire face. This tradition started since generations ago when several tribes in the Chin province of Myanmar began to tattoo the face of each and every single young woman.Why would they do that? You might be wondering. “We would normally be tattooed when we turned eight or nine years old. It was an ancient custom to do so. Every girl in my village did that”, said, a seventy year old woman with a faded tattoo on her face. The Chin parents, in an attempt to protect their daughters, started tattooing their young child’s face. “The tattooing took over a day to complete and it was extremely painful, especially to the tender eyelid area”, the middle-aged woman in front of me said with a sudden flare emotion in her voice.Though, times after times, this tradition had transformed into a fascinating revolution. Over the years, what was originally intended to make the women undesirable began to have another opposite effect. The full facial tattoos became signs of beauty for every Chin women of the old generation.

Bike Tours

Cycling is the perfect way to explore Myanmar at your own pace while visiting some of the most stunning natural, historical and archaeological sites in the in all of Myanmar. The landscape of the country has many unique geographical features, and the varied texture of its landscape offers many cycling routes of varying difficulty, catering for cyclists of all levels – from beginners to experienced and professional athletes. Continue your journey toward the might Irrawaddy River and the plains of Bagan. See what life is like for the city’s inhabitants as you join in the haggling at the Nyaung Oo Market and peek into a lacquer ware workshop. Then head out of the city, to bike through verdant plains among dozens of gracious stupas and pagodas.

Hiking Up Mount Popa

Mount Popa is a stratovolcano in central Myanmar, and is the northernmost major summit in the Pegu Range. The mountain is southeast of the popular tourist destination Bagan, and is located within and protected by Mt. Popa National Park. The name Popa is believed to derive from the Sanskrit word puppa, meaning flower. The northern section of Mt. Popa’s crater rim has collapsed, leaving a deep, mile-wide caldera, with just over half of the crater rim intact. As with many volcanoes, volcanic ash has contributed to rich soil, and the base of the volcano is covered in lush vegetation, thinning to grass on the outer slopes as one reaches the upper mountain. Mount Popa is a popular destination for local people, and there is much history and many legends involving the mountain. Most locals refer to a steep volcanic plug on the southwest side of the volcano as Mt. Popa, rather than the volcano itself. The volcanic plug (actually called Taung Kalat) has a Buddhist monastery on its top, and is quite impressive. The hike starts from the Mt. Popa Mountain Resort, at an elevation of about 800 meters (2600 feet). As foreigners aren’t allowed to rent motorbikes and car rentals are unavailable, the most practical way to get there is by taxi and it takes about one hour from Bagan.