Escaping the City and Engaging with Myanmar’s Nature

By Lwin Mar Htun 15 June 2020

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, people have been confined to their homes for over two months to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Dining out has been stamped out and socializing  and travel have been heavily restricted.

Since June 1, almost no transmissions have been reported within Myanmar. Companies, restaurants, bars, highway buses and hotels are now re-opening but enforced 21-day quarantine rules for some travelers make trips less attractive.

For Yangon residents who miss travel and nature, there is a destination near the city with excellent camping opportunities.

The Tha Bar Wa (Nature) Campsite within a rubber farm in Bago Region is hoping to open this month with visitors allowed to sleep over after the rainy season.

A visitor grilling meat at Tha Bar Wa. / Daniel

Founder Ko Zin Paing Aung said: “Myanmar’s camping culture is not well developed. I found how to engage with nature through camping and I wanted others to feel it too. Many of us are busy and depend more on technology and have less contact with nature. Sometimes we need somewhere to escape from life’s routines. So I created the Tha Bar Wa Campsite.”

The site opens on June 20, named “nature” in Burmese because he wanted Yangon’s residents to reconvene with the natural world.

Overnight stays will only start after the rainy season and before that, the opening times restricted are from 7am to 5pm.

“We have made a readymade site for people with little camping experience. The camping pitches are not far from the jungle but there is no danger from animals,” he added.

Guests can walk around the rubber farm near the jungle but there is no permit to hunt the animals.

“People can see wild rabbits, pigs, deer and smaller animals. Visitors can also hire guides to explore the jungle,” Ko Zin Paing Aung said.

There are grills to prepare meals and visitors can play board games, read books, play musical instruments and other activities that are not dependent on technology.

“Our travel license is still being processed. So we are accepting only a few friends for a soft opening and we will open to the public by the end of June,” said Ko Zin Paing Aung.

The tents are already set up at the Tha Bar Wa Campsite. / Daniel

Tha Bar Wa Campsite has different packages including tents, food, water bottles and coffee, starting from two people for 50,000 kyats to 170,000 kyats (US$36-122).

“The packages do not include transport. We can collect visitors from Bago. We will accept only three groups each day to ensure social distancing,” he said.

Under-18s will need to be accompanied by a guardian.

“When the threat of coronavirus and the rainy season have ended, we will arrange for night trips,” said Ko Zin Paing Aung. “If you are tired of the city, have an adventure with us.”

To visit Bago, people no longer need to show medical certificates but face masks must be worn.

You may also like these stories:

Into the Forest With Myanmar’s Bamboo-Shoot Harvesters