Thailand Nok Air Flies to Myanmar

Bangkok – Thailand’s Nok Air flew from the Thai border town of Mae Sot in Tak Province to Mawlamyain in Myanmar’s Mon State for the first time on Sunday. The Governor of Tak Province, Suriya Prasartbundit, was aboard the inaugural flight, which he said would boost border trade between the two countries.

Suriya, who was joined by some 25 Thai and Burmese businessmen, also urged Thai people to invest more in Mawlamyain’s tourism industry. Nok Air, a budget carrier, is the first foreign airline to fly to Mawlamyain, which is the fourth largest town in Myanmar.

Mawlamyain (Old English name: Moulmein) is a charming town at the mouth of the Thalwin River (Salween River). It is easily accessible by road and rail from Yangon. Sites to see in Mawlamyain are the impressive Kyaikthanlan Pagoda and Uzina Pagoda perched on the hillside. About 34 km from Mawlamyine south is Thanbyuzayat, an Allied War Memorial Cemetery for the prisoners of war, who lost their lives during the building of the infamous Death Railway across the River Kwae Noi in Thailand. Scenic Setse Beach Resort is nearby as well as the Kyaikkami Yele Pagoda and pilgrimage site at the seaside.

Mawlamyain will also become the gateway to the southern towns of Dawai, Myeik and Kawthaung in Myanmar. Especially the pristine Myeik Archipelago with its 800 undiscovered islands is high on the agenda of the local tourism industry to be opened up and developed for international tourists.

Boni Yin, a tour operator from BIS Travel in Chiang Mai and native from Mawlamyain, is presently selling an air ticket from Mae Sot to Mawlamyain for 1,700Baht one way. The flight is now every day, he said, and takes only 20 minutes. AT/Reinhard Hohler