50 things about Asean countries you probably didn't know - Asean's golden jubilee

Asean's golden jubilee: 5 interesting things about Myanmar

31. Catch the pya zat before it's gone

Pya zat, Myanmar's traditional drama, is on the verge of extinction due to the influence of foreign cultures. The modern form of pya zat emerged in the late British colonial period with films.

The shows that used to last three hours are now down to two and are performed mostly in rural areas.

From preaching morality, these shows now dwell on laughing away the stresses of daily life.

32. A breathtaking cave in an amazing landscape

The Saddan cave, one of the biggest in Myanmar, is dotted with several images of Buddha.


The Saddan cave, one of the biggest in Myanmar, is dotted with several images of Buddha. It takes about 20 minutes to cross the cave and the exit opens into a lake, offering a view of a landscape that will enchant you. PHOTO: ELEVEN MEDIA

It takes about 20 minutes to cross the cave, if the bats do not deter you, and the exit opens into a lake, offering a view of a landscape that will enchant you.

33. A spot to remember a romantic legend

Than Daung Gyi, in Kayin state, a four- to six-hour train ride from Yangon, is best known as the place of Myanmar Christians.

It is also famous for the legend of Prince Saw Thaw Oh Khwa and Princess Naw Bu Baw, who were deeply in love. Though they got married, the prince's side did not like Princess Naw Bu Baw as they thought she was a witch. After the prince died in battle, she was imprisoned in a rock cavern and eventually died. Local people believe their spirits still wander hand in hand through forests.

34. Top collection of Buddhist mural paintings

The Lokahteikpan Temple, in Bagan, is said to have the best collection of Buddhist mural paintings in South-east Asia. These were discovered as recently as 1958. The murals emphasise educating people on Theravada Buddhism. They depict the Eight Scenes of the Buddha.


 Than Daung Gyi is famous for the tragic love story of a prince and princess. PHOTO: ELEVEN MEDIA 

35. Not just a ball game

Chinlone is perhaps the country's most famous traditional sport. Players in teams of six pass the ball back and forth using their feet, knees and heads as they walk around a circle.

A player goes into the middle alone and creates a dance of different moves. There is no scoring in chinlone - players are judged on how beautifully they play the game.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on August 06, 2017, with the headline 'Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe