Price changes for Bagan, My Son next year

Two somewhat related stories on the changes to admission fees to Bagan in Myanmar and the My Son Sanctuary in Vietnam.

The My Son Sanctuary. Source: Viet Nam News 201512118
The My Son Sanctuary. Source: Viet Nam News 201512118

Bagan entry to be charged in kyat
Eleven Myanmar, 17 December 2015

My Son Sanctuary entrance fee to increase next year
Viet Nam News, 18 December 2015

The entry fee into Bagan heritage site will be collected in kyat from January 1, according to the Ministry of Culture.

The fee will be Ks25,000, equivalent to the current US$20.

The management board of the My Son Sanctuary in the central province of Quang Nam earlier this week announced to increase entrance fees by 40-50 per cent next year. The announcement has been sent to tour operators.

Full stories here and here.

Master plan for Ho Citadel’s preservation and management

The provincial government of Thanh Hoa have unveiled a master plan to manage the Ho Citadel World Heritage Site to help with the preservation and tourist management of the site.

Ho Citadel, Thanh Hoa Province. Source: Viet Nam News 20151111
Ho Citadel, Thanh Hoa Province. Source: Viet Nam News 20151111

Thanh Hoa launches preservation plan
Viet Nam News, 11 November 2015

The Citadel of Ho Dynasty in the central Thanh Hoa Province will be preserved better following a master plan unveiled by the provincial People’s Committee on Monday.

The master plan aims to preserve and embellish the citadel, which has been recognised as a World Cultural Heritage site, and build special tourism facilities based on the area.

Specifically, the master plan will involve survey and assessment of the situation of the site; study of archeological documents and the management work of tourism activities; and defining the space for preservation and development of the surrounding areas.

Full story here.

Excavations at Polonnaruwa to be carried out for the next five years

The world heritage site of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka will be the focus of archaeological excavations for the next five years.

Source: News.lk 20150831
Source: News.lk 20150831

Archaeological excavations in Polonnaruwa under a five year plan
News.lk, 31 August 2015

The historic Polonnaruwa sacred city’s archaeological excavations commenced under a five year plan.
It has been implemented as an international excavation work under the Central Cultural Fund. The Archeological excavations of Polonnaruwa will take place until the year 2020, under the supervision of Professor of Archeology Robin Canham with the aim finding out more information about the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa.

The excavations were commenced from the ‘number two plot’ of Polonnaruwa Shiva Devalaya.

Full story here.

CNN feature on the Ho Citadel

Inscribed into the World Heritage List in 2011, the Ho Citadel in Vietnam is one of the less-known sites, even in the region.

Ho Citadel. Source: CNN 20150826
Ho Citadel. Source: CNN 20150826

Most unlikely UNESCO site: The empty citadel of Vietnam
CNN.com, 26 August 2015

You might expect a communist government to distance itself from its imperial past, but the Vietnamese regime has seen the value in celebrating the country’s bygone emperors and promoting its ancient citadels as tourist destinations.

Since 1993, eight Vietnamese locations — including three citadels — have been designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO, with another seven awaiting formal classification.

Many of these sites are of great natural or historical significance, such as Ha Long Bay and the complex of monuments in Hue.

But the citadel to most recently acquire UNESCO’s seal of approval (in 2011) is the almost unknown Ho Citadel, situated in a remote backwater of Thanh Hoa Province, around 150 kilometers south of Hanoi.

The choice of the Ho Citadel for such a prestigious honor is strange for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the Ho Dynasty lasted just seven years (1400-1407), a mere drop in the ocean of Vietnam’s turbulent history.

Secondly, the citadel is empty.

Full story here.

UK Foreign office declares Preah Vihear safe to visit

It’s been safe to travel to for some time now, of course. The article has a short backgrounder to the recent conflict between Thailand and Cambodia over Preah Vihear.

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Preah Vihear temple in Cambodia now safe to visit
The Telegraph, 07 August 2015

A ninth century Angkorian temple on the boarder between Thailand and Cambodia is now considered safe to visit after being the subject of conflict between the two countries since 2008.

Soldiers from the Cambodia army have been guarding the Preah Vihear temple, surrounded in jungle and bearing similarities to Angkor Wat, for the last few years.

The few tourists that made it to the far north of Cambodia to visit the site were required to check in at an army base on arrival.

The temple, declared a World Heritage site in 2008, lies just 100 metres from the border with Thailand, a border that was created at the end of the Second World War.

Full story here.

E7 tower in My Son to reopen to public

After years of restoration, the E7 tower of the My Son Sanctuary in Central Vietnam is ready for visitors.

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My Son tower to re-open
Viet Nam News, 07 Aug 2015

The E7 tower in the My Son Sanctuary in the central province of Quang Nam has reopened to tourists after four years of restoration, according to the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The Heritage Preservation Institute of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism restored the tower at a cost of VND9 billion (US$430,000) from the Government budget.

Full story here.

Thailand prepares to defend two World Heritage Sites in danger

Thailand is preparing to defend the World Heritage status of two sites, the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex and Ayutthaya Historical Park. Concerns over the management of these two sites have been raised in previous Unesco meetings and they are expected to be discussed in the Unesco meeting in Paris next week.

Ayutthaya. Source: The Nation 20150623
Ayutthaya. Source: The Nation 20150623

Thailand continues fight to keep two sites’ status
The Nation, 23 June 2015

Thailand is preparing hard to defend the status of two World Heritage sites in the face of ongoing concerns about conservation and management efforts.

These two sites are the Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Forest Complex and the Ayutthaya Historical Park.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has threatened to downgrade the first site’s status as a World Heritage site.

At the last session of Unesco’s World Heritage Committee in Doha, Qatar in 2014, the forest complex was identified as facing threats, which could be a reason to downgrade its World Heritage status.

Unesco also has concerns about the repairing of historic sites in Ayutthaya Historical Park after the big flood.

Even though the upcoming World Heritage Committee meeting will not have the forest complex’ status review on the agenda, the Thai delegation believes it needs to show that it will be able to maintain the complex as a World Heritage site.

Full story here.

Ifugao’s terraces much younger than thought

Philippines history books may need a rewrite as new findings from archaeologists put the age of the world-famous Ifugao rice terraces to only 300-400 years old, rather than the 2,000 they were originally thought to be. The older date was based largely on untested assumptions that have since become ‘fact’, while the new data is derived from radiocarbon dating retrieved from a sample of sites across the region.

Nagacadan Rice Terraces (Kiangan, Ifugao)

Ifugao Rice Terraces may be younger than we think
Rappler, 29 April 2015

The Ifugao Rice Terraces may not be as ancient as our grade school history books would have us believe.

A team of scientists are set to present new findings that peg the age of the iconic rice terraces at 300 or 400 years instead of the long-assumed age of 2,000 years.

This means that, far from pre-dating Spanish colonization, the Ifugao Rice Terraces may be just as old as some colonial-period churches.

The earlier dates were arrived at based on radiocarbon-dating and paleoethnobotanical remains found in the rice terraces, said Stephen Acabado, director of the Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP).

Full story here.

Thai FAD chief aiming for one new World Heritage site every year

A Bangkok Post feature on Borvornvate Rungrujee, the Director-General of the Fine Arts Department in Thailand and his plan to nominate more World Heritage Sites from the kingdom.

Borvornvate Rungrujee, D-G of the Thai FAD. Source: Bangkok Post 20150416
Borvornvate Rungrujee, D-G of the Thai FAD. Source: Bangkok Post 20150416

The fine art of cultural preservation
Bangkok Post, 16 April 2015
Continue reading “Thai FAD chief aiming for one new World Heritage site every year”

International diplomats visit Phu Phra Bat

The Thai government hosted a visit to the Phu Phra Bat Historical Park for diplomatic guests to raise support for its bid to put the park into the Unesco World Heritage register.

Phu Phra Bat visit. Source: The Nation 20150302
Phu Phra Bat visit. Source: The Nation 20150302

Rocks of worship
The Nation, 02 March 2015

The Culture Ministry takes diplomats, art experts and the press to Phu Phrabat Historical Park, recently nominated for World Heritage Site status

Since its nomination by the Thai Culture Ministry to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s World Heritage head office in Paris at the beginning of the year, the prehistoric site of Phu Phrabat Historical Park in Udon Thani has seen a massive surge in visitors.

Among the most recent visitors was a group of some 50 diplomats and art experts from 26 countries, including foreign ambassadors and their spouses, who were invited by the ministry to take part in a cultural trip to both Phu Phrabat and Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Located on a mountain in Ban Phue district and surrounded by lush forest, Phu Phrabat Historical Park dates back to the prehistoric era. The area is home to hundreds of unusual rock formations left behind by a slow-moving glacier millions of years ago. Many of the ruins and objects have been fashioned from materials found locally and include, for instance, a rock decorated as a stupa and another chiselled into the shape of a foot. Prehistoric rock paintings, sandstone images and idols abound. The site was declared a historical park by the Fine Arts Department in 1991 and in 2004 was put on the “tentative list” for World Heritage status.

Full story here.