Mogok in Myanmar is a favorite land of ruby to the seasoned tourists who want to explore something distant and different. Though this destination is not as popular as Yangon or Bagan, in any talk about the reputation of ‘stone and gem’ in Myanmar, then first think of Mogok.
Mogok is a remote and attractive city in the Pyin Oo Twin District of the Mandalay Region, Myanmar. The little city is situated around 200km to the north of Mandalay and 148km to the northeast of Shwebo. Geographically, Mogok has an elevation of 1170m. It is the residence of some significant minorities like the Shan, Lisu, Palaung, and Karen ethnic groups. Most parts of Mogok are encompassed by the mountains. The city includes the two towns namely Mogok and Kyat. Along with the untouched nature and fascinating ethnic culture, this destination is reputable for gemstones, typically ruby and sapphire. Due to the security issue, the foreign tourists are required to obtain the special permits to set foot on Mogok Town. Thus, make sure you have the permits to enter the town smoothly. For the outside world, Mogok is the ‘Valley of Rubies,’ the rustic destination with the fascinating mountainous landscape, cool climate all year round, and extraordinary ethnic culture. Let’s read more on Mogok to know what you must include in Myanmar Tour Packages.
What to See in Mogok Myanmar
Mogok used to be famous for the forested rolling hills, the cool climate, and the absence of tourists. It is nestled in a spectacular valley amongst the forested mountains. There was a time that this town was closed off the foreign guests, and now you are required to have a permit to get there. The town also has long been reputable for the gemstones, particularly ruby and sapphire, as well as other semi-precious stones. The gems play the certain roles in Mogok and the local livelihood. A special trait of the town is that the local markets sell gems. Nonetheless, please note that the foreigners must have the special permits to enter Mogok, and the act of purchasing/exporting gems from Myanmar at the non-government-licensed dealer is against the law. Let us point out that the fact that 90% of the rubies in the world originate from Mogok, Myanmar. And, the “Valley of Rubies” in Mogok is recognizable for the world’s most beautiful “royal” blue sapphire and the “pigeon’s blood” ruby. In reality, Mogok town is where most of the valuable gems are mined. Once again, to visit the town, ask your Burma Tour Operator agent for the so-called special permit, and they will handle it for you!
Mogok Gemstone Mines
Mogok is the largest gemstone mine of the world. In hundreds of mines scattered throughout the area, the residents are predominantly mining the limestones. However, none is rich there. It is because the gemstones are sold at a low price and with an abundant amount in Mogok. That said, the gemstonesare then processed and gathered for the big sales at Bogyoke Aung San (in Myanmar). The first-time visitors might be highly surprised at the selling sceneries of the gemstones in this area, which are open for the buyers to try and bargain. Why are they not put in the glass boxes and under the strict observation? The scrap gems are very plenty. Of course, the world’s famous refined ruby and sapphire are transferred to the different luxury world of Myanmar, not in Mogok.
The Great Lake of Mogok
The lake is the heart of the town, looking similar to a pool in the garden. The presence of the Great Lake gives the medieval pictures of Mogok a blue pond. You might find this Lake a beautiful background for photographing as well as mingling with the local Shan and Linus people. You can also learn that the local livelihood is about mining, cutting, polishing, and marketing gemstones. Just listening to the others’ life can give you a grateful attitude of what life has offered to you.
Panchan and Aungchanthar Markets
These are the two remarkable ruby markets in the center of Mogok Town. The travelers can reach there, but please note that only the government-licensed dealers can buy/export the gems. A short journey to the markets might interest some individuals who love gems. You might be surprised at the so-inexpensive jewelry there. But, know that the gems in these little markets are just the scraps. The world-class rubiesare not there.
Phaung Daw Oo and Paw Daw Mu Pagodas
The two outstanding pagodas own the golden stupas which function as the top religious venues for people to resemble and do worshipping. Both Phaung Daw Oo and Paw Daw Mu have significance in the local beliefs. Spend some hours feeling the peace and holiness preserved in the Mogok pagodas so that you get some insights about the local spirituality.
How to Get to Mogok in Myanmar
Mogok is just around 200km to the north of Mandalay. So, just takes 7 hours driving to reach Mogok from Mandalay. And if you begin from PwinOoLwin, the ride might last 4 hours. Please notice that the driving route is not mandatory. It means you can arrive there via the Mandalay Road and then leave it via the PwinOoLwin route.
- Start from Mandalay: This is the old road to reach Mogok, for 7 hours. Therefore, most travelers today prefer the new alternative road.
- Start from PwinOoLwin: This new road saves people much time traveling to Mogok, for 4 hours only. Also, it is the superb road with the eye-catching forests and the bewitching landscape along the ride. The PwinOoLwin – Mogok road was finished in June 2013, which makes it easier for the truck, bus, and normal car. In the past, it was required a powerful car to get through the bumpy challenges.
Once again, the foreigners need to have a permit totravel to Mogok, and the access is by the private car only. You’d better apply for the permission and transport through the reliable travel agents. They will take care of the issues about the official licensed guide as well as the special authorizationfor you. The trip allows you to visit the mythical city of Ruby, witness the gemstone mines and understand the local gem-based livelihood.
When to Visit Mogok
It is not by chance that Mogok is a paradise for the gem lovers as this is home to 90 percent of the world’s high-class rubies. The area characterizes the cool temperature all year round. With a special permit to visit the mythical town of rubies, keep in mind these particular time frames:
- May – October: This is the rainy season in Mogok when some mines become flooded. But on the other hand, under the rain, the “Valley of Rubies” is somewhat charming. If you enjoy the rain, perhaps, these months sound compatible.
- November – April: This is the best time to see Mogok. Typically, the months from November to February is cold at night (temperature is around 3-6 Celsius degrees), and the daytime is clear and sunny. Such condition is ideal for the outdoor exploration of gemstone mines, pagodas, and markets. Hence, make sure you bring the warm clothes to stay healthy, even in the cold nights.
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