While exploring Myanmar, many things are subject to the astonishment of the unfamiliar visitors of this exotic country. One of those is of course the facial coloring of the local women that is commonly known in Myanmar as “Thanaka”.

Thanaka is a paste with a distinctive bright color. It can be applied on the face in many ways, with shapes going from a simple smear to an elaborate drawing of a leaf or a flower. This usually sparks the curiosity of the traveler who might ask, what is this powder made of? What is it for?

Extracted from the Thanaka tree that grows extensively throughout the country, this ancient cosmetic has a long tradition of being ground at home with many household having their own special recipe to make it. Mainly used as an effective sunblock it is applied over the cheeks, nose, and neck. In addition to this practical use, Thanaka also serves to cool the skin or prevents skin irritations. Some even say it is an anti-aging crème. All of this without any side effect other than its pleasant sandalwood fragrance.

On board our Anawrahta you can try on this unique cosmetic for yourself and marvel at this unique local cultural heritage.

Find out more about Myanmar here.