MYANMAR TRAVEL STORIES

Myanmar’s Sky Beer!

Myanmar Sky Beer (htan yay)

Palm trees are in their abundance in Myanmar, offering welcome shade to many a weary traveler. But paradise it also is to the thirsty ones who seek her cool smooth solace, for the palm trees in Myanmar produce a delicious tasty nectar and not of the coconut kind. 

While we were travelling around we saw many a brave man standing at the base of palms (toddy palms) with a handful of tools in his hands. At first we thought he was in search of coconuts, but why wouldn’t he just wait for them to fall to the ground? Hugging the palm tree the man wraps his longyi across his two feet like a loop and in a flash he is scaling the sixty foot tall tree.

As he nears the top he places small pots directly under the sliced shoots so that the juice from the shoots trickles into the receiving pot. Checking the pots so often he seals the ones that are full and places them in a sturdy bag before replacing it with an empty one…up and down up and down he goes along the row of palms. But what’s so special about this toddy juice or htan yay as they call it that makes these men climb high into the trees and risk their lives and limbs?

Friends of ours told us that the sweet juice is extremely sweet before noon but after midday the juice ferments and becomes bitter so many villagers collect it and sell it to make money. Each small bottle is sold for around 200 Kyats and once it ferments you can get quite tipsy on the stuff! Hence the name Skybeer.

 Unfortunately we were told about it too late and didn’t get a chance to sample Myanmar’s Sky Beer for ourselves but if your heading to Myanmar be sure to try it out!

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Rashad Pharaon
    May 14, 2014 at 1:40 AM

    I heard about Sky Beer, but in another country. I forgot which did it, I think it was somewhere in India. I’d love to try that juice! Both in the morning and at noon lol

  • Reply
    Karen Warren
    May 16, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Yet another reason why I’d like to visit Myanmar!

    • Reply
      Samantha
      May 18, 2014 at 5:26 PM

      You must go Karen. It’s completely different from all the other South East Asia countries. But go soon. I really do fear the worst for this country, I really hope it doesn’t turn into another Thailand.

      • Reply
        Juan - Myanmar
        May 30, 2014 at 2:04 PM

        The sooner you come to Myanmar the better. Yangon and the tourist cities are changing very fast but still remain very authentic compared to other SEA countries! Small villages are so unique and beautiful, you can always make your trip to Myanmar very special!

  • Reply
    Samantha
    May 17, 2014 at 12:05 AM

    Ooh I’d love to try that! It’s amazing how those guys can just climb trees like nothing. Great arm strength!

    • Reply
      Samantha
      May 18, 2014 at 5:24 PM

      I hate to put it like this but they were like Monkeys! They were super quick and they had no fear at all!

  • Reply
    Rebekah Voss
    May 17, 2014 at 10:37 AM

    Fascinating! Sad you didn’t get to try it, it sounds like Skybeer would be delicious in its “virgin” form and its “afternoon” (i.e. Happy Hour) form!

  • Reply
    Christina
    May 17, 2014 at 12:23 PM

    Sounds interesting altough it seems to be hard work for them to collect it. More reasons to visit Myanmar some day.

  • Reply
    Emily
    May 17, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    I’d love to try that, it sounds amazing!

    • Reply
      Samantha
      May 18, 2014 at 5:18 PM

      Me too! I hope to have a try of it when we next visit Myanmar!

  • Reply
    Elena (http://gonewiththebackpack.blogspot.com/ )
    May 18, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    I think I tried it in French Polynesia, but honestly I can´t make the difference between “skybeer” (it was called differently there) and any other fermented juice they have 🙂

  • Reply
    Nina
    May 18, 2014 at 9:08 PM

    First time I’ve heard of Skybeer but I sure would like to try it. I’ll take the risk of being tipsy. 🙂

  • Reply
    jennifer
    May 19, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    This sounds like a must try! I had originally planned to be in Myanmar right about now, but then ended up putting it on the back burner and head to China instead. So seeing any post about Myanmar kind of tugs at my heart strings.

    • Reply
      Samantha
      May 19, 2014 at 4:19 PM

      Hi Jennifer! Hope your having a great time in China! We had a long list of places we wanted to visit including China but we decided we would head to Myanmar before its commercialized and looses it’s authentic loveliness…I do hope you get a chance to visit Myanmar and see it how we saw it. It’s so quickly…I wonder what it would be like to go back and visit in 5 years time??

  • Reply
    antonette - we12travel
    May 19, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    Never heard of Skybeer before! I recently read an article about Myanmar that really fascinated me. I never knew much about it really … however it seems like its getting more and more popular so maybe now is the time to go…

    • Reply
      Samantha
      May 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM

      I’ve known about Myanmar/Burma for a long time. It was briefly taught in my history lessons and I heard plenty of stories when I was a child from my grandfather who was stationed there in the war. So it’s been on my radar for a long time but now seemed the right time to go.

      I didn’t want to go earlier until I was mature enough to really enjoy it. We saw plenty of backpackers there who were wondering around these magnificent places essentially with “their eyes closed”…they hadn’t a clue what was around them and by the looks of it had no interest in the actual sights and their meaning at all. I suspect it was a trip funded by daddy. I wonder if in years to come they will look back on their trip to Myanmar and realized that even though they say they’ve been they didn’t really see it…

  • Reply
    Paul (@luxury__travel)
    May 19, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    That sounds like it’s worth trying! The sky beer, I mean, not the scaling of the tree… 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha
      May 20, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      Yes I’m pretty disappointed that we didn’t get to try it! We had an “opportunity” to right at the end but it meant climbing the tree ourselves and I’m not sure our travel insurance would of covered such an act of stupidity…:(

  • Reply
    Juan - Myanmar
    May 30, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Sky beer is really good! I tried it in a little village near Gwa with amazing locals I met!

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