Best time to visit Myanmar

Chinlone in Myanmar

An unusual combination of sport and dance


Chinlone is a traditional and original game of Myanmar, a mixture of sport, martial arts, and dance in which there are no teams and no opponent, no competition in the usual sense, no victories and defeats. The meaning of the game is in the skill demonstration of each participant. A team of six players passes the ball back and forth, moving in a circle on feet, knees, or other parts of the body. One player comes into focus and begins to take steps which are connected to the dance. The other players support a soloist dancer in the center and hold the ball with one touch. As soon as the ball falls to the ground, the game begins again. "Chinlone" in Burmese language means "rounded basket."

The ball for the game is made of rattan. Players play barefoot or in footwear that allows them to feel the ball and the earth as much as possible. The Chinlone Game is more than 1,500 years old and once it was only played by representatives of the royal family.

Since then, the traditional Burmese sport developed, and it has invented more than 200 different ways of striking the ball. People play chinlone during many Buddhist festivals. The audience is entertained by remarks of the commentator and live music performed by an orchestra. All of this inspires the players and shapes the style and the rhythm of each game. Both men and women play chinlone, sometimes on the same team. Even children may be included in the national team, showing the beauty of movement and dexterity. An annual competition among teams of cane-ball (chinlon) players coincides with the Kyauk Taw Gyi Pagoda festival in Mandalay held in October.

Practical info

When is the best time to see Chinlone in Myanmar?

If you are looking forward to watching Myanmar's traditional Chinlone game, it is best to plan your trip to Mandalay in October. This is when the annual cane-ball competition takes place, showcasing players from across the country while performing to live music and commentaries. Show more

What is the significance of the term 'rounded basket' in Chinlone?

The term 'Chinlone' means 'rounded basket' in Burmese, describing the sport's rattan ball. Apart from the Chinlone game, rattan is also a common material used for crafting furniture in Myanmar, becoming a symbol for the country's culture and traditional sports. Show more

Who traditionally played Chinlone in Myanmar?

Initially, only the royal family members were permitted to play Chinlone in Myanmar. But as the game gained popularity, it has become a universal sport open to all ages and genders. Chinlone is now commonly played by both men and women, including children, at festivals and events in the country. Show more

How many different ways of striking the ball are there in Chinlone?

Chinlone is an artistic dance-like sport with over 200 different techniques for hitting the rattan ball. The game involves a team that passes the ball in a circle using various body parts. This sport is a combination of elements from martial arts, dance, and athletics, so players often use unique moves to showcase their expertise and creativity. Show more

Can women and children play Chinlone in Myanmar?

Chinlone is a national sport in Myanmar that doesn't differentiate by main or women. Both children and adults can participate in the sport, sometimes on the same team. Even children can take part in the national team. The vitality of the sport is founded on teamwork and creativity, making it stimulating and enjoyable for everyone regardless of their age or gender. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Chinlone (Map)

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin