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Myanmar

1. General Information

Myanmar, known as Burma or Suvanabhumi, is famous for tens of thousands of pagodas, and is recognized as the “Golden Land”. Myanmar is rich with religious monuments, mysterious history, blue virgin beaches, hidden archaeological sites, and snow-capped mountains. Its is full of cultural resources and has a rich diversity of ethnic groups. The unique things about Myanmar are its unspoiled natural scenery and cultural diversity. It is an ideal place to experience archaeology, flora and fauna.

Myanmar is also rich in different flavours of tourism taste, such as the mysterious Golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the last Myanmar Kingdom’s Palace at Mandalay, Asia’s most treasured archaeological site at Bagan with millions of ancient pagodas, the hidden and unspoiled ancient city of Myauk-U, Inle Lake with its culture of rowing boats with one leg, and the blue water and white sandy beaches of Ngapali & Chaung Tha. These are the most visited sites in Myanmar.

The country’s culture is also free from racial or sexual discrimination, by giving equal rights opportunity both at work or and at home. Burmese women have the right not to have the surname of their husband, and the same status right in the family as their counterpart. Even though Myanmar has numerous attractive tourist places, most of visitors agree that the most attractive thing about Myanmar is gracious smiles of local people, and their hospitality and friendliness. You can enjoy a great history of Myanmar with its diversity of culture and races.

Because of above-mentioned factors, Myanmar has become Asia’s safest and most interesting destination. Most revenue from the tourism sector goes to economically support the everyday people of Myanmar.

Country's Name: Union of Myanmar (Burma, Land of Pagoda)
Capital: Naypyitaw
Currency: Myanmar Kyats ( MMK)
Population: 50 Millions
Language: Burmese
Religion: Theravada Buddhism,
Electricity: 220V/50Hz
Country Code: +95
Internet TLD: .mm
Emergencies: dial 199

2. Geography

The Union of Myanmar is the largest mainland country in the South-East Asia Peninsula and occupies land area of over 670,000 sq. kms. Myanmar has a strategic role in Asia due to its position between China and India, with a border area of over 2100km with China and 1400 km with India. Neighbouring countries are China located in north, Laos and Thailand in the east, India and Bangladesh in the west, and the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea in the south.The Land of Myanmar stretches from the Himalaya mountain ranges in the north down to the delta area and the Islands of the Andaman Sea in the south, thus providing a varied topology which includes islands, river valleys, delta rice plains, hills and beautiful mountains. The highest snow-capped mountains are located in far north regions and include the famous Hkakabo Razo mountain at 5800 metres. Major mountain ranges are the Western Yoma, Bago Yoma, Rakhine Yoma, and Shan Plateau. Mountain ranges divide three major freshwater rivers which flow down parallel into the Indian Ocean. These are the Irrawaddy River (country’s longest river at 1200 km), the Salween River (steep and narrow with extreme flow), and the Sittaung River (from Taungoo to Mawlamyine). The Irrawaddy River is mostly used for major inland river transportations and also widely preferable for tourists to enjoy scenes of rich natural river banks. The central region of Myanmar is covered mostly with freshwater rivers and decent plains.

Naypyidaw is the new (Administrative) capital of Myanmar. Yangon is the ex-capital and largest city, and the commercial capital of Myanmar.

3. Foods and Drinks

Myanmar food is mainly served with rice and curry. Other famous traditional breakfast cuisines are mo-hin-ga, noodles with fish gravy, ohn-noe-khaut-swe (laksa) noodles with coconut milk, and kaw-bote, fried sticky rice powder. Other cuisines that are popular are Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Korean, and European. Most local people are content to have a plate of rice and curry for their lunch. Good restaurants can easily be found in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle, and serve quality food with reasonable price. The night bazaar of Chinatown, located in the downtown area in 19th Street, is famous for its variety of food stalls and bars that open till midnight along the main roads. Crowds of people spend their evening at these outlets drinking draught beer, and local distilled spirits such as whisky, rum, and gin. Wine is also easily available. Eating at street outlets can be a wonderful Asian experience but you should be aware of hygiene and ask the recommendation of a local guide.

A common drink in Myanmar is dry red-tea, taken in small cups throughout the day. Pickled Tea Leaf Salad is called la-phet in local language and is normally served to guests with snacks and red tea. Some take la-phet mixed with tomatoes, chilli and garlic. La-phet is one of the most famous traditional snacks in Myanmar.

4. People

The Name “Myanmar” represents all nationalities of this country which has over 135 different ethnic groups and 8 major national races, and a total population estimated at over 60 millions people, living in 7 states and 7 divisions. Bamar is the major cultural group and compromises about 65 percent of the total population. Major religions are Buddhist, Muslim and Christian. The official language is Myanmar and the other ethnic groups have their own dialects. English is widely used in most places, especially in tourist destination areas.

Myanmar has a great diversity of ethnics group, dress, cultures and traditions. The crime rate in Myanmar is extremely low, almost none of the cases directed at Foreigners, which makes Myanmar one of the safest countries in the world.

5. Dos and Don’ts in Myanmar

Typical Character

1. Very friendly, honest and helpful2. Proud and Polite3. Care and respect for others

Speaking

1. Addressing people with U (“Oo”) as Mr. or Daw as Ms./Mrs.2. Polite to say Mr. or Mrs. when communicating with elderly persons.

Eating

1. Eat only in hygienic cafes and restaurants, not from street vendors except if food is freshly cooked and heated.2. Let the oldest person be served first3. Many Chinese, Indian, Korean and Thai restaurants in Yangon & Mandalay4. Don’t drink tap water. Only drink Purified Bottle water or canned juice.

Clothing

1. Light color cotton dress with sandals or slippers

2. Sunhat, sunglasses and UV protection cream

3. Light jerkin or sweater for winter season

4. Quick drying clothes during rainy seasons and Thingyan Water festival

5. Respectful clothing is a must when visiting religious places

Manners

1. No hugging or kissing in public2. Rude to touch any person’s head3. Most gracious way is to accept or give with two hands4. Do not step over any part of a person and this is considered rude5. Do not sit cross legged in front of respectable person6. Avoid keeping legs on table or chairs7. Normally Myanmar people do not wear shoes at home, take off your shoes when visiting8. Do not point or show with your feet, only use pointing finger

Religious Courtesy

1. Do not disrespect any Buddha Image2. When walking around Pagodas, move clockwise3. Take off footwear and socks at religious sites. Headwear is not necessary4. Do not wears shorts, miniskirts or swimwear when visiting religious places5. Ladies shouldn’t stand or sit close to monk6. Dress modestly, long pants or longyi are preferable7. Do not climb on or pose for photo in front of pagodas. 8. Do not disrespect monk, nuns and novices, even if they are children9. Don’t offer to shake hand with a monk10. Do not play music loudly at a religious site, as monks are not allowed to listen to music11. Avoid shouting or laughing in religions areas12. Do not play music in a monastery 13. If possible, sit lower than monks and elderly people14. Do not lay down feet toward the Buddha image

Social Courtesy

1. Local people bow in terms of showing respect, when passing in front of elder persons

2. No touching or poking the opposite sex

Health

1. Use brand medicine for pain, fever, diarrhea, and bandages2. There are many clinics with English literate doctors3. There is no health insurance in Myanmar

Things to Brings

1. Flash Light2. Sun glasses3. Sun Cream4. Sunshade hats5. Frequently used medicines6. Rubber Sandals7. Insect repellent

Travel Insurance

1. No Insurance company in Myanmar2. Make insurance before departure3. Necessary for Baggage, medical coverage and accident insurance.

6. Langauge

Myanmar has unique languages all its own. Bamar is the mother tongue of Myanmar and is also the official language. Ethnic groups have 135 different languages. English is widely spoken and understood in major cities and tourist sites.

7. Festivals and Events

Myanmar is popularly "The Land of Festival" because of the umpteenth religious and cultural festivals that take place all year round. We can divide into two types of festivals, nation-wide and regional. This calendar traditionally involves of twelve lunar months. The origin of the Myanmar calendar is not clear, but it was overhaul again by different Kings. It consists of 12 lunar months; 1361-1362 was mutuality to the British Calendar year 2000. Between the lunar year and solar year difference by the addition of an extra month to the lunar calendar every few years. The Myanmar year begins in mid-April and ends in mid-March. Both the Myanmar and British calendar are profoundly used. Apart from festivals of the Buddhists, there are also those for Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Chinese celebrated among their closest nations and some of the instances are promulgated public holidays.

12 Months Festivals

Myanmar celebrates a festival in every month. Most of the festivals are based on cultural and religious those celebrate nation-wide. Festivals are long-lasting, enjoyable in Myanmar. According to the Myanmar lunar calendar, the exact dates of the festival are calculated, so only estimate months are given as they can change from year to year. Providentially for tourists, there are even more festivals, spread across the whole country throughout the year. This affords visitors a wonderful chance to profit firsthand insight into the living culture of Myanmar. We describe most of Myanmar major Festivals below. Myanmar is actively and gaily people, living in one of the wonderful lands. Major carrier of Myanmar people depends on Agriculture and they lives with their natural assets depend on forests, streams, lakes, mountains, hills and sea coast of the country.

8. Popular Destinations

Yangon

Yangon is the capital city and it was main gateway to Myanmar. Population in Myanmar is about 7 Million and covers 400 sq miles. Yangon is ever-green and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and beautiful takes and sparkling beaches. Yangon was founded by King Alaungpaya when he conquered Lower Myanmar in 1755, on the site of small settlement called Dagon. The name of “Yangon” means “End of Strife”. After 1885, British Annexed Myanmar and which were called to “Rangoon”. Yangon has won the name of “The Garden City of the East”. The name of city has changed along the history: first Dagon, then Rangoon, and now is Yangon. Yangon has green and lush atmosphere in everywhere because of it’s wide and open space shady trees and less high buildings and an impression of tranquil life which is highly affected by nation’s most dominant Buddhist customs. Now a day Yangon has a population of over seven and half million

Bagan

Bagan has known the richest archeological site in Asia which has four million of Pagodas. Bagan was the capital of first Myanmar Empire founded by King Anawratha (1044-1077 AD). Bagan is situated 196km (125 miles) and laid on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River. South of Mandalay, the most of these well-preserved shrines show a rich architectural heritage form the 11st to 13th century Era. When Shin Arahan (the mission monk from Thatlon) help Myanmar to become the religious center of Buddhism.. Bagan is the richest site in Asia and it’s famous for more than 3200 religious monuments spreading in 47 sq km. Bagan can be compatable with Angkor Watt of Cambodia and Borobudur of Indonesia. The interiors of the pagoda and Stupas were mural painted the life of Buddha and that are very complicated. Bagan has so many scenes that impress visitor’s memories forever. Time, people and nature, particularly earthquakes have taken their precious heritages but the most important monuments have been restored like their original grandeur.

In 1975, a strong earthquake destroyed many smaller temples. Even a number of large and massively built temples and pagodas were harmed among four million of pagodas and only have 2500 remain today. Bagan is enjoys world-wide renown of the ancient pagodas, temple and other religious building around it. The buildings have many ruins constitute of the architectural wonders of the world. Visitors could get the unforgettable experience in lifetime while walking between ruins and temples in Bagan. The sun set or panoramic view from the top of the temples was memorable and fantastic. The technologically daring, exquisite in execution of temples in Bagan are rarely witnessed anywhere else in the world.

Inlay Lake

Inlay Lake is situated eastern part of Myanmar in the Shan state; the second largest natural lake located 3000 ft above the sea level. It is located in the middle of Nyaung Shwe valley. Inlay is one of the main tourist destinations in Myanmar. The Lake is 24Km long and about 12km wide and famous for its scenic beauty. The population is about 160,200 and most of people in lake are live on the floating island of vegetation specially growing tomatoes plant. Most of Inthar races admit Inlay lake as their hometown and spend their whole-life in the way of fishing, planting and weaving. Most of them are live in stilted houses that elevated over the water and 6m deepest from the water level. Formally they harvest vegetables on floating islands. The Inle lake is famous because of unusual feature of its extraordinary “Leg-Rowing Fishermen” who are eccentric method of rowing their small boats with one leg. They are skillful for their rowing skills in having one leg locked along the handle of the paddle, the other just standing of the stern of the boat while keeping a perfect balance. Over the water on stilts, there have villages, farms and monasteries. Visitors may observe cottage industries of weaving, netting and cheroot making.

Mandalay

Mandalay (Yadanabon) is the second largest city of Myanmar, the royal capital of the last monarchy Myanmar and lies in the heartland of Myanmar 620 Km north of Yangon. Mandalay was founded in 1857 as the capital by King Mindon and remained the capital city of the Konboung. Mandalay is full with Myanmar's politeness, artistry and religion. There are gold and silver crafts, wood and marble carving, silk weaving and ancient tapestry. And also have peerless gold leaf making, hand-weaving of silk and cotton, wood and stone carving and bronze casting, ancient tapestry and also traditional dance. The way you can see the river jetty at Mandalay is abundant with small boat through up and down the river, bamboo rafts and cargo boats with huge logs from the teak forests upriver. Mandalay international airport is the gateway to Mandalay and its takes around one and half hour flight from Yangon. Or, 14 hours by express coaches and about 14 hours by train from Yangon.

Tour Sightseeing is included Mandalay Hill, Mandalay Palace, Mahamuni Pagoda, Kuthodaw Pagoda, Zeycho Market, Shwenandaw Golden Palace Monastery and handicraft work shop. There have many ancient capitals environment of Mandalay such as Amarapura, Sagaing, Ava, Mingun where Kongboung dynasty kings established their capitals respectively.

9. Climate and Weather

Myanmar has a favourable tourist friendly climate and has the influence of a tropical monsoon climate, Myanmar had three distinct seasons: Summer season (30-35° C) runs from February to April, Rainy season (25-30° C) runs from May to October, and the Winter season (20-25° C) goes from November to January. The best period to visit Myanmar is the dry-cold season from November to February. At that time, the weather is very fair and scenery is very green, with the lakes and rivers full of water in most areas.

10. Currency

Myanmar local currency is Kyat. Notes are issued in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000 & 10000. As per new Foreign Exchange Regulations, Foreigners are free to exchange at authorized money exchangers in Banks or at the Airport according to daily international exchange rates. It is important to bring enough US$ dollars into Myanmar as there’s are no EFTPOS, traveller’s cheque services or any international online bank transaction services. There are numerous ATM machines now available in Yangon and Mandalay.

WeAsia Profile

Conceived at Dhaka forum in August 2016 and formed at Yangon forum by December 2016, WeAsia is a 6-country synergy to offer the travel industry a more immersive experience in South Asia. In their own country base, all of the 6 DMCs are serving their discerning clients worldwide for last 1 or 2 decades with strong repute, acknowledged by many prestigious awards. All of the country heads are well-accredited personalities in regional tourism industry.

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