Having only recently reopened it door to the outside world, there are a lot Myanmar travel information need to be known. Through our website, you can find a comprehensive and continually updated Myanmar information on religion, its traditions, what to see and do, and a potted history of this fascinating and fast- changing country.
Some fast Myanmar information
Official name: Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Type of government: civil government since March 30, 2011
Capital: Naypyidaw (since 2006)
Area: 678,528 km2
Population: 51.5 million (2014)
Currency: Kyat (MMK) Religions: Buddhism (80% of the population) Myanmar (more known as Burma) is the largest country in Southeast Asia.
The country’s name was changed from Burma to Myanmar in 1989 by those in power to mark a break with the former British colonial power. However, the use of the word “Burma” is still widespread.
The country is bordered to the southwest by the Bay of Bengal and south by the Andaman Sea. The coast is about 2000 kilometers long. Myanmar shares inland borders with five countries: India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. The country is irrigated by the Ayeyarwaddy, one of the longest navigable rivers of Southeast Asia, which has its source in the Himalayas and empties into the Andaman Sea. It crosses the country from north to south and is divided into 8 arms before reaching the sea, forming a fertile delta of 33,670 km2.
Located in a tropical region, Myanmar has three seasons: the hot season (April to May), monsoon (June to September) and cool season (September to March). During the monsoon, rainfall is abundant on the west coast and in the northern mountains. But there is very little rain in the center region of the country like in Bagan and Mandalay.
Myanmar is divided into 7 regions housing the ethnically dominant Burmese (namingly, Ayeyarwady, Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Yangon) and 7 states which are inhabited by other major ethnic groups, which represent 20% to 25% Burma’s population (Chin, Kachin, Karen, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine, Shan). The ethnic Burmese, practicing Buddhism and speaking Tibeto-Burman language, occupies the central plain. Accounting for a majority of 75% of the population, they occupy half of the territory. The minorities share the outlying areas. The Karen people who live in the southeast region and the Irrawaddy Delta are the largest minority.
Burmese is the official language. Ethnic minorities speak their own language. In big cities it is relatively easy to be understood when speaking English but French is rarely spoken.
Religion & traditions
Religion has an important place in the culture and lifestyle of Burmese. In Myanmar, 89% of Burmese are Buddhist, 6% Christian, 4% Muslim, 1% animist, Hindu, etc. In parallel with practicing Theravada Buddhism, the Burmese also worship nats – spirits who can tamper with worldly affairs.
The country preserves its uniqueness: men wear longyi (similar to sarong), women adorn their face with Thanakha (a white herbal paste that acts as both sunblock and mosturizing cream) and grandmothers still chew betel nuts that give them red lips. You can still see rickshaws and horse-drawn carriages moving on the roads in the countryside. Thousands of “tea houses” (tea houses) perpetuate the art of tea, a legacy descending from the British colonial times.
Politics & Economy
Myanmar has experienced several decades under military dictatorship after the 1962 coup. This authoritarian regime gave way to civilian rule in 2011, the date that marks the country’s opening to the outside world. In recent years, more foreign investors as well as international tourists have come, contributing to the country’s socioeconomic development. More infrastructure, for instance new hotels and buildings, are built and the mobile network, Internet access, international ATMs and other services emblematic of globalization have emerged.
Myanmar is an extraordinary country with beautiful temples and scenic sites. Since opening, every year the country receives hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists who become infatuated with the beauty of this Golden Land. Tourist destinations includes Yangon, the city of golden pagodas as well as the first metropolitan in the country; the vast plain of Bagan, with its 2,000 temples and pagodas, the most impressive archaeological site in Asia on the bank of the Irrawaddy River; Mandalay, the cultural capital of Burma and the charm of its imperial cities and citadels; and Inle Lake, considered the jewel of the country.
Several areas of the country which are previously barred from tourists for years are now accessible.
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