Dos and Don’ts in Myanmar

Myanmar has only recently reopened its door to the outside world, willing to welcome millions of travelers around the world. The travelers now have chance to discover an authentic land, which hidden from sight for decades and have no idea how locals live and work. To make your way through Myanmar without offending the locals, it is necessary to know what should dos and don’ts in Myanmar.

Here’s a list of things we advise you should do and don’t during your stay in Myanmar:

  • Do not touch someone’s head. We do not give either of pat on the back as a sign of affection. They do not greet women by shaking hands.
  • Never point your finger tip to anyone’s face, for any reason. Interpretations are different and this can be a sign of reproach. When moving, if you want to ask the person next to you to lift his/her legs to let you pass, smile at him. It will make you smile while moving.
  • To salute on entering a house, you tilt slightly forward as a courtesy. Remove your shoes if you notice that the host has done the same.
  • If you give gifts, do it with both hands and bow forward slightly.
  • In restaurants, you can eat with your fingers if you see that the Burmese do the same. In those a classier restaurant, avoid.
  • The Burmese pay special attention to cleanliness, so remember to have a suitable outfit and stay clean.
  • To call a Burmese, if it is someone important to call their function, if it is someone older or more important, it is customary to add a “U” before the name.
  • When you walk down the street and you hear whistling behind you, there is surely somebody that requires the passage.
  • The Burmese may seem indifferent but it is simply a mark of good education. They must not show curiosity.
  • Avoid showing signs of affections in public, the Burmese are quite modest overall.
  • Bartering is still used in Myanmar. Do not be surprised if someone addresses you by offering to exchange one of your items against something else.
  • In pagodas and temples, remove shoes and socks. You should not sit turning your back to the Buddha, you do not tip feet in his direction and not bypass to the right. Consider making a donation for each visit.
  • Attention to the relationship with the monks! For women avoid physical contact. In general, we do not usually squeeze their hand, they do not like too close approach, we should sit below them, they are given more food after 12pm and we should not walk consciously on their shades.
  • Ask for permission before taking pictures of someone.

For other questions, please contact us for more information!


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