...HERE IS THE CORNER WHERE YOU
CAN LEARN SOME FUNDAMENTAL FACTS ABOUT MYANMAR, AND A WORLD TRAVELER CAN
HOPEFULLY REFER AS A GUIDANCE BEFORE KICKING OFF A TRIP TO MYANMAR...
Myanmar is the country, which was
formerly known as “Burma”. The name
“Myanmar” has long been used by its people
to describe their homeland. In British
Colonial times, it was mispronounced as
“Burma”, but in 1992, the original name
“Myanmar” is again used officially. The
official name is the “Union of Myanmar”. It
is also known as the “Golden Land” not only
for its glistening Temples and Pagodas but
also for its rich land and the wealth of its
agriculture and minerals.
Myanmar lies between Latitudes 4’31’ and
28’31’ North and Longitudes 92’10’ and
Myanmar is bounded by Bangladesh and India on the Northwest, by China on the
Northeast, by Laos on the East and by
Thailand on the Southeast. The total length
of the International borders is 5858 Km
(3640 miles) long.
Myanmar is the
largest mainland country in South-East Asia.
It has a total area of 676,577 square
kilometers (261,610 square miles). The
country stretches 2090Km (1299-miles) from
North to South and 925Km (575 miles) from
East to West at its widest points. It also
has a total length of 2832 Km (1760 miles)
of coastlines facing the Bay of Bengal and
the Andaman Sea.
SPDC (State Peace &
Development Council) who assumed the power
after coup d' etat took placed in
1998.Senior General Than Shwe, the chairman
of SPDC and prime minister. The former
constitution was ended after 1998 coup d'
etat, and the new one is in a position of
being discussed. 7 divisions: Ayeyarwaddy,
Bago, Magwe, Mandalay, Sagaing, Thanintharyi,
Yangon are surrounded by 7 states: Chin,
Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon, rakhine, Shan.
Probably one of the largest per capita in
Asia with around 300,000 men.
Nay Pyi Taw is
the capital city of Myanmar and Yangon is
the Commercial City of Myanmar. It has direct air
links with Bangkok, Chiangmai, Singapore,
Kualalanpur, Hong Kong, Taipei, Kunming,
Dhaka and Calcutta. Ocean-going vessels can
also reach up to Yangon Port through the
Yangon River. Visitors from neighboring
countries of China and Thailand can enter
through the border-checkpoints.
Myanmar has a long history and its
greatness dates back as early as the early 11th century A.D.
King Anawratha (1044-1077A.D) had consolidated the whole
country into the “First Myanmar Empire” at Bagan. It lasted
about two centuries. King Bayintnaung (1551-1581A.D) had
founded the “Second Myanmar Empire” at Hanthawaddy (Bago).
The “Third Myanmar Empire” was founded by the King Alaung
Paya in A.D.1752. After that, British moved into Myanmar and
it became a British Colony after three “Anglo-Myanmar Wars”
that had taken place in 1825, 1852 and 1885 respectively.
During the World War II, the Japanese troops had occupied
Myanmar from 1942 to 1945. Myanmar became a sovereign independent country on 4th January
ClimateMyanmar has a tropical climate, generally
hot and humid, and can be visited throughout the year. The
rainy season lasts from mid-May to mid-October. From
mid-October to mid-February is the cool season and from
mid-February to mid-May is the hot season. The most pleasant
time to visit Myanmar is the open season from mid-October to
mid-May during which temperatures are moderate. Temperature
ranges from 21 degree Celsius in the dry cold season and 35
degree Celsius in the hot season.
Population & PeopleMyanmar’s population is about
in 2011. It is a Union of many nationalities. There are as many as 135 tribes living in Myanmar
harmoniously, with their own languages and dialects. The
term “Myanmar” embraces all nationalities. The major races
are the Burma, the Chin, the Kachin, the Kayah, the Kayin,
the Mon, the Rakhine and the Shan. The Bamars make up about
69 percent of the total population. The population growth
rate is 1.88 percent.
More than 135 different ethnic groups, each
with a heritage of its own, have lived together for hundreds
of generation and contributed to the country's rich and
ReligionTheravada Buddhism is the predominant
religion in Myanmar. About 89 percent of the population are
Theravada Buddhists, mainly are the tribes of Bamars, Shans,
Mons, Rakhines, and some Kayins. There are also Christians,
Muslins, Hindus and some animists. The Christian population
is composed mainly of Kayins and mountain tribes such as
Kachin and Chins. People of Indian Origin practice Islam and
LanguageBamar is spoken by 70 per cent of
population. There are several hundreds of languages and
dialects classifiable into four main language families: Tai
(Shan people), Austro-asiatic (Mon, palaung, wa)
Malay-Polynesian (salon or Moken spoken in the islands of
the Myeik Archipelago), Sino-Tibetan (Bamar, Kachin, lahu,
Akha, Lisu and others). Official language is Bamar and
English is widely understandable in big cities and towns.
CultureMyanmar is situated between the China and
the India, which are the two of the world’s great
civilizations. But Myanmar’s culture is neither that of
Indian nor China exclusively, but a blend of both
interspersed with Myanmar native traits and characteristics.
Theravada Buddhism has great influence on daily life of the
Myanmars. Myanmar people have preserved the traditions of
close family ties, respect for the elders, reverence for
Buddhism and simple native dress.
Myanmars are known for their simplicity, honesty, generosity,
hospitality and friendliness. Myanmar people are fun loving and festivals
form the center of Myanmar social life. Each month has its
own festive occasion. Myanmar people wear light and casual dress
almost all year round except in mountainous areas. Thin
cotton is the best in summer and open season.
The basic Myanmar Food is mainly rice and
curry with meets or fish usually served with salad and
variety of vegetables with fish paste. Some Myanmar curries
are spicy, but tend to be less chilly-hot than Thai cuisine. "Mohinga", rice noodles with fish gravy is favorite for
breakfast, and "Ohn-no-Khaukswe, noodles with coconut and
chicken curry is the most popular among Myanmar Food.
Myanmar is not only a country of fruits and
vegetables but also a country of seafood. Anyone who has
experienced Myanmar seafood will readily agree to its great
variety and its savory taste and sweet smell. Well-preserved crabs, prawns, lobsters and other shellfish are
prepared and seasoned with various sorts of flavor and
spices. Seafood is available wherever you are in Myanmar. Chinese food both Cantonese and Fukienese
are popular among Myanmar people. There are Chinese
restaurants in almost every town in Myanmar. Indian food
like Kebabs and Biriani are also popular with Myanmar
palate. European, Thai, Japanese, Korean and Singapore cuisine are
available only at hotels and specific restaurants.
Local Standard TimeLocal
Standard time is (6) hours (30) minutes ahead of
Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
Most Government offices are open Monday
to Friday from 09:30 AM to 04:30 PM, Banks
are open from 09:30 AM to 03:00 PM on
weekdays only. Private shops are generally
open from around 10:00 AM till 09:00 PM.
ElectricityDomestic Power 220-250 volt, 50 HZ. Power
CurrenciesMyanmar currency is Kyat, which comprises 100 pyas, but pya is almost no use in
practical. Paper Notes are; Kyat 5000, Kyat 1000, Kyat 500, Kyat 200, Kyat 100, Kyat 90,
Kyat 50, Kyat 45, Kyat 20, Kyat 15, Kyat 10, Kyat 5 and Kyat 1.Visitors are not
allowed to bring in or take out Kyat.
Although there are some foreign currencies
such as English pound, French franc, Germany mark, Japan
Yen, S' pore dollar, Switzerland franc which may be
changeable in market we would strongly recommend to bring in
American dollar in cash.
The government puts a stop to FEC system
and so Individual travelers (FIT) need not to exchange US$
200 into FECs (Foreign Exchange Certificate) anymore upon
arrival at Yangon airport. It is strongly recommended to
bring US$ in cash in small denominations. Many hotels accept
only payment in US$, and Kyat are accepted in restaurants
and shops. International credit cards and traveller cheques
are not widely used so far. Only leading hotels will accept
American Express and Visa Card. Master Card is not accepted
Post & Communications
Myanmar Post and Telecommunication office has been
implementing effective systems of delivering in time
services. There is at times some missing stuff of
mails and it is therefore advisable to register your
mails or parcel. It is much more convenient to use
the private services like DHL, OCS. Your parcels as
well as cassette, video tapes, CDs and some
peripherals of the electrical accessories like iPod
, MP3 and USB may be inspected or confiscated if
necessary. The business hours start from 09:30 to
16:30 through weekday.
Telephone The public Phone
services are now well equipped and
easy to connect to everywhere not
only in any area of Local but in
overseas. Calls make as easily
access at the PCO stands and some
places of downtown area as the
public phone stand may cost one call
- approx 3-minute - ranges from
100~200K and some places around
downtown area has available 24 hours
service PCO stands . Fax and E-mail
may also available at telecom
department quite close to Sule
Pagoda downtown and some of the
PCO's stands. 1 page of A4 size
costs approx US$ 4 and the rate may
vary to Asia and Europe. Myanmar
Country Code is 095 and the district
code begin from 01~.
E-mail service has been established in 1997
yet internet service is not widely used
except a couple of
Cyber Cafes in Yangon for public use
before. But now E-mail service and internet
access are handily and widely using at Cyber
Cafes that the number has been increasing
for the user demands day by day and charges
for service are cheaper than before.
Burma which is
the name known widely abroad was
renamed as Myanmar in 1989. Some
names that were in English were
re-changed into Myanmar in
accordance with Myanmar
pronunciation. Please see below for
some re-changed names: