Myanmar, also called Burma, or officially UNION OF MYANMAR, is a country lying along the eastern coasts of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea in south-east Asia. To be more accurate, Myanmar lies between Latitudes 4’31’ and 28’31’ North and Longitudes 92’10’ and 101’11’ East.
About 55 million people live in Myanmar.
Though ethnologists have identified 135 different ethno linguistic groups, the eight major races are Bamar, Mon, Kachin, Kayin, kayah, Chin, Rakhine and Shan. There are still a good number of Indian and Chinese people.
Myanmar or Burmese is the official language. More than 100 dialects are spoken in the country. English is spoken within business areas.
While the majority of Myanmar, around 87 per cent, practice Theravada Buddhism, there are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists. However, there is complete freedom in religion among Buddhists or non-Buddhists in Myanmar. An appreciation of Buddhism may probably help foreigners who want better understanding of the Myanmar temperament.
Myanmar lies between two of the world’s great and ancient civilizations- China and India and it has incorporated the finer arts and blended it to the tastes of native traits and characteristics. Buddhism has great influence on the conduct of life, so the people have maintained the tradition of reverence for religion and clergy, obedience and respect for parents, elders & seniors. Simple and modest dresses and traditional native costumes of the different tribes. Every full moon day of the lunar month is celebrated joyously with delicacies, food and charities for a religious, social or seasonal festival. Lavish receptions for a happy or special occasion with music, merry-making, songs and dance. Generally speaking the people are hospitable, friendly and fun loving. But during the Buddhist Lent [from full moon of July to full moon of October] marriages and shifting of residences are a taboo for the laity. Also the change of monasteries for the clergy. Myanmar enjoys a rich heritage of culture and custom.
Myanmar is a diamond-shaped country reaching 925 kilometers or 575 miles from the east to the west and 2,100 kilometers or 1,300 miles from the north to the south. Thailand, Laos and China border it in the east while Bangladesh and India in the north and the Indian Ocean in the west and the south. The Irrawaddy River flows through central Myanmar and forms a delta on the south coast; Yangon stands next to one of its many mouths. North of the delta sits the Irrawaddy basin and central Myanmar, which is guarded by a horseshoe of mountains ascending to over 3,000 meters or 10,000 feet, creating profound climatic results. To the west are the Arakan, Naga and Chin mountains and the Patkai Hills; the Kachin Hills sit to the north; to the east lies the Shan Plateau, extending to the Tenasserim coastal ranges. Intensive irrigated farming is practiced all over central Myanmar, and fruit, citrus crops and vegetables thrive on the Shan Plateau; however, subtropical forest covers much of the land and mountains.
The length of contiguous frontier is 3,828 miles (6,159 km) and the coastline from the mouth of Naaf River to Kawthaung is 1,385 miles (2,228 km).
The total length of boundary:
• Myanmar-China 1,370 miles
• Myanmar-Thailand 1,310 miles
• Myanmar-India 832 miles
• Myanmar-Laos 148 miles
• Myanmar-Bangladesh 168.7 miles
Best season: Nov – Feb Dry and relatively cool
Hot & Dry: Mar – May Very hot. during day time, it reaches 35C easily.
You cannot stay out more than 1 hr.
Hot & Wet: Jun – Oct Rain is not so heavy in areas such as Bagan.
But in mountain areas such as Inle Lake, rain can be very heavy.
Traveling on mountain roads can be very difficult, allow extra time.
Myanmar currency is called Kyat, and comes in notes of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 90, 50, 45, 20, 10, 5 and 1 Kyat.
Items such as meals, bus ticket, trishaw or taxi rides and market items are usually quoted in kyat.
Hotels, flights archaeological sites and ferries are paid for in US Dollars.
.You can change your Dollars or Euros all around Myanmar, but you will have a better rate in Yangon
Credit Cards and travelers squelches
It is now possible to withdraw cash from a few ATm’s ( in Yangon and Mandalay)with A Master card or Visa card in CB Bank only. But we recommend you to bring enough cash for your personal expenses.
Business hours and Holidays
Government offices open from 10:00 to 16:00 on weekdays. Banking hours are from 10:00 to 14:00. Private companies work daily except Sunday and gazette holidays. Shopping centers and super markets open daily. The most famous Bog yoke (Scott) market is open daily from 10:00 to 16:00 except on gazette holidays.
No inoculation or vaccinations are required unless coming from or passing through an infected area. Clients should bring sufficient medication with them if needed and should enquirer for updated health recommendation before coming to Myanmar, regarding hepatitis, malaria, typhoid, etc. Please contact us if you need detailed information on health Services available in Myanmar.
We would like to recommend all clients to obtain the necessary personal baggage, medical and accident insurance before coming to Myanmar. (S.O.S) world wide has a local representative office in Yangon with a (24) hour on Call Service for emergency evacuation and medical assistance.
What to bring?
An antibiotic pills and cream for minor cuts and scratches. Prescription medicines prescribe by a doctor. Insect repellent, especially for mosquito. Bring umbrella or rain coat if you travel during rainy Season. Hat, Sun glasses, Sun protection for your face and body. Extra passport photos, in case you may need it.
What to wear?
We advise all visitors coming to Myanmar to dress properly, as it can be offensive wearing shorts, mini skirts or revealing clothing, which are not appropriate at all, especially when visiting Temple or any holy site in Myanmar.
Please dress with respect and have respect for the Culture and Religion. Light clothing, cotton and cool fabrics are suitable the whole year around. For winter ,sweater or sport coat and may be socks are needed in places like Kalaw, Inlay, in the Southern Shan State, as it is quite cold during the night. Foot wears, please bring Sandals as it is convenient, when paying a visit to Temples and Monastery. Guest are requested to take-off their foot wears at every religious site and when entering private home for polite sake. Flip- flops or Myanmar slippers can be purchase locally.
Immigration and custom formalities
Upon arrival you’re to declare all your valuables items such as (Jewelry, Cameras, electronic equipment etc). On your custom declaration form. Receipt or voucher is needed when departing form Myanmar, Yangon int’l airport, for things that you purchased locally, such as gems and jewelry.
The postal service in Myanmar is definitely cheap. Of course, letters and postcards take quite some time to reach their destinations but usually most of them will arrive. Parcels may be sent and delivered in Myanmar but again it is rather time-consuming, especially if you want to pick up a parcel at the Foreign Post Office – bring along a lot of time and patience! Private services like DHL come at a price but are doing a good job. If you should wish to send bulky and heavy items home it can be done either by airfreight or by sea. In this case our guides will be willing to give you the necessary help and assistance.
International calls can be made from major hotels and the Central Telegraph Office in Major cities. Whenever making phone calls from Myanmar it is important to ask for the price first – at some hotels the tariff might be double the official rate. The service is improving but connections are poor and international calls are expensive. Internet is available at several locations throughout the country. You can bring your own laptop with you and also your cellular phone, but please remember that the local mobile telephone net is practically useless for tourists.
We would like to urge all clients traveling with (Golden Brothers & Sisters Travels & Tours) to drink only purified bottle water. Bottled water is readily available and some hotels provide Complimentary.
Power and electricity
Most of our hotels in urban cities like Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan offer (24) hours power Supply. Generators are used if needed. Other parts of the Country in rural areas, like Kyaingtung in eastern Shan State, Kalaw, Pindaya, Nyaung Shwe, Taunggyi and Inlay generated power may not always available.
Our Voltage in Myanmar is 220-230 volts Ac. Most of the international hotels have their own generators. At some places may experiences power cuts and Voltage fluctuation which can damage computers and other electricity equipment. So please travel with the require protection for your electrical equipment.