Myanmar Country Information

Myanmar Country Information

Myanmar is at the crossroads of the great civilizations of India and China, and overlooks the Indian Ocean next door to Thailand. One of the largest and most diverse countries in Southeast Asia, Myanmar stretches from the islands of the Andaman Sea in the south to the mountain ranges of the Eastern Himalayas in the north. Today, Myanmar remains one of the most mysterious and undiscovered tourist destinations in the world. It is a land of breathtaking beauty and charm that is so rare in today’s world. Myanmar offers all the traditional delights of Asia in one charming country. Virgin jungles, snow-capped mountains and white-sand beaches, united by a rich and magnificent heritage spanning more than two thousand years. Spectacular monuments and ancient cities have witnessed a vibrant culture, which is still close to 135 different ethnic groups. Whether you are cruising down the majestic Ayeyarwaddy River, flying in a hot air balloon over the ancient city of Bagan, or even looking for the elusive tiger on the back of an elephant, wherever you are in Myanmar, you will not be left with a sense of adventure. From hiking and rafting in the far north, to high-class diving in the Mergui archipelago. But above all, Myanmar offers you the warmest welcome in Asia. The word “Myanmar” (Burm.) means “fast”, “strong” and echoes the word “Mya”, meaning “emerald”. You will not leave the feeling of adventure. From hiking and rafting in the far north, to high-class diving in the Mergui archipelago. But above all, Myanmar offers you the warmest welcome in Asia. The word “Myanmar” (Burm.) means “fast”, “strong” and echoes the word “Mya”, meaning “emerald”.

Geographical position

According to DIGOPAUL.COM, Myanmar borders India (1463 km) and Bangladesh (193 km) in the west, China (2185 km) in the northeast, Laos (235 km) in the east and Thailand (1800 km) in the southeast. From the south and southwest, its shores are washed by the waters of the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Moutama (Martaban), as well as the Andaman Sea. The area of ​​the country, including the adjacent islands, is 678 thousand km², the length of the coastline is 1930 km.

Climate

The most favorable time for a holiday in Burma (Myanmar) is the period from October to March. As in other countries of Southeast Asia, Myanmar has three seasons: wet, lasting from late May to late October; “cool” – from late October to mid-February; and hot – from mid-February to late May. In Yangon, in January, the average monthly temperature is 24 ° C, in summer the thermometer never rises above 41 ° C.

In May – early June, the rainy season begins, which lasts until the end of September. At this time, there are heavy, but short showers, mostly in the afternoon and evening. In the southern regions of the country (Yangon) they are more pronounced, in the central regions less. In October, rains give way to dry weather at the same time as temperatures drop up to 20 ° C, in the northern mountains it often drops to 0 ° C.

In March, the temperature begins to rise and rises without ceasing until the rainy season and on the hottest days in the center of the country reaches 40 degrees, although in the mountainous regions in the north of the country it does not rise above 15.

Myanmar cuisine

Local cooks respect spicy seasonings very much: fish, rice, noodles are seasoned with onions, ginger, garlic and chili. There are many fruits in the country, chicken and seafood dishes are also popular – shrimp, crabs, lobsters. The main local drink is tea, but the natives manage to richly flavor even it with hot spices, so not every tourist dares to enjoy it. Local soft drinks are mostly of low quality and quite expensive. “National” dishes of Myanmar: “letok son” is a kind of spicy vegetable salad with rice, “moinga” is fish soup with noodles, “o-no hauk sve” is rice pasta flour with chicken and coconut milk. Many hotels and restaurants offer Chinese and Indian cuisine. In “tourist places” it is easy to find a restaurant with an English menu and even English-speaking staff.

Shopping and shops in Myanmar

In the shops and markets of Myanmar you can find a great variety of souvenirs and gifts: the range of prices and quality is very large. There are crafts made from shells (up to chandeliers and curtains), sun umbrellas, figurines, sculptures and paintings made of teak wood, national clothes, postcards, wooden teapots and cups, something like a local analogue of Russian Palekh, a rosary. Souvenirs are more impressive – gold jewelry, including those with amethysts, sapphires and rubies. True, for such serious purchases you need to be able to understand the stones – in order to really save money and not miscalculate in quality. In addition, in Myanmar you can buy things made of lacquer, silk, decorative dolls, stone and wood products.

Money

Banks are open from 10:00 to 14:00 from Monday to Friday. It is better to bring only cash dollars into Myanmar. Banknotes in denominations of 100 USD must be no older than 1996. Exchange on the street is officially prohibited, but it is there that the best exchange rate and it is there that most exchanges take place. The exchange rate at the airport is significantly underestimated, and indeed the official exchange rate is very different from the exchange rate on the “black market”. Real exchange rate: 1 USD = ~1000-1200 MMK (compare with the official one at the beginning of the article and feel the difference!) For those tourists who do not want to risk contacting street “currency traders”, it is best to change dollars in hotels. Tipping in a restaurant or cafe will be happy, but it is not necessary to give them. You can simply praise the dish you especially like. It is better not to change more than 100 USD at a time for local money. They won’t be exchanged back. and you can’t spend a large amount even in a month. In no case should you change money from Indians, who often offer a very favorable rate – these figures can simply run away, snatching a bill. Since September 2003, credit cards have been officially banned in Myanmar, however, some hotels continue to quietly accept Visa and American Express. Master Card is not accepted anywhere.

Myanmar transport

The railway option for moving around Myanmar is affordable, and you can get in a wagon almost anywhere in the country. In addition, water transport is well developed – passenger boats run along the rivers Irrawaddy, Chindwin, Thanlvin and others. They are “fast” (express, speed boat) and “slow” (regular, slow boat). Bus companies in the country are private, fares for foreigners and locals are the same and low. Bus tickets can be bought at the city bus station, travel agency or hotel (with an extra charge of ~0.5 USD). The buses themselves are quite old, but with soft seats, air conditioning and video.

History

Traces of the first settlers on the territory of modern Myanmar date back to about the eighth millennium BC, in the Neolithic era. However, no traces of settled civilizations have been found by archaeologists. The first settlements date back to the border of the second and first millennium, when the Tibeto-Burman tribes descend from the north, and then the Pyu and Tai. Little is known about this period, as well as about the first civilizations that formed at the end of the third century BC. and passed into our era. It is known that during this period the Mons lived here, living in city-states, with strong social stratification and a system of slavery. Brahmanism and Buddhism were practiced here, often mixed with animistic cults. In the period from the 11th to the 18th centuries, the territory of Myanmar was divided into several kingdoms, the most significant of which were Pegu and Northern Arakan, which in the second half of the 18th century managed to unite into a single state. In the 16th century, Europeans, Portuguese, Dutch, French and British began to arrive in Myanmar, some in search of a better fate, and some with trading interests. The Burmese Konbaun dynasty was able to maintain independence from Great Britain until the twenties of the 19th century, when the latter, in order to expand its dominance, began to deepen in the region and capture new countries of the Bay of Bengal. It was then that a new country appeared on the map – Burma. English domination forced the rulers to carry out serious reforms: to unify provincial administration, introduce a new monetary and tax system, and facilitate the arrival of foreign specialists and the development of industry. After World War I and the 1917 revolution in Burma, as in other colonized countries, for example, in India, there is a national liberation movement that advocated independence. In 1947, Great Britain was forced to sign an agreement recognizing the independence of Myanmar, but a year later a civil war broke out in the country, as a result of which the communists came to power in the country.

Today Myanmar is a people’s republic open to travelers and pilgrims.

Myanmar Country Information