The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is the second largest country in Southeast Asia with thousands of centuries-old temples cross-country, extraordinary natural landscapes and deeply diverse culture. All create the Myanmar unique, peaceful and mysterious.

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Myanmar Travel Facts:

Myanmar or Burma, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, is located in the South East Asia, setting a boundary with Thailand and Laos on the east, Bangladesh to the west and China and India to the north, as well as having a long coastline to the west with the Bay of Bengal & the Andaman Sea.

  • Biggest City: Yangon (former capital), Mandalay.
  • Capital: Naypyidaw, a new settled capital since 2006)
  • Size: 676,578 square kilometers
  • Society: 135 different ethnic groups and 8 main national races: Bamar (estimated 68% of population), Shan (10%), Kayin (7%), Rakhine people (4%), Mon (2%), Chin, Kayah and Kachin.
  • Religion: Mainly Buddhist (about 85%), Animism (5%), Christian (about 4.5%) and Muslim (about 4%) and Hindu – 1.5%.
  • Languages: 4 major language families: Sino-Tibetan, Tai–Kadai, Austro-Asiatic, and Indo-European. Sino-Tibetan – most widely spoken, including Burmese (official language of Myanmar – mother tongue of the Bamar), Karen, Kachin, Chin, and Chinese (mainly Hokkien).

History of Myanmar:

Prehistory
  • 750,000 years ago: Homo erectus archeology’ evidence
  • 25,000 BP: First evidence of Homo sapiens with stone tools in central Myanmar
  • 10,000 and 6,000 BC: Evidence of Neolithic age in Padah-Lin Caves
  • Bronze Age (1,500 BC): Human remains and artefacts discovered in Monywa District
  • Iron Age (500 BC): Iron-working settlements in south of current Mandalay

Pyu city-states & Mon kingdoms

  • 2nd century BC – 9th century: Pyu millennium in central Myanmar
  • 6th century: the appearance of Mon People in lower Myanmar  with prosperous kingdoms at Pegu and Thaton

Pagan Kingdom

  • 9th century – early 13th century: Pagan Empire, settling in Pagan (now known as Bagan): extremely important development period of Myanmar, the construction of 10,000 Buddhist Temple in Bagan, many survives until today.
Divided Myanmar
  • 13th century – 18th century: four major power centres: Upper Myanmar, Lower Myanmar, the Shan States and Arakan.

Toungoo Dynasty

  • 1580 – 1752, covering most of modern-day Myanmar (excluding Arakan and the far south)
Konbaung Dynasty
  • 1753 – 1885
Colonial period
  • 1886 – 1948: British rule and Japan Occupation during World War II
Military Rule
  • 1962 – 2011
Myanmar political reforms
  • 2011 – present:
    • 2015 Myanmar general elections: held in Myanmar on 8 November 2015, with the National League for Democracy winning a supermajority of seats in the combined national parliament.
    • 06 April, 2016: Myanmar’s democracy leader, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi becam state counselor official, giving her authority

Culture of Myanmar:

The Myanmar Culture has been dramatically influenced by Buddhism with more than 90% of the population. It is believed that it was the Kingdom of Pagan (Bagan) brought this religion into Myanmar in 1044. Until now, thousands of golden pagodas have still existed throughout Myanmar. Myanmar people show their respect to Buddhism by keep religious areas clean and removing their shoes to enter, even foreigners also have to comply with it. The second largest religion in Myanmar is Christians.

Burmese culture, especially language and education, is also influenced by British Rule and westernization with the role of English in business circle nowadays, besides the official language is Myanmar (Burmese).

The architecture of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), in Southeast Asia, includes architectural styles, reflecting the impact of Buddhism and colonial heritage. Buddhist architecture takes the key role in Myanmar, being used to serve as a religious school, a community center for government or other agencies’ posts or sport activities, an entertainment center for music and dance, a guest house, etc. While most temples in central Burma reflect Burmese Style, the temple of Shan State shows the Shan Style in the constructions surrounded by small shops. Traditional houses are made mainly of bamboo and wood, then adjusted to impact of neighbor, Western nations and modernization.

Traditional Dress

The Longyi is Myanmar traditional dress worn by both male and female like a sarong. While males tie the front in a knot that hangs out, the ladies tuck it into the side. In formal occasion, men wear a longchy, including a longyi and a formal shirt, women, whereas, have a tummy.

Food & Drink in Myanmar 

Because of diversity of ethnic groups, Myanmar has a wide variety of local food, which is typical for each ethnic minority and deep impacts of Indian, Thai, and Chinese cuisine in border area. Similar to other Asian Culture, rice is the main ingredient in Myanmar meals.

They also love spicy and hot taste, so almost traditional meals in Myanmar are cooked with a lot of chili, garlic and ginger.

Tea is Myanmar national drink, even served free at some restaurant. Besides, beer, rum, whisky and gin are available alcohol in Myanmar too.

Find out more information about food and drink in Myanmar

Myanmar climate and best time to visit

Because of a tropical monsoon climate, Myanmar has three main seasons: Cool season from November to February with dry air and warm temperature (20 – 24ºC), hot season from March to May with average temperature from 30 – 35ºC as well as rainy season from June to October with heavy rainfall and average temperature from 25 – 30ºC.

The best time to visit Myanmar is during the cool season (winter season) with least humid and moderate temperature. The worst time to visit the central regions of Myanmar is from March to May as temperatures can rise to over 40°C.

More on The Best Time to visit Myanmar 

How to come Myanmar?

By Bus: you can take a bus from Thailand to Myanmar

By Flight: Myanmar has three international airports including Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airport. There are a lot of daily regular external flights in/out these airports everyday. If there is not direct flights to Myanmar, the cheapest way to reach it is stop over in Bangkok, Singapore or Vietnam.

Where to go in Myanmar?

Bagan: is the capital of ancient Pagan Kingdom, still remaining a complex of 2,000 temples out of 10,000 Buddhist temples built during 11th – 13th century. Bagan is currently including Old Bagan – UNESCO heritage site and New Bagan. Especially, to visit panoramic view of Bagan old town, clients can rent a hot-air balloon, which flies over the ancient temple and pagodas for about 40 minutes. It will be quite expensive, but worth experience.

Mandalay Palace: is the last royal palace of last Burmese monarchy, built between 1857 and 1859. The palace design has great influence in Burmese culture and religion, inside a walled fort surrounded by a moat with presence of gold in the hall, which combines with deep red.

Hsinbyume Pagoda: is considered Taj Mahal of Myanmar on the northern side of Mingun in Sagaing Region. This Pagoda is painted in all white, especially the white main stupa on top is surrounded by many wave-like terraces one of another.

U-Bein Bridge: is the longest teak footbridge in the world and spreads about 1300 yards across the Taungthaman Lake, built at a slight curve in 1851 with over thousand wooden pillars.

Yangon: is the biggest city in Myanmar, famous for Shwedagon and Sule Pagoda. Coming here, tourist should not miss out local markets such as Bogyoke Aung San Market with hundreds of stores and shops selling Burmese handicraft, jewelry, accessories, art works and clothes.

Inle Lake: is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with local villages, peaceful natural scenery and great views of golden stupas and stilt house, especially when taking a boat ride here.

Top 10 Must-do Activities in Myanmar 

Visa Requirements to Myanmar:

Myanmar government has different regulations for distinct nationality groups. For tourist visa, Myanmar provides three main visa categories: Visa Exemption (for almost ASEAN members and some Asian countries), E-visa and Visa on arrival. Besides, visitors can come Myanmar Embassy/Consulate to get Myanmar directly.

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