General Information of MyanmarMyanmar sits at the crossroads of Asia's great civilizations of India and China, and looks out onto the vast Indian Ocean next to Thailand. One of South East Asia's largest and most diverse countries, Myanmar stretches from the sparkling islands of the Andaman Sea in the south right up into the Eastern Himalayan mountain range.
To this day Myanmar remains one of the most mysterious and undiscovered destinations in the world. A land of breathtaking beauty and charm yet only recently emerging into the modern world. What can the casual visitor therefore expect upon arrival and why should one embark on such a journey in the first place.
Myanmar offers all the traditional delights of Asia in one fascinating country. Virgin jungles, snow-capped mountains and pristine beaches, combined with a rich and glorious heritage spanning more than two thousand years. Spectacular monuments and ancient cities attest to a vibrant culture that is still home to 135 different ethnic groups.
The country's tourism infrastructure boasts five star properties, intimate boutique hotels and family guest houses in all the major centers, as well as stunning mountain and beach resorts. Myanmar also boasts one of the lowest tourist crime records in the world, so visitors can rest assured their holiday will be carefree from start to finish.
Wherever you go in Myanmar, whether it is cruising down the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River in style, drifting over the ancient city of Bagan by hot air balloon, or searching for that elusive tiger on the back of an elephant, there is always a feeling of adventure. With two modern internal airlines upgrading and expanding their networks, new and exciting destinations off the beaten track are gradually being opened. From mountain trekking and rafting in the far north to world class diving in the Mergui Archipelago. But above all, Myanmar offers the warmest welcome in Asia.
TOURS IN MYANMAR
Myanmar is the word which has long been used by its people to describe their homeland while the British called Burma. It is also known as the golden Land for the wealth of Agriculture and minerals. Myanmar with the total area of 676,577 square kilometers is the largest mainland in South East Asia. It shares a total of 5858 km of international borders with Bangladesh and India on the Northwest, China on the Northeast, Laos on the East and Thailand on the Southeast. It has a total length of 2832 km of Coastlines. The Country stretches 2090 km from North to South and 925 Km from East to West at its widest points. The official name is Union of Myanmar. The official name is Union of Myanmar composing of Seven States and Seven Divisions.
TREKKING IN MYANMAR
Myanmar's Off Beaten Trek
In the western of Myanmar are several small towns still not easily accessible for general tourism. For the adventurous, however, such destination as Hakha, the capital of the Chin's built on mountain terraces and surrounded by magnificent pine forests or Tongzan, and the cultural center of Chin tribes as well; 2704 meter high Mt. Kennedy near Teedeim may soon become accessible to traveler.
There is six days-five nights trekking adventure in Chin State to Mt.Victoria; not only to climb a 3,000 meter high mountain, but also to visit an area where people are still embracing with nature and tradition. Meet the ladies with a face full of tattoos which is a sign of beauty! Experience a way of life which has to be seen to be believed as it is totally different from everyday Myanmar life. Myanmar Tourism authorities control the influx of tourists so that this area will remain unspoiled and the people and tribes in this region can continue to live in their natural habitat.
FESTIVALS IN MYANMAR
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS / FESTIVAL 2006
Starting Date Closing Date Events & Festivals in Year 2006 City
4-Jan 4-Jan Independence Day
Celebrations arranged by the government at People's Park in Yangon and across the whole country. Ceremonies are very early at 0420 am and can usually not be attended by the public. All government offices and markets are closed. The whole country
Jan 9 Jan 10 Kachin Manaw Festival (State Day Festival)
Kachin State day is on 10 Jan. They festival will be held one day ahead of State day. But they celebrate once in 4th year or 10th year. Please check with us whether celebrate or not. Kachin State
Jan 14 Jan 15 Nar-ga New Year
The New Year is celebrated form January 14 to 15. On 14th, an opening ceremony is held in the morning and in the evening there is traditional dance with bonfires. On New Year day they have a competition of traditional sports, and gathering of subtribes of Narga, once fierce warriors in their bright and exotic dresses, celebrate with rice wine roasted meat and tribal dances performed with loud beating of drums. Chin State warriors
6-Jan 21-Jan Ananda Pagoda Festival
Ananda Pagoda festival will be held starting from 06 to 21 January. There are evening entertainments such as Zats: a variety of dance, song, short and long plays, Anyeints: a performance of a few hours in which number of jokers caricature current situations and or person strung together by a traditional dancer, popular movies shown in open air. It is also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, some of them are locally produced, are sold. The most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound, camp under the shady trees. It is very crowded around the full moon day, 08 -13 January 2006. Bagan
8-Jan 8-Jan Kaya State Day Kaya State
1-Feb 1-Feb Feast of Shan Harvest Day Shan State
7-Feb 7-Feb Shan State Day Shan State
12-Feb 12-Feb Union Day
Celebrations arranged by the government at People's Park in Yangon and across the whole country. Mostly early morning. All offices and markets are closed The whole country
5-Feb 20-Feb Mahamuni Ceremony
01st -09th waxing day, ceremony in which a number of monks chant Buddhist scriptures non-stop. 08 the waxing day till full moon day: the real festival days with evening entertainment such as Zats (a variety of dance, song and short & long plays), Anyeints ( a performance of a few hours in which a number of "jokers" ( usually four) caricature current situations and /or persons strung together by a traditional dancer) and popular movies shown in open air. In the day time, there are many stalls selling various kinds of Myanmar snacks displayed in continuous rows of long tables.
On the 08th waxing day (n), there is a communal offering of food (dry rations) and various domestic articles to monks from the nearby monasteries (ca.100) lined up as in usual offerings. Mandalay
5-Feb 13-Feb Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda Festival
Kyaik-Khauk Pagoda Festival will be held starting from 05 to 13 February. Most of the pagoda festival has evening entertainments such as Zats, Anyeints, some stage show and movies shown in the open air the whole night for every day. Villagers nearby come to the festival by ox-carts, which can be seen just before and on full moon day (12 February). Syriam
5-Feb 12-Feb Nyan Taw Pagoda Festival (Shwe Myin Tin Pagoda)
Similar to most of the pagoda festivals with most of the ingredients as in the Mahamuni Pagoda Festival. It is a famous pagoda festival in Maymyo. In addition, we can observe several Shan and other ethnic groups who come from the hills to sell their products. Maymyo (Pyin Oo Lwin)
2-Mar 2-Mar Peasants' Day
Held in honor of the country's largest productive workforce. The whole country
27-Feb 13-Mar Maw-Tin Pagoda Festival Ngapudaw, near Pathein
27-Feb 13-Mar Shwe Saryan Pagoda Festival
45 minutes drive form Mandalay on the way to Maymyo (near Hton Bo), You can also take a small boat on the Douhtawaddy River and visit the pagodas nearby, Myanmar traditional toys, boxes, baskets, mats made of dried toddy palm leaves are the best selling village products in this festival. Shwe Saryan Village, Patheingyi, Mandalay
1-Mar 13-Mar Pakhan Ko Gyi Kyaw Festival
Regional Nat festival like Taung Byone and Yadanar Gu. Shwe Gu Ni Village (between Pakkoku and Myingyan)
3-Mar 13-Mar Indawgyi Festival
Ca. 100 miles far from Myintkyina. Approx. Five hours drive up to Indawgyi. This festival is held yearly for ten days. One intriguing fact is that two sandbanks are washed up by the waves before the festival begins so that people can walk from the bank to the pagoda. People believe that one is for human use and the other is a passage for the gods. These two sandbanks disappear into the lake shortly after the festival. Hopin, near Myintkyina
7-Mar 13-Mar Zalun Pyidawpyan Image Festival Zalun, near Pathein
8-Mar 13-Mar Baw-gyo Festival
Once a year, only during the festival days, the locked up "four Buddha images" are brought out for display, worship and gilding with gold leaf. We can see tea-growing Palaung tribes from the hills and jewellers from Kyauk Me who try and sell their products there. Many kinds of gambling are allowed during the festival days only. near Hsipaw Shan State
11-Mar 14-Mar Kakku Pagoda Festival
On the full moon day (13 Mar)-Alms offering is carried out by the native (Pa-O) people dressed in their traditional black out fits. There is the festival market also. Kakku near Taunggyi
11-Mar 14-Mar Pindaya Cave Festival
On full moon day 13th Mar) in Pindaya with offerings made by the native tribes such as Danu, Pa-O, Taung Yoe and Palaung. Festivities include performances with roaming artisans and the festival market. Pindaya
13-Mar 13-Mar Nay Win Taung Pagoda Festival
Same as Nyan Taw Pagoda Festival. Traditional Shan festival. It takes place in the northern part of Maymyo, about an hour's drive from the downtown area. Maymyo
13-Mar 13-Mar Tabaung Full moon Day
Ceremonies are held at pagodas all over the country The whole country
27-Mar 27-Mar Armed Forces Day The whole country
13-Apr 16-Apr Water Festival
Myanmar people celebrate the famous water festival called "Thingyan". One cannot avoid of getting very wet because every one throws water at everybody. People drive through the city in open cars and there are stages along the street where people throw water. During this time, everything is closed: restaurants, shops, markets, Museum, etc. The whole country
15-Apr 15-Apr Sand Stupa Festival
In three different Mandalay quarters stupas are built with sand within 01 night. Sand stupas are built up with five segments gradually converging to the top. Each layer of white sand is supported by bamboo-mats and -posts. The celebration dates are not the same and depend on the different quarters where the festival is held. Min Thar Su Quarter Mandalay
5-Apr 1-May Shwemawdaw Pagoda Festival
Same with the other pagoda festival. There are evening entertainment such as Zats, Anyeints, stage show and also a popular sales fair where all kinds of goods, most of them are clothes, toys & kitchen supplies. ( not expensive one) Bago
17-Apr 17-Apr Myanmar New Year
This is the start of the new year and the end of the water festival. The whole country is very quiet and everything is closed. The whole country
17-Apr 17-Apr Popa Ceremony
Nat dances on Mt. Popa. Very crowded and difficult to get up the mountain. Mt. Popa
1-May 1-May May Day The whole country
9-May 9-May Sand Stupa Festival - see 14 April Yahai Quarter, Mandalay
10-May 11-May Sand Stupa Festival - see 14 April Pa Le Ngwe Yaung, Mandalay
10-May 11-May Shwe Kyet Yet Event
Crowded with people pouring water to the sacred Bo tree. Shwe Kyet Yet, Amarapura
11-May 11-May Kason Full moon
Pouring water to the sacred Bo tree. No other special entertainment. Just only a small ceremony all over the country. Especially lots of crowds at Shwekyetyet Pagoda. Day The whole country
11-May 11-May Shite-thaung Pagoda Festival
This pagoda festival will be held on 3rd (Full moon day) as same as the others pagoda festival but they have one exiting thing is they have traditional boxing show. Mrauk U
3-Jun 18-Jun Thihoshin Pagoda Festival
This pagoda festival will be held from 26 May to 09 July. There is festival market and also evening entertainments such as Zats, Anyeints and Movies. Pakkoku
18-Jun 25-Jul Chin Lone Festival ( Mahamuni Waso festival)
Chin Lone (Cane Ball) tournament held in Mandalay. It is used to held in Mahamuni Pagoda compound almost a month for every day and night. Cane ball players from all over the country come up to Mandalay to enjoy this festival. We can enjoy to see several ways of playing Chin Lone and racing by either team or individual together with local / folk music played while entertaining the audience. Mandalay
19-Jul 19-Jul Martyr's Day
The day of the assassination of General Aung San and other ministers. Early morning (private) memorial services at the monument near Shwedagon Pagoda. The whole country
9-Jul 9-Jul Waso Full moon Day
Start of Buddhist Lent. Donation ceremonies of new robes and other temporal requirements to the monks all over the country at major pagodas, monasteries and even at homes. The whole country
26-Jul 1-Aug Shwe Kyun Pin Festival
Regional Nat festival. Can observe several kinds to ceramic wares from Singaing and Kyaukmyaung are laid out at the bank of river for sale during the festival. Mingun Mandalay
1-Aug 8-Aug Taung Byone Festival
Traditional Nat Festival. The most famous in Upper Myanmar. 01 hour drive from Mandalay. It lasts five days and every day has special programs. Festival where especially youngsters are merry and enjoy drinking and where people of all ages can join in the Nat dance. Ceremonies are mostly at night and it is very hard to get into the village Matara, near Mandalay
8-Aug 8-Aug Fish Feeding Ceremony Pwinphyu, near Magwe
16-Aug 22-Aug Yadanar Gu Festival
Traditional Nat festival on the Mandalay-Sagaing road. Approx. Half an hour drives from Mandalay. We can take a small sampan along the lake up to the Nat Shrine hall. Amarapura
30-Aug 30-Aug Shwe Kyet Yet Boat racing festival Shwe Kyet Yet Jetty
24-Sep 9-Oct Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
The biggest occasion of the Lake Inle. The images of the Buddha from Phaung Daw Oo are placed on a decorated royal barge and taken around the lake, stopping at villages for people to pay homage. The festivals are full of pageantry and colourful, and there are fun fairs, music, dances and boat races. Since this festival lasts very long, please check with us for exact dates and events Inle Lake
29-Sep 6-Oct Kyaukdawgyi Pagoda Festival
It's situated at the foot of Mandalay hill, within a short walking distance from Novotel Hotel. It is considered popular sales fair where all kinds of goods (some of them locally produced) are sold. Next to that is the usual organization of events similar to other Pagoda Festivals. Mandalay
29-Sep 28-Oct Myathalon Festival Magwe
5-Oct 6-Oct Shinbinsagyo Pagoda Ceremony Salay
5-Oct 5-Oct Elephant Dance Festival
Yearly cultural highlight of Kyaukse, 26 miles to the south of Mandalay. The whole town competes, not only for the best "elephant dance"-performance, but at the same time for the nicest-decorated "elephant". For the dance itself: two men get inside at life-size hollowed-out papier-mâché elephant figure and imitate the movements of a real elephant. Usually, there is a ‘lead'-man who coordinates the movements of the dancers, assisted by a small number of musicians.
The festival is celebrated on the day before full moon day of Thadingyut . As the day progresses, it is getting more and more crowded because people nearby villages and as far away as Mandalay come to Kyaukse and join in the festivities. Kyaukse
5-Oct 7-Oct Tadingyut Festival
End of Buddhist lent. And also the festival of lights. Pagodas, houses and streets are brilliantly illuminated. It is not only a time of joy but also thanksgiving and paying homage to teachers, parents and elders The whole country
6-Oct 6-Oct Tadingyut Full moon Day The whole country
28-Oct 12-Nov Shwezigon Festival
Shwezigon Festival will be held starting from 28 October to 12 November. There are evening entertainments such as Zats: (a variety of dances, songs, short and long plays), Anyeints (a performance of a few hours in which a number of "jokers" caricature current situations and or person strung together by a traditional dancer, popular movies shown in open air. On full moon day ( 04th Nov), there is a communal offering of food and various domestic articles to the monks from the nearby monasteries (ca. 600) lined up as in usual offerings Bagan
30-Oct 4-Nov Thanbodde Pagoda Ceremony
Like other pagoda festival with the usual entertainment provided. Myanmar thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles (cotton blankets and longyis mainly) can be bought at the various stalls around the pagoda area. Monywa
30-Oct 4-Nov Phowintaung Festival
Like other pagoda festival with the usual entertainment provided. Myanmar thanaka, sandalwood and woven textiles (cotton blankets and longyis mainly) can be bought at the various stalls around the pagoda area. Monywa
30-Oct 4-Nov Kaunghmudaw Pagoda Festival
The most interesting aspect of this festival is the caravan of bullock-carts in the pagoda compound. Some of the carts carry their village products, such as hand-woven cotton cloths and cane mats, to sell them there. They like to camp under the shade of the trees. Sagaing
1-Nov 4-Nov Fire Balloon Festival
Taunggyi Fire balloons festival will be held from 01 - 04 November and can watch the various competitions of hot- air balloons. At day-time, see the competitions of decorated hot-air balloons in different shapes and forms of animals such as elephants, horse, cattle, pig mythical Hintha bird and hen etc. Also see the fireworks and firecrackers of hot air-balloon at night time. Taunggyi
3-Nov 3-Nov Robe Weaving Contest
The robe weaving ceremony is held on the eve of the day before full moon day in one night. This is a competition for the weaving skills between teams of women to complete special saffron-coloured robes, called "Ma Tho Thin Gan" from the evening onwards at dawn. It is still done in the traditional way and lots of people enjoy watching the demonstrations. At dawn, the robes are offered to the great image of Lord Buddha and followed by the prize giving ceremony for the winners. Big Cities
3-Nov 4-Nov Shin Mar Le Pagoda Festival
Celebrated at the time of the Tazaung Dine Festival. People throe with lotus flowers to the top of the stupa, located at the North entrance of the Mahamuni Pagoda, as homage to the Lord Buddha. Thazi
4-Nov 4-Nov Tazaungdaing Full moon Festival
Many locals of different status offer yellow robes & other items such as slippers, umbrellas, alms bowls and other domestic articles to the monks. This offering ceremony is commonly called "Kathein" and every local hope - at least once in his/her life - to participate in this event. Especially Sagaing attracts quite some crowds, as it is known as the Buddhist place of retreat per excellence in the country with a concentration of monasteries, nunneries and pagodas in that area. Many people (even from Mandalay) go and spend the whole night (preceding full moon day) in Sagaing. The whole country
14-Nov 14-Nov National Day The whole country
8-Dec 15-Dec Shwemyetmhan (Golden Skeptical) Pagoda Festival
This pagoda festival is as same as the others pagoda festival. But one interesting thing is during the British time, Mrs. Hurtno wife of the commissioner was relieved from her eye disease after she offered a pair of glasses to the Buddha. Local people who lives around this area they believe that whoever have a problem with eyes they make novena to this pagoda. Shwetaung
4-Dec 4-Dec Taung Byone Natto (Sit Htwet) Nat Festival Taung Byone Village
4-Dec 4-Dec Minmahagiri Nat Ceremony Popa
25-Dec 25-Dec Christmas Day The whole country
INTERESTING PLACE TO VISIT IN MYANMARYangon: The City of Yangon was once the cleanest city in Asia, some even exaggerated as the Queen of the Cities. Singapore, in fact, was designed after studying how Yangon was built. Yangon is the gateway to Myanmar. Ever green and cool with lush tropical trees, shady parks and lakes.
Mandalay: Mandalay is the historical old capital, a capital of Myanmar culture, Buddhist Sasana and Myanmar traditional arts and crafts, with the life span of one hundred and forty two years, a city which abounds in historical sites, cultural memorials and Buddhist edifices and Myanmar's second largest city.
Bagan: The main tourist destination in Myanmar is Bagan, capital of the first Myanmar Empire; one of the richest archaeological sites in South-east Asia. The 42 sq km area of Bagan contains over 2000 edifices, the well-preserved pagodas and temples representing the rich cultural heritage of the 11th - 13th century.
Inle: Inle Lake is about 900 meters above sea-level and 22 km long and 10 km wide. Inle Lake, natural and unpolluted, is famous for its scenic beauty and the unique leg-rowing of the Inches, the native lake dwellers.
Kyaikhtiyo: The Kyaikhtiyo pagoda is one of the most ancient and celebrated of all pagodas in Myanmar. It is situated in the vicinity of Kyaikhto Township, Thaton district. The pagoda is said to have been built during the life-time of the Buddha over 2400 years ago.
Mrauk U: A new tourist site, which is becoming increasingly more popular in recent years, is the old capital of Rakhine (Arakan) called Mrauk U. Some of the local people refer to it as Myo Haung, the old city.
GENERAL INFORMATION OF MYANMAR
Origin and history of the name
The name "Myanmar" comes from the two words "myan", which translates "swift", and "ma", which translates "strong". It also refers to a resident or citizen of Myanmar, or more specifically, a person from the majority Bamar ethnic group.
In 1989, the military junta officially changed the English version of its name from Burma to Myanmar (along with changes in the English versions of many place names in the country, such as its former capital city, from Rangoon to Yangon). The official name of the country in the Burmese language, Myanmar, did not change, however. The renaming proved to be politically controversial, seen by some as being less inclusive of minorities, and linguistically unscholarly. Some disagree that the military junta had authority to "officially" change the name in English in the first place. Acceptance of the name change in the English speaking world has been slow, with many people still using the name Burma to refer to the country. Major news organizations like the BBC and western governments, including those of the United States and the United Kingdom, still officially refer to it as Burma. The Economist and The New York Times are among several Western publications to regularly use the term "Myanmar".
The first known people who live in Myanmar (formerly called Burma) were the Mon. They shared a culture with the Khmer, a people who lived in the Kingdom of Khmer (now Cambodia). The Mon moved into the Myanmar region as early as 3000 B.C. and settled near the mouths of the Thanlwin and Sittaung rivers. The peoples who came later migrated from an area in central Asia that is now southwestern China. The Pyu arrived in the A.D. 600's. The Bamars, Chin, Kachin, Karen, and Shan came during the 800's. Most of these peoples lived apart from one another and kept their own cultures.
In 1044, King Anawrahta, a Myanmar ruler, united the region and founded the First Myanmar Empire, that lasted nearly 250 years. The kingdom's capital, Bagan, lay on the Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy) River in the central part of the country. The Myanmars adopted features of the Mon and Pyu cultures, including Theravada Buddhism. Mongol invaders led by Kublai Khan captured Bagan in 1287, shattering the kingdom.
A new Myanmar kingdom arose as the Second Myanmar Empire founded by King Bayintnaung at Taungoo during the 1500's. It was brought down by a Mon rebellion in 1752. The Third and last Myanmar Empire was founded by king Alaungpaya after the Mon rebellion. Three Wars with the British-triggered by Myanmar's resistance to Britain's commercial and territorial ambitions-led to the kingdom's collapse. The first war was fought from 1824 to 1826, the second in 1852, and the third in 1885. With these wars, the British gradually annexed the whole country to its empire and named the country Burma.
In 1942, Japan occupied Myanmar. Young Myanmar nationals formed Burma Independence Army with the help of the Japanese and drove the British out of Burma. Through the dislike of the Japanese rule, a group of Myanmar university students, led by General Aung San, formed a league called Anti-Fascist People's Freedom League (AFPFL) to fight the Japanese and they helped Britain and Allied powers regain Burma in 1945 and return to power. Because of the overwhelming role of the AFPFL, which had become a strong political party, and the struggle in various forms by the whole Burmese population against the administration, the British had to give Burma full independence on January 4, 1948.
The new Myanmar (Burmese) government, which was fought by some Communists and various ethnic groups, faced many problems, but the ruling party, AFPFL, won the elections landslide in 1951 and 1956. In 1958, however, there developed a split between the then Prime Minister U Nu's followers and another faction in AFPFL, which pushed the country to the brink of civil war. Upon the request of U Nu, General Ne Win set up an interim military government and restored order. He ruled until elections were held in 1960, in which U Nu's faction won a landslide victory and he regained his premiership. As he could no longer control the political and ethnic disputes, Ne Win seized the government in a bloodless take-over in March 1962 to hold Burma together. General Ne Win and his Revolutionary Council of military leaders, who wanted to transform Burma into a socialist nation, founded the Burma Socialist Program Party and ruled the country until 1988, when large numbers of Burmese demonstrated against the government and called for an end to one-party rule.
The military had to take over the power since the whole country was in turmoil, and established the State Law and Order Restoration Council and allowed multiparty elections to take place in May 1990. The Council also changed the official name of the country from the Union of Burma to the Union of Myanmar. The Council opened the doors to the world and followed market-oriented economic policy. The military government was reorganized in 1997 and changed its name to the State Peace and Development Council.
The Land & Geography
The land was also known as Suvannabhumi, Golden Land- in ancient times, and today, with its rich natural resources and diversity of attractions, it still deserves to be called the Golden Land.
With a land area of 676, 577 sq.km. Myanmar is the largest country in the Southeast Asia region, bounded by mountain complex in the north, east and west, and enclosed by the Andamen Sea and the Bay of Bengal in the South, Southwest, and West. Myanmar shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Situated between latitudes 9. 30' N and 28. 30' N and between longitudes 92. 10' E and 101. 10' E the country stretches 2090 km North to South, and 925 km East to West and has a varied Photography which includes islands, extensive rice plains, river valleys and forested hills and mountains.
It has a 2,832 km long coastline on the Indian Ocean. Myanmar's highest mountains, situated in the far north, include Hkakabo Razi, the highest peak, which rises 5,881 km above sea level. The two other mountain systems: a group of low mountains called the Rakhine Yoma stands in the west forming a border with the Indian Subcontinent, and the hilly Shan Plateau separates Myanmar from China, Laos and Thailand.
The central lowland region of Myanmar consists of the Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy) and Sittaung river valleys. Ayeyarwaddy is the longest river in the country, running for 2,010 km from the northern region to the Bay of Bengal, and serves as the principle transportation route and as the main source of water supply for the central dry zone.
Government: Military junta
Chairman, SPDC: Sr. Gen. Than Shwe
Prime Minister: Lt.-Gen. Soe Win
Independence Date: From the United Kingdom on January 4, 1948
GDP: (PPP) 2005 Approximately
Total: $76.2 billion (66th)
Per capita: $1,800 (187th)
People & Population
Myanmar has a population of over 50 million with the Bamar, the majority race, making up about 70 percent. The other major national races consist of Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Myanmar is a union of 135 ethnic groups with their own languages, dialects and culture. The overall population density is about 70 persons per sq km, one of the lowest in East Asia. The population is more than 75 percent rural, with almost half the urban population found in the three largest cities: Yangon (Rangoon), Mandalay and Mawlamyine. Communities of Chinese and Indian Muslim minorities dwell in large towns and cities in peaceful coexistence with the Myanmar nationals.
The official language is Myanmar, which is spoken by virtually all of Myanmar people, including large national races and non-Myanmar ethnic minorities though they have their own languages and dialects spoken only in their communities or in particular regions. English, being the second language, is widely spoken and understood among the educated urban population. Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindustani and Urdu are most common foreign languages spoken among Chinese and Indian immigrants.
Religion & Culture
Myanmar is predominantly a Buddhist country with the Buddhists making up about 80 percent of the population, following the school of Theravada Buddhism. There are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists. But it respects the freedom of belief and the people practice religious tolerance on other religions which is evident in the existence of religious buildings of different beliefs in large cities. Because the people are deeply pious, there is at least one pagoda or Buddha Image in every town or city, and even in large villages, so is there a Buddhist monastery. Religion plays so vital in a typical Myanmar Buddhist's life that his/her routine cannot be separated from Buddhist rituals. There is also a Buddhist lent on Myanmar calendar which lasts for three months in the rainy season, approximately from July to October, during which fasting is preserved, marriages and moving home is usually put off.
Myanmar lies between two great civilizations, India and China, and is largely influenced by that of India, yet Myanmar has developed its own culture with distinctive characteristics. From India came the institutions of religion and government, but without the Indian caste system of social hierarchy. India was also the source of Pali, the sacred language, along with astrology and some kinds of food. For the majority of Myanmar's population, Buddhism is the center of individual life whereas the monastery is the center of the community. That is why it is little wonder Myanmar culture is synonymous with Buddhist culture. Myanmar people try to live according to the basic five precepts of Buddhism in their daily activities.
The unique thing about Myanmar culture is that it is free from racial or sex discrimination from childbirth throughout the lifetime. Every one is entitled to equal rights, opportunity and treatment whether at work or at court. For much of Myanmar's history, women played a stronger role than in traditional Western societies. From early on they could own property and were independent in economic activities. Myanmar women enjoy the same status with their male counterparts and do not necessarily have to keep their surnames.
Since 1988, Myanmar has moved from a centrally planned economy to a market oriented economy and has liberalised domestic and external trade, promoted the development of the private sector and been opened up to foreign investment.
In line with the new economic direction, such laws as the Foreign Investment Law, Central Bank of Myanmar Law, Financial Institutions of Myanmar Law, and Myanmar Tourist Law have been enacted and Chambers of Commerce reactivated.
Agriculture remains the main sector of the economy and measures are being taken to increase productivity, promote crop diversification, increase agricultural exports and develop agro based industries.
Under the new economic policy, Myanmar's rich natural and human resources are being utilized and developed not only by the state sector but also by local and foreign investors. Myanmar is also rich in tourist attractions and there is enormous potential for the tourism industry.
Communication & Transportation
In every big city, access to telephone is easy and IDD calls can be made at your disposal from any hotel you are staying at or any office you are paying a visit. Faxes are also common in every large business and hotel. Internet Email has been in service but access is limited to the business community. The Internet era is beginning to dawn in Myanmar, but for the time being, it is only within reach of the local IT firms. Nowadays, Network can be widely access in many Internet Centre, located in Yangon and Mandalay. However, it is widely expected that the public access to the Net will soon be granted, probably in phases.
The mass communication is mostly controlled by the government. Four Myanmar newspapers and an English one, all state-owned, are published daily while some regional and international newspapers can be read within the same day. Two TV channels, one operated by the government and the other by the military, broadcast in the mornings and evenings. However, satellite TV channels, which are easily accessible in every big or small hotel, provide an alternative for the non-natives. The only radio station, Radio Myanmar, which is also run by the government, airs in Myanmar but can be tuned in for English program during specified hours.
Myanmar has more than 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometers) of inland waterways, about 17,000 miles (27,000 kilometers) of roads and about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) of railroad track. The principle means of transport is road but most travelers to Myanmar rely on airlines. There are altogether three of them: one operated by the government and the other two (Yangon Airways and Air Mandalay) by private. Good safety record and easy booking of tickets make the private airlines all the more popular. Yangon and Mandalay, each with international airport, provide gateways to Myanmar. Rail transport is mostly occupied with local travelers because of its punctual and regular service and reasonable fees. The weakness of the railway service is that the destinations are not many and tickets have to be bought days in advance. River transport is least favorite among travelers except for riverine cruises and speed boat trips. In major cities, buses provide a means of public transport while taxis are running in abundance in the capital. Although private cars jam almost all the roads of Yangon, the number of privately owned automobiles is not many considering the general population.
Traveler's informationWhen to Visit
You can visit Myanmar all the year round but the best time to come is between October and February as the weather during this period is neither too hot nor wet.
A valid Passport with Entry Visa is required of all visitors. A Tourist Visa allows a stay of 28 days, extendible for an additional 14 days. A Business Visa allows a stay of 28 days, extendible up to 12 months on a case-by-case basis. Visa on Arrival is granted on prior arrangement.
Foreign currency exceeding the equivalent of US$ 2,000, jewelry, cameras, video cameras, recording equipment and laptop computers must be declared at the airport. Failure to do so could end up in confiscation upon departure. Export of antiques and items of archaeological value are prohibited.
Airport tax -
Departure tax for international flights is US$-10 per person, payable in US dollar.
Inoculation & vaccination -
Medical certificates of inoculations are essential especially for visitors coming from an infected area or yellow fever zones. Vaccination certificate is not necessary.
All travelers, unless they are on group or package tours, are required to exchange US$ 200 for Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC) on arrival at the airport till end of August 2003 (government just relaxes the change of 200 FEC at the airport starting from 01 September 2003 - see visa.html for more detail). FECs, which is equivalent to the US$, are accepted by hotels, airlines, travel agencies, taxis, restaurants, and as payment of admission fees at museums and pagodas. FECs can be exchanged for Kyats (Myanmar currency) at market rates at authorized money changers. Credit cards such as American Express, Diner and Visa are accepted at most airlines, hotels, banks, jewelry shops, supermarkets and travel agents till 30 August 2003 and could not able to use currently due U.S new sanctions.
Not required unless you are coming from an infected area.
The same precautions as anywhere else drink only bottled water. Do not ear raw vegetables: only eat fruits that you can peel or cut yourself. Be wary of eating food from street stalls. Use insect repellant when necessary and use sunscreen liberally when exposed to the intense, tropical cun.
The voltage in Myanmar is 220-230 Volts AC. Most of the international hotels have their own generators. Other places may experience power cuts and voltage fluctuation which can damage equipment like computers. Please travel with the required protection for your electrical items.
What to Wear
Light, casual wear preferably made of cotton is suitable for all climates. Some warm clothes are necessary if you plan to visit northern Myanmar or other hilly regions in the cold season. Sandals or slippers are convenient as the dress code for Buddhist religious buildings prescribe decent apparel and no footwear including socks.
Manners and Etiquette
It is recommended that you refrain from kissing and hugging in public, pointing at things with your feet, sitting with your back to a Buddha image, improper use of or behavior toward a sacred thing as a Buddha image, and touching a monk.
Myanmar has three seasons, the cold season--October through February, with average temperatures of between 20-24'C. The hot season--March through May with average temperatures of between 30-35'C. The wet season--June through September with average temperature between 25-30'C. Yangon normally receives early morning and afternoon showers while rainfall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low. The weather around Inlay Lake and Shan State is quite pleasant all year round, but cold at night from December to February. Myanmar can be visited all year round.
Myanmar Standard Time (MST) is six hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Meantime (GMT/UTC)
Business hours -
Banks open at 10:30 till 14:00, Monday through Friday. Government offices open at 09:30 till 16:30 Monday through Friday. Most private offices open at 09:30 till 17:00, Monday through Friday and 09:30 till 12:00 on Saturday.
Most of Myanmar enjoys a tropical climate. Temperatures in Mandalay, in central Myanmar is average 68 °F (20 °C) in January and 85 °F (29 °C) in July. Temperatures in Yangon, on the delta are average 77 °F (25 °C) in January and 80 °F (27 °C) in July. Myanmar has three seasons namely rainy or monsoon, cool, and hot.
The rainy season lasts from late May to October. Rainfall varies greatly from region to region. For example, the Mandalay area receives only about 30 inches (76 cm) of rain a year. The Taninthayi Coast, however, is drenched with over 200 inches (510 cm). The heavy rainfall is brought by seasonal winds called monsoons, which sweep North-Eastward from the Indian Ocean.
The cool season runs from late October to mid-February. Temperatures are lowest at this time, though the climate remains tropical throughout most of Myanmar.
The hot season lasts from late February to about mid-May. During this season, temperatures often top 100 °F (38 °C) in many parts of Myanmar.
Its common to tip drivers and guides, waiters at local restaurants and also usually hotel porters. The following suggestions on tipping are meant as general guidelines. For exceptional service travelers may wish to give more.
Hotel porter: In general, if a porter carries bags to the room, a tip of about US$ 0.50 - $1.00 (either in US$ or equivalent to kyat) would be appropriate, depending on size, weight etc.
Restaurant: In general a tip of about 5% is appreciated for meal service (in kyat).
Driver: The driver's tip may be about US$ 2 to $5 per day (either in US$ or equivalent in kyat) for individual or couple. For group, a tip of about US$1 (either in US$ or in kyat) per person, per day would be suitable.
Tour guide: Tips for the tour guide can be varied. A fair average for the tour guide would be around US$ 5 to $10 per day, depending on group size and level of satisfaction of the client. For exceptional service clients may wish to tip more.
Tipping at the International Airport: At the International airport the guides are not usually allowed into the departure terminal with you, so a porter will escort you and your luggage through, he will expect a tip of around 1US$ (preferred in Kyat).
NB: when in doubt, the best source for appropriate tipping information for hotels, restaurants, and drivers is to ask your tour guide.
TYPES OF MYANMAR VISA
There are three types of Myanmar Visa called EVT (FIT) and EVT (Package) Visa. We encourage you to apply EVT (Package ) visa. Both have to apply at the Myanmar Embassies or Consulate Abroad. There is another type of visa called Pre-Approved Visa on Arrival where the tourist could issue visa on arrival at the airport but need to apply visa a travel agent minimum 10 days in advance. Please see the details as below:
E.V.T (F.I.T )
Also this Myanmar visa can apply at the Myanmar Embassy abroad. Visa fee is USD20. Until August 2003, it is necessary to change 200 USD into equivalent 200 FEC compulsorily. But, now government relaxes it and those FIT visa holder also do not need to change FEC 200 on arrival at the Yangon airport. But we strongly recommend that those who bought the tour services from Myanmar Tour Agency to get the E.V.T Package visa by getting the visa letter from our office.
Myanmar visa Burma visa Myanmar visa online Burma visa online
You can apply Myanmar visa at Myanmar Embassy or consulate with prior arrangements and confirmation from Travel Agencies in Myanmar. This visa holders are not necessary to change USD200.- on arrival in Yangon airport. Myanmar Tour Agency will be providing a confirmation letter to the Embassy for those clients who bought a tour from us or those who bought a Myanmar hotel, transfers and one optional tour or flight tickets together.
MYANMAR PRE-APPROVED VISA ON ARRIVAL
For those travellers who live at the countries where Myanmar Embassies or Consulates do not exist or who do not have time to apply visa at the Myanmar Embassies, we will arrange Myanmar pre-approved (applied in advance in Myanmar & issue visa only on arrival at the airport) visa on arrival. The information of the clients is needed:
- Clients full name and Passport numbers.
- Date of issue and place of issue.
- Date of expire.
- Father's name.
- Date of Birth and place of birth.
- Home address.
- 2 recent photos size photographs
- Countries for passport valid.
Self declaration of free from Myanmar politic and religious disputes
Visa Application Procedure for Tourists with Effective from 01 October 2005
This is the result of Visa on arrival board announcement. The board includes Ministry of Hotel and Tourism, Ministry of Home Affairs, Department of Immigration, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There must be minimum of 2 persons travelling together to get the approval.
Visitor must apply Visa-on-arrival through licensed tour company from Ministry of Hotel and Tourism.
Visitor must fill in the Visa Application Form. You may submit through web form or download here and send a copy by fax to +951 513432 (95=Myanmar country code, 1= Yangon area code, 513432 is our Tel/Fax no.) or as an attachment via email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Send a passport photo and copy of your passport by email or fax (preferably email).
Upon approval, we will send you the 'Approval Letter' by email/fax.
All the airlines with connections to Yangon are informed of this procedure and you may show this 'Approval Letter' on airline check in.
Upon arriving at Yangon International Airport, you have to present this 'Approval Letter' to the Immigration check in counter, get Visa Fees 20 US$ ready and immigration Officer will take it from there. If you choose to take Visa-on-arrival-transfer Semi-package from us, one of our staff will be there to initiate all entry procedures and meet and greet you.
We prefer you buy Visa-on-arrival-transfer Semi-Package - 1 stop Myanmar Visa, hassle free guaranteed.
MYANMAR E-VISA ONLINE
As the latest development, you can now apply e-visa online at www.visa.gov.mm website. The visa fee is USD 30 per person and you can pay cash on arrival at the airport to immigration department.
NEWS REGARDING (FEC) - FOREIGN EXCHANGE CERTIFICATE & CREDIT CARDS!
Myanmar relaxes FEC requirements
In a move welcomed by the travel trade, free independent travellers (FIT) visiting Myanmar no longer must buy the minimum US$ 200 worth of foreign exchange certificates (FEC) previously required by law.
US sanctions have caused the FEC, which is pegged to the US dollar, to depreciate in value. One FEC was equivalent to US$1.
Previously those with FIT visas had to buy the FEC upon arrival. They could make purchases using the FEC but it was inconvenient, as some establishments did not want to accept the currency. It also meant that they had to spend at least 200 FEC (US$ 200) in the country. Only those who had bought in excess of US$ 200 could have the extra amount exchanged back to US dollars at the airport on their departure.
Meanwhile, US sanctions have also caused American banks such as MasterCard and Visa to temporarily cease trading since two years ago. Though most of the international chain or management hotels like Nikko, Kandawgyi Palace, Sedona, Grand Plaza Park Royal, Traders, Summit Park View in Yangon and Mandalay could accept the credit cards, we would like to advise the Tourists going to the destination should bring cash or arrange for financial transfers with local operators as most of the properties, shops and restaurants in other destinations are still not able to accept the credit cards yet. You can check the up-to-date information of places or hotels who could accept credit cards with our travel consultants.
List of Embassies & Consulates around the globe
AUSTRALIA Canberra Tel: (61-2) 6273-3811, 6273-3751 Fax: (61-2) 6273-4357
BANGLADESH Dhaka Tel: (880-2) 601-915, 601-461 Fax: (880-2) 882-3740
BRAZIL Brasilia Tel: (55-61) 248-3747, 364-3145 Fax: (55-61) 248-1922
BRUNEI Bandar Seri Begawan Tel: (673-2) 450-506, 450-507 Fax: (673-2) 451-008
CAMBODIA Phnom Penh Tel: (855-23) 213-663 / 4 Fax: (855-23) 213-665
CANADA Ottawa Tel: (1-613) 232-6434, 232-6446 Fax: (1-613) 232-6435
CHINA Beijing Tel: (86-10) 6532-1584, 6532-1425 Fax: (86-10) 6532-1344
CHINA Hong Kong Tel: (852) 2827-7929, 2827-9843 Fax: (852) 2827-6597
CHINA Kunming Tel: (86-871) 317-6609 Fax: (86-871) 317-6309
EGYPT Cairo Tel: (20-2) 340-4176, 341-2644, 341-3450 Fax: (20-2) 341-6793
FRANCE Paris Tel: (33-1) 4225-5695 Fax: (33-1) 4256-4941
GERMANY Berlin Tel: (49-30) 2061-5710-14 Fax: (49-30) 2064-9757
INDIA New Delhi Tel: (9211) 688-9007, 688-9008 Fax: (9211) 687-7942
INDONESIA Jakarta Tel: (62-21) 314-0440 , 327-684 Fax: (62-21) 327-204
ISRAEL Tel Aviv Tel: (972-3) 517-0760, 517-0761 Fax: (972-3) 517-1440
ITALY Rome Tel: (39-6) 854-9374, 842-6863 Fax: (39-6) 841-3167
JAPAN Tokyo Tel: (81-3) 3441-9291-4, 3441-9029 Fax: (81-3) 3447-7394
KOREA Seoul Tel: (82-2) 792-3341, 796-9858, 796-7814 Fax: (82-2) 796-5570
LAOS Vientiane Tel: (856-21) 314-910, 314-911 Fax: (856-21) 314-913
LEBANON Beirut Tel: (961-1) 485-375/76/77/78/79 Fax: (961-1) 502-974
MALAYSIA Kuala Lumpur Tel: (60-3) 456-0280, 457-0680 Fax: (60-3) 456-8320
NEPAL Kathmandu Tel: (977-1)521-788, 524-788 Fax: (977-1) 523-402
NETHERLANDS Breda Tel: (31-76) 520-9054 Fax: (31-76) 520-9270
PAKISTAN Islamabad Tel: (92-51) 822-460, 828-818 Fax: (92-51) 828-819
PHILIPPINES Manila Tel: (63-2) 817-2373, 812-9587 Fax: (63-2) 817-5895
RUSSIAN FEDERATION Moscow Tel: (7-95) 291-0534 Fax: (7-95) 956-3186
SINGAPORE Tel: (65) 735-0209, 735-1672, 735-6576 Fax: (65) 735-6236
SOUTH AFRICA Pretoria Tel: (27-12) 460-6544, 460-4333 Fax: (27-12) 346-0746
SRI LANKA Colombo Tel: (94-1) 697-602 Fax: (94-1) 681-196
SWITZERLAND Geneva Tel: (41-22) 731-7540, 731-7549 Fax: (41-22) 738-4882
THAILAND Bangkok Tel: (66-2) 223-2237, 234-4698, 233-7250 Fax: (66-2) 236-6898
UK London Tel: (44-207) 629-6966, 499, 8841 Fax: (44-207) 629-4169
USA New York Tel: (1-212) 535-1310, 535-1311 Fax: (1-212) 737-2421
USA Washington D.C. Tel: (1-202) 332-9044, 332-9049 Fax: (1-202) 332-9046
VIETNAM Hanoi Tel: (84-4) 845-3369, 823-2056 Fax: (84-4) 845-2404
YUGOSLAVIA Belgrade Tel: (381-11) 645-420, 645-128 Fax: (381-11) 361-4968/ 644-845