Now Myanmar, one of the biggest countries in South-East Asia with the total land area of 686577 sq km (677000 sq miles). Friendly stay around with neighboring countries, Bangladesh, India China, Laos and Thailand and has a 2832 km long coastline on the India Ocean. The Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea are on the south west.
In comparison with other Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka, Tibet, China and Thailand, Myanmar has more pagodas and religious buildings. This is effect given deep meaning to the name “The Golden Land”.
Myanmar comprises of 7 states and 7 divisions enumerated in Myanmar alphabetical order as below.
Myanmar is a Union of over 135 ethnic groups with the name Myanmar embracing all the ethnic groups. The major ethnic groups are Bamar, Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Mon, Rakkhine and Shan. The Bamar is the largest group forming about 69% of the total population of 55 millions.
The best known sub groups are the Danu, Dawei, Kadu, Meo, Myeik (Beik), Naga, Pa-O, Palaung, Padaung, Rawang, Salono, Mokan, Thel, Wa and Zo. Each national race group has its own culture and most of the sub groups live in the remote mountainous regions. They preserve their traditions and customs and enjoy festivities that can be seen by outsides both locals and foreigners.
Myanmar located between two big nations with their great civilizations India and China. But it has developed its own distinctive culture. Myanmar culture is unique and exotic. Many cultural resources are found everywhere in terms of religion, architecture arts, handicrafts, dresses, literature and language. The daily lives of the Myanmar people are strongly influence by the Buddhism. The people have preserved the traditions of close family ties, respect of the elders, devotion to the Buddhist teachings and wearing the simple native dress. The people even of small numbered races live contended and cheerful in the face of adversity. In their regions the celebrations and feast, they hold are not put up shows for tourist but their usual cultural activities. The wealth of natural resources may be impressive but the great fascinations of Myanmar lies in its people.
The official language is Myanmar and it is spoken by at least 80% of the population. The spoken Myanmar language differs slightly from region to region and the minority ethnic groups have their own languages and dialects. English is spoken by many and is widely understood.
The country practiced the complete freedom for the Religion of the people of Myanmar. But the Theravada Buddhism is well accepted by the majority of the people. About 87% of the populations are Buddhists and the rest are Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists.
Myanmar had three seasons. The rainy season (or) the monsoon starts from mid May to October and the cool dry season (or) the winter from November to February, which is considered to be the best time for the tourists with around 18 to 24 Celsius. And the hot season for the summer from March to May. But the country itself has large area with different geographical locations and the temperature vary from region to region.
Early civilization in Myanmar dated back to the 2nd Century with archaeological evidence of the Pyu Kingdoms of the Thaye-Khittaya (Sriketra) Beilthano (Visnu) and Halin. The Pyu however left a wealth of gold artifacts that testified to their civilized and rich kingdoms lasted till to the 9th Century AD.
After the fall of the Pyu in the 9th Century, King Anawrahta united into the first Myanmar Empire and setup Bagan as the capital. Due to his efforts that Theravada Buddhism flourishes in the country today. Bagan become as the birth place of Myanmar culture. But in 1787 AD, there was invasion by the Mongols and the city was totally damaged and slowly diminished in power. Several of the smaller kingdoms were founded by descendents of the Bagan kings. In the middle of the 16th century, the second Myanmar Empire was founded by King Bayint Naung, known as Hantharwaddy (or) the present name of the city called Bago.
Again Bayint Naung’s successors did not have vision as strength and the kingdom of Hantharwaddy has declined by the 17th Century.
In 1725, the King Alaungpaya founded the third and last Myanmar Empire with Konbaung Dynasty of eleven monarchs, who were to be the last kings in Myanmar. Mandalay was the last capital of the country from 1857 to 1885 annexed by the British and become a British colony.
During the World War II, Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese and in the post war period the independent movement, which had begun in the early 20th Century came to a climax and Myanmar attained independent on 4th January 1948.
Yangon is the biggest city of the union of Myanmar, situated on the bank of Yangon River and about 45 km from the sea. It is among the most unique of Asian cittes, a happy blend of astern mystic and religious charm with moderm conveniences and Facilities. It is a city with a history dating back over 2500 years.
Yangon is blessed with shady parks and gardens and it has been known as The Garden City of The East. The most attractive thing is for whom, from every directions enter the land of Yangon. warmly welcome by the Shwedagon Pagoda which is the wrold famous religious monument. The Shwedagon Pagoda believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago is a much revered shrine whose cultural splendor never fails to enchant. In the down town area of Yangon, all styles of architectural combinnations are the remains of redbrick Victorian style building and the modern complex.
Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the wonders of the world, towering 100 meters above the green cityscape of Yangon. The Shwedagon is landmark visible from afar. It is believed to have been built more than 2500 years ago, is a much-revered shrine whose cultural splendor never fail to enchant. No matter how many times pagoda is a centre of religious faith for the people of Myanmar and beyond, it is also the most memorable symbol of Yangon.
People stream to the Pagoda at all times of the day and night to pay Respect, Pray, Seek guidance meditate of merely to draw solace from the deep meaning the Shwedagon has for all Myanmar People.
Alcoated 80 kilo meter from Yangon, there is an ancient capital of Mon Kings of the 14th to 16th century and of second Myanmar Empire united by king Bayintnaung, nowadays know as Bago city . The classical name of Bago is Hanthawaddy. means the place of Royal Hamsa birds.
The many monuments of Bago tody stand in solemn witness to the glory that once belonged to the divisonal capital. One the greatest sea port of Myanmar - Medieval European travelers commented and is magnificence. the lies north - east of Yangon.
The massive and highest Shwemawadaw Pagoda, the famous reclining Buddha Image and many other reminders of the ancient kingdom are worthy of a visit. Also the newly reconstructed palace of Bago is especially major attractions for the Thai people once who has beautifkul story of Thai Princess to the King og Mon capital.
Pottery works and famous silver smiths are also the main business of Sagaing.
Formely Moulmein of Mawlamyaing is the capital and largest city in MonState, Myanmar. It is now famous for its seaport, market, pagoda, newly constructed bridge and Mawlamyaing Univeesity. It has a main railway station which communicates with Myanmar Capital in the north and southern town of Yay. The old Death Railway is also diverted route from Mawlamyaing at the town of Thanphyzayat.
Mawlamaing became the first capital of British occupation between 1827 and 1852 after Tanintayi and Rakhine (formerly Arkan) were ceded to British under the Treaty of Yandabo at the end of First Anglo-Myanmar war, primarily because it was a major port for the extraction of teak. Today, Mawlamaing is famous for its tropical fruits and for its cuisine as indicated in the popular Myanmar expression, “ Mandalay for the speaking, Yangon for the bragging and Mawlamyaing for the eating” .
Another half an hour drive down souht to the small town, Mudon which has one of the biggest reclining Buddha images, measured about 100 meters long.
Nowadays Mandalay is the second largest city of Myanmar, and once it was the last royal capital of our kingdom in 1885, founded and promoted by noble king named Mindon. It was the focal point of culture and many traditions arts.
There is the beautiful Mandalay Hill 236 meters above the surrounding countryside with its kilometer long covered stairways and remarkable pagodas and below, the four square kilometers space with beautiful moat surrounded to the newly reconstructed Royal Palace with the original Maynmar traditional style and size.
Geographically Mandalay is located almost at the centre of the country and highly accessible to all parts of tourist destinations. Also three old capitals are one hour drive from Mandalay,known as Amarapura, Innwa and Sagaing.
Half an hour drive to southern part of Mandalay and the meaning of the city is immortal-city Traditionally, the Mandalay people named Taung- Myo due to the southern part of Mandalay. It was once a capital of King of Mandalay before he moved his palace and the remains of palace wall and the stupas, monasteries can be seen. The main attraction for the tourist is the great monastery, Mahagandayon, where you can study about the monastie life in detail. Besides, there is a big wooden bridge famous for its beauty and interesting story behind. It is called U Bein bridge.
Amarapura is also famous for its silk and cotton weaving industries. Pottery works and famous silver smiths are also the main business of Sagaing.
About 20 kilometers (13 miles) Far from Mandalay, Sagaing is located at the western part of Ayeyarwaddy River. Once it was a capital of that area, many kings were built hundreds of stupas, while wasted as wall as gold gilded are still decorated in the rolling gulls. It is also famus for those who is fond of meditating it becomes the major meditation centre for all Buddhist. Major meditating it Buddhist. There are many heritages for hermits and monasteries for monks, rest houses for nums and laymen. A few kilometers from Sagaing, one can enjoy visiting the biggest dome-style stupa with solid bricks, which remind for the great Maha Sedi of Srilanka. It is known as Kaungmudaw Sedi of the great merit of the king.
Pottery works and famous silver smiths are also the main business if Sagaing.
An excursion across the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River by simple local boat to the old village “Mingu” is a well worth visit for the travellers considered to be the biggest piles of the bricks in the world it is know as the biggest unfinished temple “Mingun Pathodawgyi”. Its stand firmly with the basement of 152 meters high, but work was abandoned after 15 years at 1797. Another one main attractions is the largest ringing bell, weighs 90 tons, donated by the same king Bodawpaya in Konboung dynasty. Also one can enjoy with the beautiful architectural designed stupa, Mya Theintan (or) Sin Phyumai Pagoda and from the top to look over the panoramic view of the Ayeyarwaddy River. For a small place Mingun is enormously rewarding, not least for the River journey to reach it.
Abour 136 kilo meters to the west of Myandalay is Monywa, the business centre of the North Westh part of the country. Famous for its places of interest are Thanbodeday (Moe Nhyin) temple with millions of small Buddha images on both interior and exterior parts of the temple, the biggest reclining Buddha image lies in front of the highest standing Buddha image. Also Monywa is well known of Po Win Taung, which has more than 800 small caves,sculptred on the natural Lime stone hillock, dating back to 16th to 17th Century. Different style of lacquer ware works can be seen at Kyaukka village near Monywa.
Needless to say that, without visit to Bagan is not a perfect visit to Myanmar. Small in size with the area of 42 sq km (26 sq miles), but with great amount of religous edifices, Bagan is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Bagan is situated on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River in Mandalay Division.
According to the Myanmar history, it was believed that there were 55 kings who ruled Bagan from king Thamudaritk (Early 2nd Century) to King Sawmonnit (Late 14th Century) but little or no evidence is found to support this ad most of the Myanmar scholars accept only that Bagan history bagan with the rule of king Anawrahta who united the first empire of Myanmar in 11th Century A.D The invasions of Mongo in late 19th Century withessed the fall if Bagan dynasty.
About an hour drive to the south east of Bagan, Mt. Popa is sityated at 50 kilo meters with height of 1500 meters above sea level. It is considered to be core of extinct voclano. Mt Pop is a place known as Home of Nats (or) spirits for whom worship the animism or spiritualism. It is more like the most important Nats worship center.
Not only for the reason to study about the Nats (or) spirits, we can also see the typical village life of the people on the way to Mt. Popa from Bagan. Driving across to the thick toddy palm forest, have a look for their way of life, producing palm sugar, light alcoholic palm juice and the use of toddy palm tree in many ways are a great attractions of the visit as wall. Mt. Popa is also famous for its natural pack, well maintain and conserve for eco-tourism.
Apart from the historical monuments and culural attrcations, one many also enjoy the most scenic beauty and natural surroundings; there is a big lake, located on the 1000 meters above sea level in southern part of Shan State.
All of the facilities provided to the tourists are from the back-packers to high-end clients, stand at the bank of the lake (or) at the middle part ofthe lake. Many villages surrounded to the main lake are in more than hundred with floating gardens, floating villages and the most outstanding attractions are the leg-rowers, who are called Inthar (or) son of the lake. Many based on the fishing business, each and every village with their own professions like weaving silver smith, black - smith and farming with hydroponics system.
Besides, in Inlay area, one major Pagoda, Paung Daw Oo with annual Festival in every September to October (according to the Buddhist calendar month) last about 2 weeks with traditional boat racing cultural dances and religious activities. Another tourist attractions are five-day market held to the village around the lake with their own time-table. This is a big chance to see the all major ethnic people come and trade their local products in the market.
45 kilmeters (28 miles) noth of Kalaw is famous for its caver in which there are thousands of Buddha images, some of which are very richly gilt. Still a grest amazing visit with curious interest, we could appreciate to the donor, in terms of their great respect to the Buddha and also for their big attempt of sculpturing the images in various positions and sizes. From the junction of small city Aung Ban, it takes about 1½ hours drive to Pindaya and the route and the landscapes are represeting as Myanmar’s swifter land.Another tourist attractions are the people work at traditional crafts of mulberry papermaking, umbrella making and bamboo hat making. Also of you are in a good chance, many Danu, Shan, Taung Thu and Taung Yo races can be seen at the Pindaya market day.
Kalaw, another peaceful hill resort 44 miles west of Taungyi, is a flowery heaven with fragrant pine wood. Still remains of the British atmosphere, the pretty English style cottages located on hilltops, and had built many houses reminiscent of their homes back in England. Today Kalaw is more like a centre for trekking lovers and two or three day can be easily spend to visit the Paoh and Palaung villages of their area.
Kyaing- Tong lies on loe undulating ground, not far from the Thai border. Situated in the eastern Shan state and about 450 kilo meters from the capital of Shan state, Taunggyi and 176 kilo meters from Tachileik. It is very famous for its scenic beauty and many different ethic tribes who lives around Kyaing - Tong. Many villages of various ethnic groups are Gon, Lwe, Li, Lwelah, Thai Nay, Shan, Li Shaw, Li Su, Palaung, Akha. These villages became a major tourist attractions for trekkers who can stay around at least two or three days in Kyaing- Tong. Also another, places of inetrest ate colourful central market a plrasant looking Naung Tong lake, monasteries in Shan style and traditional lacquer ware works.
Among the asean countries, consist of 10, Myanmar is always proud to say about the beauty of country , because of the different vegetations. Like European countries, one can enjoy the snow-covered mointains at the most northern part of the country in Kachin state is called Putao. It is located at an elevation of about 400 meters above sea level, includes within its boundaries the southern foot of the Himalayas. It is more like to have great potential as a major ecoturism destination.
Another famous cultural site with maevelous ancient temples and Pagodas, Myauk Oo is once the golden capital of Rakhine state between 12th to 16th Century. It is located in the north of Rakkhine state, surrounded by mountains.
Hundreds of Religious monuments still remain on the land of Myauk-Oo seems like a big competition to the famous temple and stupa of Bagan. But Myauk Oo stands on his own beauty and different style in arst and architecture. The places of interest in Myauk Oo are Shit Thaung Pagoda, Htoke-Kan Thein, Andaw Thein, Koethaung Pagoda etc. About 80 kilo meters north of Myauk Oo is the archaeological site of Welthali, anoter ancient capital dating back to the 4th Century. Myauk Oo is reached by a 5 hours boat trip along the kaladan River from the capital of the Rakhine state, Sittwe (Akyab).
Only about 40 minutes fight from Yangon to Thandwe. There is a place certainly be most people’s idea of a beach paradise is called Ngapali. Ngapali beach is known as “ the Naples of the East.” This unspoilt beach is hard to imagine anywhere that comes closer to heaven on earth than this three kilometers stretch of coast on the western edge of Myanmar where the crystal and blue sea, snow, white sand and flattened slope are founded.
The fishing fleet and the villages around the beach makes the perfect beauty of the beach. The best time to say good bye for a day, watching the sun set over the bay of Bengal is really breath-taking monent for you at the beach.
Respect of the young for the elders and the affectionate compassion of the elders for the young constitute the basis of an attitude of loving - kindness which embraces all people. Furthermore, there is a nexus of boligations due by the young to the old and the old to the young which bonds all generations of Myanmar. Here, the young pay respect to the old in the form of “ Gadaw” with the traditional tray of coconut, bannas, fruits and candles.
The Burmese are a religious people and hold all persons, places or things associated with religion in much veneration. This is true of Buddhists as wella as Christians. Since your tour will take you to many places Buddhist and Christian it is necessary to be informed of modes of dress and behaviour which might cause displeasure or surprise and do should be avoided. On the other hand ther is much appreciation when a foreign person is seen to be observing the proper from:
There is a simple principle to follow for dress and behavior in public places . What may not be immodesty in our culture may not meet the standards of this culture. What may not be embarrassing to you may be embarrassing to others here. Be as conservative as you can: Dress and act decent,don’t hug and kiss. The same principle applies to show of affection.Myanmar couples may hold hands as they walk. A Myanmar saying goes: The perpetrator is not embarrassed, the viewer is.
Aperson is equipped with emotions and also with the wisdom and means to hold those emotions in check:
The body is the first basis of person’s indentity. Touch produces one of the most sensitive of acctions or responses. It can be sensuous, friendly, assuring or threatening . The use of vaious parts of the body conveys messages, obvious or hidden. So be car ful abourt what you do to another’s body or to your own. What follows will help you understand what the body says and to avoid bad language:
Cool, comfortable cotton is the most suitable fabric for Myanmar’s warm, humid climate. Locally - made cotton is available at most destinations. Travellers heading to high altitude destinations such as Inle Lake and Kyaik - hti - yo ‘ Golden Rock’ Pagoda are advised to take a sweater or jacket as the temperature can be chilly at night.
Big hotels have electricity around the clock, with generators to ensure back-up supply. the current is tun at 220 volts. 50 hertz AC.
All visitors to Myanmar are requried to carry a valid passport and a Myanmar visa. The passport must be valid for six months beyond the intended stay. Visa applications may be made at any Myanmar embassy or consulate. Tourist visas valid for three months are issued to independent or group tour travellers. Single- entry tourist visas are also available. Multiple entry visas valid for up to one year are availabe to foreigners working for companies with long- established operations in Myanmar. Children aged over seven are required to apply for separate visas even if they are travelling on a parent’s passport. The fee for asingle- entry tourist visa is about $20; other visa fees vary according to the nationality of the applicant. Fees for stay extensions range from about $36 for up to three months, and $90 for between three months and a year and visitors must apply before their visa expires.
Bottled water is recommended. It is not advisable to buy food or fruit from street vendors unless you have a strong stomach. It is also advisable to avoid shrimps, saltwater fish and shellfish during the hot season. Visitors are strongly advised to use a sunscreen as a protection against sunburn. There are pharmacies in all major cities but visitors with a pre-existing condition are advised to bring their own medication. Use insect repellent when necessary.
The National curency is called Kyat ( pronounced ‘ chat’)l and K5000, K1000, K500,K200, K100,K50,K20, K10, K5 and K1 denomination banknotes are in use. The Central Bank of Myanmar also issues K100,K50, K10, K5 and K1 coins though they are not widely used. Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC) are also in use in denominations equivalent to $20, $10, $5 and $1 and are widely used by visitors. They are accepted by hotel, airlines, travel agencies, taxies, restaurants and as entrance fees to pagodas, museums parks. It is advisable to bring sufficient US dollars in cash as credit cards are not accepted apart from some outlets in major cities. Traveller’s cheques are not widely used.
Dial the international access code followed by the Myanmar country code, 95, the area code and the subscriber’s number.
Telephone services are available in all tourist destinations. International roaming for mobile phones is not yet available. Travellers can buy Sim- Card with FEC20 (or) US $20 at Myanmar Post & Telecommunication offices and the registered private mobile phone shops.
Hotels in major destinations offer internet services. Number of internet cafes increases rapidly and there are more than 800 internet cafes, most of which are in Yangon with a few others in such cities as Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay, Bago, Pathein and Taunggyi. Service charges in internet cafes are reasonable though browsing speeds are sometimes slow.
All tourists are recommended to take out medical and accident cover before arriving in Myanmar. Myanma Insurance offers cover for those who wish to take out insurance after arriving in the country. Myanma Insurance is at 627/635 Merchant Street, Yangon. Its email addresses are myansure@mptmail. net.mm and email@example.com
Government offices are open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Banks operate from 9:30a, to 3pm on weekdays. Shops and shopping centre’s are open from about 9am to 9pm daily, including holidays.
The academic year for government primary, middle and high school is from June to February and March. Schools close on public holidays.