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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.

In Myanmar there are over 130 ethnic groups and a variety of different languages and cultural features, many of them found only in the remote mountainous regions.

Let yourself be inspired by stately processions of monks robed in saffron and purple, shaven-headed nuns seeking alms and elegant Burmese ladies adorned with yellow thanakha paste. Young and old alike linger in teashops, gossiping, smoking traditional fragrant Burmese cheroots, dressed as they have for centuries in the traditional longyi or htamein.

Wherever you go you will catch glimpses of earlier times – real or imagined – but it is the hospitality and friendliness of the people of this “golden land” that is most striking – their tolerance of different religions and cultures, respect for each other and heartfelt smiles. It is this perhaps more than anything else that makes Myanmar the unique and fascinating country it is.
Fasts & Figures

Official name: Union of Myanmar
Capital: Yangon (seat of government will soon move to Pyinmana)
Population: 50.7 million
Ethnic groups: Burman, Shan, Karen, Rakhine, Chinese, Indian, Mon, others.
Life expectancy: 57 years (men), 63 years (women)
Area (sq km): 676,552
Language: Myanmar, various indigenous ethnic languages
Religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam
Climate: tropical monsoon
Agricultural products: rice, beans, pulses; hardwood, fish and fish products
Monetary unit: Kyat (MMK)
Internet domain: .mm
International dialing code: +95
Interesting Facts

  • Myanmar is very rich in natural resources like petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas and hydropower.
  • The climate of Myanmar is generally humid, and it receives less rainfall but the temperature remains quite mild all through the year.
  • There are many neighboring countries which surrounds Myanmar; namely, Bangladesh in the west, India in the northwest, China in the southeast, Laos and Thailand in the East.
  • The Irrawaddy River in Myanmar is believed to be a symbol of ‘continuity’.
  • Myanmar, which has a total area of 678,500 square kilometers, is the largest country in mainland Southeast Asia, and the 40th-largest in the world. It is somewhat smaller than the U.S. state of Texas and slightly larger than Afghanistan.
  • The country has been plagued with rebels in various ethnic areas ever since its independence.
  • Myanmar is divided into states, divisions, townships, wards and villages.
  • The national currency of Myanmar is Kyat.
  • More than 20,000 people were killed and thousands were left homeless, in the May 2008 Nargis Typhoon, which destroyed villages and rice fields.
  • Major credit cards are not always accepted in Myanmar, so it’s always better to carry some cash.
  • In 2006 the capital of Myanmar was moved from Yangon (formerly Rangoon) to Nay Pyi Taw.
  • Initially, many Burmese girls served the courts of the Kings of Siam, now known as Thailand.
  • There are four major rivers in Myanmar: Ayeyarwaddy River, Thanlwin River, Chindwin River, and Sittaung River.
  • Myanmar has three main seasons, hot season (March to May), rainy season (June to October) and cold season (November to February).
  • Mandalay, the last capital of the Myanmar Kingdom is the cultural center of the country.
  • The lowest point in Myanmar is the Andaman Sea (0 m) and the highest point is Hkakabo Razi (5,881 m).
  • Myanmar depends on agriculture for more than half of its GDP.
  • The ethnic origins of Myanmar are a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who moved to the area in 700 BC.
  • Common local unit of weight is peiktha (viss), which equals to 3.6 pounds.
  • Most common unit of measure is feet and inches.
  • Literacy Rate in Myanmar is 83 per cent and life expectancy is 57 years.
  • Myanmar is endowed with a rich ecological diversity. Here, you will find about 100 bird species, 300 reptiles, 7000 species of plant life and 300 recorded mammal species. The rich ecological diversity is also an important national asset.
  • Myanmar is mostly a Theravada Buddhist country. Here, you will also find other religions such as Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Muslims and Christians.
  • Under British rule, Myanmar was the richest country in south-east Asia.
Quotes on Sri Lanka

ARTHUR C. CLARK, a British science fiction author, inventor and futurist:
The Island of Sri Lanka is a small universe, it contains as many variations of culture, scenery and climate as some countries a dozen times its size. I find it hard to believe that there is any country which scores so highly in all departments which have so many advantages and so few disadvantages. Lovely beaches, beautiful landscapes, impressive ruins, a vibrant culture and charming people – No wonder Sri Lanka is a small miracle.

JOSEPH PULITZER, a Hungarian-American newspaper publisher:
Put it before them so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and above all accurately so they will be guided by its light.