Myanmar, known as Burma for many years, is an ancient land which has existed since the prehistoric times. The historical facts of ancient days can be seen in Bagan, Mandalay, Innwa, Amarapura, Shwebo, Bago, Pyay, Taungoo and so on.
The amazing pagodas, temples, shrines and the old Buddhist monasteries are distinctive features of Myanmar and archeological evidence of ancient days can be seen significantly. These show that there were the different eras in our history.
Location, Temperature, Weather and PopulationMyanmar is located in South East Asia and her territory is over 678,033 square kilometers (wide about 925 KM from East to West and long about 2090KM from North to South). It has nearly (60) millions people and surrounded by India in West, Bangladesh in North-West, China in North and North-East and Laos and Thai in East and South-East.
It has normally three Seasons; summer (March-May, temperature: 29-45.c), Rainy Season (June-October, temperature: 22-40.c) and Winter (November-February: 19-29.c) and mountains of Northern parts are capped with snow in the winter season. Many seasonal vegetables and fruits are available accordingly.
People, Religion, Language and Culture
Myanmar is a very lovely country as Myanmar owns many kinds of Gems, plants, wood, fruits as per its topography. And the most attractive one is that Myanmar people are very charming and helpful with smiling faces. Over 135 national races live together in Myanmar since the ancient time. The main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakkhine, Shan and other national tribes are Kokant, Wa, Lisu, Lahu, Dahnu, Pa-oh, Pa daung, Naga, Myo, Khami , Thet, Dinnet, Dawei, Hsalon and so on. Besides, the immigrants of Chinese and Indian stock have been gently absorbed during the colonial day.
Myanmar is a multi-religious country. There is not any official state religion, but the government shows preference for Theravada Buddhism, the majority religion. 89% of population is Buddhism, 4% is Christianity, another 4% is Islam, 2% is Atheism, Animism and others and 1% is Hinduism. Though some Myanmar believes in Nats (Spirits), most are Theravada Buddhism. Meditation is now more blooming in Myanmar and meditation centers are easily accessible. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting pagodas and monasteries. Shoes (and socks!) must be removed before entering any religious building, holy places or private homes. It is therefore useful to wear shoes without too many laces and which can easily be taken off.
The classical Myanmar language is spread with words from Pali, Sanskrit and Mon and is influenced by Theravada Buddhism. It has an alphabet of 33 consonants and 12 owels that combine to form syllabic sound. Modern Myanmar language is simple and colloquial. The sounds are combined with different tones to approach a harmonious compound language and it can be made cutting ways of using "I" or "You" to exemplify the familiarity, age, rank and relationship. There are also different nouns and verbs for different classes i.e. member of the clergy, royalty and layman.
To notice, Myanmar people don't like to touch their head because they feel that is irrespective. Younger ones should bend their head when they pass through in front of the elder people and use both hands when the younger ones take or give something from or to the elder people. That shows respect to the elders.
The basic unit of Myanmar currency is the "Kyat". Hundred pyas are equal to one kyat note.The local currencies (Notes) are Kyats 10000, Kyats 5000, Kyats 1000, Kyats 500, Kyats 200, Kyats 100, Kyats 90, Kyats 50, Kyats 45, Kyats 20, Kyats 15, Kyats 10, Kyats 5, Kyat 1 and coins are Kyats 100, Kyats 50, Kyats 10, Kyats 5, Kyat 1, Pya 50, Pya 25, Pya 10, Pya 5, Pya 1.
Travelers' checks are NOT normally accepted and difficult to transact. Travelers are advised to bring US Dollars in cash (small denomination notes). Acceptable foreign currencies are- United States Dollar (USD), British Pound, German mark, French franc, Swiss franc, Australian dollar, Singapore dollar, Hong Kong dollar, Malaysian dollar and Japanese Yen.
Latest news about credit card in Myanmar as in August/2014 is that, there are currently over 600 ATMS and over 1,000 merchants who accept Visa cards located throughout the country, specifically around Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake. Visa cardholders can withdraw local currency from ATMs and use their credit cards at a growing number of major outlets such as hotels, restaurants, and retailers. Since 2012, travelers from over 100 countries have used their Visa cards in Myanmar.
Major merchants include but are not limited to:
Hotels: Sule ShangriLa, Park Royal Yangon, Chatrium, Sedona Hotel, Strand Hotel
Restaurants: Green Elephant, Gekko Restaurant, L Opera Restaurant, Sky Bistro, Water Library, Vista Bar, 50th Street Café, Signature Dining, Union Bar and Grill
Hotels: Bagan Lodge, Tharabar Gate, Aye Yar River Hotel, Bagan Thande Hotel
Hotels: Paradise Inle Resort, Paramount Inle Resort, Villa Inle Resort and Spa, Pristine Lotus Spa Resort
Hotels: 79 Living Hotel, Smart Hotel, Hotel Mandalay, Hotel Emperor, Pacific Hotel
Popular ATM locations around the country include:
· Airport lobbies upon arrival (Yangon International Airport, Nyaung-U Airport (Bagan), HeHo Airport (Inle), Mandalay Airport)
· Hotel lobbies
· Major markets (e.g., retailers in Bogyoke Market in Yangon)
· Bank Branches
eCommerce: In addition, some local airlines, travel agents, and hotels are accepting Visa cards to make eCommerce reservations online while in or before entering the country.