Myanmar, also called Burma, or officially UNION OF MYANMAR, is a country lying along the eastern coasts of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea in south-east Asia. To be more accurate, Myanmar lies between Latitudes 4’31’ and 28’31’ North and Longitudes 92’10’ and 101’11’ East.
About 55 million people live in Myanmar.
Though ethnologists have identified 135 different ethno linguistic groups, the eight major races are Bamar, Mon, Kachin, Kayin, kayah, Chin, Rakhine and Shan. There are still a good number of Indian and Chinese people.
Myanmar or Burmese is the official language. More than 100 dialects are spoken in the country. English is spoken within business areas.
While the majority of Myanmar, around 87 per cent, practice Theravada Buddhism, there are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists. However, there is complete freedom in religion among Buddhists or non-Buddhists in Myanmar. An appreciation of Buddhism may probably help foreigners who want better understanding of the Myanmar temperament.
Myanmar lies between two of the world's great and ancient civilizations- China and India and it has incorporated the finer arts and blended it to the tastes of native traits and characteristics. Buddhism has great influence on the conduct of life, so the people have maintained the tradition of reverence for religion and clergy, obedience and respect for parents, elders & seniors. Simple and modest dresses and traditional native costumes of the different tribes. Every full moon day of the lunar month is celebrated joyously with delicacies, food and charities for a religious, social or seasonal festival. Lavish receptions for a happy or special occasion with music, merry-making, songs and dance. Generally speaking the people are hospitable, friendly and fun loving. But during the Buddhist Lent [from full moon of July to full moon of October] marriages and shifting of residences are a taboo for the laity. Also the change of monasteries for the clergy. Myanmar enjoys a rich heritage of culture and custom.
Myanmar is a diamond-shaped country reaching 925 kilometres or 575 miles from the east to the west and 2,100 kilometres or 1,300 miles from the north to the south. Thailand, Laos and China border it in the east while Bangladesh and India in the north and the Indian Ocean in the west and the south. The Irrawaddy River flows through central Myanmar and forms a delta on the south coast; Yangon stands next to one of its many mouths. North of the delta sits the Irrawaddy basin and central Myanmar, which is guarded by a horseshoe of mountains ascending to over 3,000 metres or 10,000 feet, creating profound climatic results. To the west are the Arakan, Naga and Chin mountains and the Patkai Hills; the Kachin Hills sit to the north; to the east lies the Shan Plateau, extending to the Tenasserim coastal ranges. Intensive irrigated farming is practiced all over central Myanmar, and fruit, citrus crops and vegetables thrive on the Shan Plateau; however, subtropical forest covers much of the land and mountains.
The length of contiguous frontier is 3,828 miles (6,159 km) and the coastline from the mouth of Naaf River to Kawthaung is 1,385 miles (2,228 km).
The total length of boundary:
• Myanmar-China 1,370 miles
• Myanmar-Thailand 1,310 miles
• Myanmar-India 832 miles
• Myanmar-Laos 148 miles
• Myanmar-Bangladesh 168.7 miles
Best season: Nov - Feb Dry and relatively cool
Hot & Dry: Mar - May Very hot. during day time, it reaches 35C easily.
You cannot stay out more than 1 hr.
Hot & Wet: Jun - Oct Rain is not so heavy in areas such as Bagan.
But in mountain areas such as Inle Lake, rain can be very heavy.
Traveling on mountain roads can be very difficult, allow extra time.