in Myanmar - Choose Your Destination
Population: 48.08 million
Language: Myanmar (0fficial) English
Local Time: GMT +6 1/2
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz (when it's working)
Weights & measures: Imperial with local variations
Entry into Myanmar requires a passport valid for
at least six months from the time of entry. 28-day
tourist visas are issued and cost US$18
has three seasons; the monsoon or rainy season
from May to October; the cool season from November
to February and the hot season from March to May.
The average temperature ranges from 32?C in central
and lower areas to 21?C in the northern highlands.
Kyat (Kt) = 100 pyas. Kt. 100,000 is known as
a lakh, and Kt 10 million as a crore. Kyat is
pronounced like the English word 'chat'.
Kyat, made up of 100 pyas. Currency notes come
in the following denominations: K 1,000, K 500,
K 200, K 100,K 90, K 50, K 45, K 20, K 15, K 10,
K 5, K 1 and coins K 100, K 50, K 10, K 5, K 1
and Pya 50.
has been closely intertwined with religion and
royalty in Burman history. Temples, pagodas and
palaces displayed the artistic skills of painters,
wood carvers and sculptures. Temples and pagodas
were traditionally built of brick and many are
still standing. The great palaces, however, were
made of wood, and only one badly-deteriorating
example of these beautiful carved structures remains
today. Art and architecture, which relied on royal
support, faded when the last royal kingdom collapsed.
Although court culture has been extinguished,
popular street-level culture is vibrant and thriving.
Drama is the mainstay of this culture, and just
about any celebration is a good excuse for a pwe
(show). Performances may recount Buddhist legends,
or be more light-hearted entertainments involving
slapstick comedy, dance, ensemble singing or giant
puppets. Burman music is an integral part of a
pwe; it originates from Siam and emphasises rhythm
and melody. Instruments are predominantly percussive
and include drums, boat-shaped harps, gongs and
Over 85% of the Burman population is Theravada
Buddhist, although it is not the official state
religion and since the Ne Win government takeover,
it has actually officially occupied a less central
role in Burman life. In the Rakhine region, towards
Bangladesh, there are many Muslims. Christian
missionaries have had some success among hill
tribes but many remain staunch animists.
Burmese is the predominant language and has its
own alphabet and script. Though you're hardly
going to have time to master the alphabet, it
may be worth learning the numerals, if only so
you can read the bus numbers. English is spoken
by a few Burmans, particularly by the older generation.
It's easier to buy authentic Burman dishes from
food stalls rather than restaurants. Chinese and
Indian eateries predominate, and hotel restaurants
tend to remove much of the chilli and shrimp paste
from their Burman dishes. Rice is the core of
any Burman meal.
To this is added a number of curry options and
a spicy raw vegetable salad, and almost everything
is flavoured with ngapi - a dried and fermented
shrimp paste. Chinese tea is generally preferable
to the over-strong, over-sweet and over-milky
Burman tea. Sugar-cane juice is a very popular
streetside drink, and stronger tipples include
orange brandy, lychee wine and the alarming-sounding
white liquor and jungle liquor.