Myanmar is the name which has long been used by its people to describe their homeland which the British called Burma. It is also known as the Golden Land not only for its golden pagodas but for its rich land and the wealth of its agriculture and precious minerals. Geographically, Myanmar is the largest country in South East Asia Peninsular sharing borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. It has a total area of 675,577 square kilometers and is twice the size of Vietnam and about the size of United Kingdom and France combined.
Myanmar has three seasons. The cold season is from October to February with average temperatures of between 20 – 24C. The hot season is from March to May with average temperatures of between 30 – 35C. The wet season occurs from June to September with average temperatures of between 25 – 30C. Yangon normally receives early morning and afternoon showers while rain fall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low. The weather around Inle Lake and Shan State is pleasant all year round, but cold at night from December to February.
Theravada Buddhism is the predominant religion with over 80% of the people embracing it. There are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists.
Myanmar lies on the cross road of two of the world’s great civilization – China and India, but its culture is neither that of India nor China exclusively, but a blend of both interspersed with Myanmar native traits and characteristics. The people have preserved the traditional close family ties, respect for the elders and reverence for Buddhism. Myanmar is contented and cheerful even in the face of adversities and known for their kind hospitality and friendliness.
The same precautions are the same as anywhere else – drink only bottled water and do not eat raw vegetables, only eat fruits that you can peel of cut yourself. Be wary of eating food from streets stall. Use insect repellent when necessary and use sunscreen liberally when exposed to the intense, tropical sun.
Cotton clothing and a light wrap for the evening during the cool season are recommended. Do not wear shorts, tank tops or sleeveless bloused when visiting temple. Dress modestly at all times – revealing clothing is frowned upon in Myanmar. Footwear must be removed before entering a temple.
Tourist and business visas are valid for 28days. Tourist visas are non – extendible; business visas many be extended for 28days. Transit visas are valid for 24hours. Apply to a Myanmar embassy or consulate, with four photos and your passport. The cost of a tourist visa is approximately US$ 50; the cost of a business visa is approximately US$ 50.
Besides personal effects visitors are allowed 400cigarettee (100 cigars or 250g of unrolled tobacco), two quarts of liquor and 500ml of cologne or perfume. Cameras, radios, cassette players, calculator etc must be declared at Customs on arrival and taken out on departure. Foreign currency in excess of US$ 2000 must be declared. Retain a copy of the Customs declaration form to be presented when you leave Myanmar.
Airport tax is US$ 15 per person to be paid on departure.
Myanmar Standard Time (MST) is six hours and 30minutes of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC).
220 VOLT 50 HZ
Government and business 09:00 am to 05:00pm, Monday to Friday. Shops 10:00am to 09:00pm, usually Monday to Saturday.