Official called the Republic of the Union of Myanmar or Burma as it was once referred to is located in South-eastern Asia bordering the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, between Bangladesh and Thailand. Myanmar is also bordered by China on the northeast and Laos on the east.
Conquered by Great Britain for 62 years, Myanmar with its long history, culture and religion has many pagodas, temples and monuments all over the country.
Myanmar is made up of 135 national races with its major races being Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. The nation’s religion is predominantly Buddhism with cultures like that of Nat (spirit) Worship and Bamar infused in it. Bamar culture from Theravada Buddhism alongside Nat Worship has been influenced by the cultures of neighbouring countries like India and China. Even the country’s national epic of Burma called the Yama Zatdaw is an adaptation of India’s Ramayana.
With rich culture from its many tribes and way of life, tourism often revolves around its natural beauty and magnificent temple architecture. The climate is typically monsoon in nature with deep forests, cool and scenic places, long rivers, beautiful lakes and beaches.
Its currency is called the kyat (pronounced ‘chat’) while Pya refers to coins. Mostly all hotels, tickets for either tourist attractions or transportation and to some extent shopping are carried out in USD. Credit Cards are hardly used or accepted in the country and it is key to always have enough cash in hand as ATMs rarely accept foreign cards. Travellers cheques are not accepted at all.
Located on the lowlands of the Irrawaddy Delta are the cities of Yangon, Bago, Pathein, Pyay, Taungoo, Thanlyin and Twante.
Home to its capital Naypyidaw, Amarapura, Bagan, Magwe, Madalay and Pyin U Lwin, this region has many historical and archaeological sites.
Famous for its beaches on the Bay of Bengal, this region is home to the cities of Sittwe and Thandwe. It’s also home to Mrauk U, a medieval town and archaeological site that houses the Andaw Temple and Shittaung Pagoda.
Home to many ethnic tribes, the cities of Bhamo, Laiza, Laja Yang, Mai Ja Yang, Monywa, Myitkyina, Putao, Shwegu and Tahan are located here.
Known as the Golden Triangle, this border region is where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet on the Mekong River. It is home to the cities of Heho, Hsipaw, Kengtung, Kyaukme, Mong La, Mu-se, Tachileik and Taunggyi.
This is a coastal stretch bordering Thailand with a vast number of offshore islands. The cities of Dawei, Hpa-an, Kwathoung, Mawlamyine and Myeik are located here.
Travel through Yangon:
This former capital has a population of 5million people. An amalgamation of British, Burmese, Chinese and Indian influences, the city is a good stop for shopping, eating and sightseeing. Yangon is famous for the Shwedagon Pagoda located on top of Singuttara Hill.
Walk among the Pagodas of Bagan:
Home to many Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, it also houses Ananda, the holiest temple built by King Kyan-zit-tha in 1091.
Visit Taung Kalat Monastery:
Located on an extinct volcano plug, this monastery is truly breath-taking from afar as well as up close. The shrine is home to 37 Mahagiri Nats.
View the highest peak in South-East Asia:
Putao is the only snow fall region in the South-East Asia and is home to the Hkakabo Razi Mountain standing at 5889 meters high. The snow capped mountain called Pong-kan-ra-ze is located 61 miles away from Putao.
Shop at the Bogyoke Aung San Market:
Formerly referred to as Scott’s Market, here you will find lacquerware, ethnic bags, antiques, handicrafts, jewellery, artwork and clothing stores. The market is open from 8.30am to 7pm everyday except Monday.
Photograph the world’s largest reclining Buddha:
Located in Monywa, the statue built in 1991 is 300 feet in length. Visitors can view 9000 metal images of Buddha in various representations as they walk inside the hollow figure from head to feet. Soon to supersede it will be the reclining Buddha in China which will be 1365 feet in length.
Take a stroll down the longest teak wood bridge in the world:
The U Bein Bridge is a 1.2 km wooden footbridge across the shallow Taungthaman Lake some 10km south of Mandalay.
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