With Myanmar currently one of the hottest new destinations on our planet, the sudden onslaught of travellers will have impacts.
To help reduce the possible risks of unsustainable tourism growth, Intrepid Travel is proud to sponsor the informative and entertaining booklet:
Dos and Don'ts for Tourists - How you can visit Myanmar responsibly.
Respecting the local people, their cultures, economy and the environment is the most resonsible way to travel. Here are some of the booklet’s suggested ways to help ensure you are warmly received when you travel to Myanmar...
1. The Myanmar people are friendly, helpful and polite.
The typical Myanmar character is kind and trustworthy and of course you should be too!
2. Respect the Myanmar people and their unique traditions.
Visitors are not asked to abandon their ways, they are asked to adapt to the Myanmar environment.
3. Don’t take any photos that may make people feel embarrassed.
For example, it is considered disrespectful when a tourist take photos of women bathing in the villages.
4. Wear decent clothes when visiting religious sites.
Please cover your shoulders and knees and take off your shoes and socks when visiting pagoda areas.
5. Do tuck away your feet.
When you sit (eg in a home or pagoda), your legs should not be stretched out and your feet should never face the Buddha.
6. Don’t touch anyone on the head.
The head is the most esteemed part of the body. To be touched on the head is considered aggressive.
7. Please learn the basic words of Myanmar language.
People will be delighted to meet visitors who are willing to immerse themselves in the language.
8. Don’t kiss in public.
Displaying physical closeness in public places is frowned upon in Myanmar.
9. Please learn the local customs before visiting ethnic minority villages.
The people of Myanmar are very diverse; each ethnic minority has their own local customs. For example, when tourists visit Akha villages they should know not to take photos of pregnant women.
10. Don’t touch the robe of a monk.
Monks are very revered; they observe many rules, study the Dhamma, practice meditation and are highly respected. Visitors should never touch the robe of a monk.
11. If tourists wish to help the people of Myanmar, they should consider creative ways to contribute to communities, not to individuals.
For example, visitors can donate to communities, schools, health facilities, NGOs or monasteries that take care of children.
12. Giving money or sweets to children is not advisable.
Instead of creating children's dependency on tourism, visitors should consider the saying: "Don't give a helpless person a fish, teach them how to catch a fish and they will learn for a lifetime".
13. Help protect Myanmar wildlife by refusing to purchase wildlife products.
The illegal selling of wildlife endangers the species native to Myanmar and tourists should not buy these products
14. To maintain Myanmar’s unique heritage, do not buy antiques. Buy arts and crafts instead.
Myanmar loses its heritage every time antique items are taken out of the country.
15. Do not go where you are advised not to go.
Myanmar is slowly opening up and more destinations will be accessible to foreigners in the future.
You can download the full Dos and Don'ts for Tourists or ask your Intrepid group leader for a copy on arrival in Myanmar.