Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and is the second largest Peninsula in Southeast Asia.
She is 2000 kilometers in length, and 936 kilometers in width. Myanmar borders Bangladesh and India to the NW; China to the NE; Laos and Thailand on the East. And to its littoral SW the Andaman Sea, and Bay of Bengal.
The tallest mountain in Myanmar is named Khaka Bo Razi that sits at 5881 meters tall and is an extension of the Himalayan range.
The longest river in Myanmar is the famed Ayarwaddy which is the lifeblood of the land. The Ayarwaddy begins in the southern Himalayas, and is a life source by providing water for irrigation, commercial and personal transport, fishing, and cooking and bathing. The Ayarwaddy flows from the north and winds its way 2000 kilometers south before emptying into the Andaman Sea.
Burma received its current name of Myanmar in 1989 when the government changed her name. Myanmar means a reference to the country as a whole-viewed as a single entity. In 2006 the government moved Myanmar ‘s capital city north, from Rangoon to Nay Pyi Daw.
Myanmar ‘s population is estimated at about 54 million, of whom about 80 percent live in rural villages. Myanmar ‘s former capital city of Yangon has a population of 4.5 million.
The majority of the population is of ethnic Burmese; while 40% include other ethnic groups such as the Kachin, Karen, Chin, Shan, Kayah, Mon and Rakhine. These ethnic groups can be broken down into over 100 different groups or tribes.
87% of the populations are Buddhists. It has been said that Burma is the most profoundly Buddhist country in the world. Burmese practice Theravada Buddhism whose followers carries and passes on from generation to generation the most sacred of Buddha’s teachings.
There are also 4% of Christian, 4% Muslim, 4% Animist, and 1% Hindu. The Animists is comprised mostly of our hill tribes such as the Naga; who much like the United State ‘s Native Americans, worship and hold in high regard the land and her animals.
Burmese is the official language. Many different ethnic groups have their own dialect. English is generally widely understood.
The flag of Burma is red, with a blue on the upper left side-and inside the blue area are fourteen white stars. The stars symbolize the 7 states and 7 divisions of the country.
Burma generally has three seasons:
(1) The “cold” season where temperatures average between 21-28 degrees Celsius (70-80 degrees Fahrenheit) November thru February.
(2) The “hot” season where temperatures can top 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) from March thru early May.
(3) The “wet” season (also known as the monsoon season) where daily deluges typically begin in the afternoons and evenings while waning in the mornings-during the wet season temperatures average 25-31 degrees Celsius (77-83 degrees Fahrenheit) from May thru October.
Burma’s geographic and cultural has contributed to a culinary tradition its own. The rivers and long coastlines of our country produce vast quantities of fish and seafood-a staple here. Our cuisine has been influenced by both India and China and a typical Burmese dish consists of fish or meat (pork, chicken or beef) curry served with rice; spicy vegetable salad; vegetable soup. This is often accompanied with a fish paste called nga pi, which is essential in Burmese kitchens.
The most popular dish in Burma is a breakfast dish called mohinga. Mohinga is a soup that is prepared with rice noodles, fish, coriander, spring onions and eggs.
Traditional Burmese cuisine consists of are fish or meat curry cooked in oil and spicy with vegetable salad, clear soup of vegetable or mixed vegetable sour soup, fish-paste is widely essential for Burmese kitchen.
Because of Burma’s temperate weather, fresh fruit and vegetable markets adorn any town or city where typically Burmese women sell their fresh produce at unheard of prices and bargaining is accepted!
Exceptional international cuisine is available at most hotels and varies from Japanese to Italian.
220-230 V/ 50 Hz (adapters are usually needed too).
The Burmese currency called “Kyat”. The official exchange rate is about 6 Kyat for 1 US $.
International credit cards and Traveler Checks are accepted at leading hotels and restaurants though; visitors are advised to bring US Dollar for convenience.