Welcome Myanmar

Myanmar sits at the crossroads of Asia’s great civilizations of India and China and one of South East Asia’s largest and most diverse countries, Myanmar stretches from the sparkling islands of the Andaman Sea in the south right up into the Eastern Himalayan mountain range. Myanmar remains one of the most mysterious and undiscovered destinations in the world. A land of breathtaking beauty and charm yet only recently emerging into the modern world. What can the casual visitor therefore expect upon arrival, and why should one embark on such a journey in the first place?

Myanmar – previously known as Burma – is fast becoming the must-see destination in Southeast Asia, helped by an incredible array of tourist sights: Myanmar offers all the traditional delights of Asia in one fascinating country. Virgin jungles, snow-capped mountains and pristine beaches, combined with a rich and glorious heritage spanning more than two thousand years. Spectacular monuments and ancient cities attest to a vibrant culture that is still home to many different ethnic groups.

Wherever you go in Myanmar, whether it be cruising down the mighty Ayeyarwaddy River in style, drifting over the ancient city of Bagan by hot air balloon, or searching for that elusive tiger on the back of an elephant, there is always a feeling of adventure. With two modern internal airlines upgrading and expanding their networks, new and exciting destinations off the beaten track are gradually being opened. The country’s tourism infrastructure boasts five star properties, intimate boutique hotels and family guest houses in all the major centers, as well as stunning mountain and beach resorts. , so visitors can rest assured their holiday will be carefree from start to finish.

About Myanmar

Geography

Myanmar occupies the Thailand/Cambodia portion of the Indochinese peninsula. India lies to the northwest and China to the northeast. Bangladesh, Laos, and Thailand are also neighbors. The Bay of Bengal touches the southwest coast. The fertile delta of the Irrawaddy River in the south contains a network of interconnecting canals and nine principal river mouths.


Culture

The culture of Myanmar has been heavily influenced by Buddhism and the Mon people. Burmese culture has also been influenced by its neighbours India, Thailandand China.
In more recent times, British colonial rule and westernisation have influenced aspects of Burmese culture, including language and education.


Arts

Historically, Burmese art was based on Buddhist or Hindu cosmology and myths. There are several regional styles of Buddha images, each with certain distinctive characteristics. For example, the Mandalay style, which developed in the late 1800s, consists of an oval-shaped Buddha with realistic features, including naturally curved eyebrows, smaller but still prominent ears, and a draping robe. There are 10 traditional arts, called pan sèmyo,listed as follows:

  • 1. Blacksmith (ba-bè)
  • 2. Woodcarving (ba-bu)
  • 3. Goldsmith (ba-dein)
  • 4. Stucco relief (pandaw)
  • 5. Masonry (pa-yan)
  • 6. Stone carving (pantamaw)
  • 7. Turnery (panbut)
  • 8. Painting (bagyi)
  • 9. Lacquerware (panyun)
  • 10. Bronze casting (badin)

In addition to the traditional arts are silk weaving, pottery, tapestry making, gemstone engraving, and gold leaf making. Temple architecture is typically of brick and stucco, and pagodas are often covered with layers of gold leaf while monasteries tend to be built of wood (although monasteries in cities are more likely to be built of modern materials). A very common roofing style in Burmese architecture is called ‘pyatthat’ which is a multi-tiered and spired roof.


Religion

The majority of MyanmarareBuddhists of the Theravada tradition. People are expected to keep the basic five precepts and practise‘dana’ (charity), ‘Sila’ (morality), and ‘bavana’ (meditation). Most villages have a monastery and often a pagoda maintained and supported by the layfolk. Annual pagoda festivals usually fall on a full moon day, and robe offering ceremonies for monks are held both at the beginning and after the Buddhist lent.

Children used to be educated by monks before secular state schools came into being. A ‘shinbyu’ ceremony by which young boys become novice monks for a short period is the most important duty of Buddhist parents. Christian missionaries had made little impact on the Myanmar despite the popularity of missionary schools in cities.

The Myanmarpractice Buddhism along with ‘nat’ worship which predated Buddhism. It involves rituals relating to a pantheon of 37 Nats designated by King Anawrahta, although many minor nats are also worshipped.


Transportation

The majority of visitors arrive by air at Yangon International Airport. Many Domestic Airlines areprovidedlimited service in and out of the country. Direct international flights arrive from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singaporeand also on each country’s respective national carriers.

Bus routes are run by a variety of different private companies, and they serve most parts of Myanmar – with the exception of border areas such as Kyaing Tong and Putao.

Travelling by boat in Myanmar can be a genuine alternative to the bus or train, connecting some major destinations and allowing visitors to get a real taste of life on the river; taking in views of glorious sunsets over stupa-lined river banks; and mixing with the locals. The most popular routes follow the mighty Irrawaddy River (also spelt Ayeyarwady or Ayeyarwaddy), the backbone of Myanmar that flows north-south through the country, as well as various tributary rivers and routes in the Irrawaddy Delta, near Yangon.

Railway journeys often afford scenic views and chances to mix with locals that are often not otherwise possible. In upper class and overnight sleeper carriages, a sometimes more comfortable journey is possible than on buses– albeit with significantly bouncier ride than you will be used to on trains elsewhere.

Trishaws, or cycle rickshaws (called saiq-ka in Burmese, a phonetic translation of the English ‘side-car’), are one of the most readily available forms of short-distance transport in Myanmar. You will find them on most street corners.

Taxis in Myanmar mostly come in the form of Japanese saloons; some are very well-worn, but there are an increasing number of modern vehicles on the road in Yangon. In smaller towns, and in some destinations such as Bagan and Pyin U Lwin, horse and cart remains a popular way to get around. These are often used as basic transport, etc.


Communication

Myanmar Communication system services are vital in the management, Myanmar economy and social affairs of the State. For smooth and safe communication, Myanmar communication service, under the Ministry of Communications, Posts and Telegraphs is carrying out Myanmar Postal Service. Myanmar telegraphs Service and Myanmar Telephone Service as their four main tasks, Postal Service, Telephone, Telegraph Service and Internet.

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