The capital of myanmar is Naypyidaw.
Inland area: 678,500 Km2
Myanmar is the largest country of South-East Asia.
Myanmar is located on the Bengal Gulf, between 94° and 98° longitude and 10° and 28° North latitude, bordered by Thailand on the west, by Laos and China on the north-east and India and Bangladesh on the north-west.
The southern part of the country is flat, fed by many rivers; the largest one, the Irrawaddy, formed by two rivers, the Mekha and the Malikha, which rise in the counter forts of the Himalayas, flows through spectacular gorges, tropical jungles and terraced paddy fields to the Bay of Bengal.
The Irrawaddy is the heartbeat of Myanmar and is the most viable means of access to many of the country's attractions.
Myanmar has 48 million inhabitants with an average density of 70,7 inhabitants/km2.
68% of the population is Burmese, 9% Shan, 7% Karen, 4% Rakhine, 3% Chinese, 2% Mon and 2% Indian. Ethnic minorities make up the rest of the population of Myanmar.
The principal religion of Myanmar is Buddhism (89 %), but it is a curious amalgam of several beliefs and practices containing elements of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. As is the case in many countries, be careful when discussing religion, especially in the presence of people with a good command of your language.
As for religion, it is advisable to refrain from discussing politics except in very broad terms. However people are increasingly open to discussion, although preferably in privacy.
There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Myanmar, all with their own language or dialect, tradition and culture. The majority of the population speak Burmese, the official language and English is widely spoken. However communication and the understanding of local traditions can pose a problem beyond the major cities. The presence of a guide able to speak several languages is highly recommended.
The official currency is the Kyat (MMK) but US dollars are accepted everywhere. Current notes are: ks 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 bank notes..
At the time of writing exchange rate is US$ 1 = 840 Kyat (January 2011)(click here to check daily exchange rate in all currencies), (January 2011, please note that this can change significantly on a daily basis).
We advise you not to change money at the airport, as the exchange rate is always lower than market rates. Please be aware that our team will be able to help you to change your money at a proper rate. Travellers cheques can pose a problem as they are rarely accepted.
No credit card is accepted. We therefore recommend all tourists visiting Myanmar to bring cash in USD, because currently it is the only foreign currency which is accepted.
The best time of year to visit Myanmar is from mid October to the beginning of March. At this time, the climate is mild and dry. Temperatures can however be very low at altitude and especially at night. This is the case for Inle Lake. The hottest time of year is from March to mid May and the rainy season lasts from mid May to the beginning of October. We would suggest you avoid the months of May and June, which are hot and humid. In July, August and September, the humidity is generally high in Yangon. It is less so in the northern regions (Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake).
Myanmar is 6 hours 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
In Myanmar the «standard»electrical current is 220V, but sockets are not always standard. It is highly recommended that you take an international adapter with you.
Due to its limited power supply, the country suffers from frequent power cuts - and over voltage, but most hotels and restaurants in the major cities have their own generators.
As in many countries, it is not advisable to drink water from the tap unless it has been boiled beforehand.
International phone call charges from Myanmar are very expensive (from 5 to 10 USD per minute for Europe). If you need to call from a hotel, it is advisable to check and have confirmed the price before making the call (“surprises” can be very costly !).
Mobile phones still do not work in Myanmar. Email does work to a certain extent in the major cities but its use remains limited.
Health & Medical Facilities
No vaccination is required, but visitors are advised to receive inoculations against hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tetanus.
Burmese hospitals are currently very basic. For life threatening injury it is advisable to be evacuated to Bangkok or Singapore. In the main cities you can however find private clinics staffed with foreign medical personnel but prices are very expensive. We therefore strongly recommend you to take out medical travel insurance.
There are two international airports in Myanmar:
- The International airport of Yangon located in Mingaladon, 20 minutes from the town centre
- The International airport of Mandalay, 45 km (1h transfer) from the heart of the town.
The road network has improved but still needs to be upgraded in some areas. To cover a distance, it is reasonable to count an average speed of 50 km / hour.
In Myanmar, they drive on the right.
Apart from citizens of Myanmar, only foreigners with a business visa or those with an International Driving licence are authorised to drive in Myanmar.
We strongly recommend to only call upon the services of drivers recommended by your hotel or tour operator and to agree on a price before you get in the car ! It is possible to hire a motorbike with an International Driving licence.
Traditional Burmese cuisine varies from Mohinga or On-no-Khaukswe, assorted delicacies which are fried or baked in the oven to a variety of Burmese curries. Chinese and Indian foods are also widely available in major towns and cities.
Artisan craft is rich and varied : you will therefore discover lacquerware, embroidered cottons, silks, wood carvings as well as precious stones and many manufactured products. Prices displayed are usually fixed, but the joy of bargaining remains a fixture if local culture and is frequently used in villages and markets.
Most shops are open from 09h00 to 18h00 from Monday to Saturday but can vary according to region. Small local shops are usually open every day. It is easy to pay for your purchases in US dollars.
Tips, although appreciated, are by no means mandatory. Avoid giving money to the beggars; it would be perceived as encouragement, which would only increase the phenomenon. If you wish to give something, it would be helpful to give them something to eat or to provide a basic need (shoes, clothes, pens, exercise book etc).