About Myanmar

Myanmar (former name: Burma) – famous with the name Golden Land – is the fascinating country with many alluring tourist destinations for all tourism types such as sightseeing, active or adventure activities. After quite so long years of being closed off to the world with isolation and military dictatorship, it is rapidly changing now and become safer and an amazing place to visit nowadays.

Myanmar’s area is more than 670,000km2 only but the country is inhabited by about 135 ethnic groups and each one has their own culture, lifestyle, and history... The landscapes of the untouched corners, ancient temples and unaffected peoples make this land totally different, epic and worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.

Even with a local who spend a whole life living here, Myanmar seems to still has more to see, enjoy, discover, and experience. The splendid cities of gilded pagodas, spectacular views on the highland, together with the warm smiles of friendly villagers rolled into one will give you an enlivened adventure. Life drifts along much as it has done for centuries in much of the country. Ways of life, local traditions and colorful cultural features all around such as the Intha fisherman ply the water of Inle Lake, balloons leisurely fly over Bagan, or the countrywide practice of the balletic ball game chinlone…

Many come to Myanmar hungry for a flavor of bygone Asia but this time, not only the old things, you will also see another Myanmar – the land of hope and optimism.

History of Myanmar

Historical ruin in Mrauk U, Myanmar
Myanmar has a long history covers a period of over 13,000 years since the first human settlements. The earliest inhabitants in Myanmar recorded were the Pyu city-states when a group of Tibeto-Burman-speaking people migrated southward in the 2nd century BCE. In the early days of the 6th century, another people called Mon people entered the lower part of Burma and established the Mon Kingdom. This ancient kingdom existed till the late 13th century.

During that period, the land of present-day Burma was also inhabited by the regimes of Bagan Dynasty (849-1297), Pagan Empire (1044-1297) and other small kingdoms, before the birth of the Kingdom of Ava (Inwa) in the 14th century.

After the downfall of Pagan in 1297, the Mon kingdom was founded as Hanthawaddy Pegu or Ramannadesa (the kingdom of Raman) and became the rival of Ava.
The regimes of Burmese ethnic groups shared the land of present-day Myanmar until the 18th century. The kingdoms of Burmese went to the wars with Qing China. The wars lasted for decades before the country faced up rebels from the British protected territories and then became under British rule.
Myanmar was governed by the British military until 1948. After World War II, Burmese found the chance to become independent. For decades after, Myanmar went through its way to socialism with many remarkable milestones, including both development and protest.

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Geography & Climate of Myanmar

Golden rock - a Myanmar destination in mountainous area
Myanmar is located in the northwesternmost part of mainland Southeast Asia. To the west of Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal, and the south part is next to the Andaman Sea. Myanmar shares its boundaries with China, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Laos.

The land of Myanmar covers an area of 676,578 square kilometers (261,228 square miles) with a total land boundaries length is 6,522 kilometers (4,053 miles). The southern part of the country is surrounded by 2,228 kilometers (1,384 miles) of coastline.
Myanmar’s mainland is surrounded by 16 islands and Mergui Archipelago (consists of more than 800 islands)

The climate of Myanmar is influenced by location and altitude, but the country is considered to have tropical monsoon weather. The lowlands of the country are more influenced by tropical monsoon than the highland, with 2 main seasons: the dry season (from October to May) and the rainy one (from June to September). While the climate on the highland of the country depends on its elevation, but the main trend is getting colder when going higher.

Myanmar People

Ethnic people in Kalaw Myanmar
The population of Myanmar has now surpassed 53 million people. People with the nationality of Burma are called Burmese, but actually, Myanmar is an ethnically diverse country, with 135 distinct ethnic groups living together, speaking 108 different languages. These are really impressive numbers. The biggest group is Bamar people, constituting 68% of the country’s population. The second is the Shan (10%), while the Kayin takes third place (7%).

Language of Myanmar

signal written in Burmese script in death railway Myanmar

Myanmar has 108 distinct languages spoken, but they can be divided into 4 main language families: Sino-Tibetan, Indo-European, Tai–Kadai and Austro-Asiatic.
Burmese is the mother tongue of Bamar people and the official language of Myanmar. The script of Burmese consists of circular and semi-circular letters, which was developed from a southern Indian script.

Religion & Belief

 photo of a monk at sunrise from the top of Bagan temple
Buddhism takes a big part in the religious life of the Burmese. Approximately 88% of Burmese are Buddhists. The country is also famous for its spectacular Buddhist temples and pagodas, such as Schwedagon Pagoda, Schwezigon Pagoda, Mahamuni Buddha temple…

Along with Buddhism, many other religions are practiced in Myanmar. The second biggest religion in Myanmar is Christianity. Other religions are Islam, Tribal religions, Hinduism and some small religions. Only 0.1% of Burmese consider themselves atheists.

Burmese cuisine

fish is an important ingredient in Burmese cuisine
Many people believe that the main character or “the spirit” of Burmese cuisine is fish. Burmese people use a lot of fish products, such as fish sauce, ngapi (a kind of fermented fish)…
Mohinga is prided as the national dish of Myanmar. The dish is made from rice noodles with fish soup. It is said that Burmese always have Mohinga for breakfast.

Burmese cuisine has wide cross-cultural contact with other neighbor countries in Southeast Asia and East Asia, including Thailand, India and China.
The taste of Burmese dishes can be described by the phrase chin ngan sat, which means “sour, salty and spicy”.

Burmese art and architecture

Burmese artisan is making pottery
Since Buddhism has spread a lot of influences to Burmese cultural life since a very early period in history, the artworks of Burmese artists really reflect this. Many paintings, sculptures found in Myanmar is the portrait of Buddha and many Buddhism deities. This sculpturing style also appears in many Buddhist temples, stupas and pagodas along the country.

The main features of Myanmar architecture that can be easily found in most of the country’s famous works are the stucco and wood carving, and the use of gold.
A famous Myanmar architectural art that you can contemplate the wood carving skills of ancient artisans is the Shwenandaw Monastery. While the use of gold was widely used in many famous constructions, such as Shwedagon, Shwezigon pagoda…

Festivals and holidays in Myanmar

Thadingyut festival, the Myanmar festival of lights in October
Myanmar people celebrate traditional festivals based on the traditional Burmese calendar. In rural areas, people celebrate local festivals throughout the year. However, important festivals that are nationally held mostly are pagoda festivals.

Tagu is the new year festival of Burmese. This celebration is held in mid-April. Some Myanmar national festivals that you can experience are Waso (at the full moon of Waso in July), Thadingyut Festival of Lights (in October), Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights (in November), Tabaung or the nationwide pagoda festivals (in March)


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