Country name: Union of Myanmar ( Burma became Myanmar in 1989 after the State Law and Order Restoration Council)Land Area: 676,552 sq km (261,218 miles)
Population: 50.7 million (UN 2005)
Capital: Rangoon (Yangon)
People: 65% Burmese, 10% Shan, 7% Karen, 4% Rakhine ans Chin, Kachin, Mon, Chinese, Indian and Assamese minorities
Major languges: Burmese, indigenous ethnic languages
Major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam
Life expectancy: 54 years (men), 60 years (women)
Monetary unit: 1 kyat= 100 pyas
Main exports: Teak, pulses and beans, brawns, fish, rice, opiates
International domain: .mm
International dialling code: +95
Myanmar covers a land area of 676,577 square km. Myanmar is the largest country in south-east Asia Peninsula and shares its borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. The most dominants topographical features are the Mekong River, Popa Mountain and Inle Lake.
CLIMATE AND SEASONS:
The climate of Myanmar is dominated by a tropical climate with three general seasons. The rainy season during the south-west monsoon from mid-May to mid-October, the cool season (winter) from mid-October to mid-February and the hot season (summer) from mid-February to mid-May. The best time to visit Myanmar is from October to mid-May.
Theravada Buddhism is the predominant religion with over 80 percent of the people embracing it. There are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists.
FESTIVAL & HOLIDAYS
Myanmar lies on the cross-road of two of the world of great civilization--China and India, but its culture is neither that of India nor China exclusively, but a blend of both interspersed with Myanmar native traits and characteristics. The people have preserved the traditions of close family ties, respect for the elders, and reverence for Buddhism. Myanmar’s are contented and cheerful even in the face of adversities and known for their simple hospitality and friendliness.
4th January 2004 Independence Day
12th February 2004 Union Day
2nd March 2004 Peasant’s Day
27th March 2004 Armed Forces Day
12th – 16th April 2004 Thingyan Festival (Water Festival)
17th April 2004 Myanmar New Year
1st May 2004 Labour Day
19th July 2004 Martyr’s Day
28th October 2004 Thadingyut Festival
26th November 2004 Tazaungdaing Festival
25th December 2004 Christmas Day
HANDICRAFT & SURVENIR
Myanmar arts and crafts, mostly pure hand-made, are best souvenirs and prices are very reasonable. Lacquer ware, wood and ivory carvings, tapestries, silverware, brassware, silk and cotton fabrics and shoulder-bags are some of the favorite items.
For jewellery, there are Myanmar rubies, sapphires, jade and pearls available at Myanmar gems shops. All gems and jewellery purchased should be made through the government licensed dealers, who can give a voucher for export.
CURENCY & EXCHANGE
The monetary unit is the Kyat, which is divided into 100 pyas. The official exchange rate is about 6 Kyats to US $ 1.
For the convenience of the visitors, Foreign Exchange Certificates ( FECs) are issued by the Central Bank of Myanmar to use during their stay. It is compulsory for a Foreign Independent Travellers (FIT) to change on arrival a minimum of US $ 300 with FECs 300. These FECs are acceptable like US dollars by any person in the Union of Myanmar. It is printed on the note as 1 FEC = 1 USD.
Mingalardon International Airport located in the Mingalardon Township in Yangon has direct air-links with Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Calcutta, Dacca and Kumming. The Myanmar Airways International, Thai Airways International, Silk Air, Biman, Malaysia Airline System, Indian Airlines and Air China operate scheduled flights in and out of Yangon.
The main Airport in Myanmar is
Airport tax: External airport tax is US $ (or) FEC 10 but no airport tax for domestic flights.
BUSINESS HOURS (LOCAL TIME IS GMT PLUS 6 1/2)
Government offices open from 09:30 to 16:30 on weekdays. Banking hours are from 10:00 to 14:00. Private companies work daily except Sunday and gazette holidays. Shopping centers and super markets open daily. But the most famous Bogyoke (Scott) market closes on Monday and gazette holidays. Busy hours at this place are from 10:00 am to 17:00 pm.
Vaccinations are not required for a visit to Myanmar, but malaria prophylaxis is recommended and for the travelling to remote areas travellers should check with their doctor regarding the inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus.
It is advisable to be aware of telephone rating (especially at the hotels) before making any calls to overseas. The rates are very high and they charge after 3 tones even the call does not get through.
Our GSM system does not allow “International Roaming “so your phone can not work in our country. So if you bring in a mobile phone, they will keep it and issue a voucher to you. You have to claim it back on your departure.
Meals & drinks at International Hotels are considerably expensive. There are many good local restaurants with almost the same quality of food and hygiene as hotels but price are much cheaper. They serve various dishes of Myanmar, Chinese, European (French and Italian), Thai and Indian cuisine. But road side small restaurants are not recommended as it can be risky for health.
BANK (how do you accept credit cards, traveler checks, ATM etc…)
No credit cards / travelers cheque/ ATM cards are valid any more’ in recent & current situation of Myanmar and we are not sure till when this will effect. So, it’s advisable that the clients should bring enough money in cash (USD).