MYANMAR

MYANMAR, THE RAW BEAUTY OF ASIA

A beautiful and culturally rich country closed for decades with a brutally oppressive regime, Myanmar is still far to be influenced by the modernity of the 21st century. The recent change of the political situation in the country has allowed the opening of its own frontier. Travelers can now discover the unique customs and traditions of this extraordinary land of Asia.

This country is depicted as a rural and colorful nation who has preserved its traditional values, thus still far to be influenced from the modernity of the 21st century. Proud of their customs, men wear longyi (the traditional long skirt) and both genders beautifully put thanakha (traditional make-up) on their faces. As people of this land love chewing betel, you will certainly see some locals smiling widely with their reddish-black stained teeth.

Get to know the ethnic minorities and particularly the Kayan people, identified by their neck rings, brass coils that give to women an unusual long neck. In the heart of Burma, on Inle Lake, craftswomen proudly weave nice clothes with lotus plant, a handicraft only found in Myanmar.  

We tell you that Myanmar is incomparable to any other countries in this world. Go to see the beauty gems with one of the most magnificent sunsets in the world from U Bein Bridge. Watch the scene of fishermen catching gracefully nice fishes by using their unique technique of leg-rowing on Inle Lake. Relax on the white-sand beach of Ngapali and wander in the food streets to taste the unique flavors of Burma.

The richness of this colorful country is undoubtedly proved by its people, customs and lands. Cross the gates of this incredible nation, you won’t be disappointed by what you are about to discover. 

YANGON, the old charming capital

The most dynamic city of Myanmar is constantly under fast development. Even as a former capital, Yangon continuously sparkles thanks to its vibrant urban life and the anchor of long spiritual traditions. The colorful city pictures a fusion of standing colonial edifices, beautiful stained streets and infinite golden pagodas. The first eye-catching golden wonder you will probably stare at is the magnificent and gigantic Shwedagon, one of Buddhism’s most sacred temples. As you wander around the several spiritual sites, you’ll see that rituals give rhythm to the life of Burmese, highlighted by an interesting religious and ethnic diversity. As you stroll the city corners, food streets immediately catch your sense of smell. Museums, art galleries and markets will make your eyes light up. Everyday, many tourists come and see to explore this mysterious and bustling city, characterized by an architectural blend of contemporary and colonial. Yangon is certainly an untypical and colorful place that we recommend you to discover.

Go To Gallery

NGAPALI, the premier beach getaway

As Myanmar’s premier beach destination, Ngapali is a true getaway with its palm tree and white sand along the heavenly coastline, surrounded by the crystal clear water of the Bay of Bengal. Not only is this the dreamed place for leisure but also for observing at the fascinating activities of fishing village and small boats floating on the sea. Compared to the other resorts, Ngapali has been staying an authentic fishing village. Even with its touristic activities, the beach is still preserving lots of space and keeping its natural features. Warm locals welcome visitors with such a shiny smile. A second Napoli in another charm.

Go To Gallery

INLE LAKE, stilt villages and colourful markets

Spreading out over 13.5 miles long and 7 miles wide, Inle Lake is a lively place where stilt villages, beautiful gardens and colorful floating markets enliven this haven of peace. The lake is depicted as a fantastic scene of Intha fisherfolk, using their unique technique of leg-rowing. With its Buddhist temples, the watery life owns this special serene atmosphere. Ethnic minorities including Shan, Pa-O, Taung Yop, Danu, Kayah and Danaw inhabit the villages of this agreeable area. If you want to experience the heart of the river life, go to Nyaungshwe and you’ll be at the right spot. You’ll be surprisingly seduced by this untypical place incomparable to another. For more adventurous, you can take an exciting trekking to Kalaw, a hill station that offers fantastic scenic views with a nice climate.

Go To Gallery

BAGAN, a great unspoilt wonder

In Bagan, one of the most impressive architectural masterpieces in the world covers 26 square mile area recognizable with its more than 4000 temples standing at every corner of this verdant countryside. There, the Irrawaddy River crosses beautifully the site. Bagan was the capital of the glory Kingdom of Pagan and before the Mongol invasions, the city was shining with over 10 000 temples built on the plains by the kings. Nowadays, most of those temples do no longer exist destroyed by the war attacks or earthquakes but still offer an incredible view of infinite religious edifices as your eyes can see. This important legacy has mostly been restored by UNESCO and everyday, Buddhist pilgrims still come to this sacred site for they pray. Tourists are always delighted to adventure themselves in this overgrown village that is so far incomparable to any town in Asia.

Go To Gallery

MANDALAY, the splendours of old Burma

In the last royal capital of Myanmar, the diversity of religious beliefs enlivens the city with its pagodas, Indian temples, charming churches and mosques. On the north of Yangon and surrounded by the Irrawaddy River, Mandalay is loved for its relics and incredible treasures older than the town itself and coming from all over Asia. The charm of this place is especially found on U Bein Bridge (11 km south of Mandalay): from this mere wooden bridge one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world can be starred at night and you would not dare to miss any second of it anymore. As being the last royal city of Myanmar, Mandalay also owns its richness from its authentic traditions: from craft workshops to arts performances, you’ll have your eyes wide open for a while. Your feet will take you right away to the succulent flavors of street foods and you’ll be delighted to try a dining at a Burmese teashop, a Shan buffet or an Indian roti. The second largest city of the country has different faces to discover absolutely.

Go To Gallery

Anawrahta (1044–1077) was the first great unifier of Myanmar.

In 1612, the British East India Company sent agents to Burma, but the Burmese doggedly resisted efforts of British, Dutch, and Portuguese traders to establish posts along the Bay of Bengal. Through the Anglo-Burmese War in 1824–1826 and two subsequent wars, the British East India Company expanded to the whole of Burma. By 1886, Burma was annexed to India; it then became a separate colony in 1937.

During World War II, Burma was a key battleground; the 800-mile Burma Road was the Allies’ vital supply line to China. The Japanese invaded the country in Dec. 1941, and by May 1942, had occupied most of it, cutting off the Burma Road. After one of the most difficult campaigns of the war, Allied forces liberated most of Burma prior to the Japanese surrender in August 1945.

Burma became independent on Jan. 4, 1948. In 1962, left-wing general Ne Win staged a coup, banned political opposition, suspended the constitution, and introduced the “Burmese way of socialism.” After 25 years of economic hardship and repression, the Burmese people held massive demonstrations in 1987 and 1988. These were brutally quashed by the State Law and Order Council (SLORC). In 1989, the military government officially changed the name of the country to Myanmar.
In May 1990 elections, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) won by a landslide, but the military, or SLORC, refused to recognize the election results. The leader of the opposition, Aung San Suu Kyi, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Although the ruling junta has maintained a tight grip on Myanmar since 1988, it has not been able to subdue an insurgency in the country’s south that has gone on for decades.

On November 13, 2005, the seat of government was removed from the capital Rangoon to a mountain compound called Pyinmanaa. More than 1,000 delegates gathered in December 2005 to begin drafting a constitution, which the junta said was a step toward democracy. The convention adjourned in late January 2006 with little progress. In 2007 a series of anti-government protests were held, resulting in numerous civilians being arrested, around 70 being killed and around 40 monks being severely beaten and killed in the process. On 7 February 2008, SPDC announced that a referendum for the Constitution would be held, and Elections by 2010.

The 2011–2012 Burmese democratic reforms are an ongoing series of political, economic and administrative reforms in Burma undertaken by the military-backed government. These reforms include the release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and subsequent dialogues with her, establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, general amnesties of more than 200 political prisoners, institution of new labor laws that allow labor unions and strikes, relaxation of press censorship, and regulations of currency practices. As a consequence of the reforms, ASEAN has approved Burma’s bid for the chairmanship in 2014. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Burma on 1 December 2011, to encourage further progress; it was the first visit by a Secretary of State in more than fifty years. United States President Barack Obama visited one year later, becoming the first US president to visit the country.

Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, participated in by-elections held on 1 April 2012 after the government abolished laws that led to the NLD’s boycott of the 2010 general election. She led the NLD in winning the by-elections in a landslide, winning 41 out of 44 of the contested seats, with Suu Kyi herself winning a seat representing Kawhmu Constituency in the lower house of the Burmese Parliament.  However, uncertainties exist as some other political prisoners have not been released and clashes between Burmese troops and local insurgent groups continue.

Myanmar is a diamond-shaped country extending 925km (575 miles) from east to west and 2,100km (1,300 miles) from north to south. It is bounded by China, Laos and Thailand to the east, by Bangladesh and India to the north and by the Indian Ocean in the west and south.
The Irrawaddy River runs through the centre of the country and fans out to form a delta on the south coast; Yangon stands bedside one of its many mouths. North of the delta lies the Irrawaddy basin and central Myanmar, which is protected by a horseshoe of mountains riding to over 3,000m (10,000ft), creating profound climatic effects.

To the west are the Arakan, Chin and Naga mountains and the Patkai Hills; the Kachin Hill are to the north to the east lie the Shan Plateau, which extends to the Tenasserim costal ranges. Intensive irrigated farming is practiced throughout central Myanmar, and fruit, vegetables and citrus crops thrive on the Shan Plateau, but much of the land and mountains are covered by subtropical forest.

Myanmar has a long history dating back several thousand of years. The traditions and culture of Myanmar as well as the philosophy of life of its people, the majority of whom are Buddhists, have been shaped profoundly by Buddhism and the worshiping of ancient Nat…

Hence, Myanmar’s people, regardless of their race or ethnic origin are peace-loving, friendly, generous and hospitable. They also have an innate sense of duty to family, community and country.

Myanmar culture is also inspired by the Chinese and Indian traditions, and it can claim to have retained its own beliefs and culture due to the post-war and post-independence national isolation policy. The culture is complex and rich. Each of the 135 national races that comprise the Myanmar nation has its own language, dialect and characteristics. They live in harmony with each other and with nature, most of them living in remote areas. The major ethnic groups are the Kachin, the Kayah, the Kavin, the Chin, the Mon, the Bamar, the Rakline, and the Shan.
An interesting tradition, taking place particularly in rural areas, is to see the people collectively helping with each other’s work and participating in communal activities. These traditional practices not only contribute to community development but also bring members of the community closer and thus help to foster solidarity in the building of a peaceful and developed nation.

 

Buddhism plays a central role in the people’s daily life in Myanmar. A large majority of the population is of Buddhist faith. They live by its principles of gentleness, contentment and helpfulness. There are two major churches in Buddhism: Mahayana and Theravada. 

The latter form dominates in Myanmar and meditation is central to its followers, it led through a succession of stages to the final goal of spiritual freedom, also called nirvana. Meditation combines, in its highest stages, the discipline of progressively increased introversion with the insight brought about by wisdom. Buddhist faith embraces the concept of life after death and recognizes 31 forms of beings, six floors of heaven, and seven floors of hell.

The other form of spirituality often seen in Myanmar is the ancient traditional beliefs about the 37 Nats (spirits), who are viewed as supernaturally powerful beings, situated between the gods and the spiritual beings. The number of the Nats was set in the 12th century in order to contain a cult that Buddhism had failed to eliminate. And, Myanmar remains superstitious in many ways. Its people carry out the traditions and cultural heritage of the older generations. They believe that the Nats can bring luck and prosperity to the worshipers and can also bring danger to those who do not respect them.

The official religious faith in Myanmar is Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Islam 4%, Animist 1% and other 2%.

 

Myanmar has a tropical climate with the dry season from mid-February to mid-May. The monsoon or rainy season is from mid-May to mid-October with the cool season from mid-October to mid-February. The hot season is generally from March to April. 

The coast and delta areas have an annual rainfall of about 250 cm (100 inches) and an average annual temperature of about 32° C (90F). In these areas, depending on the season, temperatures can fluctuate between 16° to 40°C (61 to 104F). In the central belt, known as the dry zone, where Mandalay the chief city is, the rainfall averages about 70 cm (28 inches) per year, with a mean annual temperature of around 27°C (81F). Maximums are 46°C (115F) in hot season and 15°C (59F) during the cool season.

Average daily temperatures in Yangon range from 18° to 32°C (64 to 90F) during the cool season and from 24° to 36°C (75 to 97F) during the hot season.

The climate in upper Myanmar, particularly at altitudes ranging from about 300 to 1,220 m (984 to 4000 feet), is the most temperate throughout the year and rainfall during the monsoon season totals more than 500 cm (197 inches).

 

 

 

Useful, practical information regarding money, credit cards, ATMs, health & safety, food & drink, transportation, communication, and much more…

Myanmar’s currency is the kyat (pronounced “chat”), usually abbreviated as K, Ks or MMK. 

For many years, up until late 2012, Myanmar had a cash-only economy as far as tourists were concerned: it was impossible to withdraw money from ATMs within the country, travellers’ cheques were not accepted, money transfer services such as Western Union were unavailable, and only a handful of top-end hotels accepted credit cards. The only option therefore was to bring a stack of cash and exchange it for kyat as necessary.

With a relaxing of international sanctions, however, at the end of 2012 some ATMs (mostly in Yangon and Mandalay) started to accept overseas debit and credit cards. It looks like this trend will continue and other changes may be on the way, but you should check on the current situation before travelling. 

 

The quality of health care in Myanmar is generally poor. Routine advice and treatment are available in Yangon and Mandalay but elsewhere the hospitals often lack basic supplies, and some suffer under corrupt administrations. Avoid surgery and dental work, as hygiene standards cannot be relied upon; if you are seriously ill then contact your embassy for advice, and expect international-quality care to be expensive (and possibly to require payment up front). As always, it is important to travel with insurance covering medical care, including emergency evacuation.

Minor injuries and ailments can be dealt with by pharmacists, particularly in major tourist areas where they are more likely to speak English. Pharmacists offer many things over the counter without prescription, although there are serious issues with fake and out-of-date medication.

The Blue Sky Travel consultant team are well seasoned travel experts who think of every details. They have all the knowledge & experience you need to create your most memorable holidays. Call us on: (+84) 28 38 27 70 07

or get in touch

We are open from 8:00 - 18:00 our time (GMT +7)