General Information

Dos and Don't

Do

  • Wear shorts even in the beaches as it is considered a public place. Swimsuits can be worn in hotel swimming pools and other places swimming places with less local people who can see
  • Wear Burmese traditional "longgyi" which will be handed to you before entering Shwedagon Pagoda.
  • Remove your shoes before entering a private house except contrary remark of your host.
  • Give your donation to the authorized person in the temple or monastery as the monks are prohibited to receive any money.
  • Say "Mingalabar" to greet a local and extend your hand for a handshake (generally with men only)

Don't

  • Expose yourself topless wear even in beaches as it is inappropriate and is considered an insult to the locals culturally.
  • Walk into and other significant religious sites exposing your legs, or wearing your own modern bottom wear.
  • Wear no shoes, slippers nor socks when entering their sacred places.
  • wear tee-shirts too indented on the shoulders or the side
  • Do not touch the head of adult
  • Kiss in public place and in particular in the enclosure of a pagoda.
  • Challenge anyone nor yell within the temple premises
  • shake the hand of a woman, except if she takes initiative of it.
  • put stand in a narrow way or passage, Burmese people will not dare to pass above you (and to disturb you to tell you to move).
  • Never point to anyone or any object using your legs or feet as it is very impolite and disrespectful.

Natural Resources

Since ancient times, Myanmar has been famous for its wealth in the ample natural resources. The natural resources of Myanmar include tungsten, tin, zinc, silver, copper, lead, antimony and industrial minerals. Fossils fuels coals, petroleum, natural oil and gas, precious stones and gems, timber and forest products, hydropower potential, etc. Gemstones, jade, diamonds, rubies and sapphires are the leading products and export them around the world. The natural resources have been a source of income for native people for many years. Many international investors have cast their eyes on the abundant natural resources of Myanmar for commercial exploitation.


Industrial Minerals and Gemstones

Myanmar is one of the countries in the world to produce jadeite. According to the report of the US department in 2010, Myanmar has expert around 10% percent of the precious stones in its total export goods. Others such as rubies, Sapphires, and diamonds are also found significant quality in Myanmar. (can be removed- The US department figures in 2010 that the precious stones accounted for around 10% of the total are exports of Myanmar. Rubies, Sapphires and diamonds are also found in significant quantities in Myanmar.)


Metals

Mineable metals, Nickel and copper are abundant and diverse in Myanmar. Unfortunately, the metals mining, especially tin, in the delicate coastal regions of the country may be threatened to the local environments.


Fossil Fuels

Myanmar has enormous wealth of natural resources in terms of Coal, oil and natural gas. There was a report that Myanmar has produced 11.54 billion cubic meters of natural Gas in 2009, making it the 79th largest reserve in the world. There are many coal deposits across the country and the estimated amount of coal left in the country is 270 million tons in the country.

Religion in Myanmar

The Country Myanmar is home to around 52 million people. Religions such as Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and Animism exist in Myanmar. The main spirit of these religions is to respect individuals’ freedom, to help each other, peace with other religions and work together for the development of the country. The ancient religious heritages and the religiosity of the people in Myanmar are one of the most attractive and interesting things to explore as you visit and spend your vacation

Buddhism began in India around 2,500 years ago when an Indian prince Siddhartha Gautama left the prestigious life to wander as a poor man. The religion contains four noble truths which include suffering. Buddhism teaches love and kindness for one another, reincarnation, and karma. Buddhists also believe that animals and non-living things have spirits as well. Nat (spirit) worship is common in Myanmar. Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is the most well-known pagoda in Myanmar.

Christianity was brought to Burma by European missionaries in the 1800s. The first Christians who arrived in Myanmar were Portuguese merchants. The Roman Catholic Church, Myanmar Baptist Convention and the Assemblies of God of Myanmar are the largest Christian denominations in Myanmar. The tribal groups like Kachin, Chin and Karen people were converted to Christianity through the missionary works in their respective areas.

Indian sailor named Byat Wi Burma was known as the first Muslim in Myanmar. Islamic influences have started in the country since the 11th Century. There are two groups of people, the Burmese and Indian Muslims.

Hinduism and Buddhism arrived in Burma during ancient times. Hinduism greatly influenced the Burmese kings in pre-colonial times and the architecture of cities such as Bagan. Hinduism believes in trinity where there are three deities and also other gods and goddesses that people worship for their needs.

The Culture in Myanmar

Myanmar culture covers a wide range of areas, from festivals, religion, food, clothing, music, dances, tradition, customs, superstitions, and numerous ways of doing things. The followings are some essential cultural considerations and practices of the people in Myanmar. They are highly suggested for tourists to read and practice them in their traveling into the beautiful land of Myanmar.

Customs

The "traditional" Burmese greeting is mingalaba, which means greeting just like "Good morning/afternoon." "Hello" is also a popular greeting nowadays, whereas it used to be confined to answering the phone.

Religion

Myanmar is known and called the "Land of Pagodas" due to the millions of Pagodas existed and being built in the country. The four most important Burmese Buddhist pilgrim sites are Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Mahamuni Buddha in Mandalay, Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda in Mon State, and Bagan.

Traditional Festivals

There are twelve months and twelve festivals in the traditional Burmese calendar. The most well-known festival is Thingyan (Water Festival) a four-day celebration. This festival is held prior to the Burmese New Year falls in mid-April.

Clothing

In Myanmar, men and women dressed in Longyi, comfortable and lightweight. It is quite distinct from clothing in other parts of the world. It is important to remember that in most religious sites like Shwedagon pagoda, a dress policy is implemented for both genders. Nobody is allowed to wear casual clothes, knees and shoulders must be covered. Special occasions like weddings and ceremonies, the longyis are common to wear.

Men and Women

The status of male and female in Myanmar are distinctly different. Women enjoy equal legal rights with men in the society. However, men have a higher religious status according to the Buddhist traditional beliefs. In terms of occupations, the people in Myanmar traditionally hold that women are to take care the matters of house and the affairs of children but men are to focus on business or working to provide and support the family.

Family

Father is considered as the spiritual head of the household. He always hands his monthly salary over to the mother for managing the family expenses. Children are taught to love and support their parents when they are old. Generally, Myanmar people do not leave the parents’ house until they get married.

Food and Drinks

Generally, food and drinks of Myanmar are healthy and delicious. Tea and Laphet Thoke (Tea-Leaf-Salad) has taken an enormous place in the heart of the Myanmar culture and is offered it to any guest who visits a house. Teashops are also popular in the society and is considered a place to have fellowship with friends. Betel Nuts are consumed at a remarkable speed by men and its shops are located in every corner of the streets in the community.

Chinlone

A small ball woven from rattan is tossed into the air, and a team of six players take turns to stand in the middle of a circle and see how long the ball can be kept up for. The aim is simply to see the beauty of the game and work as a team. You will see Burmese men playing it at the side of roads across the country.

Thanaka

"Thanaka," is the beauty secret of Myanmar women. After a bath, almost every women sits at the whetstone, put several drops of water on it and rub the Thanaka cutting on the whetstone continuously at a circular motion with body pressure. When the enough paste of Thanaka deposited on the whetstone, it has collected by forefinger and apply on the face and body.

Secular Celebrations

Some major state holidays are Independence Day (4 January), Union Day (12 February), Peasants' Day (2 March), Resistance or Armed Forces Day (27 March), May Day or Workers' Day (1 May), Martyr's Day (19 July), and National Day (late November or early December).