About Myanmar

The Golden Land
800px-un-myanmar-mapMyanmar is a new and emerging tourist destination in South East Asia. Known to most travellers as “the Golden land”, Myanmar is rich in cultures and natural attractions. There are numerous pagodas, temples, beauty spots, archaeological sites, snow-peaked mountains, deep forests with abundant flora and fauna, rivers and natural lakes, unspoilt beaches and archipelagos, 135 national races with their colourful costumes and customs, traditional arts and crafts all make up Myanmar the most exotic and fascinating destination in Asia.

Myanmar is a great place to visit at any time of the year. The seasons come and go, but Myanmar’s multifarious attractions endure throughout the year and are growing in popularity.

Visitors will find Myanmar a beautiful and peaceful place with the most hospitable people in the world.

The recent years have witnessed the rapid growth in the development of tourism in Myanmar and today’s infrastructure affords visitors an ever-growing choice of accommodation, cuisine and air-conditioned transport. Myanmar may well be changing but its friendliness, the underlying attraction, remains.

Location

Sharing the borders with Bangladesh & India in west and north-west, China, Laos & Thailand in east, north-east & south-east. The Andaman Sea & Bay of Bengal also surround the Myanmar costal region. The total area of Myanmar is 676,577 sq km and it is the largest country in the South East Asia peninsula, it is divided into seven States and seven Divisions, containing snow-capped mountains ranges, rise to 5881 meters atop Hkakaborazi, the highest peak in South East Asia, high plateaus, fertile central plains of rice fields along the artery of Ayeyarwaddy River (the biggest river with the length of 2000 km), islands, beaches and many others more.

Time

6:30 hours ahead of GMT; (UTC)

History

The history of what is now Myanmar has been made by a succession of peoples who migrated down along the Ayeyarwaddy River from Tibet & China, and who were influenced by social and political institutions that had been carried across the sea from India. First came the Mon, perhaps as early as 3000 BC. They established the centers of settlement in central Myanmar, in the Ayeyarwaddy delta, and farther down the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. The first unified Myanmar state was founded by King Anawrahta in the 11th century. It was the zenith period of Myanmar. In 1287, Bagan was conquered by the Mongols under Kublai Khan. In the second quarter of the 16th century, a new Myanmar dynasty emerged from the sleepy principality of Taungoo in central Myanmar by King Bayinnaung. After his death, the invasions of Portuguese, Thais, and Manipuri horsemen brought on the decline of the period. The dynasty was finally toppled by a Mon rebellion in 1752. In 1752, Alaungpaya founded the Konbaung dynasty by restoring Myanmar rule first at Ava and later in the delta. Then, Myanmar was occupied by the British after three Anglo-Myanmar Wars in 1824, 1852 and 1885 with the last capital of Myanmar Kingdom-Mandalay. During the Second World War, Myanmar was conquered by Japanese and the British returned back after the war. In 1948, Myanmar gained back her independence. Myanmar is now moving forwards to market-oriented economic system and most of the business is handed over to private sectors and foreign investments are warmly invited.

Climate

The climate of Myanmar and other countries in Southeast Asia follows a monsoon pattern. During the half of the year of the year that the sun’s rays strike directly above the equator, the landmass of Asia is heated more than in the Indian Ocean. This draws moist hot air from over the ocean onto the land, bringing the rains southwest monsoon. When the tilt of the earth brings the direct sunrays south of the equator, the heating of the Indian Ocean draws the cooler dry air of the northeast monsoon from the highlands of Asia across the countries of South and Southeast Asia. As a result, Myanmar has three seasons: the hot season, the rainy season and the cold season. The hot season runs from late February to end of May. At the end of this season, the average monthly temperature reaches over 35°C in many parts of Myanmar. The rainy season starts from the beginning of June to the early of October. By July rains have brought the average temperature down to 29°C in Mandalay and 27°C in Yangon. The cold season is from the middle of October to middle of February. Average annual rainfall varies from about 5000 mm on the coastal region to about 760 mm at Mandalay.

Population

A census taken in 1983 counted 34 millions; as of today’s population is estimated to be over 54 millions with an annual growth rate of around 2.1%. Approximately 74% live in rural areas. The largest cities, in declining order, are Yangon, Mandalay, Pathein, Mawlamyine, Taunggyi and Sittwe. Yangon appears to have 6 millions, Mandalay around 2 million, the remainder 800,000 or fewer.

The People

The population of Myanmar is over 54 millions. The overall population density is about 67 persons per sq km, one of the lowest in East Asia. The population is more than 75% rural, with almost half of the urban population found in the three largest cities: Yangon (about six millions), Mandalay (about two million) and Mawlamyine (about five hundred thousands). More than 69% of the population is Myanmar, ethnically to the Tibetan and the Chinese. In addition, several minorities with their own languages and cultures inhabit the country. They are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine & Shan.

Language & Religion

Most of the linguistic groups of Myanmar are monosyllabic and polytonal, similar to those of Tibet and China. The official Myanmar language is spoken by the majority of the population, including many of the ethnic minorities. About 15% of the population speaks Shan & Kayin. English is spoken among the educated and the country contains a sizable number of speakers of Chinese. More than 86% of the people of Myanmar are Buddhists; most of them adhere to the school of Buddhism, as Buddhists in neighboring Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

The everyday practice of Buddhism is a well-developed culture of animism, the worship of spirits known as nats. This culture provides a basis for many nat festivals and for much of traditional medical practice. Christians (mostly Baptists) have also long formed a part of the population (about 15%) and there are a significant number of Muslims as well. The firm grounding of Buddhism in Myanmar culture contributed over the years to the building of many pagodas, which stand proudly to prove the grandeur role of Myanmar culture.

Culture

The major population of Myanmar migrated into the Ayeyarwaddy River Valley from the north, bringing their spoken languages, their gender roles, and several varieties of food and medicine. From India on the west came the institutions of religion and government, but without the Indian caste system of social hierarchy. India was also the source of Pali, the sacred language, and of the Devanagari script in which the popular language is written, along with astrology and some kinds of food. The firm grounding of Buddhism in Myanmar culture contributed over the years to the building of many pagodas, which stand proudly to prove the grandeur role of Myanmar culture.

The social ideal for most Myanmar citizens-no matter what their ethnic background may be-is a standard of behavior commonly termed “Myanmar-ness”. The degree to which a Myanmar can conform to these ideals matches the degree of respect he or she will receive from associates. Although high rank will exempt certain individuals from chastisement by inferiors, it doesn’t exempt them from the way they are perceived by other Myanmar. This goes for foreigners as well, even though most first time visitors can hardly be expected to speak idiomatic Myanmar or recite Buddhist scripture.

Ways of Life

Myanmar civilization is largely an outgrowth of Indian influences. For the majority of Myanmar’s population, Buddhism is the center of individual life and the monastery is the center of the community. This is especially true in the villages, where most of the population lives. Wisdom is believed to reside at the monasteries and refuge may be sought there. A rite of passage for every adolescent boy is the Shinphyu, in which the boy briefly relives the princely life of the Buddha, and enters into the life of the monastery as a novice monk. At any later time in life he may return to the monastic lie for a longer or shorter period of time. If married, he should ask his wife to do this. The daily life of the village begins with the monks making their rounds in the morning with their alms-bowls. By donating that day’s food, the villagers earn merit, and the monks, who are forbidden to work, are nourished. The annual cycle of life follows the season, with all hands put to work for rice planting when the summer monsoon brings the first rains. The time during the three months of the most intensive rain is the Buddhist lent, when such activities as marriage and hunting are put off, but Nat festivals can be enjoyed.

The Myanmar orchestra that accompanies the theatrical performances in a folk opera consists of a bamboo xylophone, tall bamboo clappers, many kinds of tuned gongs, a small pair of cymbals to keep time, and a six-reeded oboe that carries the theme. That mimics the sound of the human voice speaking in the tonal Myanmar language. In cities and towns music is piped into the streets for the public’s benefit through loudspeakers located in teashops and videocassette recorders bring cosmopolitan musical culture to eve the smallest settlements.

For much of Myanmar’s history, women played a stronger role than in traditional Western societies. From early on they could own property and were independent in economic activities. In religion, however, their place is secondary. Males can become monks and they can earn religious merit in a number of ways; the few women who become nuns and the many who offer gifts to monks usually hope at best to be born as a man in their next reincarnation.

A popular form of recreation is traveling by coach or oxcart to visit a notable pagoda or attend a festival. Football is a prominent sport, even during heavy rains; kites are flown in season; and a frequent occurrence on any day is a local game of Chinlon, in which a small circle of men keeps a ball of woven cane up in the air with gentle blows from the foot, knee, shoulder, or head. Golf is particularly favored among military leaders.

Culinary

The core of the Myanmar diet is boiled rice, combined with a little spicy meat or fish and some vegetables. Also popular for breakfast is a hot noodle soup flavored with coconut. A favorite sauce is ngapi, which is made from fermented fish or prawns and gives off a pungent odor. Several varieties of bananas along with coconut are the main fruits, while a wide, variety of more exotic fruits are also enjoyed, such as the Mangosteen, the custard apple and the durian. The common drink is weak green tea, which is taken tepid throughout the day in small cups. There are many good restaurants throughout the country, mainly in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle and their surroundings, which serve quality food at reasonable prices. Thai, Chinese, European, Indian & Myanmar cuisines are available. Eating at the street restaurants can be wonderful Asian experience but it is not recommended unless the restaurant has been recommended by experienced guides.

Health

Myanmar offers a high level of health and welfare services. The number of hospital beds is about 30000 for about 10 per 10000 of population. Rural health centers have grown and there are 15000 doctors, 11000 nurses and 9500 midwives. Even though it is in the area of Malaria, it doesn’t contain the whole country. Only some parts, which are very forestry or mountainous zone, for example, the extremely northern part, the jungle area, etc. It accepts considerable international aid in combating the extensive AIDS epidemic. The international community offers limited assistance in drug control programs.

Economy

Myanmar is primarily an agriculture country. About two-third of the working population is engaged in growing or processing crops, while about one-tenth works in industry. Before World War II Myanmar was the world’s major rice exporter. After the war, the area of land devoted to agriculture slowly recovered, but as the population grew the surplus available for export never reached the earlier level. For a while forestry was the major export earner. Today, tourism, though small by international standard, is the major source of foreign exchange. From 1962 to 1988 the country was closed to the world and in the 1990s, the military government took over the power and has opened the economy to market forces, particularly inviting foreign investment.

Education

Education is free and compulsory for primary and middle schools, but fees are charged for high school. Secondary education consists of four years of middle or vocational school and an additional two years for high school. About one-fifth of the secondary school-age population is enrolled in school. About 85% of the population is truly literate. There are also many universities and colleagues, mainly in the big cities.

Safety

Myanmar is primarily an agriculture country. About two-third of the working population is engaged in growing or processing crops, while about one-tenth works in industry. Before World War II Myanmar was the world’s major rice exporter. After the war, the area of land devoted to agriculture slowly recovered, but as the population grew the surplus available for export never reached the earlier level. For a while forestry was the major export earner. Today, tourism, though small by international standard, is the major source of foreign exchange. From 1962 to 1988 the country was closed to the world and in the 1990s, the military government took over the power and has opened the economy to market forces, particularly inviting foreign investment.

Economy

Myanmar is a very friendly and safe country. You can go around the cities, towns and villages without any worry even in the night time. But basically, there is nothing on the road apart from 22:00 in the big cities and in the small towns or villages everybody goes to bed at about 20:00 or 21:00. Myanmar can be said ONE OF THE SAFETIEST COUNTRIES in the world.

Transportation

The railroad system has been owned and operated by the government since British times; it includes about 4000 km of track, but it doesn’t connect with railroads outside of Myanmar. Far more important for moving domestic passengers and cargo are the inland waterways, which total about 12800 km of navigable rivers and canals, about 3200 km of which are open to large commercial vessels. Most of Myanmar’s largest towns and cities are river ports. Highways total about 27000 km, of which about 12% are paved, 65% are gravel, and the rest passable most easily by jeep or ox cart. In the 1990s, the government has focused considerable energy o reconstructing roads, often with volunteer or forced labor. Altogether, however, the amount of new road added since 1990 has averaged less than 200 km per year, compared to an average of 970 km per year in previous years. There are extensive road links and several bridge links with Thailand and China.

There are four domestic airlines, Myanmar Airways (government-owned), Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay and Air Bagan, which are private airlines. Myanmar Airways is used only for the off beaten places, where private airlines do not go due to its poor services, less punctuality and not so reliable. Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay and Air Bagan operate with modern aircraft ATR 72/42 and F-100 with good services, reliable and punctual.

The taxis can be found easily only in Yangon. All the local buses are over crowded and it is not easy to ask the information at the bus stops. In other places, we can find easily the trishaws, the horse carts, the bicycles, etc.

Communication

All postal, telegraph, telephone and broadcasting systems in Myanmar are controlled by the government. There are three government TV channels. In some of the big cities, such as Yangon, Mandalay, etc., satellite dishes are used. The postal service is quite slow but it doesn’t cost a lot. A postcard from Yangon to abroad can take more or less three weeks but it costs only 50 kyats. If we mail from outside of Yangon, it can take more. Telephone system is now easier than before, but it quite expensive. The mobiles outside of Myanmar don’t have the network in Myanmar. The country does have its own networks for using internally (mainly in most of the cities). The internets are available in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan but yahoo & hotmail accesses are banned. We can open our new account with other accesses to receive or send the messages. In Yangon & Mandalay, we can find some services, where we can have access to internets and e-mails. IDD country code of Myanmar is 95. The area code of Yangon is 1, of Mxandalay & Bagan are 2 and, of Inle Lake is 81.

Currency

Myanmar currency is the Kyat, made up of 100 pyar Currency notes come in the following denomination : K 1000, K 500, K 200, K 100, K 50, K 20, K 10, K 5, K 1. Visitors are not allowed to bring in or take out it.

Weights

The most common units of weight used in Myanmar are viss, pounds and ticals. One viss equals 3.6 pounds (1.6 kg) or 100 ticals. One tical equals 16 gm.

Volume

At the retail level, rice and small fruits or nuts are sold in units of volume rather than weight; the most common measure is the standard condensed milk can. Eight cans equal one small rice basket or pyi and 16 pyi make a jute sack or tinn.Petrol and most other liquids are sold by the imperial gallons (4.55 liters). One exception is milk, which is sold by the viss.

Length & Distance

Cloths and other items of moderate length are measured by the yard (91.5 cm). Road distances are measured in miles (one mile=1.6 km). Shorter distances in town or in the countryside may be quoted in furlongs. There are eight furlongs in one mile; thus one furlong equals about two-tenths of a km.

About Myanmar

The Golden Land
800px-un-myanmar-mapMyanmar is a new and emerging tourist destination in South East Asia. Known to most travellers as “the Golden land”, Myanmar is rich in cultures and natural attractions. There are numerous pagodas, temples, beauty spots, archaeological sites, snow-peaked mountains, deep forests with abundant flora and fauna, rivers and natural lakes, unspoilt beaches and archipelagos, 135 national races with their colourful costumes and customs, traditional arts and crafts all make up Myanmar the most exotic and fascinating destination in Asia.

Myanmar is a great place to visit at any time of the year. The seasons come and go, but Myanmar’s multifarious attractions endure throughout the year and are growing in popularity.

Visitors will find Myanmar a beautiful and peaceful place with the most hospitable people in the world.

The recent years have witnessed the rapid growth in the development of tourism in Myanmar and today’s infrastructure affords visitors an ever-growing choice of accommodation, cuisine and air-conditioned transport. Myanmar may well be changing but its friendliness, the underlying attraction, remains.

Location

Sharing the borders with Bangladesh & India in west and north-west, China, Laos & Thailand in east, north-east & south-east. The Andaman Sea & Bay of Bengal also surround the Myanmar costal region. The total area of Myanmar is 676,577 sq km and it is the largest country in the South East Asia peninsula, it is divided into seven States and seven Divisions, containing snow-capped mountains ranges, rise to 5881 meters atop Hkakaborazi, the highest peak in South East Asia, high plateaus, fertile central plains of rice fields along the artery of Ayeyarwaddy River (the biggest river with the length of 2000 km), islands, beaches and many others more.

Time

6:30 hours ahead of GMT; (UTC)

History

The history of what is now Myanmar has been made by a succession of peoples who migrated down along the Ayeyarwaddy River from Tibet & China, and who were influenced by social and political institutions that had been carried across the sea from India. First came the Mon, perhaps as early as 3000 BC. They established the centers of settlement in central Myanmar, in the Ayeyarwaddy delta, and farther down the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. The first unified Myanmar state was founded by King Anawrahta in the 11th century. It was the zenith period of Myanmar. In 1287, Bagan was conquered by the Mongols under Kublai Khan. In the second quarter of the 16th century, a new Myanmar dynasty emerged from the sleepy principality of Taungoo in central Myanmar by King Bayinnaung. After his death, the invasions of Portuguese, Thais, and Manipuri horsemen brought on the decline of the period. The dynasty was finally toppled by a Mon rebellion in 1752. In 1752, Alaungpaya founded the Konbaung dynasty by restoring Myanmar rule first at Ava and later in the delta. Then, Myanmar was occupied by the British after three Anglo-Myanmar Wars in 1824, 1852 and 1885 with the last capital of Myanmar Kingdom-Mandalay. During the Second World War, Myanmar was conquered by Japanese and the British returned back after the war. In 1948, Myanmar gained back her independence. Myanmar is now moving forwards to market-oriented economic system and most of the business is handed over to private sectors and foreign investments are warmly invited.

Climate

The climate of Myanmar and other countries in Southeast Asia follows a monsoon pattern. During the half of the year of the year that the sun’s rays strike directly above the equator, the landmass of Asia is heated more than in the Indian Ocean. This draws moist hot air from over the ocean onto the land, bringing the rains southwest monsoon. When the tilt of the earth brings the direct sunrays south of the equator, the heating of the Indian Ocean draws the cooler dry air of the northeast monsoon from the highlands of Asia across the countries of South and Southeast Asia. As a result, Myanmar has three seasons: the hot season, the rainy season and the cold season. The hot season runs from late February to end of May. At the end of this season, the average monthly temperature reaches over 35°C in many parts of Myanmar. The rainy season starts from the beginning of June to the early of October. By July rains have brought the average temperature down to 29°C in Mandalay and 27°C in Yangon. The cold season is from the middle of October to middle of February. Average annual rainfall varies from about 5000 mm on the coastal region to about 760 mm at Mandalay.

Population

A census taken in 1983 counted 34 millions; as of today’s population is estimated to be over 54 millions with an annual growth rate of around 2.1%. Approximately 74% live in rural areas. The largest cities, in declining order, are Yangon, Mandalay, Pathein, Mawlamyine, Taunggyi and Sittwe. Yangon appears to have 6 millions, Mandalay around 2 million, the remainder 800,000 or fewer.

The People

The population of Myanmar is over 54 millions. The overall population density is about 67 persons per sq km, one of the lowest in East Asia. The population is more than 75% rural, with almost half of the urban population found in the three largest cities: Yangon (about six millions), Mandalay (about two million) and Mawlamyine (about five hundred thousands). More than 69% of the population is Myanmar, ethnically to the Tibetan and the Chinese. In addition, several minorities with their own languages and cultures inhabit the country. They are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine & Shan.

Language & Religion

Most of the linguistic groups of Myanmar are monosyllabic and polytonal, similar to those of Tibet and China. The official Myanmar language is spoken by the majority of the population, including many of the ethnic minorities. About 15% of the population speaks Shan & Kayin. English is spoken among the educated and the country contains a sizable number of speakers of Chinese. More than 86% of the people of Myanmar are Buddhists; most of them adhere to the school of Buddhism, as Buddhists in neighboring Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

The everyday practice of Buddhism is a well-developed culture of animism, the worship of spirits known as nats. This culture provides a basis for many nat festivals and for much of traditional medical practice. Christians (mostly Baptists) have also long formed a part of the population (about 15%) and there are a significant number of Muslims as well. The firm grounding of Buddhism in Myanmar culture contributed over the years to the building of many pagodas, which stand proudly to prove the grandeur role of Myanmar culture.

Culture

The major population of Myanmar migrated into the Ayeyarwaddy River Valley from the north, bringing their spoken languages, their gender roles, and several varieties of food and medicine. From India on the west came the institutions of religion and government, but without the Indian caste system of social hierarchy. India was also the source of Pali, the sacred language, and of the Devanagari script in which the popular language is written, along with astrology and some kinds of food. The firm grounding of Buddhism in Myanmar culture contributed over the years to the building of many pagodas, which stand proudly to prove the grandeur role of Myanmar culture.

The social ideal for most Myanmar citizens-no matter what their ethnic background may be-is a standard of behavior commonly termed “Myanmar-ness”. The degree to which a Myanmar can conform to these ideals matches the degree of respect he or she will receive from associates. Although high rank will exempt certain individuals from chastisement by inferiors, it doesn’t exempt them from the way they are perceived by other Myanmar. This goes for foreigners as well, even though most first time visitors can hardly be expected to speak idiomatic Myanmar or recite Buddhist scripture.

Ways of Life

Myanmar civilization is largely an outgrowth of Indian influences. For the majority of Myanmar’s population, Buddhism is the center of individual life and the monastery is the center of the community. This is especially true in the villages, where most of the population lives. Wisdom is believed to reside at the monasteries and refuge may be sought there. A rite of passage for every adolescent boy is the Shinphyu, in which the boy briefly relives the princely life of the Buddha, and enters into the life of the monastery as a novice monk. At any later time in life he may return to the monastic lie for a longer or shorter period of time. If married, he should ask his wife to do this. The daily life of the village begins with the monks making their rounds in the morning with their alms-bowls. By donating that day’s food, the villagers earn merit, and the monks, who are forbidden to work, are nourished. The annual cycle of life follows the season, with all hands put to work for rice planting when the summer monsoon brings the first rains. The time during the three months of the most intensive rain is the Buddhist lent, when such activities as marriage and hunting are put off, but Nat festivals can be enjoyed.

The Myanmar orchestra that accompanies the theatrical performances in a folk opera consists of a bamboo xylophone, tall bamboo clappers, many kinds of tuned gongs, a small pair of cymbals to keep time, and a six-reeded oboe that carries the theme. That mimics the sound of the human voice speaking in the tonal Myanmar language. In cities and towns music is piped into the streets for the public’s benefit through loudspeakers located in teashops and videocassette recorders bring cosmopolitan musical culture to eve the smallest settlements.

For much of Myanmar’s history, women played a stronger role than in traditional Western societies. From early on they could own property and were independent in economic activities. In religion, however, their place is secondary. Males can become monks and they can earn religious merit in a number of ways; the few women who become nuns and the many who offer gifts to monks usually hope at best to be born as a man in their next reincarnation.

A popular form of recreation is traveling by coach or oxcart to visit a notable pagoda or attend a festival. Football is a prominent sport, even during heavy rains; kites are flown in season; and a frequent occurrence on any day is a local game of Chinlon, in which a small circle of men keeps a ball of woven cane up in the air with gentle blows from the foot, knee, shoulder, or head. Golf is particularly favored among military leaders.

Culinary

The core of the Myanmar diet is boiled rice, combined with a little spicy meat or fish and some vegetables. Also popular for breakfast is a hot noodle soup flavored with coconut. A favorite sauce is ngapi, which is made from fermented fish or prawns and gives off a pungent odor. Several varieties of bananas along with coconut are the main fruits, while a wide, variety of more exotic fruits are also enjoyed, such as the Mangosteen, the custard apple and the durian. The common drink is weak green tea, which is taken tepid throughout the day in small cups. There are many good restaurants throughout the country, mainly in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle and their surroundings, which serve quality food at reasonable prices. Thai, Chinese, European, Indian & Myanmar cuisines are available. Eating at the street restaurants can be wonderful Asian experience but it is not recommended unless the restaurant has been recommended by experienced guides.

Health

Myanmar offers a high level of health and welfare services. The number of hospital beds is about 30000 for about 10 per 10000 of population. Rural health centers have grown and there are 15000 doctors, 11000 nurses and 9500 midwives. Even though it is in the area of Malaria, it doesn’t contain the whole country. Only some parts, which are very forestry or mountainous zone, for example, the extremely northern part, the jungle area, etc. It accepts considerable international aid in combating the extensive AIDS epidemic. The international community offers limited assistance in drug control programs.

Economy

Myanmar is primarily an agriculture country. About two-third of the working population is engaged in growing or processing crops, while about one-tenth works in industry. Before World War II Myanmar was the world’s major rice exporter. After the war, the area of land devoted to agriculture slowly recovered, but as the population grew the surplus available for export never reached the earlier level. For a while forestry was the major export earner. Today, tourism, though small by international standard, is the major source of foreign exchange. From 1962 to 1988 the country was closed to the world and in the 1990s, the military government took over the power and has opened the economy to market forces, particularly inviting foreign investment.

Education

Education is free and compulsory for primary and middle schools, but fees are charged for high school. Secondary education consists of four years of middle or vocational school and an additional two years for high school. About one-fifth of the secondary school-age population is enrolled in school. About 85% of the population is truly literate. There are also many universities and colleagues, mainly in the big cities.

Safety

Myanmar is primarily an agriculture country. About two-third of the working population is engaged in growing or processing crops, while about one-tenth works in industry. Before World War II Myanmar was the world’s major rice exporter. After the war, the area of land devoted to agriculture slowly recovered, but as the population grew the surplus available for export never reached the earlier level. For a while forestry was the major export earner. Today, tourism, though small by international standard, is the major source of foreign exchange. From 1962 to 1988 the country was closed to the world and in the 1990s, the military government took over the power and has opened the economy to market forces, particularly inviting foreign investment.

Economy

Myanmar is a very friendly and safe country. You can go around the cities, towns and villages without any worry even in the night time. But basically, there is nothing on the road apart from 22:00 in the big cities and in the small towns or villages everybody goes to bed at about 20:00 or 21:00. Myanmar can be said ONE OF THE SAFETIEST COUNTRIES in the world.

Transportation

The railroad system has been owned and operated by the government since British times; it includes about 4000 km of track, but it doesn’t connect with railroads outside of Myanmar. Far more important for moving domestic passengers and cargo are the inland waterways, which total about 12800 km of navigable rivers and canals, about 3200 km of which are open to large commercial vessels. Most of Myanmar’s largest towns and cities are river ports. Highways total about 27000 km, of which about 12% are paved, 65% are gravel, and the rest passable most easily by jeep or ox cart. In the 1990s, the government has focused considerable energy o reconstructing roads, often with volunteer or forced labor. Altogether, however, the amount of new road added since 1990 has averaged less than 200 km per year, compared to an average of 970 km per year in previous years. There are extensive road links and several bridge links with Thailand and China.

There are four domestic airlines, Myanmar Airways (government-owned), Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay and Air Bagan, which are private airlines. Myanmar Airways is used only for the off beaten places, where private airlines do not go due to its poor services, less punctuality and not so reliable. Yangon Airways, Air Mandalay and Air Bagan operate with modern aircraft ATR 72/42 and F-100 with good services, reliable and punctual.

The taxis can be found easily only in Yangon. All the local buses are over crowded and it is not easy to ask the information at the bus stops. In other places, we can find easily the trishaws, the horse carts, the bicycles, etc.

Communication

All postal, telegraph, telephone and broadcasting systems in Myanmar are controlled by the government. There are three government TV channels. In some of the big cities, such as Yangon, Mandalay, etc., satellite dishes are used. The postal service is quite slow but it doesn’t cost a lot. A postcard from Yangon to abroad can take more or less three weeks but it costs only 50 kyats. If we mail from outside of Yangon, it can take more. Telephone system is now easier than before, but it quite expensive. The mobiles outside of Myanmar don’t have the network in Myanmar. The country does have its own networks for using internally (mainly in most of the cities). The internets are available in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan but yahoo & hotmail accesses are banned. We can open our new account with other accesses to receive or send the messages. In Yangon & Mandalay, we can find some services, where we can have access to internets and e-mails. IDD country code of Myanmar is 95. The area code of Yangon is 1, of Mxandalay & Bagan are 2 and, of Inle Lake is 81.

Currency

Myanmar currency is the Kyat, made up of 100 pyar Currency notes come in the following denomination : K 1000, K 500, K 200, K 100, K 50, K 20, K 10, K 5, K 1. Visitors are not allowed to bring in or take out it.

Weights

The most common units of weight used in Myanmar are viss, pounds and ticals. One viss equals 3.6 pounds (1.6 kg) or 100 ticals. One tical equals 16 gm.

Volume

At the retail level, rice and small fruits or nuts are sold in units of volume rather than weight; the most common measure is the standard condensed milk can. Eight cans equal one small rice basket or pyi and 16 pyi make a jute sack or tinn.Petrol and most other liquids are sold by the imperial gallons (4.55 liters). One exception is milk, which is sold by the viss.

Length & Distance

Cloths and other items of moderate length are measured by the yard (91.5 cm). Road distances are measured in miles (one mile=1.6 km). Shorter distances in town or in the countryside may be quoted in furlongs. There are eight furlongs in one mile; thus one furlong equals about two-tenths of a km.