Visitors’ Guide to Myanmar (Introducing Myanmar)

Visitors’ Guide to Myanmar
Introducing Myanmar






Myanmar is the traditional name both of the country and

of its people. The British called the country

“Burma” following colloquial usage and coined

the name “Burmese” for the people.


The land was also known as Suvannabhumi, “Golden

Land” in ancient times, and today, with its rich

natural resources and diversity of attractions, it still

deserves to be called the Golden Land.


With a land area of 676,577, Myanmar is the

largest country in the South-east Asian peninsula. It

shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and

Thailand and has a 2832 km-long coastline on the Indian

Ocean. Situated between latitudes 9� 30’N and 28� 30′ N

and between longitudes 92� 10′ E and 101� 10′ E the

country stretches 2090 km north to south, and 925km east

to west and has a varied topography which includes

islands, extensive rice plains, river valleys and

forested hills and mountains.


Over 50 percent of the total land area is covered with

forests, and the flora ranges from sub-alpine forests in

the north through thorn forests in the central region to

tropical rain forests in the south. Myanmar enjoys

tropical climate and has three seasons; the monsoon or

rainy season from June to October, a cool season from

November to February, and a hot season from March to May.

During the monsoon season, rainfall can vary from a high

of 500 cm in coastal regions to a low of 75 cm in the

central region. Average temperatures range from 32 H C in

the coastal and delta areas to 21 H C in the northern


Bagan, the cradle Myanmar culture since 11th Century

Historical Background


Early civilization in Myanmar dates back to the 1st

century with archaeological evidences of the Pyu kingdoms

of Thayekhittaya (Sriksetra), Beikthano (Visnu) and



Myanmar entered a period of greatness in the early 11th

century when King Anawrahta unified the country and

created the first Myanmar Empire with its capital in

Bagan. The Empire, which lasted until the end of the 13th

century, produced a glorious civilization whose monuments

still endure. The second Myanmar Empire with its capital

in Bago was created in the middle of the 16th century by

King Bayinnaung. The third and last Myanmar Empire Was

founded by King Alaungpaya in 1752 and had a

number of capitals, the last being Mandalay. In the later

years of the Empire, Myanmar was annexed by the Brit/sh

in three stages, in 1825, 1852, 1885 and became a Brit/sh

colony. Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese during World

War II, and in the postwar period the independence

movement, which had begun in the early 20th century, came

to a climax and Myanmar attained independence on 4

January 1948.









Myanmar is a Union of over 135 ethnic groups with the

name Myanmar embracing all the ethnic groups. The major

ethnic groups are Bamar, Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Mon,

Raichine and Shan. The Bamar is the largest group forming

69% of the total population of 47 million. A majority

(89%) of the population are Buddhists and the rest are

Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some Animists.












Myanmar lies between two great civilizations, India and

China, but it has developed its own distinctive culture.

Buddhism has a great influence on the daily lives of the

Myanmar people. The people have preserved the traditions

of close family ties, respect for elders, devotion to

Buddhist teachings and wearing the simple native dress.

They are a people easily contented and cheerful in the

face of adversity. Myanmar people are known for their

friendliness and simple hospitality. The wealth of

natural resources may be impressive but the great

fascination of Myanmar lies in its people.


The official language is Myanmar and it is spoken by at

least 80% of the population. The spoken Myanmar language

differs slightly from region to region and the minority

ethnic groups have their own languages and dialects.

English is spoken by many and is widely understood.








Since 1988, Myanmar has moved from a centrally planned

economy to a market oriented economy and has liberalised

domestic and external trade, promoted the development of

the private sector and been opened up to foreign



In line with the new economic direction, such laws as the

Foreign Investment Law, Central Bank of Myanmar Law,

Financial Institutions of Myanmar Law, and Myanmar

Tourist Law have been enacted and Chambers of Commerce



Agriculture remains the main sector of the economy and

measures are being taken to increase productivity,

promote crop diversification, increase agricultural

exports and develop agro-based industries.


Under the new economic policy, Myanmar’s rich natural and

human resources are being utilized and developed not only

by the state sector but also by local and foreign



Myanmar is also rich in tourist attractions and there is

enormous potential for the tourism industry.