Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is a land of tradition and mesmerizing sceneries. Although there have been many recent changes, Myanmar still retains much of their simple and rural lifestyle. Home to 100 different ethnicities, pagodas, markets, friendly locals and exotic experiences, Myanmar is a growing destination that belongs in your travel list.
Because of Myanmar’s long history of isolation, Burmese food is fairly unknown internationally. Myanmar has many regional dishes because of the country is made up of many ethnicities. Rice is a main staple food, as it is in most Asian countries. Unlike its neighboring countries like Thailand and India, Burmese food focuses on strong, pungent flavors rather than spicy or sweet.
- Mohinga- It is a well-known breakfast dish in Myanmar. It is a noodle soup with fish broth with noodles, fish sauce and various other ingredients.
- Curry- Burmese curry are milder than Thailand or India’s spicy curries, making them the perfect curry for those who do not enjoy spicy foods.
- Shwedagon Pagoda- Standing 325 feet tall with 27 metric tons of gold and thousands of diamonds, the 2,500 year old sacred site is a sight to see. The site is a shrine to Buddha’s hair and other ancient relics.
- Inle Lake- Travelers cannot help fall in love with Myanmar’s serene lake filled with marshes, floating gardens, markets and historical ruins. The lake is a major source of fish and produce for the surrounding area and you can spot fishermen. The lake is also inhabited by many different tribes.
- Mandalay Hill- At the top of the hill, 230m high, travelers can be stunned by a spectacular view of the city. The hill is also filled with pagodas and monasteries. The site remains a significant part of Burmese Buddhism. While you can drive most of the way up, many visitors enjoy walking up the hill with its fantastic view creating a rewarding experience.
The center of nightlife is in Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. Although the nightlife scene may not be as big as other large travel destinations, the people of Myanmar are fun people who enjoy drinking and music and there are plenty of bars and clubs for different types of travelers. You can also enjoy karaokes, shows or traditional shows as well.
Myanmar’s currency is the kyat. While many hotels or tourist attractions might accept dollars, kyat is the mainly used in many of the local shops and restaurants. ATMs are not widely available, so it is suggested to plan your money wise between kyat and dollars during your trip.
Customs & Languages
Burmese is the official language that is spoken by two-thirds of the population. There are six different language families which includes: Sino-Tibetan (Burmese), Austro-Asiatic, Tai-Kadai, Indo-European, Austronesian, and Hmong-Mien. In modern society, English is now being taught as their second language. Their culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism, the Mon people, and their neighbors. More recently, they are being influenced by British colonial rule and Westernization. Since they are so heavily influenced by Buddhism, it’s no surprise that you shouldn’t pat someone on the head. They considered the head to be the holiest part of the human body. On the other hand, the feet is seen as the lowest and dirtiest part of the body. In addition to not pointing with your feet, you shouldn’t point your finger at animage of Buddha, or in any direction of a religious site.
Here are some helpful words/phrases:
- Hello — Mengalaba
- Thank you — Chesube
- Excuse me — T sate lout
- How much? — Bhaalloutlell?
- Where is the restroom? — San hcainhkaann bhaalmharlell?