Myanmar (formerly Burma) is a Southeast Asian nation of more than 100 ethnic groups, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand. Yangon (formerly Rangoon), the country's largest city, is home to bustling markets, numerous parks and lakes, and the towering, gilded Shwedagon Pagoda, which contains Buddhist relics and dates back to the 6th century.
Other important Buddhist sites include the ancient city of Bagan, studded with more than 2,000 temples and pagodas, and Kyaiktiyo Pagoda, perched atop a rock at the edge of a steep hillside. Cruises along Myanmar’s Irrawaddy River take in historic landmarks, such as the 19th-century Mandalay Palace, and rural scenery. Visitors in motorboats and fishermen propelling skiffs cross Inle Lake, which is lined with villages on stilts and colorful markets. Along Myanmar’s Bay of Bengal coast, Ngapali is a palm-lined, upscale beach resort area.
‘Mingalabar’ is a word of welcome in Myanmar and a wish for good fortune. This single word signifies the inherent nature of the people of Myanmar, offering hospitality, always wishing others well and extending heartfelt goodwill towards friends and strangers alike. When visiting Myanmar, be mindful of religious sensitivities, especially Buddhism; do cover up tattoos evoking religious images.
- Capital: Naypyidaw
- Dialing code: +95
- Currency: Burmese kyat
- Population: 53.26 million (2013) World Bank
- When to Visit: Peak travel: Nov-Feb
- Climate: Warm & humid Nov-Feb; hot & humid Mar-May; monsoon season May/June-Oct
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