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Myanmar (Burma)

  • temples of Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
the magnificent temples of Bagan
© photo: Roger Price     original photo
also known as:
Union of Myanmar
Priority: High
Location Type: Country
One of South East Asia's least explored countries. Prepare to go back in time and experience hill tribes, colonial history and architecture, endless temples, a strong Buddhist culture, and super friendly people.
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Wikipedia - Burma

Mount Popa, Myanmar (Burma)
Buddhist monastery on Taung Kalat southwest of Mount Popa

Burma, officially the Union of Myanmar, is the largest country by geographical area in Indochina (mainland Southeast Asia). The country is bordered by People's Republic of China on the north-east, Laos on the east, Thailand on the south-east, Bangladesh on the west, India on the north-west and the Bay of Bengal to the south-west with the Andaman Sea defining its southern periphery. One-third of Burma's total perimeter, 1,930 kilometers (1,199 mi), forms an uninterrupted coastline.
The country's culture, heavily influenced by neighbors, is based on Theravada Buddhism intertwined with local elements. Burma's diverse population has played a major role in defining its politics, history and demographics in modern times, and the country continues to struggle to mend its ethnic tensions. The military has dominated government since General Ne Win led a coup in 1962 that toppled the civilian government of U Nu. Burma remains under the tight control of the military-led State Peace and Development Council.
The name "Burma" is derived from the Burmese word "Bamar", which in turn is the colloquial form of Myanmar (or Mranma in old Burmese), both of which historically referred to the majority Burmans (or the Bamar). Depending on the register used the pronunciation would be "Bama", or "Myanmah". The name "Burma" has been in use in English since the time of British colonial rule.
In 1989, the military government officially changed the English translations of many colonial-era names, including the name of the country to "Myanmar". This prompted one scholar to coin the term "Myanmarification" to refer to the top-down programme of political and cultural reform in the context of which the renaming was done. The renaming remains a contested issue

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Wikitravel - Culture and Climate

Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon
Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

Culture
Myanmar's culture is largely a result of heavy Indian influences intertwined with local traditions and some Chinese influences. This can be seen in the various stupas and temples throughout the country, which bear a distinct resemblance to those in northern India. Like neighbouring Thailand, Theravada Buddhism is the single largest religion, and even some of the most remote villages will have a village temple for many to pray. Other religions which exist in smaller numbers include Christianity, Islam and Hinduism.
While the Bamar form the majority, Myanmar is also home to many minority races which have thier own distinct cultures. Generally speaking, the divisions in Myanmar are Bamar-dominated, while the states are dominated by the respective ethnic minorities.
Generally speaking, most Burmese people are incredibly friendly and polite, and will do their best to make you feel welcome in their country.

Climate
Generally, Myanmar is considered to have 3 seasons. The hot season is usually from March-April, and temperatures would then cool off during the rainly season from May-October. The peak tourism season is the cool season from November-February. Temperatures can climb as high as 36°C in Yangon in the hot season while in the cool season, noontime temperatures are usually a more bearable 32°C, with night temperatures falling to around 19°C. Mandalay is slightly cooler in the cool season, with temperatures falling as low as 13°C, while temperatures in the hot season can go as high as 37°C. Generally, Lower Myanmar, the area around Yangon, receives more rainfall than the drier Upper Myanmar (around Mandalay).
In the highlands such as Inle Lake and Pyin U Lwin, winter temperatures can fall below 10°C at night, while daytime temperatures tend to be very pleasant. Even in the summer, temperatures rarely climb above 32°C. Near the Indian border in Kachin State, there are mountains which are permanently snow capped throughout the year.

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