Myanmar is situated in southeast Asia and is bordered on the north and northeast by China; on the east and southeast by Laos and Thailand; on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal; and on the west by Bangladesh and India. It is located between latitudes 09°32’N and 28°31’N and longitudes 92°10’E and 101°11’E. The country covers an area of 677,000 square kilometers (261,228 square miles) ranging 936 kilometers (581 miles) from east to west and 2,051 kilometers (1,275 miles) from north to south.
The total area of Myanmar is 678,500 sq km where 657,740 sq km occupies the land and 20,760 sq km occupies the water. The bordering countries are Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, and Thailand 1,800 km. The central lowlands ringed by steep, rugged highlands The lowest point is the Andaman Sea (0 m) and the highest point Hkakabo Razi (5,881 m).
Myanmar is made up of 135 national races, of which the main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Population is estimated to be over 60 million. The nationality is Myanmar. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Myanmar. Some of the Ethnic groups are listed as Akha, Palaung, Padaung, Naga, Taron, Eng and many more near extinct tribes. The religions are Buddhist, Christian and Muslim. The major language is Myanmar, but minority ethnic groups have their own languages. English is widely spoken and understood.
Myanmar is rich in natural resources such as petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower.
Myanmar is considered to have 3 seasons. The hot season is usually from March-April, and temperatures then cool off during the rainy 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
Time Zone = MMT (UTC+6:30)
* 7 hrs ahead of GMT
* 3 hrs behind Australian Eastern Standard Time
* 5 hrs behind New Zealand
* 12 hrs ahead of Canada Eastern Time
* 15 hrs ahead of Canada Pacific Time
* 12 hrs ahead of US Eastern Time
* 15 hrs ahead of US Pacific Time
• Major Credit cards are not widely accepted. Cash is always more convenient. National currency is Kyat.
• Business Hours is usually from 9am to 5pm for private companies and 9:30-4:30 for banks and government offices. Working days are from Monday through Friday. Public holidays are also included.
Myanmar’s national currency, the kyat (pronounced chat, and abbreviated K) is divided into the following banknotes: K1, K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500 and K1000. Travellers should ensure they arrive in Myanmar with their entire travel budget in US dollars, as ATMs are still very hard to come by (although this may change). The bills should be unmarked and in excellent condition, as money changers are reluctant to deal with damaged notes.
US dollars can be changed at Yangon airport, banks (which give the best exchange rates) and some hotels (which charge more but can be handy at a pinch). Black market money changers are prolific on the streets of major tourist hubs, but generally give a much worse price for Kyat.
Myanmar is only just starting to introduce ATMs, and even then only in Yangon and major tourist hubs. Currently these should not be relied upon, and travellers should bring enough US dollars to cover their entire trip when they enter Myanmar.
Many guesthouses and hotels quote prices in US dollars. These places usually accept kyat, but at a slightly disadvantageous rate (perhaps a difference of K50 or K100 to the dollar). Some hotels, shops and government ferry clerks give change in kyat or with torn US bills that you can’t use elsewhere in Myanmar. If you’re counting pennies, bring lots of small dollar bills – ones, fives and 10s – and use them to pay for your hotel.
Government-run services (such as archaeological sites, museums and ferries) and flights are paid for in US dollars or FEC notes, not euros.
Items such as meals, bus tickets, trishaw or taxi rides, bottles of water or beer and market items are usually quoted in kyat.
Any amounts over $2000 per person are supposed to be declared upon arrival.
Don’t expect to change any rumpled, torn US dollar bills. Money changers accept only crisp, clean (and mostly un-creased) bills, and tend to only take the ‘new’ US dollar bills (with the larger full-frame heads).
Visa Requirements in Myanmar
Visa requirements to visit Myanmar change on a regular basis and it’s best to check with the Burmese embassy in your country before making your travel plans. The safest approach is to assume you will need one. A tourist visa’s validity expires 90 days after issue and only allows a 28-day, single-entry visit. It officially costs $20 but sometimes runs to €25 in Western Europe. You’ll need three passport-sized photos for the process.
There are also 28-day business visas ($30) and 28-day special visas ($30) for former Myanmar citizens (these visas can be extended for three to six months once in Yangon). A multiple-entry business visa is $150. There is no longer an e-visa service or ‘meditation visa’ available.
Note that Myanmar doesn’t recognise dual nationalities
Customs Regulations in Myanmar
Upon arrival you have to declare all your valuables items such as (Foreign currency exceeding the equivalent of US$ 2,000, Jewelry, Cameras, electronic equipment etc) on your custom declaration form. Receipt or voucher is needed when departing form Myanmar, Yangon Int’l airport, for things that you purchased locally, such as gems and jewelry. But antiques are not allowed to be taken out of the country. The following items are illegal to take out of the country: Prehistoric implements and artifacts, fossils, old coins, inscribed stones, historical documents.
• Taxis are available everywhere. There are over 250 Buses lines running through Yangon everyday. For exclusive transport, there are car rental services.
• Domestic highway bus terminals are Aung-Yadanar and Sawbwargyi-Gone, both about 10 miles from downtown Yangon.
• International airports are in Yangon and Mandalay.
Yangon International Airport (formerly known as Mingalardon Airport) and Mandalay International Airport are the main International Airports in Myanmar.
There are daily flights to Yangon from neighbouring countries. There are four domestic airlines and one international airlines in Myanmar.
There are a number of International couriers servicing Myanmar:
The country code is +95, and the internet access code is .mm.
The government now allows access to the entire Internet, a lot of people are using the internet freely. Usually with their mobiles.
Myanmar Teleport (formerly Bagan Cybertech), Information Technology Central Services (ITCS), and the state-owned Myanmar Post and Telecommunication (MPT) are the Internet service providers in Myanmar. Internet cafés are common in the larger cities of the country. Faster satellite internet connection is also available from Skynet, a satellite television provider.
According to MPT’s official statistics as of July 2010, the country had over 400,000 Internet users (0.8% of the population) with the vast majority of the users located in the two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay.
Most of the people use the internet with the Mobile Data(Cellular Data)
Most of the 3 stars and above hotels in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle, Ngapali and Ngwesaung have internet email access. And there are numbers of internet cafe around in Yangon, Mandalay and Taunggyi. But, Yahoo, Hot Mail, Gmail and most of the free email accounts are banned in Myanmar. But, some of the internet cafes have the way to past the government fire wall.
Electricity is 200 volts AC, 50Hz.
Yangon also known as Rangoon is a former capital of Burma and the capital of Yangon Division. Although the military government has officially relocated the capital to Naypyidaw. Yangon is located in Lower Myanmar at the convergence of the Yangon and Bago Rivers about 19 miles (30 km) away from the Gulf of Marta ban at 16°48′ North, 96°09′ East (16.8, 96.15). Its standard time zone is UTC/GMT +6:30 hours. Since March 2006, Yangon, with a population of over four million, continues to be the country’s largest city and the most important commercial center. Yangon‘s infrastructure is undeveloped compared to those of other major cities in Southeast Asia. Yangon has the largest number of colonial buildings in Southeast Asia today. While many high-rise residential and commercial buildings have been constructed or renovated throughout downtown and Greater Yangon in the past two decades, most satellite towns that ring the city continue to be deeply impoverished
Mandalay is the second-largest city and former capital of Burma. Located 445 miles (716 km) north of Yangon on the east bank of the Irrawaddy River; the city has a population of one million, and is the capital of Mandalay Division. Mandalay is located in the central dry zone of Burma by the Irrawaddy River at 21.98° north, 96.08° east, 64 meters (210 feet) above sea level. Its standard time zone is UTC/GMT +6:30 hours. Mandalay is the economic hub of Upper Burma and considered the center of Burmese culture. A continuing influx of Chinese immigrants, mostly from Yunnan Province, in the past twenty years, has reshaped the city’s ethnic makeup and increased its economic dynamism. Despite Naypyidaw’s recent rise, Mandalay remains Upper Burma‘s main commercial, educational and health center.
Naypyitaw is the capital of Burma, also known as Myanmar. On 6 November 2005, the administrative capital of Burma was officially moved to a Greenfield site 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Pyinmana, and approximately 200 miles (320 km) north of Yangon (Rangoon), the previous capital. The capital’s official name was announced on 27 March 2006, Burmese Armed Forces Day. Much of the city is still under construction, which is set to be completed by around 2012. As of 2009, the population was 925,000, which makes it Burma‘s third largest city, behind Yangon and Mandalay. It can be considered as a lifeless city, as much of its areas are government apartment blocks
Mawlamyaing is the third largest city of Burma (Myanmar), situated 300 km south east of Yangon and 70 km south of Thaton, at the mouth of Thanlwin (Salween) river. The city of 300,000 is the capital and largest city of Mon State, Myanmar, and is the main trading center and seaport in south-eastern Burma. Mawlamyaing is situated in the Salween River delta, where the mouth of the Salween is sheltered by Bilugyun Island as it enters the Gulf of Marta ban and the Andaman Sea. It is flanked by low hills dotted with ancient pagodas to the east and west.
Taunggyi is the capital of Shan State, Myanmar. Taunggyi has a population of approximately 200,000, making it the fourth largest city in Myanmar behind Mawlamyaing, and is at an elevation of 4,590 feet (1,400 m) above sea level. The name Taunggyi means “big mountain” in the Burmese language, and is named after the ridge on the east of the city, and the prominent high point on it is called the Taung-chun or “The Spur.” Locally this spur is popularly known as Phaya Taung. Although within the Shan State, the Shans are not the predominant population of this city. The Inthas and the Pa-Os, who are also the original inhabitants of the Shan Plateau, form the most visible population. They however are culturally and linguistically different from the Shan. Recently there has been a flood of Chinese immigrants. Taunggyi lies within the Myelat region of Shan State