Myanmar, a republic in South-East Asia, bounded on the north by Tibet Autonomous Region of China; on the east by China, Laos, and Thailand; on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal; and on the west by the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh, and India. It is officially known as the Union of Myanmar. The coastal region is known as Lower Myanmar, while the interior region is known as Upper Myanmar. The total area of the country is 676,552 square km (261,218 square miles).
A horseshoe-shaped mountain complex and the valley of the Ayarwaddy (Irrawaddy) River system are the dominant topographical features of Myanmar. The mountains of the northern margin rise to 5881 meters (19,296 ft) atop Hkakabo Razi, the highest peak in Southeast Asia. The two other mountain systems have northern to southern axes. The Arakan Yoma range, with peaks reaching more than 2740 meters (about 9000 ft), forms a barrier between Myanmar and the subcontinent of India. The Bilauktaung range, the southern extension of the Shan Plateau, lies along the boundary between southwestern Thailand and southeastern Lower Myanmar. The Shan Plateau, originating in China, has an average elevation of about 910 meters (about 3000 ft).
Generally narrow and elongated in the interior, the central lowlands attain a width of about 320km (about 200 miles) across the Ayarwaddy-Sittaung delta. The delta plains, extremely fertile and economically the most important section of the country, cover an area of about 46,620 sq. km (18,000 sq. ml.). Both the Arakan (in the northwest) and the Tenasserim (in the southwest) coasts of Myanmar are rocky and fringed with islands. The country has a number of excellent natural harbors.
The weather in Myanmar can vary greatly at one time, but the country's climate largely falls into that of tropical monsoon. This consists of three different seasons: dry and cool (November to February), hot (March to April), and rainy (May to October). The dry and cool season is the most comfortable to visit, with temperatures steady between 20-27ºC and rainfall very rare. During the hot season, the weather remains dry but temperatures can rise from 30ºC to 43ºC. Thankfully, at this time Myanmar celebrates Thingyan, a famous water festival that typically falls in April. It's related to Lao New Year in Laos, in which entire cities and towns join a massive water fight to celebrate the New Year. In the rainy season, humidity kicks in with average temperatures between 25-30ºC and frequent rain. But don't let the name 'rainy season' scare you off! Often times this refers to intense, short rainstorms that only last one or two hours in the afternoon. After they pass, the day becomes noticeably cooler and comfortable.
Myanmar has a long history and its greatness dates back to the early 11th Century when King Anawrahta unified the country and founded the First Myanmar Empire in Bagan more than 20 years before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The Bagan Empire encompassed the areas of the present day Myanmar and the entire Menam Valley in Thailand and lasted two centuries. The Second Myanmar Empire was founded in 16th Century by King Bayinnaung styled Branginoco by the Portuguese. King Alaungpaya founded the last Myanmar Dynasty in 1752 and it was during the zenith of this Empire that the British moved into Myanmar Wars in 1825. During The Second World War, Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 till the return of the Allied Forces in 1945. Myanmar becomes a sovereign independent state in January 1948 after more than 100 years of colonial administration.
Predominantly Myanmar (Bamar) and ethnic minorities speaking Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Shan and other 135 hill-tribe dialects and also Cantonese, Mandarin, Hindustani, Urdu spoken Chinese and Indian Immigrants. Being once a British colony English is also widely spoken.
Myanmar lies on the crossroad of two of the world's great civilizations - China and India - but its culture is neither that of India nor that of China exclusively, but a blend of both interspersed with Myanmar native traits and characteristics. Buddhism has great influence on daily life of the Myanmar. The people have preserved the traditions of close family ties, respect for the elders, reverence for Buddhism and simple native dress. Myanmars are contented and cheerful even in the face of adversities and known for their simple hospitality and friendliness.
Over 80 percent of Myanmar embraces are Theravada Buddhism. There are Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists.
We recommend you bring US Dollars and in larger notes to receive a better exchange rate. Exchange of other foreign currencies such as Euros, Yen and Pounds Sterling may be time consuming and difficult since authorized money changers throughout Myanmar will usually only accept US Dollars. The FEC (Foreign Exchange Currency) used in Myanmar as currency next to the local currency Kyat (pronounced “Chat”) is equal to the US Dollar (1=1) and can easily been used as payment for purchases throughout the country.
A visa is required in advance. Tourist visas for Myanmar can be obtained from any Myanmar embassy or consulate world-wide or on the internet. Tourists wanting to enter Myanmar by land currently a face some restrictions. Only a handful of border crossings are open to foreigners and a regulation introduced in mid-2011 requires tourists to enter and exit at the same checkpoint Travelers who plan to arrive via Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong or Vietnam can obtain their tourist visas within three working days. Tourist visas are valid for a stay of up to 28 days. Myanmar introduced an e-visa system in April 2012, that will allow international visitors to apply for a visa from anywhere via the Internet, before visiting Myanmar. A Myanmar visa for pick up on arrival is available by contacting our travel consultant.