As Myanmar (also known as Burma) continues to open up to the outside world, more travellers are venturing to this alluring country. If you’re planing a Myanmar tours, there are some facts you should really know at the first hand. So read up and enjoy!
1. Myanmar New Year celebrated in April
Thingyan is the Myanmar New Year Festival, calculated according to the Burmese calendar and usually falls around mid-April. Water-throwing or dousing one another from any shape or form of vessel or device that delivers water are the distinguishing features of this festival and may be done on the first four days of the festival. During this time, all the shops, restaurants, shops are closed. People throw water on each other to cleanse the unfortunate things of the previous year.
2. Super… slow Internet connection
It was not until 2000 that Myanmar people could get access to the Internet, but at a very high price and slow speed. Likewise, the fee for using telephone is also higher than that in other Asian neighbors.
3. Haunting beautiful beaches
Myanmar has 2,000 km of coastline and one of them is the most beautiful beaches in Asia. The beaches stretch along the Bay of Bengal and mostly in the uninhabited wilderness. The most famous beach is Ngapali, 45-minute flight from Yangon.
4. Should carry more cash and keep them clean
There are not many ATMs in Myanmar, so you should bring more cash instead of credit cards. Credit cards can only be accepted in 5-star or luxury restaurants. Moreover, you also need to keep your cash clean. Because of only a little bit of dirt, folds or a wrinkle, your currency may be devalued in Myanmar.
5. Order beer by making air kisses
When you want to attract attention to the waiter, Myanmar people make sounds like the sound of kissing. It works in restaurants as well as on the street, but be careful it’s not always a nice, polite way and is not practiced in higher establishments.
6. Expensive accommodation
Myanmar hotel rates are quite high in comparison to those in other Asian countries. Since Myanmar opened the door, there are many tourists towards this country, but the current number of hotels has not met all of the traveling traffic.
7. Men Wear Female Skirts
You may wonder why the majority of men on the streets are proudly wearing skirts? Those skirts are called Longyis, a traditional (and apparently the most comfortable) piece of cloth in tube shape that gets wrapped around the waist, like a Sarong. Even though being similar, both men and women wrap their Longyi differently with men tying a knot in the front and women tying the knot on the side. Besides being highly comfortable, Burmese people prefer wearing the Longyi as it keeps the air circulating especially on hot summer days.
8. There Are No Chain Restaurants Or International Brand Shops
Unlike its’ neighbouring countries, 7/11 is not lurking around every street corner. There is no Starbucks, Mc Donald’s, Subway or Pizza Hut. As the country is slowly opening up for international businesses especially Asian food franchises from Japan, Singapore and South Korea flock into the country. American chains are being more cautious due to continuing political instability and economic sanctions against the country which make it harder for US companies to invest in it.
9. Newsstands are everywhere
In Myanmar, press is almost the only way for people to learn about the world. That’s why you can see newsstands on every street of Myanmar.
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