Myanmar (or Burma) is an isolated country in Southeast Asia. It separated from the Burmese Empire, which existed from 1500-1000 BCE. Once upon a time, the Burmese empire conquered Thailand (Kingdom of Ayutthaya) and parts of India (Manipur). But, today, Myanmar is a small country. It lies on the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea coast, and it shares borders with Bangladesh, India in the west, China in the north, and Laos and Thailand to the east.

The Burman currency is Kyat. The approximate exchange rate is 1380 Kyats for 1 US Dollar. The local currency is only useful when paying in restaurants, public transport, taxis, and shops. Other expenses, such as train tickets, museum fees, and hotel rooms, must be paid in US dollars. Euros are also acceptable in some cases. Make sure the dollar notes don’t have any tears, folds or marks. Otherwise, they may not be acceptable. Also, though high-value notes may have higher exchange rates, it is also wise to have small denominations, as some facilities may not have change.

There are around 90 ATMs available in the country, and only in large cities. Also, credit cards are not widely acceptable, as for now, but this situation changes rather quickly. The same situation is with traveler’s cheques. We hope, however, that this will change in the nearest future.

It is hard to hire a self-drive car in Burma, due to many bureaucracy issues. However, hiring a car with a driver is not a problem. Keep in mind also that roads of the country are in poor condition. Some of them can even be inaccessible during the rainy season (from May until October).

In Myanmar, people use electric sockets of types C, D, F and G. The standard voltage is 230V.

Myanmar’s culture is a mix of Indian and Tibetan influences intertwined with local traditions. The country has predominately Theravada Buddhism. You can see stupas and temples throughout the country similar in architecture like the ones of northern India. Myanmar’s infrastructure is in poor condition. Photography and videotaping are not encouraged by the government, so exercise caution. Myanmar has an extensive rail network. A train journey is a great way to see the country and meet people.

June 7, 2016 12:00 am Published by 2 Comments

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