Population : 52.89 Million
Capital City : Naypyidaw
People : 68% Bamar, 9% Shan, 7% Karen, 4% Rakhine, 2% Mon, and 10% others
Language : Burmese
Currency : Kyat (MMK)
Time Zone : GMT +6:30 Hours
International Dialing Code : +95
Passports must be valid for six months beyond the date of departure.
Telecommunications in Myanmar have long been behind most developed and other Southeast Asian countries, however things are changing and even though only a small percentage of the population has access to a fixed telephone line, mobile penetration is growing and infrastructure is improving fast.
Myanmar has a tropical Monsoon climate with three seasons: hot, rainy and cool. The hot season begins in March with temperatures climbing up to 36 °C plus humidex. This weather is perfect for a beach break along the southern coast, as well as a good time to venture to cooler northern regions.
June ushers in the rainy season, which cools down temperatures slightly, but it is unadvisable to travel to Ngapali Beach as many resorts and hotels close during this period. Instead, head to the central areas which are the driest - Mandalay is a great destination during this season.
In terms of exploring Myanmar, the best time to visit is usually from November until February when the cool season begins. Temperatures are milder and more pleasant, although a bit further north in areas like Mandalay, it can reach as low as 10 °C. This season is perfect for discovering the temple-dotted plains of Bagan!
Please note: The weather can be unpredictable in Asia and we suggest you carry an umbrella or raincoat with you no matter which season you choose to travel.
Myanmar has a large number of festivals and public holidays, either religious or politically significant. Many festivals are based upon the lunar calendar, and therefore, the date changes each year. Thingyan is the largest festival, preceding the Myanmar New Year. This five-day new years’ celebration begins in mid April, and is also known as the Water Festival. Water symbolises the cleansing of the past year’s sins, and is traditionally practiced by sprinkling it upon others. Nowadays, it’s become more of a water fight, as fire hoses, buckets, water balloons and water pistols shower the crowds!
Thadingyut, or the Festival of Lights, takes place towards the end of October and is the second biggest festival of the year. Held at the end of Buddhist lent, locals light up their homes with lanterns and candles to symbolically welcome Buddha’s descent from heaven. For three days, the streets fill with food stalls and performances of dance and music. Some regions set off fire crackers and balloons as well.
A second festival of lights occurs in November to celebrate the end of the rainy season, Tazaungdaing. This day is celebrated at major temples where robe weaving competitions are common, as makers work through the night creating specialty yellow robes. While being a country-wide festival, in certain regions like Inle Lake and the Shan state, hot air balloons filled with candles are released into the air to drive away evil spirits.
Other important holidays include:
Independence Day, 4 January
Union Day, 12 February
Magha Puja, 27 March