One of South-East Asia’s most intriguing destinations, Myanmar (Burma) has an eclectic culture worth witnessing first hand. It remains a rural nation with traditions still intact; when wondering around, you will still see men in traditional dress, the longyi.
Betel-chewing is still common, which is a method of chewing on a seed that actually colors the mouth and teeth completely red. The tea-drinking culture first introduced by the British is still in consistent practice, also. The sacred stupas across the plains of Bagan are truly a site to see, likened to stumbling upon a fairytale land! Best of all, a visit to Myanmar will allow appreciation for the simple pleasures of life.
Important dates in Myanmar
4 January – Independence Day
12 February – Union Day
2 March – Peasants’ Day
12 March – Full Moon Day of Tabaung
27 March – Armed Forces Day
13-16 April – Thingyan Water Festival
17 April – Myanmar New Year
1 May – Labour Day
10 May – Full Moon Day of Kasong
8 July – Full Moon Day of Waso
19 July – Martyrs’ Day
4-6 October – Full Moon Day of Thadingyut
2-3 November – Full Moon Day of Tazaungmone
13 November – National Day
18 December – Kayin New Year
25 December- Christmas Day
For a full list of official holidays, visit here.
- Myanmar is one of only three countries in the world that has not adopted the metric system of measurement. The common local unit of weight in Myanmar is the peiktha, which equals to 3.6 pounds.
- Today 89 percent of the population of Myanmar is Buddhist.
- Unique to Myanmar, to call a waiter in a restaurant or teahouse, you need to blow a few kisses. Technically not a kiss but a sucking sound that is similar to the sound of a kiss.
Good to know
A tourist visa can be obtained which is valid for 28 days for the cost of 50 USD. This may be extended for 14 days for the cost of 3 USD per day.
To learn more about visa regulations for Myanmar, check out the governement website.
Culture and Etiquette in Myanmar
As it is a traditional society, you will see the locals dressed in traditional and intricately designed wraps characterized by the style of the country. However, foreigners coming in dressed casually is fine. Do not worry about trying to fit in, as the locals will most likely be accepting, even if there is a language barrier. Of course, as with most countries, please practice modesty when visiting traditional places of worship, temples or religious sites.
Since most of the population is Buddhist, be aware of any guidelines that you might need to know. Living in peace and harmony is important to many Asian cultures so try to avoid conflict at all costs. As always, the most important thing is to be polite, respectful and smile!