Myanmar (Burma)

 

This is Burma, wrote Kipling. It is quite unlike any place you know about. How right he was, and more than a century later Myanmar remains a world apart. Contemplate 4.000 sacred stupas scattered across the plains of Bagan. Stare in disbelief at the golden rock teetering impossibly on the edge of a chasm. Encounter men wearing skirt-like longyi, women smothered in thanaka (traditional make-up) and betel-chewing grannies with blood red juices dripping from their mouths, and that's just the airport. Meet the multitalented monks who have taught their cats to jump. Ride a Wild West stagecoach past grand British mansions. Trade jokes about the rulers who move capitals on the whim of a fortune teller. Indeed, this is Burma. Isolated and ostracized by the international community, the country is in the grip of tyrants. Most travellers avoid a visit, backing the boycott, but the long-suffering people are everything the regime is not. Gentle, humorous, engaging, considerate and inquisitive, they want to play a part in the world, and deserve a brighter future. Turn back the clock with a trip to this time-warped country where the adventure travel of old lives on. This is the authentic Asia with creaking buses, potholed roads, locals who greet you like long lost family and not a 7-Eleven in sight. Forget the internet for a moment and connect with a culture where holy men are more revered than rock stars and golden Buddhas are bathed every day at first light, in Mandalay, the Mahamuni Paya houses a Buddha re-covered in gold leaf daily. Drift down the Ayeyarwady in an old river steamer, stake out a slice of Ngapali Beach or Ngwe Saung on the blissful Bay of Bengal, trek through pine forests to minority villages around Kalaw, there are so many experiences awaiting in Myanmar that one trip is simply never enough. It's a country that fuels your emotions, stimulates your senses and stays in your soul.

Official name

Republic of the Union of Myanmar

 

Political Regime

Unitary presidential constitutional republic

 

Surface

676.578 km²

 

Population

61.120.000 people.

 

Capital

Yangon

 

Ethnic Groups

Nearly 70% of the population are Burmese, the rest comprise many tribes like the Karen, Shan, Rakhine, the Sinhalese, the Mon, the Assam and Chinese

 

Language

The official language is Burmese, but with so many different tribes, many languages are spoken as the Karen, the Shan, the Kachin and the Chin

 

Religion

90% of the population is Theravada Buddhists and the rest are Muslims, Christians and animists.

 

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