Myanmar is a fabulous travel point, there is such an abundance of color, exotic places and interesting attractions. Not many persons know about Myanmar, some only know it as Burma, the old name, and most people have the same reaction when they hear something like this from northern Thailand’s neighbors: “Myanmar, is this even a country?”
It is also fascinating, shocking and strikes you as a cold shower since you take the first step in the airport. Even though I seriously prepared myself before heading out this summer, nothing prepared me for the reality that you will discover there. Whether you want to get there in the very near future, or want to enrich your general culture a little, you should know a few things about Myanmar.
Religion: About 89% of the population of this country practices Buddhism. This means that the rules specific to any other Buddhist country also apply here, especially with regard to temples, where you are not allowed to walk around with bare shoulders, dresses or shorts, footwear, and even socks. The best idea would be to get a pair of slippers, possibly from the velvet – yes, yes, the velvet! -, because, honestly, you will have to go down a lot of times. The people of Myanmar are not only religious but superstitious. Often, at dusk, hundreds of people sit quietly on foot, listening to the teachings of the Great Monk, blocking access to a whole street. Therefore, it would not hurt if, before this trip, you read a little about Buddhism and the customs of the place, so that such meetings do not take you by surprise. Men with skirts, women painted on the face, chewing tobacco and velvet slippers.
Speaking of which, we have been told in Myanmar so many times that we are beautiful that we got a bit up. Not being accustomed to such goodwill, I initially thought that there should be an interest in the middle, that they were far too friendly, but it was not. They seem to like tourists, feel good about them and are very curious and sincere. Only in Bagan did I meet traders who were a little more insistent, but not as far away as the Balinese, the Turks or the Moroccans. At the first refusal, any attempt would end, which, we tell you from experience, does not happen much in other parts. And, as a very valuable tip, remember “Mingalarbar”. It is the greeting of the locals, it means a good day and you will surely impress them, especially if you come through the rural areas. Find extra details on Myanmar tour.
The food: What is to be said in the food chapter should be considered as more than subjective. We know that many like it, but we don’t. Close to nothing. As I said before, we excluded the street food option from the beginning, because we found it unhealthy. Moreover, the preparations they serve in traditional restaurants did not give us back. Not even their famous noodles. The only preparation we really enjoyed and ordered several times was a green tea salad that turned out to be absolutely delicious. Otherwise, we thought that Burmese cuisine is an unfortunate combination of ingredients and tastes that do not fit well. We repeat, this is how we perceived things, because we met a lot of people who glorified the traditional restaurant preparations, and even the street food.
Contrary to (my) expectations, tourism in Myanmar is highly developed. They have very good hotels and resorts, agencies that offer guide and transportation services, domestic flights, restaurants and shows for tourists, souvenirs, observation towers, information boards, children and women who keep you and follow you on a bike-only basis. Almost all women and children, regardless of status, area or job, wear tanaka face: a tree resin paste. Discover more details at Places to visit in Myanmar.