Myanmar

Myanmar (Burma to some people)

TRAVEL ALERT

Cyclone NARGIS on 2 May, 2008, has devastated the coast on the Andoman Sea. This Cyclone Nargis sucked a wave of water 3.6 metres high from the sea and the 190 km/h wind pushed it relentlesley right up the vast expanse of the Irrawaddy Delta. Tens of thousanda have been drowned or killed. The rice paddies are ruined with salt water and probably a million are homeless.

The existing military dictatorship seems incapable of helping their people and due to the chaos, fear of disease, food shortage we advise extreme caution in going near the area.

Tourist numbers had been steadily increasing in the country of Myanmar, sometimes referred to as Burma. While many areas of the country remain inaccessible to visitors, due to the past civil war, there had been a wealth of coastal beach resorts for tourists to enjoy. Interestingly it is one of very few countries in the world that is bordered by five other countries and still remains open to the ocean, and hence its magnificent beach resorts.

Attractions

Bagan

The remarkable ancient city of Bagan, once the capital city of the country, is one of the more amazing archeological sites in the world. This glorious site, lying on the eastern bank of the Ayeyarwaddy River, has much to offer for tourists. Not only is the feature of noteworthy historical significance, but it is also quite breathtaking. Moreover the tourism board in Myanmar offers guided tours of the area, often taken via boat in the nearby river, which are absolutely astonishing at sunset.

Travel to Myanmar

Often travel to Myanmar involves a stopover flight in one of the nearby larger metropolises. However there are numerous airports in the country, which receive commercial flights, namely the Yangon International Airport.

Travel within Myanmar

While traveling in Myanmar is not limited to the following methods of transportation they are the most popular. Bus can get you to virtually anywhere you wish to go in the country and in much the same manner so can train. Renting modes of transportation is also possible and one can choose between a bicycle or an automobile.

Language

The official language of those in Myanmar is Burmese, though many of the educated individuals in the country speak English fluently as they are taught it from a very early age in school.

Visa

Virtually any tourist agency can easily arrange a visa on arrival for you but you must make sure to alert the agency well in advance. Obtaining a visa while in Myanmar is quite easy also but may cost a small fee.

Food & Drink

One can describe the cuisine in Myanmar as a variant of Indian and Chinese food. Along with generous servings of rice the meals consist mainly of vegetables and meat is seldom the main course of the meal. Green tea as well as, more recently, coffee are popularly served drinks.

Safety

Much like any country you may be visiting it is important to pay close attention to your valuables. Theft is rather infrequent however and the people of Myanmar are particularly friendly to tourists.

Shopping

There are an abundance of specialty items available throughout the country as many of the more interesting items for sale include intricate crafted things such wooden carvings, painted umbrellas and tapestries. Lacquerware is also a very popular item available in Myanmar and it is judged on, among other things, its flexibility and detailed engravings.

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