Burma stands at the crossroads of the Indian subcontinent and South East Asia and draws on the history and culture of both. The country stretches from the soaring heights of the Himalayas in the north to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean in the south.
Much of Burma is quite rugged, with steep mountain ranges running along its eastern, western and northern borders. The mighty Irrawaddy River runs through fertile plains in the centre to the huge delta region at its mouth.
Economically, Burma is still a poor country with little developed industry. Its main source of income is the export of natural gas and oil, as well as agricultural and timber products. Tourism is still in its infancy despite a fine coastline of untouched beaches.
Size: 676,600 square kilometres
Population: 54.5 Million
Capital: Yangon (Formerly Rangoon)
Languages: The majority of people speak Burmese however English is also widely used
Religion: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Land borders: Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh
Climate: Burma has three distinct seasons and the ideal time to visit Burma is during the cool season. As you travel further north, the ground level rises and the humidity decreases, thus the weather in Yangon may be vastly different to the weather in Inle Lake.
• Cool Season: October through February with average
temperatures 20-24 C
• Hot Season: March through May with average temperatures 30-35 C
• Wet Season: June through September with average temperatures 25-30 C
Money: The local currency is the Kyat (pronounced CHAT) but bring US Dollars notes in small denominations (must be 2006 or later and in perfect condition) these can easily be changed into Kyats throughout the country. There are very few ATM machines in the country and traveller cheques are not accepted.
Tipping: It is not customary to tip although 'little presents' are always appreciated! When visiting monasteries it's a good idea to have small denominations for donations.
Formalities: All visitors to Myanmar require a visa to enter the country. Clients must arrange the visa before departure through the Embassy in London (allow at least 3 weeks). A tourist visa is valid for 28 days and they are not extendable. Details are on the embassy website http://www.myanmarembassylondon.com/
Travel advice: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office produce up-to-date information on countries around the world. This which can be checked on www.fco.gov.uk