Burma tourist information, including all the useful things to know before leaving for a trip or vacation in this state of Southeast Asia.
Burma in a nutshell
- Capital: Naypyidaw
- Area in sq km: 676,756
- Population: 47,963,012 (2010)
- Religion: Theravada Buddhism (about 89%), Christianity (about 5%), Islam (about 4%), Animism (1%), Hinduism (0.5%) and others (0.5%).
Where is it
Burma or Myanmar is a state of Southeast Asia that faces the Gulf of Bengal to the west and the Andaman Sea to the south-west. It borders with China to the northeast, Laos to the east, Thailand to the southeast, Bangladesh and India to the northwest.
The territory of Burma, which includes part of the western coast of the Indochinese peninsula, is formed in the northern part by a vast mountainous region.
In the western part there are a series of reliefs that constitute the last offshoots of the Himalayan system, with rough and elevated shapes in the north.
To the south, the reliefs thin in the Arakan chain that closes the Gulf of Bengal at Capo Negrais.
In the eastern part of the country the vast Shan plateau extends, arid in the north and rich in vegetation in the south, which stretches to form the south-eastern region of Tenasserim, characterized by reliefs that in the longitudinal direction often drop steeply over the sea , forming high and rocky coasts.
The central part of the country is occupied by a vast flat area, where a mountain range formed by low hills (Pegu Yoma), separates the lower course of the Irrawaddy, from that of the Sittang that flows parallel.
The main river of Burma is the Irrawaddy, which crosses the whole country from north to south, is largely navigable and flows into the Gulf of Martaban, which falls within the Andaman Sea, forming a large delta.
Other important rivers cross the territory of Burma, among them the Salween, the Chindwin, the Mekong, which marks the border with Laos, the Sittang and the Twante Chaung.
Burma's climate is tropical, subject to the influence of monsoons, with a hot summer, from June to September, characterized by heavy rainfall, especially in the southern part of the country, and a mild winter, from December to April, poorly rainy.
The temperatures, which record modest annual excursions, on the northern slopes vary from mild to severe, depending on the altitude.Recommended readings
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The majority of the population is made up of Burmese (around 70%).
The remainder is made up of numerous minor ethnic groups, including the Mon, Karen, Shan, Kachin, Kayah, and Chin.
In addition there are many Chinese, Pakistani, Thai and Indian immigrants.
The time zone in Burma is 5.30 hours ahead of Italy and 4, 30 hours ahead when daylight saving time is in effect in Italy.
The official language of Burma is Burmese.
Burma, despite its natural wealth, is a poor country.
The population is largely dedicated to agriculture, rice is the main crop, followed by cotton, sugar cane, tobacco and more.
Unfortunately, there are also many opium poppy crops, which fuel drug production and trafficking.
The forest resources, the mineral, gas and oil fields are also noteworthy, but the socio-economic control by the regime in power makes the change that would be necessary to get out of isolation very difficult.
When to go
The best time to visit Burma is from November to February, when the season is dry.
To enter Burma you need a passport with residual validity of at least six months from the date of entry into the country.
The entry visa (the tourist visa is valid for 28 days) is necessary and is issued by the Embassy of Burma in Rome.
- To call from Italy to Burma the international prefix is: 0095
- To call from Burma in Italy the international prefix is: 0039
Calling from a landline is expensive and the mobile telephone network is also very lacking due to insufficient technology and infrastructure.
The use of internet cafés is recommended, but in order to access the service you need to show your Burmese passport, residential address and telephone number, and in any case in many cases the connection is slow with consequent accessibility to poor quality sites.
The electric current in Burma is 230V 50 Hz. The sockets are of type C (European 2-pole), D (British old 3-pole type), F (German 2-pole with lateral earth contacts).
Type G (3-pole British) is present almost exclusively in the best hotels. Therefore it is advisable to have an adapter for the sockets.
Money and credit card
The official currency of Burma is the Kyat.
For payments it is good to arrive in the country with cash, preferably US dollars, because it is not possible to withdraw, use an ATM or credit card on the spot.
For currency exchange, the official exchange counters (airport or banks) should be avoided, the exchange rate is very unfavorable.
Instead, it is recommended to go to shops, hotels or restaurants.
How to get
From Europe, many airlines offer flights to Bangkok (Thailand), the most used airport to reach Yangon, since there are no direct flights to Burma from Italy.
The country is accessible by air only from Yangon airport.
Among the most used airlines: Malaysia Airlines (stopover in Kuala Lumpur), Singapore Airlines (stopover in Singapore), Thai Airways Airlines (stopover in Bangkok).
No mandatory vaccinations are required to enter Burma. Antimalarial prophylaxis is recommended as the risk of Malaria is present above all in the malignant form of Pl.
Falciparum, below 1,000 meters in the following areas
- throughout the year in the state of Karen.
- from March to December in the states of Chin, Kachin, Kayah, Mon, Rakhine and Shan, in the Pegu Div. And in the municipalities of Hlegu, Hmawbi and Taikkyi of Yangon (ex Rangoon) Div.
- From April to December in the rural areas of Tenasserim Div.
- From May to December in the Irrawaddy Div. And in the rural areas of Mandalay Div.
- From June to November in the rural areas of Magwe Div. And in Sagaing Div.
Furthermore, after medical consultation, vaccination against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B is recommended.
It is useful to follow some hygienic measures, drink only bottled water without adding ice, eat only cooked meats and vegetables, fruit only if peeled personally.
Before departure, it is advisable to take out health insurance that covers medical costs and any repatriation.