John Forsyth and Aileen Collins welcome you to their world of unique travel ideas.
Myanmar is the name, which has long been used by its people
to describe their homeland, which the British called Burma.
Geographically, Myanmar is the largest mainland in South
East Asia sharing borders with Bangladesh, India, China,
Laos and Thailand. With a total area of 676,577 square kilometers,
it's twice the size of Vietnam and approximately the size
of Britain and France combined.
Myanmar is a union of many nationalities with as many as
135 groups with their own languages and dialects. The term
"Myanmar" embraces all nationalities, the Bamar, the Kachi,
the kayin, the Mon, the Rakhine and the Shan. The Bamars
make up 68% of the total population of over 43 million.
Theravada Buddhism is the predominate religion with 80%
of the population embracing it. The balance is made up of
Christians, Muslims and Hindus
Myanmar's greatness in history dates back to the 11th century
when king Anawrahta consolidated the into the first Myanmar
Empire in Bagan (Pagan) well before the Norman Conquest
of England in 1066. The Bagan Empire encompasses the entire
Menam Valley in Thailand and lasted 2 centuries. The Bagan
dynasty collapsed with the invasion of the Mongols under
Kublai Khan in the 13th century. King Alaungpaya founded
the Third Myanmar Empire in 1752. It was during the zenith
of the Konbaung Dynasty that the British moved into Myanmar.
Myanmar became a British colony after the 3 Alnglo-Myanmar
wars in the period of 1824 to 1885. During World War II,
Myanmar was occupied by Japanese from 1942 until the turn
of the Allied Forces in 1945. Myanmar became a sovereign
independent state on 4th January, after more than 100 years
of British colonial administration.
Myanmar lies in a meeting place of two of the world's great
civilisations - China and India - but it's culture is neither
that of India nor China exclusively but a blend of both,
interspersed with Myanmar's native traits and characteristics.
The people have preserved the tradition of close family
ties, respect for the elder, reverence for Buddhism and
simple native dress. Myanmar people are fun loving and festivals
form the centre of Myanmar's social life - each month has
it's own festive occasion. The people are known for their
hospitality and friendliness.
The year is generally divided into 3 seasons - the hot season
from March to May, the rainy season is from June to October
and the cool season from November to February, the best
months to travel. The temperate seldom drops below 70°C
in lower Burma, although it can be cold in the mountain
regions such as Taunggyi and Maymyo.
arrival, pick up your luggage, proceed to a Customs counter
and present your passport and Customs declaration form,
which is given to you on your arrival flight. You must declare
electrical goods and appliances, cameras, jewellery and
foreign currencies in excess of US$2,000. Upon leaving the
arrival area, present your passport and a copy of your declaration
form - at this point your luggage may be inspected. You
must keep a copy of the Customs declaration form to be presented
when you leave Myanmar.
2 bottles of liquor, 2 cartons of cigarettes of 100 cigars
and ½ litre of perfume.
Foreign Exchange Certificates (FECs) are issued to visitors
by the Central Bank of Myanmar to use during their stay.
It is compulsory for individual travellers holding a tourist
visa to change, on arrival, a minimum of US$300 with 300
Foreign Exchange Certificate units. These FECs are acceptable
by any person in Myanmar and can be used for payments of
meals, sightseeing, transport, souvenirs, etc. Children
under 12 years of age and members of a package group tour
where all meals and sightseeing is included are exempt.
The local currency is Kyat (pronounced "chat" and the official
rate is approx.6.5 kyats to the US$. On the black market
you can get between 60 to 100. Travellers cheques and major
credit cards are accepted at all major hotels.
When leaving Myanmar, you must pay an airport tax of US$6.00
Export of antiques and archaeologically valuable items are
prohibited. It is recommended that gems, jewellery and silverware
are purchased at authorised shops where you will be given
a voucher with a permit for export.
None are required unless arriving in infected area. For
protection against malaria and dengue fever, use insect
repellent regularly and cover yourself with light-weight
clothing. Sleep with the windows closed or with mosquito
netting. Anti-malaria tables are recommended. Consult your
doctor as to the type you take.
A tourist visa for a stay of up to 28 days is issued by
the Myanmar Embassy in Canberra. Three photos, three completed
visa application forms, your passport and $30.00 plus courier
fees are required together with the name of the company
taking care of your arrangements in Myanmar.
A s the weather is normally warm and dry, light clothing
and comfortable shoes or sandals are recommended. Tourists
are expected to dress decently (no shorts or skimpy tops)
within the precincts of religious places. It's considered
the height of disrespect and bad manners not to take off
your shoes before entering a pagoda. This includes the long
flights of steps leading up the pagodas, which are often
not very clean! In the years leading up to the first Anglo-Burmese
war, the Burmese became particularly exasperated with the
British who often disregard this custom.