Coat of Arms
Presidents Thein Sein
»Burmese / Myanma
»Unitary presidential constitutional republic
»676,578 km2 (40th)
» Per capita -$1,405
» Per capita -$854
»Kyat (K) (MMK)
Myanmar, officially called the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and also known as Burma, is the largest country in Southeast Asia that is not an island, partly considered as South Asian. It is bordered by China on the north, Laos on the east, Thailand on the southeast, Bangladesh on the west, and the India on the northwest, with the Andaman Sea to the south, and the Bay of Bengal to the southwest.
There are over 2,000 kilometers (1,243 mi) of coastline. The country was ruled by a military junta led by General Ne Win from 1962 to 1988, and its political system today stays under the tight control of its military government. Since 1992, Myanmar has been ruled by Senior General Than Shwe.
The Economy Myanmar is an emerging economy with an estimated nominal GDP of $59.43 billion and a purchasing power adjusted GDP of $111.1 billion.
Real growth rate is estimated at 5.5% for the 2011 fiscal year.
Historically, Myanmar was the main trade route between India and China since 100 BC. The Mon Kingdom of lower Myanmar served as important, trading center in the Bay of Bengal. After Myanmar was conquered by British, it became the wealthiest country in Southeast Asia.
It was also once the world’s largest exporter of rice. It produced 75% of the world’s teak and had a highly literate population.
In 2011, when new President Thein Sein’s government came to power, Burma embarked on a major policy of reforms including anti-corruption, currency exchange rate, foreign investment laws and taxation.
Foreign investments increased from US$300 million in 2009-10 to a US$20 billion in 2010-11 by about 667%. Large inflow of capital results in stronger Myanmar’s currency, kyat by about 25%.
In response, the government relaxed import restrictions and abolished export taxes.
Myanmar’s economy is expected to grow by about 8.8% in 2011.
After the completion of 58-billion dollar Dawei deep seaport, Myanmar is expected be at the hub of trade connecting Southeast Asia and the South China Sea, via the Andaman Sea, to the Indian Ocean receiving goods from countries in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, and spurring growth in the ASEAN region.
According to a report released on 30 May 2013 by the McKinsey Global Institute, Myanmar ‘s economy is expected to quadruple by 2030 if it invests in more high-tech industries.
Top 5 Products imported by Myanmar
- Iron Structures (6.3%),
- Cars (5.3%),
- Refined Petroleum (4.6%),
- Delivery Trucks (4.1%),
- Palm Oil (4.0%)
Top 5 Import origins of Myanmar
- China (40%),
- Thailand (17%),
- South Korea (10%),
- Japan (9.3%),
- Singapore (7.5%)
Now is the moment to visit this extraordinary land, scattered with gilded pagodas, where the traditional ways of Asia endure and areas previously off-limits are opening up.
In a nation with well over 100 ethnic groups, exploring Myanmar can often feel like you’ve stumbled into a living edition of the National Geographic, circa 1910!
The country, for instance, has yet to be completely overwhelmed by Western fashion – everywhere you’ll encounter men wearing skirt-like longyi, women smothered in thanakha (traditional make-up) and betel chewing grannies with mouths full of blood-red juice.
People still get around in trishaws and, in rural areas, horse and cart. Drinking tea – a British colonial affectation – is enthusiastically embraced in thousands of traditional teahouses.
Thankfully, the pace of change is not overwhelming, leaving the simple pleasures of travel in Myanmar intact.
You can still drift down the Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) River in an old river steamer, stake out a slice of beach on the blissful Bay of Bengal, or trek through pine forests to minority villages scattered across the Shan Hills without jostling with scores of fellow travellers.
Best of all you’ll encounter locals who are gentle, humorous, engaging, considerate, inquisitive and passionate – they want to play a part in the world, and to know what you make of their world. Now is the time to make that connection.
- Myanmar has not been on the hit list of many travellers through Southeast Asia, and it’s difficult to understand why.
- The country is a true, unspoiled treasure trove, and should capture the imagination of anyone interested in culture and history.
- Walking around Yangon brings you back to the time of 19th century British colonial rule.
- Sparkling-clean parks and temples stand side by side decayed colonial-style buildings and deep potholes. Its cultural and religious attractions, like the Shwedagon Pagoda, add to the city’s feel of exoticism, as do the smiles of the locals.
- Every street corner brings something new—and a short ferry over the river even gives you a glimpse of rural life in the country.
- Cities of cultural and historical interest close to Yangon are Bago with its Buddhist sights, the delta town of Twante known for its pottery, and the pilgrimage site of Kyaiktiyo with its gold-gilded rock balancing precariously over a cliff.
- It’s definitely worth it to further explore the Bamar heartland unfortunately the outer fringes of the country are off-limits to foreigners.
- The former city of Bagan is a true gem, and gives a glimpse of what life in the 11th and 12th centuries here must have been like. Marco Polo described it as the “gilded city alive with tinkling bells and the swishing sounds of monks’ robes”.
- It is the largest and densest concentration of Buddhist temples, pagodas, stupas and ruins in the world.
- Mrauk U is another one of those mysterious places—a sleepy village today, its crumbling pagodas and temples remind of the early modern period, when it was the capital city of an empire involved in extensive maritime trade with Portuguese, Dutch, French and Arab traders.
- Within day tripping distance from Mandalay is Inwa, another former capital where ruins remain to remind visitors of its former glory. Also don’t miss Pyin U Lwin, a former British hill station with somewhat cooler temperatures.
- The country has its fair share of natural attractions. Inle Lake is where the backpacker community resides, and it is one of the few places that is starting to feel like a tourist trap. Still, a trip to
- Myanmar is not complete without a boat trip on the lake. It has a unique vibe with tribes living in stilt houses and paddling their traditional wooden boats with one leg.
- The country’s long southwestern coastline also has a few beaches, such as Chaung Tha and Ngapali. If you visit outside of the traditional holiday season, you might just have a beautiful white sand beach for yourself.