10 Interesting Facts You Need To Know Before Travelling to Myanmar

23 Mar, 2014 | Travel Blog

If you look for an informative guide into Myanmar, you have found the right place. We include all detailed guide from visa application, directions, transportation to best attractions, dishes or experiences there.

There are 10 interesting facts you need to know about traveling to Myanmar! Let's note into your Myanmar travel guide. Travel brings new discoveries into the cultural lifestyle of each country we visit. Every country tells us a different story about how they live daily, how they express emotion together, how they believe, and desire. Magical Myanmar, a country that had been isolated by outsiders for a long time, is a new destination in Southeast Asia. Reopening the door to the world, Myanmar offers its visitors a lot of surprises when they get into its uninfluenced lifestyle. If you are planning a trip to Myanmar, make sure that you remember all the top 10 interesting facts as below.

1. Burmese Have Only First Name, No Last Name

It’s very interesting that Burmese names lack the serial quality of most modern names. The Burmese people have no customary patronymic or metronymic system and thus there is no surname at all. They are normally named after the day they were born in the week, that’s why many Burmese have the same name because there are only 7 days in a week. In Burmese culture, people can also change their names at will to reflect a change in their lives.

2. The Whole Country Chew Betel

Bebel Nut (Image by Suanpa from Pixabay) 

The first time traveling to Myanmar, I was really really surprised by the “red teeth” of local people. They smile as “sunshine” literally and everybody is very generous in smiles. Chewing betel turns out to be a favorite habit of the whole country. It’s easy to find betel shops on every street corner. From the taxi drivers to the waitresses in local restaurants are chewing betel. It’s such an interesting “national habit”, isn’t it?

3.No Seat Number On Domestic Flights

Yes! It sounds strange but true. You are sitting on a plane but feel as if you are on a bus! There’s no seat number on your ticket, you will find your favorite seat you want, next to windows or next to exits. In this case, first come first served for nice seats. But don’t worry, apart from this point, domestic flights in Myanmar are safe and convenient as in other countries. It’s must be an interesting experience on your trip to Myanmar.

4. Eat By Right Hand Only

It’s recommended to eat by right hands even when you are only a visitor in Myanmar, as eating by left hand is considered impolite. The left hand is only used for personal hygiene, according to Burmese. Thus when you give food or money to somebody, remember to use your right hand.

5. Magazines Are Still Very Popular

While nowadays online magazines almost occupy the media system in the world, magazines are still very popular in Myanmar. Every street stands a magazine store. After many years of existing isolation, reading paper magazines and newspapers is the only way this country knows about outsiders. However, it will be very different in several years as Myanmar is developing day by day.

6. Traditional White Face Women 

A woman on Inle Lake, Myanmar, Burmese society is one of the most traditional communities in Asia; locals live in their own way that maintains a lot of unique traditional customs until today. On the streets, you will encounter many women whose faces are painted white powder. That white powder is called Thanaka, a yellowish-white natural cosmetic made from ground bark. Burmese ladies rarely use other cosmetics except for Thanaka. The creamy paste is not only applied to the face in attractive designs as a cosmetic beauty but also gives a cooling sensation and provides protection from sunburn.

7. Internet Is Available But Very Slow

It doesn’t seem good news for internet lovers, the internet is not forbidden anymore but still very slow. It has been improved much so far; however, it’s better to prepare for the worst-case that there will be an internet error during your trip. In some ways, it makes your trip to Myanmar is truly a getaway to a special country, where people live more slowly and independently from technology. The days in Myanmar would be a serene pause for your busy life which you hardly find in many places.

8. Women Are Not Allowed To Access Some Sacred Places

It’s true that there is still gender discrimination in Myanmar, the result of traditional and religious-spiritual life for a long time. In some religious places, women are restricted from entering certain areas. In your Myanmar tours, you will see a lot of shrines, we suggest you observe if there is a woman in the area before coming in if you are female. Also, like in other Buddhism countries, women are not allowed to touch a monk. If introduced to a monk, a bow of the head instead of a handshake is appropriate.

9. Strange Right-Hand Traffic

It’s really strange when watching the traffic in Myanmar. This is right-hand traffic but most of the current vehicles in Myanmar are right-hand drive. Moreover, some new imported vehicles are left-hand drives. So, both left and right-hand drive cars are running on Myanmar’s streets. We could grant Burmese the awards for “the best driver in the world”!

10. Men Wear “Skirts”

It’s not a traditional story in Scotland; it is a contemporary story in Myanmar.  Both Burmese males and females wear Longyi in daily life. It’s a sheet of cloth, worn around the waist, running to the feet, and looks like a long “skirt”. Burmese males don’t feel it inconvenient at all when wearing this Myanmar traditional clothing; they even feel it’s a good way to protect themselves from the heat all year round. In the peaceful pace of the Burmese lifestyle, the figures of people in longyi are nice images of the Buddhist country. 

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