Myanmar, also known as Burma, is proudly recognized as The Golden Land where you can see many ancient glittering pagodas, an abundant amount of natural resources, unspoiled and untouched white sandy beaches, breathtaking sceneries of amazing mountain ranges, coastal areas, and most of all, the beautiful smiles of the friendly people. It is officially known as the Union of Myanmar, and of all the countries in South-east Asia it has the largest Peninsula lying along the eastern coasts of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, sharing border with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand. Myanmar is made up of 135 national races with their own dialects and traditions. There are seven states and seven divisions in Myanmar. The divisions are Ayeyarwady, Bago, Magway, Mandalay, Sagaing, Tanintharyi, Yangon and the states are Chin State, Kachin State, Kayin State, Kayah State, Mon State, Rakhine State, Shan State.
Myanmar has an incredible history with significant historical sites throughout the land. It has very lovely traditions customs that are unlike anywhere else in South East Asia. It inspires all the attentiveness from the visitors from around the world with its genuine beauty of age-old traditions and amazing cultural identities. Myanmar has many fascinating tourist destinations, like the glittering and sparkling Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. The Shwedagon Pagoda is the magnificent symbol of Buddhism and the holiest Buddhist shrine, towering high up in the heart of the Yangon city. Myanmar is filled with other treasure like the ancient temples of Bagan, known as the first capital of the Burmese empire with the greatest monuments of the magnificent Buddhist architecture. Pyin Oo Lwin, is known for the glamorous landscapes full of natural beauties, while the majestic Golden Rock Pagoda surprisingly rests on the edge of a huge cliff. Mandalay is the second largest City in Myanmar known as the capital of Myanmar’s culture, where Inle Lake, the beautiful highland lake, located in the heart of Shan Plateau, is known by the Inthar people (lake dwellers) who are famous for their unique leg rowing technique. Myanmar is filled with unspoiled and untouched white sandy beaches and its unforgettable temples such as Sagaing Hill region, which is one of the most beautiful places of Myanmar, known for its ancient old temples. Myeik Archipelago has a wide diversity of flaura and fauna not only above land but also beneath the water filled with beautiful coral reefs and marine life that shouldn’t be missed.
Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia and is bordered on the north and north-east by China, on the east and south-east by Laos and Thailand. On the south is the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal and on the west is Bangladesh and India. It is located between latitudes 09°32’N and 28°31’N and longitudes 92°10’E and 101°11’E.
The country covers an area of 677,000 square kilometers (261,228 square miles) ranging 936 kilometers (581 miles) from the east to west and 2051 kilometers (1275 miles) from north to south. The length of contiguous frontier is 6159 kilometers (3828 miles) and the coastline from the mouth of Naaf River to Kawthaung is 2228 kilometers (1385 miles). The total length of the Myanmar-Bangladesh boundary is 271 kilometers (168.7 miles). The total length of Myanmar-China boundary is 2204 kilometers (1370 miles); Myanmar-Thailand 2107 kilometers (1309.8 miles); Myanmar-India 1338 kilometers (831.8 miles); and Myanmar-Laos 238 kilometers (147.9 miles).
The climate of Myanmar is roughly divided into three seasons: Summer, Rainy Season, and Winter Season. From the end of February to the beginning of May are Summer months, with highest temperatures during March and April in Central Myanmar up to above 110F (43.3C) while in Northern Myanmar it is about 97F (36.1C) and on the Shan Plateau between 85F (29.4C) and 95F (35C). Rainy Season, from mid May to the end of October, with annual rain fall of less than 40 inches in Central Myanmar while the coastal regions of Rakhine and Tanintharyi get about 200 inches. Winter starts from November and lasts to the end of February with temperature in hilly areas of over 3000 feet drops below 32F (0C). The tropical monsoon is usually cloudy, rainy, hot, humid summers and less cloudy, scant rainfall, mild temperatures, lower humidity during winter.
Myanmar comprises eight major national ethnic races with some 135 ethnic groups. The major national races are Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakhine and Shan. The Bamar form the largest national race constituting 70% of the whole population. There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Myanmar. Some of the Ethnic groups are listed as Akha, Palaung, Padaung, Naga, Taron, Eng and many more near extinct tribes. The major language is Myanmar, but minority ethnic groups have their own languages. English is widely spoken and understood. Population of the country is estimated at 52.4 million (July, 2003) and the population growth rate is 1.84 percent.
The main religions of the country are Buddhism (89.2%), Christianity (5.0%), Islam (3.8%), Hinduism (0.5%), Spiritualism (1.2%) and others (0.2%). Religious intolerance or discrimination on grounds of religion is nonexistent in the Union of Myanmar throughout its long history.
Archaeological findings reveal that parts of Myanmar were inhibited some five thousand years ago. The ancestors of present-day Myanmars, the Pyus and the Mons established several kingdoms throughout the country from the 1st century A.D. to the 10th century A.D. From that early beginning up to present day there are a fascinating 135 nationalities who call Myanmar home. Myanmar’s history dates back to the early 11th Century when King Anawrahta unified the country and founded the First Myanmar Empire in Bagan. The Second Myanmar Empire was founded in mid 16th Century by King Bayinnaung(1551-1581). King Alaungpaya founded the last Myanmar Dynasty in 1752 and it was during the zenith of this Empire that the British moved into Myanmar. Like India, Myanmar became a British colony but only after three Anglo-Myanmar Wars in 1825, 1852, and 1885. During the Second World War, Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 till the return of the Allied Forces in 1945. Myanmar has become a sovereign independent state since 4th January 1948 after more than 100 years under the colonial administration.