Administrative capital: Nay Pyi Taw. Note: The authorities plan to move the seat
of government to Pyinmana.
|Burma Market,Eustaquio Santimano|
Myanmar is a diamond-shaped country
extending 925km (575 miles) from east to west and 2,100km (1,300 miles) from
north to south. It is bounded by China, Laos and Thailand in the east, by
Bangladesh and India in the north and by the Indian Ocean in the west and south.
The Irrawaddy River runs through the centre of the country and fans out to form
a delta on the south coast; Yangon stands beside one of its many mouths.
North of the delta lies the Irrawaddy basin
and central Myanmar, which is protected by a horseshoe of mountains rising to
over 3,000m (10,000ft), creating profound climatic effects. To the west are the
Arakan, Chin and Naga mountains and the Patkai Hills; the Kachin Hills are to
the north; to the east lies the Shan Plateau, which extends to the Tenasserim
coastal ranges. Intensive irrigated farming is practised throughout central
Myanmar, and fruit, vegetables and citrus crops thrive on the Shan Plateau, but
much of the land and mountains are covered by subtropical forest.
assumed by the army in 1988.
Head of State
Head of Government
|Kayan woman in Burma,El Fotopakismo|
There are over 100 dialects spoken in Myanmar. English is spoken in business
Hindu, Muslim, Christian and animist.
Full names are used, preceded by U (pronounced oo) in the case of an older or well-respected man’s name,
Aung for younger men and Ko
for adult males; a woman’s name is preceded by Daw.
Courtesy and respect for tradition and religion is expected; for instance, shoes
and socks must be removed before entering any religious building and it is
customary to remove shoes before entering a traditional home (in most modern
residences this is no longer observed except in bedrooms). When sitting, avoid
displaying the soles of the feet, as this is considered offensive. Small
presents are acceptable and appreciated, although never expected. Shorts and
mini-skirts should not be worn. Penalties for drug-trafficking range from five
years' imprisonment to a death sentence. Homosexuality is illegal.
A monsoon climate with three main seasons.
The hottest period is between February and May, with little or no rain. Rainy
season exists from May to October and dry, cooler weather from October to
most of the year are required. A light raincoat or umbrella is needed during the
rainy season. Warmer clothes are advised for coolest period and some