South-East Asia.


GMT + 6.5.


676,552 sq km (261,218 sq miles).


47.4 million (CIA estimate 2007).

Population Density

70.1 per sq km.


Yangon (Rangoon). Population: 4.1 million (UN estimate 2005).

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.


Socialist Republic since 1974. Power

assumed by the army in 1988. 

Head of State

Senior General Than Shwe since 1992.

Head of Government

Prime Minister Soe Win since 2004.

Kayan woman in Burma,El Fotopakismo


The official language is Myanmar (Burmese).

There are over 100 dialects spoken in Myanmar. English is spoken in business



89% Theravada Buddhist. The remainder are

Hindu, Muslim, Christian and animist.


220-230 volts AC, 50Hz.

Social Conventions

Handshaking is the normal form of greeting.

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


Required Clothing

Lightweight cottons and linens throughout

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