Quick facts about Burma

42-v-tanaka-decouverte-culturelle-en-birmanie

Territorial boundaries: North-East: China; North-West: India; South: Andaman Sea; South-East: Thailand & Gulf of Thailand; East: China, Laos & Thailand; West: Bangladesh & Bay of Bengal

Area: 676 578 km2

Most important waterways: Ayeyarwady river and delta, Andaman sea & Bay of Bengal

Capital: Nay Pyi Taw (official and administrative capital) – Yangon (known capital)

Important cities (main aiports): Yangon & Mandalay

Highest point: Hkakabo Razi (5 881 meters)

Lowest point: Andaman Sea (0 meter)

Time zone: ICT (Indochina time) (12h ahead of Montreal time)

Environment – current issues : Deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Climate: Tropical, high both in temperature and humidity, and dominated by monsoons. May brings the rainy season, which continues intermittently until the end of October. From November to the end of February the climate is much less trying with a cooling North East breeze and a reduction in the humidity level. This is also the main tourist season, and the best time to visit Burma

Tourist seasons: ›From November to the end of February (March) is the high season, and the best time to visit Burma. ›From December 15th to January 4-7th + Spring break (last week of February + 2 first weeks of March) is the peak of the high season. ›Low season (and rainy season) is from the end of May to October

Political regime: civilian government’s by the National League for Democracy finally won almost every seats at the election on January 2012, but it still remains military dominated

Population: 53 718 958 (2014)

Language: Burmese (official), English (for the more educated people and because of the British background) and a minority ethnic groups have their own languages

Ethnic minorities: Burmese 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2% (mainly in Yangon), Mon 2%, other 5%

Religions: 89% Buddhist (Theravada form of Buddhism – Each individual is considered responsible for his own actions and destiny), 4% Muslim, 4% Christian, 2% other

Main sources of revenue: tourism, agricultural, wood, copper, tin, tungsten, iron, construction materials, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer, oil and natural gas, jade and gems

Currency: Burmese Kyat MMK (1 CAN $ = 895 Burmese Kyat) – xe.com

Gastronomy: Burma borrowed its curry to India and its noodle or rice (sticky rice) meals to China. It influenced also by the kitchens of India (paratha and nan bread) and Thailand. Most of their fishes come from the Andaman Sea. Vegetarian community is relatively abundant and has a big influence in the contents of some plates

The food in Burma is often served on low tables

Protocol: When introduced to a monk, never touch him; Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are not supported; Never, ever point your foot at anyone; The head is sacred; Never touch anyone on the head, not even a child; Gifts are not opened in the presence of the giver

Accessibility from Montreal – Main airports: Yangon, Mandalay (direct flight from Chiang mai in Thailand)

Main airlines : ›A limited range of flights is offered; Most of them pass through Bangkok; Prioritize a Asian airline: Japan (JL), Korean (KE), Eva (BR); European airlines: AF, BA; North American airlines: AC

Entry requirements: Valid passport (valid 6 months before return)

Tourist Visa: Required, valid for 28 days and to apply before to go

Business Visa: Required (multiple-entry business visas available)

Safety issues: Relatively safe (good for women travelling alone)

Sporadic anti-government insurgent activity has occurred in various locations – Caution when travelling to Bao, Hinthada, Pyi, Taunggo, and Taunggyi

Curfews are occasionally imposed

Police and security forces’ presence is likely to be increased in Yangon and elsewhere in Burma on significant dates, including the anniversary of demonstrations led by monks to protest for political reform (September 26) and the anniversary of the 1988 uprising (August 8)

Infrastructure and facilities are severely limited in the Irrawaddy Delta area, which was extensively damaged by Tropical Cyclone Nargis in May 2008

Travel by foreigners is restricted in many areas of the country. Special permission is required for visits to certain areas

Exercise caution at beach resorts in Ngwesaung, Chaungtha and Ngapali as there are strong underwater currents and riptides. There are no lifeguards

Rented diving equipment may not meet internationally acceptable safety standards

Health issues: Tap water is not good to drink

The sun can be very strong, risk of insolation – Recommend use of a sunblock 30 – Wear a hat

During the monsoon, mosquitos can be very annoying and carry malaria in certain areas – Recommend a mosquitos repellent with at least 30% of DEET

Reminder about food: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Vaccines to consider:

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis B

Influenza (flu)

Japanese Encephalitis

Rabies

Typhoid 

Good medication to bring for:

Malaria only in certain areas

Diarrhea

Salmonella

(Ariane)

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