Myanmar Religion, Transport, Geography, Politics and Population

Religion in Myanmar

The majority of Myanmar believers profess the southern branch of Buddhism – Theravada (89%). About 4% of believers are Christians, of which Baptists make up 3%, Catholics – 1%, 4% are Muslims, 1% are animists and about 2% are adherents of local beliefs.

Transport in Myanmar

It is easiest to get to Myanmar by plane with transfers in Asian countries, most often the transfer takes place in Bangkok.

A network of local airlines is developed inside the country, but plane tickets are quite expensive. You can also travel around Myanmar by train. Basically, they are outdated and slow. There are three types of carriages: comfortable compartments, seated with soft chairs and seated with wooden seats.

Intercity buses are inexpensive, but tickets should be booked in advance as the buses tend to be overcrowded. Water communication in Myanmar is especially developed in the Irrawaddy Delta and is represented by regular flights of express boats.

Plant and Animal World in Myanmar

49% of Myanmar’s territory is occupied by forests with dense tropical vegetation, where teak and iron trees, rubber trees, acacia, bamboo, coconut palms, betel palms and tree ferns grow. The forests of the northern region are dominated by oak, chestnut, pine, and high in the mountains – rhododendron shrubs. The central part of the country is dominated by savanna vegetation and agricultural land. Along the coast, mangrove forests are common and fruit trees such as citrus, bananas, guava, and mangoes grow.

The tropical forests are inhabited by tigers, leopards, elephants, monkeys (gibbons and macaques), wild bulls, rhinos, wild boars, antelopes, tapirs, flying foxes, Himalayan bears, Burmese gaur and banteng, tamin and muntjac deer. There are over 800 bird species in the country, including parrots, peacocks, pheasants, ravens and herons. Reptiles include crocodiles, geckos, cobras, pythons and turtles. There are many fish in the rivers.

Many species of tropical fish live in the waters of the Andaman Sea, there are sea turtles, cuttlefish, octopuses, sea anemones, sea lilies, sea urchins, huge sponges and colorful hard and soft corals.

Minerals in Myanmar

Myanmar has large deposits of oil (in the central part of the country), natural gas (in the Bay of Bengal), tin and tungsten (in the southern part of the Shan Plateau and along the coast of the Andaman Gulf), silver and lead (in Baudouin), gold and zinc are also mined, nickel, tungsten, copper and precious stones – rubies, sapphires and jade, the largest deposit of which is located near the city of Mogou.

Banks in Myanmar

Banks are open from Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 14:00.

Money in Myanmar

The official currency of the country is chat. 1 chat is equal to 100 pya. In circulation there are banknotes of 1000, 500, 200, 100, 90, 50, 45, 20, 15, 10, 5 and 1 chat, as well as coins of 100, 50, 10, 5 and 1 chat and 50, 25, 10.5 drinking.

The second official currency of the country is “exchange certificates” (Foreign Exchange Certificate), which are issued in China. You can buy them only for US dollars, one “exchange certificate” is equal to one US dollar. There are “exchange certificates” in circulation in denominations of 10, 5 and 1 US dollars. You can exchange them for chats at any bank branch, exchange offices, hotels and tourist offices.

You can exchange foreign currency in banks, hotels, exchange offices and at “street money changers”, but currency fraud is punishable by law. At the airport, accredited exchangers offer a rate that is two times less than on the “black market”. It is easier to exchange US dollars for chats than for “exchange certificates”, because the exchange rate for “exchange certificates” is less favorable. Payment at hotels, train stations and airports can be made in US dollars because they are officially authorized to accept US dollars.

Cashless payment for services in Myanmar is poorly developed. There are no ATMs here and before leaving, you should consult with the company that provided you with a credit card. Tourists are advised to purchase traveler’s checks in US dollars or pounds sterling to avoid additional exchange costs, but it is still better to have enough cash with you. Traveler’s checks in US dollars can only be exchanged for “exchange certificates”. Traveler’s checks are cashed only in Yangon.

Rate: 10000 Myanmar Kyat (MMK) = 6.68 USD

Political State in Myanmar

Until 1989, the country was called Burma, now its official name is the Union of Myanmar. According to the constitution, Myanmar is a federal republic. However, the constitution is currently suspended, and an authoritarian regime has been established in the country. According to politicsezine, Myanmar is governed by the military State Peace and Development Council, which has concentrated all executive and legislative power in its hands. The State Peace and Development Council consists of 18 members, headed by a chairman who is both the head of state and the minister of defense.

Population in Myanmar

Most of the country’s population is Burmese (68%), Shans (9%), Karens (7%), Arakanese (4%), Chinese (3%), Indians (2%) and Mons (2%) also live here.

The official language of the country is Burmese (related to Tibetan and Chinese). English and Chinese are widely used in business.

Cuisine in Myanmar

Myanmar cuisine is replete with rice dishes and spicy seasonings based on onion, ginger, garlic or chili. Due to poverty, the inhabitants of the country almost do not eat meat. Meat dishes are mainly prepared on the basis of lamb or poultry. Tourists can be advised such exotic meat dishes as fried sparrows, pork ears, fried pork with avocado or other “wek-tha” fruits, smoked oxtails, soybeans with pork liver and charcoal snake meat. Rice or beans are usually served as a side dish in Myanmar. Separate dishes are also prepared on their basis – spicy vegetable salad with Letok Son rice, boiled rice with Khin spices, rice noodles with chicken meat and Hok-swe spices, Myi Shai rice noodles and rice salad from colored rice “tamin chin”. On the table there are always flat cakes made of rice flour “nam-bya” and “chamber”. Many dishes are served with ngapi pasta, made from salt, butter and dried fish or shrimp.

Of the drinks, black tea with milk, green Chinese tea and freshly squeezed juices are widely consumed. The best local beers are Tiger, Bintang, Mandalay, Myanmar Drout, Dagon, ABC Stout, Singha and San Miguel. Also popular are hta-ey palm sap punch, hta-ayet palm liquor, locally produced gin, whiskey and rum.

A feature of Myanmar cuisine is that all food is prepared in the morning, and then (even in restaurants) it is only heated up, or served cold.

Cuisine in Myanmar

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