Officially known as the Union of Myanmar, it is the largest country in Southeast Asia in terms of area. China, Thailand, Bangladesh, Laos, India are its neighbours. The Bay of Bengal is to Myanmar’s southwest. Myanmar has a coastline of over 1,100 miles. The coast runs from its Bangladesh border to Thailand in the Malay Peninsula.
Burmese is the main language. Chinese, Tibetan and English are widely spoken. The Burmese cuisine is influenced by European, Chinese, Indian and other Asian cuisines.
The Mergui Archipelago in the south is close to the Burmese-Thai peninsula. The islands are located in the Andaman Sea. Most of the islands are uninhabited and are full of varied flora and fauna. There are interesting dive sites around the archipelago.
The country is known as the ‘Land of Pagodas’. There are ancient monuments, ruins and cities that stand as testimonies to its vibrant Buddhist culture. Burma, as it was earlier called, is home to over 130 ethnic groups.
The Shwedagon Pagoda dominates the city of Yangon. There are many markets and shopping streets selling handicrafts and traditional items. Scott Market is known for precious stones like jade, sapphire and ruby. Chinatown is where you can get a slice of life – food, jewelry, clothes, electronic goods etc.
Mandalay is an important city in northern Myanmar. It is a cultural and economic centre and is situated on the banks of the Irrawaddy River. It used to be the former royal capital too. The royal palace is situated at the foot of Mandalay Hill. There is a Sailing Club on the Inya Lake. There are instructors and crew for power boats, sail boats, motor boats etc.
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