11 Things You Don’t Know about Myanmar Culture

1. Myanmar’s New Year in April

Myanmar’s festive New Year is called Thingyan (“changing over”). Traditionally, the date of Thingyan New Year used to be calculated according to Burmese calendar (lunisolar calendar in which the months are based on lunar months and the years are based on sidereal years). Today, however, it lasts from April 13 to 16 and, accidentally coincides with Easter Festival in Western countries. Thingyan is without dispute the most important festival of the Myanmar and also a part of a summer vacation when people certainly immerse themselves in the welcoming atmosphere of the festival. “Water throwing or dousing” one another from silver vessels, water pistols, water buckets or even from fire hydrants is the distinguishing feature of this festival and may be done during the first four days of the festival. For the duration of the festival, all the government buildings, restaurants, and shops are closed.  It is the Burmese custom that people splash water on to each other to cleanse for a New Year (clean up the unfortunate and sin of the previous year). This Myanmar’s Thingyan is similar to Thailand’s Songkran, Lao’s New Year and Cambodian’s New Year which worship Theravada Buddhism.

2. Bring plenty of money you have and keep it clean

The number of ATM’s in Myanmar is limited, so you need to bring plenty of money. Moreover, you have to keep it very clean: no dirt, no fold, no cut unless your money will be valueless in this country.
There are 5-star hotels and luxurious restaurants that allow you to pay by credit card. At the end of this year, ATM is going to be widely accepted here.

3.Uttering the kiss’s sound to order Beer

When the locals want to catch the attention of the waiters, they often give them 2, 3 “butterfly” kisses. That is the reason why you can hear the sound of “blow kisses” wherever you go during these days.

4. Expensive hotels

The hotels in Myanmar are significantly more expensive than those in other Asian countries. Although Myanmar has attracted a remarkable number of pilgrims since this country opened its door for foreign investments, the available hotels do not afford the staying of these visitors. As a result, prices of hotels are still high.

5. Men wearing dress

Longyi, a kind of dress wrapped around the body, is widely known as the traditional costume of the Myanmar and worn by both men and women. When wearing this dress, men often tie the cloth in front of their dress while women fold their dress and attach it to the edges to fix the cloth.

There is one thing quite “weird” that men living in the countryside do not put on “underwear” when wearing Longyi. They explain that is is a “wise” way to deal with such hot weather of 400C.

6. The low-speed of Internet though it has been banned anymore

Until 2000, Myanmar Government officially allowed its people to access to the Internet with a high price and low-speed transmit. Furthermore, the cost of telephone is much higher than other countries in Asia.

7. Magnificent beaches

Spreading over the coastline of 2.000 kilometers, Myanmar has naturally favored the most magnificent beaches in Asia. These beaches run along Bengal Bay and most of them are untouched. The most alluring beach that worths mentioning is Ngapali, 45 minutes of boarding a flight from Yangon.

8. Only eat by the right hand.

Eating by the left hand is considered a rude manner in Myanmar as this is the hand used for personal hygiene. So when you take food or give money to someone, remember to do it with your right hand.

The Burmese often use their hands to squeeze the rice into small round pieces to mix with other dishes. Remarkably, The Buddhists do not eat beef, and Muslims do not eat pork.

9. Low – quality train

Train services in Myanmar are quite “poor”. Trains often move slowly and come late. Moreover, there is a big temperature difference on the train, cold at nighttime while hot at daytime.

10. Newstands at every corner of Yangon

During the years of being limited and controlled Internet access, newspaper is the only way for the Burmese to update news of the world. That's why you can find newsstands at any streets in Myanmar.

11. Eating betel

 You can find betel stalls around the country. It can be seen as one of the most distinguishing features of the Burmese. Betel is extremely favored by the local because they chew them continuously to dye their teeth reddish brown.

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