Myanmar Travel: 9 Interesting Facts About Myanmar

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Myanmar Travel: 9 Interesting Facts About Myanmar

2017/2018 – Currently there is an ethnic cleansing being carried out by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya minority.  Over half a million people are currently fleeing for their lives into Bangladesh.  Men, women, and young children are being raped, set on fire and killed innocently.  Please do your research before travelling to Myanmar currently.


Myanmar was unlike any place in Asia I have been to and is an absolute Asia gem.  It’s a country I decided not to research before going because sometimes I get a thrill when arriving at a destination without knowing anything about it, and boy was I pleasantly surprised.  Myanmar is like stepping back in time.  Unlike its neighbour, Thailand, it’s not overrun by 7/11’s and mass tourism as Myanmar was off-limits to all tourists for more than 50 years. My recommendation is to stay at least 10 days (Myanmar travel itineraries can be found here) as there is so much to see in this beautiful country!


Here are 9 interesting facts about Myanmar!

9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

1. The sunscreen of Myanmar

In Myanmar, you may notice that most of the locals have a white/yellow paint on their faces.  This is called ‘Thanaka’ and is a mixture of ground bark and water.  Its commonly used as a sort of sunscreen and makeup and is supposed to keep the skin young looking.  It’s usually seen on women more than men throughout the country.  It is also applied to the arms of women sometimes too.  This is one of the most interesting facts about Myanmar I found when I travelled to Myanmar.


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem


2. Burmese tea is delicious

When I found out that the local drink is similar to chai I absolutely freaked out.  When travelling in India, chai was like my water.  I needed it to survive.  Burmese tea is also one of the only tea’s in the world that is eaten as well.  You can just have the tea black but usually condensed or evaporated milk is added to give it a delicious sweet taste.  I highly recommend drinking your weight in tea because it’s some of the best I have ever tasted!


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

3. One of the top 3 friendliest countries I have been to

Myanmars’ are some of the friendliest people in Asia.  When travelling through the country you will be blessed with the locals smiling from ear to ear and often waving to you.  Tourism is a very new thing still to Myanmars’ so don’t be surprised to feel like some sort of celebrity when travelling there.  They will go out of their way to help you and you will never be far away from a friendly smile from a local.


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

4. The men wear a sort of skirt (longyi)

You may be surprised but nearly all the men in Myanmar wear a skirt called a longyi.  This is the national dress for men in Myanmar and some women too.  It’s kind of like a sarong, 2 meters in length and tied around the waist.  I was really impressed that they tied it tight enough to put their phone safely at the back, as every time I try and tie a similar garment I have to tie it back up within 10 minutes.


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

5. Men chewing Kwun-ya

You may also notice the red-stained dirt roads throughout Myanmar.  This comes from the local men who chew a mixture of betel vine leaf, areca nut, lime and tobacco.  It is spat out which is why most of the roads are covered in bright red stains.  You will notice throughout the country when the men smile their teeth will be stained red and that’s because of Kwun-ya!


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

6. Their love for puppets

One of the traditional arts in Myanmar is puppetry.  You will see a lot of stores selling these beautifully decorated and intricate puppets.  It’s called Yoke thé and dates back to the 15th century.


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem 9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

7. The famous pagodas

Myanmar is also called the land of pagodas.  When I was catching a taxi from the airport to my hotel when I first arrived in Myanmar I understood why that is the country’s second name straight away.  It seems you are never far from a pagoda!  Myanmar is one of the most devoted Buddhists countries in the world.  In Bagan alone , here were over 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries. These days however, there are over 2200, which is still a decent amount!  This is one of the best things to do in Myanmar.


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

8. It is super affordable

I was surprised that Myanmar was so affordable.  When visiting a local restaurant (999 Shan Noodle, highly recommend!) in Yangon we paid €6 for 2 bowls of shan noodles, fried tofu, spring rolls AND two mango smoothies!  Although accommodation is limited throughout Myanmar it is still really affordable!


9 Reasons Why Myanmar is a Southeast Asia Gem

9. The way to get the waiters attention is interesting

It may seem uncomfortable but the way to get the waiters attention at a restaurant is to make a kissing sound.  So, don’t be freaked out if you’re sitting in a restaurant and you hear kissing noises from table to table, that is totally normal!



I highly recommend you take a visit to Myanmar if you haven’t already.  It will surprise you in every way.  If you like getting off the beaten track then this is the place for you.  Let me know if you know of any other interesting facts about Myanmar in the comments!  Don’t forget to check out my recommendations for accommodation and food below!


Where to stay in Yangon


Where to stay in Bagan


Restaurants to check out in Yangon:

  • 999 Shan Noodle
  • Rangoon Tea House
  • Parami Pizza
  • Shan Kitchen

Restaurants to check out in Bagan:

  • Shwe Moe
  • La Pizza
  • Café Friends



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Myanmar Travel: 9 Interesting Facts About Myanmar

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  • Reply
    Ryan Biddulph
    September 23, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Hi Anita,

    All dead on reasons.

    We visited Myanmar in March for 2 weeks. Loved the place. Got a little sick in Bagan but this happens in developing nations sometimes. No worries though.

    Yangon, Bagan and Inle Lake were all fun, the good was good, and the people so darn friendly. Definitely up there with Balinese folks and Fijian folks as the friendliest group of people I have met in person.

    LOL on the kissing sound. Easy way to grab someone’s attention. At first I thought they were like cat-calling me or my wife, then I figured out it was a simple way to grab the attention.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • Reply
    September 30, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Nice post Anita

    I have to agree with you about the Burmese people, they are amazingly hospitable. Very genuine and interested in showing you their country. I have a friend who married a local and they live in Yangon.
    I must say I fell in love with Bagan. It is such a spectacular city without all the touristy cliches. Although I am sure those will follow shortly.
    Inle Lake is something else entirely. Floating villages, floating tomato plantations and the traditional fishing techniques are fascinating.
    Overall Myanmar is a country I recommend you visit before it loses its innocence.

    Thanks for sharing


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