Myanmar Travel: 9 Interesting Facts About Myanmar

Last Updated on August 26, 2022


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Update: 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. So it’s not surprising there are a lot of interesting facts about Myanmar.

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.

Most interesting facts about Myanmar, long pathway leading up to tall religious building with scaffolding and netting over the main dome under a cloudy grey sky

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 as there is so much to see in this beautiful country!

I’ve put together some of the best fun facts about Myanmar to get you excited about visiting this amazing country.

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Please note: Myanmar used to be called Burma. The name was changed in 1989. If you are here after searcing for “fun facts about Burma” and are confused, don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place!

Here are 9 of the most interesting facts about Myanmar!

Learn more interesting Myanmar facts, child sitting in a room next to blue bucket of water with rolled up green mats leaning in a corner

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.

Thanaka is also applied to the arms of women sometimes too. This was one of the most interesting facts about Myanmar I found when I travelled to Myanmar.

Discover some fun facts about Myanmar, close-up of glass cup of Burmese tea on glass saucer sitting atop ceramic tabletop

2. Burmese tea is delicious

One of the best Myanmar facts I found out upon my arrival is that Burmese tea is very similar to Indian chai.

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!

Learn the amazing facts of Myanmar, smiling person with blue top standing on balcony rooftop of building next to brown brick wall with trees behind

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

The people of Myanmar are some of the friendliest people in Asia.

If you’ve spent much time in Southeast Asia, this information on Myanmar might come as a surprise, since many Southeast Asians are incredibly friendly.

But really, Burmese people are a cut above, and are definitely some of the nicest I’ve met on all my travels.

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 Myanmar 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.

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Find out some cool facts about Myanmar, street of buildings with plenty of pointed turret tops and people walking about

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.

Longyi is 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.

Fun facts about Burma to broaden your mind, street with several motor vehicles driving along under a canopy of green trees

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! So don’t worry, it’s not blood!

You will notice throughout the country when the men smile their teeth will be stained red and that’s because of Kwun-ya!

This might be one of the more important Myanmar culture facts to know before you go so you are prepared!

Enjoy the interesting facts of Myanmar, close-up of two colourful puppets suspended by their strings from a tree with people in the background

6. Their love for puppets

One of my favourite cool facts about Myanmar is that they love puppetry. In fact, it’s one of the most important traditional arts in Myanmar.

In Myanmar this art is called Yoke thé and it dates back to at least the 15th century when it was used as a form of entertainment for Burmese royals.

There are even some who believe Burmese puppetry might date as far back as the 11th century!

If you are looking for interesting places in Myanmar, make sure to catch a puppet show! It will be a highlight of your trip.

And if you can take a tour to learn more about Burmese puppetry, you just might learn a few more interesting facts of Myanmar history!

All across Myanmar, you will see a lot of stores selling these beautifully decorated and intricate puppets. They make great souvenirs.

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Find your favourite fun fact about Myanmar, person walking through area with tall pagodas
Time to hear an interesting fact about Myanmar, series of intricately built pagodas next to a green grassy field

7. THE FAMOUS PAGODAS

Probably the most well known fact about Myanmar is that it 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, there were once over 10,000 temples, pagodas and monasteries.

These days however, there are over 2200, which is still an incredible amount! Not surprisingly, visiting temples is one of the best things to do in Myanmar!

See all the interesting places in Myanmar, close-up of bowl of delicious noodles and green herbs in broth with a metal spoon sticking out

8. It is super affordable

Despite being near other very well known budget destinations, 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!

Impress people with these amazing Myanmar culture facts, people standing outside large temple with ornate archway entrance

9. The way to get the waiters attention is interesting

The way Burmese people get waiters’ attention is possibly the most interesting fact about Myanmar for visitors.

It may seem uncomfortable but the way to get a waiter’s 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!

This is definitely an important fun fact about Myanmar to know before you go. Otherwise, like me, you’ll be completely taken by surprise!

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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 and information on Myanmar accommodation and food below!

Where to stay in Myanmar

Where to stay in Yangon

  • If you’re looking for places to stay in Myanmar, definitely spend at least a few days in Yangoon. There are lots of great accommodation options in Yangon. – Click here to find see them!

Where to stay in Bagan

Where to Eat in Myanmar

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

Frequently Asked Questions

✅ What is Myanmar most known for?

The temples and pagodas! In fact, one of the most well known facts about Myanmar is that its nickname is the land of pagodas!

✅ What is the old name of Myanmar?

Until 1989 Myanmar was known as Burma. However, while some foreigners still use Burma, this is no longer correct, and using it could lose you some friends in Myanmar. People from Myanmar are still called Burmese people, though.


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The Comments

  • Ryan Biddulph
    September 23, 2017

    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.

    Ryan

  • thislifelistlee
    September 30, 2017

    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

    Lee