Top 50 Interesting Facts About Myanmar and Burmese People

Myanmar is a typical Southeast Asian country that shares common features with its neighboring nations, yet it stands as a unique destination with its distinct customs, history, and culture. In this article, we’ve compiled 50 fascinating facts about Myanmar and its people, offering insights into its rich history and providing valuable information for those planning a trip to this extraordinary country.

50 of the Most Interesting Facts About Burmese and Myanmar

Let’s embark on a journey through the historical landmarks, cultural traditions, and noteworthy sights that make Myanmar truly captivating.

Historical Facts

1. The history of Myanmar dates back 750 thousand years when the first inhabitants, belonging to the erect man species, settled in the region. However, it was only 70 thousand years ago that Homo sapiens appeared in the country.

2. Around 300 B.C., the first kingdom named Suvarnabhumi was established, with the Monas as its inhabitants.

3. In the thirteenth century, the Mongols invaded Myanmar, resulting in the destruction of the magnificent kingdom of Bagan. Despite the devastation, numerous pagodas from that era still stand today.

4. The British took control of Burma in 1824, and the country remained under British rule until gaining independence in 1948. During World War II, Myanmar briefly fell under Japanese occupation.

5. Myanmar officially gained independence in 1948, marking the end of British colonial rule. However, this period did not bring lasting peace, as the country has faced continuous armed conflicts among various states and ethnic groups.

6. The most recent coup d’état in 2021 has led to a new escalation of the civil war, highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the nation.

Myanmar Today

7. Myanmar is presently under military rule, functioning as an effective dictatorship.

8. Formerly known as Burma until 1989, the country is officially named the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

9. Yangon served as the capital until 2005, translating to «The End of Enmity.»

10. Since 2005, Myanmar’s capital has been Naypyidaw, a purpose-built city whose name translates to «Royal Country.»

11. Intriguingly, the capital’s relocation adhered to astrological predictions, commencing at 6:36 a.m. on November 7, 2005.

12. Nay Pyi Taw has experienced rapid growth, now boasting a population exceeding 1 million, with a major international airport nearby.

13. Myanmar spans an area of 678,000 square kilometers, with about a third still beyond government control.

14. Home to 53 million people, Myanmar ranks 23rd globally in population.

15. The monetary unit is the kyat, formally divided into 100 pya, although inflation has rendered this small unit obsolete.

16. Rich in minerals, Myanmar’s developed agriculture and industry contribute to exports such as natural gas, clothing, timber, pulses, and seafood.

17. Despite having one of the world’s lowest unemployment rates (less than 1%), Myanmar grapples with widespread poverty, with an average salary not exceeding $150.

18. The official language is Burmese or Myanmar, spoken by more than 40 million people.

19. Myanmar is a multinational country, home to over 100 nationalities, including the Shon, Karen, Chinese, Indians, and others.

20. Buddhism is the predominant religion, followed by 90% of the population, with Christians and Muslims forming a smaller percentage.

21. Myanmar is in the UTC+6:30 time zone, ahead of Greenwich Mean Time by 6.5 hours.

Things to do in Myanmar

22. The focal point of Myanmar’s allure lies in its pagodas, boasting a total of 1,479, many adorned with golden leaf, earning the country its moniker, the «Land of Golden Pagodas.»

Пагоды Багана

23. Among Myanmar’s renowned pagodas is the golden Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, standing at 98 meters and estimated to be 2,500 years old. Legend holds that it houses eight hairs of Gautama, the Buddha.


24. The tourist hub of Myanmar, Mandalay, is home to the Mahamuni Pagoda, which shelters one of the few images of Buddha crafted during his lifetime.

25. Near Mandalay, the ancient kingdom’s capital, Bagan, boasts hundreds of stunning pagodas best viewed from a hot air balloon.

26. Chaittiyo, close to Yangon, hosts one of the most extraordinary pagodas. Perched on a golden stone seemingly suspended above an abyss, legend has it that a hair of the Buddha connects the pagoda and the stone.

27. Inle Lake stands as a significant attraction, featuring stilted houses hosting 70,000 residents. Spanning the lake is the world’s longest wooden bridge, measuring 1.2 kilometers.

озеро Инле

28. While Myanmar has few beach resorts, Ngapali is the most popular, renowned for its pristine nature, warm seas, and white sands. Its authentic ambiance makes it an ideal destination for relaxation and meditation.

Character, Traditions, and Customs of the Burmese People

29. The predominant character traits of ordinary Burmese individuals include kindness, hospitality, and curiosity.

30. In comparison to neighboring Thailand, Myanmar sees fewer tourists, resulting in locals welcoming visitors with joy and curiosity.

31. As a Buddhist state, religiosity among locals is high. Tourists are advised to respect local customs to avoid provoking aggression.

32. Monks hold a revered status in Myanmar, with locals often offering alms to wandering monks in towns and villages.

33. Despite their religious beliefs, Burmese people also consult astrologers before embarking on important endeavors.

34. Burmese choose auspicious dates for weddings, reflecting their belief in astrology.

35. Family ties are paramount, particularly in villages preserving tribal community traditions. Elders are respected, and children working in cities make it a point to visit their parents.

36. While patriarchy is formalized, recent traditions, established after the military’s rise to power, make it challenging to pinpoint the head of a Burmese family.

37. Over the years, there has been an increasing role for women in Burmese society, signaling a gradual return to matriarchal values.

38. Tanned skin is not in vogue, leading locals to wear white masks made from the tanaka tree bark to protect their skin.

39. Betel addiction, a common habit in Asian countries, is prevalent in Myanmar, particularly among men, leaving red spots on pavements.

40. The traditional sarong in Myanmar is known as the longyi, favored in both daily life and on special occasions. Paired with a shirt, the longyi reflects a nod to European etiquette.

41. Myanmar’s cuisine shares similarities with neighboring countries, featuring Indian, Thai, and Chinese influences. Staples include rice, noodles, and curry, with fried grasshoppers being a valued delicacy.

Nature of Myanmar

42. Positioned in the northwest of the Indochina peninsula, Myanmar experiences tropical and sub-equatorial climates.

43. Myanmar traditionally divides the year into three seasons: November to February is the dry season, March to April is the hot season, and May to October is the rainy season.

44. The rainy season brings substantial rainfall, leading to flooding in many areas, isolating them from the rest of the country.

45. To the north, Myanmar is surrounded by high mountains, including spurs of the Himalayas. Mount Hkakabo Razi, the country’s highest point, stands at 5,881 meters.

46. The central region is flat and lowland, hosting the Irrawaddy and Salween, Myanmar’s two largest rivers.

47. Inle Lake, the country’s largest, covers 116 square kilometers but overflows three times during the rainy season, with a depth of only 1.5 meters.

48. Myanmar boasts an extensive coastline spanning 1,930 kilometers, washing the shores of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea of the Indian Ocean.

острова Мьянмы

49. Off the coast, Myanmar features thousands of small islands, with Coconut Islands considered among the most picturesque.

50. Myanmar’s rich and diverse animal world includes elephants, rhinos, tapirs, tigers, and various monkey species.


Friends, if you have additional intriguing facts about Burmese culture and the country itself, please share them in the comments. Myanmar is brimming with captivating stories, cultural richness, and traditions, making it an exciting place to explore. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated!

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