Burma (Myanmar), Asia
Burma (Myanmar) facts & history
The ruling military government
changed Burma's name to the Union
of Myanmar in 1989 and the capital
and largest city Rangoon to Yangon,
the changes recognised by the UN,
but not by all governments.
It is in South East Asia, bordered
by China, on Laos, Thailand, the
Andaman Sea, the Bay of Bengal,
Bangladesh and India.
A great variety of wild animals
found in its forest and jungles,
such as the tiger and leopard, elephant,
rhinoceros, wild buffalo, wild boar,
and several species of deer and
Population of around 45 million
mainly Buddhist of Mongol or Chinese
origin speaking a monosyllabic and
polytonal dialect, similar to those
of Tibet and China and is the official
language and based on the Sanskrit
alphabet. It is ruled by the military
Burma has a strong Buddhist culture
with Indian culture influences and
is widely known as the Land of Golden
Pagodas because of the numerous
temples it has.
Capital, largest city and
seaport is Rangoon, now called Yangon.
We arrived from Thailand
and we were forced to exchange US$300
per person to enter Burma (Myanmar),
which we were told when we applied
for our visas.
After a few days in Rangoon (Yangoon)
we were going to be taken by a very
unreliable travel firm to Bagan
(Pagan), Mandalay, Pyinmana, Toungoo
and back to Rangoon.
It did not work out that way though.
About a hundred kilometres before
we got to Bagan our driver, hit
a pedestrian, he was a drunk a little
bit and wondered front of our car.
It was really unavoidable.
We had to spend a very unpleasant
couple of hours sitting in the middle
of the little village under police
guard, stared at by the passing
villagers, who already heard our
story on the 'bush telegraph' and
seen us as strangers anyway.
It was around midnight, with my
young wife and 12 year old son.
It was rather unpleasant.
We did not go to bed until 3am.
The driver had to go back to sort
out his accident with the police.
That was the end of that trip with
The travel firm, although we prepaid
the whole tour, left us there.
We had to arrange to fly to Mandalay
and back to Rangoon at our own expense.
We never managed to see Pyinmana
and Toungoo of course.
Our letters of complaints and asking
for compensation to the travel firm,
their directors, to the Minister
of Tourism and the Travel Association
etc are all unanswered to date.
I advise anybody travelling to Burma
(Myanmar) to be very careful.
The Burmese countryside
is very different and an awesome
We went through numerous villages,
which we could see from a distance
during the day by an encircling
stand of trees and smoke and dust
over it. At and after dusk they
were similarly visible by the lights
caught in the smoke and dust hovering
Many huts and hamlets spread all
over the desert like terrain between
the villages, have their houses
built on stilts and their animals
kept under the houses for shelter
The paved roads became narrower
after about 100 km from Rangoon,
not quite wide enough for two way
Cars, trucks and every other means
of transport approach each other
at full speed, head-on and one,
it was our taxi normally, pulled
off the road to let the others to
It was a nerve racking experience
at the beginning as we were unaccustomed
You can click on these photos for
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