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
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 antelope.
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 since 1988.
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 Pagan 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 car.
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.
Mandalay, - the name by
itself always meant something oriental,
exciting and curious - to me in
my younger years.
It does have some mystic connotation
to it, somehow.
We did enjoy our stay in Mandalay,
despite the many power cuts during
You can click on these photos for an enlargement.
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