Tourist numbers are steadily rising. Certain areas in Upper and Lower Myanmar are currently out of bounds owing to the past civil war. Most coastal resorts have now been opened to tourists.
Area 676,552 sq km (261,218 sq miles).
Myanmar's Population 48.9 million (UN estimate 2002).
Myanmar's Population Density 72.2 per sq km.
Capital of Myanmar Yangon (Rangoon). The authorities plan to move the seat of government to Pyinmana. Population: 3.9 million (UN estimate 2003).
Government Socialist Republic since 1974. Power assumed by the army in 1988.
Myanmar Language The official language is Myanmar (Burmese). There are over 100 dialects spoken in Myanmar. English is spoken in business circles.
Myanmar Religion 87% Theravada Buddhist. The remainder are Hindu, Muslim, Christian and animist.
Time GMT + 6.5.
Social Conventions Handshaking is the normal form of greeting. Full names are used, preceded by U (pronounced oo) in the case of an older or well-respected man’s name, Aung for younger men and Ko for adult males; a woman’s name is preceded by Daw. Courtesy and respect for tradition and religion is expected; for instance, shoes and socks must be removed before entering any religious building and it is customary to remove shoes before entering a traditional home (in most modern residences this is no longer observed except in bedrooms). When sitting, avoid displaying the soles of the feet, as this is considered offensive. Small presents are acceptable and appreciated, although never expected.
Electricity 230 volts AC, 50Hz.
Head of Government Prime Minister Soe Win since 2004.
Head of State Senior General Than Shwe since 1992.