Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia and is bordered on the north and north-east by China, on the east and south-east by Laos and Thailand, on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal and on the west by Bangladesh and India. It is located between latitudes 09 32'N and 28 31'N and longitud

Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia and is bordered on the north and north-east by China, on the east and south-east by Laos and Thailand, on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal and on the west by Bangladesh and India. It is located between latitudes 09 32'N and 28 31'N and longitudes 92 10'E and 101 11'E.


The country covers an area of 677,000 square kilometers (261,228 square miles) ranging 936 kilometers (581 miles) from the east to west and 2051 kilometers (1275 miles) from north to south. It is a land of hills and valleys and is rimmed in the north, east and west by mountain ranges forming a giant horseshoe. Enclosed within the mountain barriers are the flat lands of Ayeyarwady, Chindwin and Sittaung River valleys where most of the country's agricultural land and population are concentrated.

East longitude 96 13'nd North Latitude 16 45'run through Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. The Myanmar Standard Time, taken as on East Longitude 97 30', is 6 hours 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich meantime. The length of contiguous frontier is 6159 kilometers (3828 miles) and the coastline from the mouth of Naaf River to Kawthaung is 2228 kilometers (1385 miles). The total length of the Myanmar-Bangladesh boundary is 271 kilometers (168.7 miles). It consists of two parts, namely the Naaf River boundary 64 kilometers (39.5 miles) and the land boundary 208 kilometers (129.2 miles). The total length of Myanmar-China boundary is 2204 kilometers (1370 miles); Myanmar-Thailand 2107 kilometers (1309.8 miles); Myanmar-India 1338 kilometers (831.8 miles); and Myanmar-Laos 238 kilometers (147.9 miles).


The climate of Myanmar is roughly divided into three seasons: Summer, Rainy Season, and Winter Season. From the end of February to the beginning of May are Summer months, with highest temperatures during March and April in Central Myanmar up to above 110F (43.3C) while in Northern Myanmar it is about 97F (36.1C) and on the Shan Plateau between 85F (29.4C) and 95F (35C). Rainy Season, from mid May to the end of October, with annual rain fall of less than 40 inches in Central Myanmar while the coastal regions of Rakhine and Tanintharyi get about 200 inches. Winter which starts from November and lasts to the end of February with temperature in hilly areas of over 3000 feet drops below 32F (0C).

As a whole, the location and topography of the country generate a diversity of climatic conditions. Seasonal changes in the monsoon wind directions create summer, rainy and winter seasons. Extremes of temperature are rare. The direction of winds and depression bring rain, and although it is always heavy in the coastal areas during Monsoon season, it seldom creates hardships. The Government is giving priority to forest conservation and greening of nine arid districts in central Myanmar.

Monthly Average Temperature (C) in Yangon

























Flora and Fauna

Myanmar is endowed with a rich diversity of habitat types arising largely from its unusual ecological diversity. It is home to nearly 300 known mammal species, 300 reptiles about 100 bird species, and a haven for about 7000 species of plant life. The potential worth of plant species in Myanmar is considerable. Since Myanmar considers such a rich pool of biodiversity as an important national asset, the Government of the Union of Myanmar has drawn up strict regulations to protect its reservoir of biodiversity and biological resources.

Historical Background

Archaelogical findings reveal that parts of Myanmar were inhibited some five thousand years ago. The ancestors of present-day Myanmars, the Pyus and the Mons established several kingdoms throughout the country from the 1st century A.D. to the 10th century A.D. From that early beginning, there are today a fascinating 135 nationalities who call Myanmar home.

Myanmar history dates back to the early 11th Century when King Anawrahta unified the country and founded the First Myanmar Empire in Bagan more than 20 years before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066(i.e. 1044 A.D.). The Bagan Empire encompassed the areas of the present day Myanmar and the entire Menam Valley in Thailand and lasted two centuries.

The Second Myanmar Empire was founded in mid 16th Century by King Bayinnaung(1551-1581). King Alaungpaya founded the last Myanmar Dynasty in 1752 and it was during the zenith of this Empire that the British moved into Myanmar. Like India, Myanmar became a British colony but only after three Anglo-Myanmar Wars in 1825, 1852, and 1885.

During the Second World War, Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 till the return of the Allied Forces in 1945. Myanmar has become a sovereign independent state since 4th January 1948 after more than 100 years under the colonial administration.


The main religions of the country are Buddhism (89.2%), Christianity (5.0%), Islam (3.8%), Hinduism (0.5%), Spiritualism (1.2%) and others (0.2%). Religious intolerance or discrimination on grounds of religion is nonexistent in the Union of Myanmar throughout its long history.


The Union of Myanmar is made up of 135 national races, of which the main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Population of the country is estimated at 52.4 million (July, 2003) and the population growth rate is 1.84 percent.

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, adopted a new state flag on 21 October 2010. The new flag was introduced along with implementing changes to the country's name, which were laid out in the 2008 Constitution. The design of the flag has three horizontal stripes of yellow, green and red with a five-pointed white star in the middle. The three colours of the stripes are meant to symbolise solidarity, peace and tranquility, and courage and decisiveness.

Because Myanmar has diverse geographical features, favourable seasonal conditions and is naturally endowed with fertile soil and water resources, it boasts an abundant supply of food in a great variety all year around. Myanmar people enjoy rice as their main food and it comprises about 75% of the diet. Rice is served with meat or fish, soup, salad and vegetables all cooked in their own ways, and some relishes to complement the meal.

During meals, all the dishes are laid out on the dining table and served together so that diners can make their own choices and combinations. Although the dishes are prepared in a variety of ways, the most common method is to cook meat or fish in oil, seasoned with pounded onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili and spices, and simmer until all or most of the water evaporates. The essential and most popular condiment is a kind of relish made from preserved fish or prawn, served with chili powder.

Most traditional snacks, which are rich in variety and taste, are generally made with rice or glutinous rice. Mohinga , or rice noodle served with fish soup, is the favourite Myanmar dish mostly enjoyed at breakfast or on special occasions. Laphet or pickled tea leaves with a dash of oil and served with sesame seeds, fried garlic and roasted peanuts, is another popular snack typical of Myanmar 

Background History of Myanmar Food 

Myanmar people have a long tradition of preparing food in their own way and the history of traditional food may be as old as the culture and arts of its people. Myanmar is an agrarian country with rice as the principal crop. Myanmar used to be the world's biggest rice exporter.

Myanmar lies between two great and very different cultures which have influenced not only religion, culture and arts, but also the preparation of food. During the colonial period, the influx of Chinese and Indians also had an impact on Myanmar traditional food, introducing new items. With the advent of globalization and trade liberalization, most famous foods from around the world are available in the cities, yet the majority of Myanmar people still cherish their own food, ensuring that its essence and uniqueness remains unchanged.

Table Manners

The most commonly used tables in Myanmar are round and low and the diners have to sit on the floor or perhaps mat during meals. Even when the table is of the international shape and height mostly used among urban families and in restaurants, it should be small enough for the diners to reach all the dishes on the table. All dishes including rice are served simultaneously rather than course by course. There are no appetizers or hors d'oeuvre, and no wine or spirits served at the meal. All you can expect is drinking water, a juice or a cup of green tea.

When everything is served, people can start eating, taking small portions of dishes they like. Normally, Myanmar people eat with their fingers, but dishes are provided with serving spoons to be handles with the clean left hand. Soup is usually served in a single bowl for all the diners and is shared.

Forks and spoons, but not knives, are permitted and have become popular. The elderly and the guests are given priority by letting them take the curry first. Hosts can initiate meals by serving a spoonful of curry on guest's plates after confirming if they would like the dish.

Diners intending on having another helping of rice, should leave some unfinished rice as a signal more is wanted. Rice and curry are to be eaten together rather than separately and soup can be taken at intervals. At the conclusion of the meal, deserts such as laphet, fruit or jaggery may be served along with water, green tea or juice

Soups and Salads  

Most Myanmar people regard soup as an indispensable component of a meal, possibly because Myanmar people do not normally drink wine, or even a glass of water at meals, to allow the smooth swallowing of solid food. Good spicy soups not only facilitate the dining process but also stimulate the appetite of diners. Sometimes, when soup is not available at the meal and the dishes are too dry, a hot cup of green tea is served instead. 

There are many different styles of soup. There are sweet broths that are clear and bland and contain meat or fish and certain vegetables. There are bitter soups that are also clear but peppery and spicy, usually to go with salads as a fast food combination. Some soups are rather sour and made so with the aid of tamarind pulp or tomato. They mostly contain vegetables to lessen the richness of a meal. Finally, there are bean soups of various kinds that are thick and tasty and usually splashed over rice as a dampener. 

Salads in Myanmar traditional food are different to western counterparts. Myanmar salads are a combination of raw, boiled or preserved vegetables, cooked meat or fish, slices of onion, tamarind juice, chili powder, fish sauce, fried shredded garlic in cooked oil, and pounded dried prawn, all mixed thoroughly by hand. Because of the variety of ingredients, the taste is wonderful and salads can either make an appetizing dish at meals or can be served singly as fast food complemented by a bowl of hot, spicy soup. 


Most Myanmar snacks are made of rice or glutinous rice, milk or grated shreds of coconut, and sugar or jaggery as sweeteners. Myanmar people are very fond of snacks either breakfast items, as fast food or as at tea-times. Although there are a number of traditional snacks, the most popular is Mohinga or rice noodle served with fish gravy. 
The other famous item is Ohnnoh Khauk Swe or noodle served with rich coconut soup flavoured with chicken. Kyarsan Chet or vermicelli in spicy chicken soup is another favourite snack

Also popular are Khauk Swe Thoke or noodle salad, Ah Kyaw or assorted fries, Bein Montor rice pancake, Mont Sein Paung or steamed rice cake, Mont Lone Gyi or rice dumpling with coconut filling, Kauk Nyin Paung or steamed glutinous rice, and Shwe Yin Aye or coconut cream sherbet. 

Main Dishes  

Main dishes in a typical Myanmar meal can be classified as meat or fish, vegetables or salads, and some kind of soup. In the meat or fish category, dishes such as chicken, duck, pork, mutton, fish and prawns, and eggs cooked in water, oil and other spices. 
But beef is usually not served. Vegetables are cut and cooked in various ways, usually with a small amount of oil and dried prawn to enhance the taste. Salads are mostly made of raw, cooked or preserved vegetables, or sometimes meat, fish or prawn, added with a number of ingredients to enrich the flavour. There are four main types of soups: sweet broth, hot and spicy, sour, and bean soup.


Myanmar people do not always have dessert during normal meals at home, but it is customary when entertaining a guest or giving a charity feast. Apart from fruits of various kinds, the most common desert is laphet or pickled tea leaves salad served with roasted sesame seeds and peanuts, fried beans and garlic, and a small amount of dried prawn. Shwe Kyi or rich semolina, is another popular dessert served at feasts and on special occasions. 

Kyauk Kyaw or seaweed jelly, mostly with a coconut milk layer on top, is also a common desert. Thagu or Thagu Byin , which may have acquired its name from the Malay origin, is sago or tapioca pudding sweetened with jaggery and enriched with coconut. Finally, the humblest of Myanmar traditional desserts is jaggery, a complimentary dessert provided in Myanmar meal shops and the only dessert popular with rural families especially in Upper Myanmar.

A Traditional Serving

In a traditional serving, there are no appetizers or wines. A typical Myanmar meal includes a plate filled with rice, dishes filled with different curries, soup in a main bowl, and green or boiled vegetables with fish sauce. A bowl of extra rice for second helpings is also provided at the table. Dishes are served simultaneously rather than course by course as in western dinners. A folded napkin is for wiping the lips and fingers after the meal but not for protecting clothing. A fork and spoon may be provided or available on request

Diners serve curry and rice onto their plates. They can ask for a second helping or they can self serve if there no attendants. After the meal is finished, dessert including fresh fruits and snacks is served.

City Myanmar