Interesting Myanmar facts
Burma was a big surprise for us! We didn’t expect this country is so beautiful. It is also very unique. Other ASEAN countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia or Vietnam are loosing their local customs. And Burmese cultivate their traditions and don’t allow the ‘western’ culture to take the place of their own. We really love it. There is nothing more beautiful for traveler than discovering the local folklore. This post is about Myanmar interesting facts. We are sharing with you funny, useful and sometimes weird informations about the beautiful Burma.
Interesting Myanmar facts #1
Men wear skirts in Burma
Call us ignorants but we honestly thought that the only country with men’s skirts is Scotland.
We were really surprised when we saw men in skirts in Myanmar. It turns out that longyi is a traditional Burmese outfit. It can be worn by men and women. There are feminine and masculine styles of longyis. Men usually wear green, blue or burgundy checkered skirt. Women prefer more colourful longyis in floral patterns.
The skirt is also worn differently by men and women. Men tie a material on a knot and women choose the smooth laying out of the fabric.
Myanmar interesting facts #2
This country has two names
It’s really confusing. Should we say Myanmar or Burma?
Well, it turns out that both names are correct. If you are writing about this country, you should use more official name- Myanmar.
But when you are talking or mentioning this country in an unofficial way, then you should use the name Burma.
Quite confusing, huh?
Myanmar interesting facts #3
Make-up means something different in Myanmar…
Interesting fact about Myanmar is that men and women use make-up there. But it’s something totally different than you imagine.
Burmese make up is done only by thanaka.
It is whitish-yellow paste made from ground bark (grinding the wood, roots or bark of thanaka tree with water).
It’s usually applied on cheeks and nose. But we also saw people with thanaka all over their bodies. There’s no rule how much of this paste you can put on your skin!
In Myanmar, if you have a make-up like this, you are more beautiful.
Thanaka is used by Burmese women for over 20 centuries!
Interesting Myanmar facts #4
Burmese men have one bloody habit
For first-time traveler, visiting Myanmar may be terrifying at the beginning. He will see men spitting blood everywhere. At least this is how it looks like.
In fact, they are not spitting blood. It’s a saliva coloured on red by paan.
Paan is a strong psychoactive substance, made of betel leaf, areca nut and sometimes tobacco. It is chewed by many Burmese people to give them energy.
It is believed that chewing paan can be compared to drinking 6 cups of coffee with alcohol. It’s super strong but also very dangerous. Regular chewers are very likely to get an oral cancer in the future.
Myanmar interesting facts #5
Traffic in Myanmar may be very confusing!
When we arrived to Myanmar, everything about the traffic seemed fine. But after spending the first 10 minutes in a taxi we realised that something is wrong!
The cars in Burma have right hand steering (like in the UK, or all the other countries with left-hand traffic). But the traffic in Myanmar is right-hand!
So Burmese people have a cars suitable for left-hand traffic and they drive in a right-hand traffic. Why? it’s all because of the colonial legacy.
Myanmar was a British colony until 1948. So the traffic was left-hand. In 1970 they changed the traffic on the right-hand for an unspecified reason. But the cars remained the same, suitable for left-hand traffic.
It’s all really confusing!
Myanmar interesting facts #6
Weird time zone
Myanmar is one of the few countries on the world half hour time zone.
The time in Burma is UTC +6:30, which 30 minutes different from a neighbouring Thailand.
Myanmar interesting facts #7
Myanmar is a homeland of Long Neck Tribe
Long neck women are famous all over the world. But only few know that they are originally from Myanmar.
We didn’t have enough time to visit Padaung Tribe in Burma. But we’ve met Kayan people in Thailand.
You can read more about it here.
Interesting Myanmar facts #8
Unique metric system
Burma is one of 3 countries on the world (the two others are Liberia and the US) that hasn’t adopted the metric system of measurement.
Since 2013 the government is trying to change it and they began the preparation to adopt the International System of Units.
Myanmar interesting facts #9
Capital city confusion
The capital of Myanmar for many years was Yangon. Like the country itself, this city has 2 names: Yangon and Rangoon.
10 years ago, in 2016, the capital was officially relocated by the military government to Naypyidaw.
Myanmar interesting facts #10
Burma is a home of the biggest book in the world
The book is situated in Kuthodaw pagoda in Mandalay. It has 1460 pages and 730 leaves. Each page is 107cm (3.51 ft) wide, 13cm (5.1 in) thick and 153cm (5.02 ft) tall!