Interesting Burma Facts That You Haven’t Heard About!
Burma is one of the most amazing countries in the world! While other ASEAN countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, or Vietnam are losing their local customs, it’s different with Myanmar. Burmese cultivate their traditions and don’t allow the ‘Western’ culture to take the place of their own. It’s really awesome. There is nothing more beautiful for a traveler than discovering the local folklore. In this post, you will find the most interesting Myanmar facts!
Men Wear Skirts In Burma
Call me ignorant but I honestly thought that the only country where men wear skirts is Scotland.
I was really surprised when I saw men in skirts in Myanmar. It turns out that longyi is a traditional Burmese outfit. It can be worn both by men and women. There are feminine and masculine styles of longyis. Men usually wear a green, blue, or burgundy checkered skirt. Women prefer more colorful longyis in floral patterns.
The skirt is also worn differently by men and women. Men tie material on a knot whereas women choose the smooth laying out of the fabric.
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 a 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?
Make-Up Means Something Different In Myanmar…
One of the interesting facts about Myanmar is that both men and women wear make-up in this country. But it’s something totally different than you imagine.
Burmese make up is done only by thanaka.
It is a whitish-yellow paste made from ground bark (grinding the wood, roots, or bark of thanaka tree with water).
It’s usually applied on the 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 make-up like this, you are more beautiful.
Thanaka is used by Burmese women for over 20 centuries!
Burmese Men Have One Bloody Habit
For the first-time traveler, visiting Myanmar may be terrifying at the beginning (btw, if you need Myanmar visa, follow the link). One will see men spitting blood everywhere. At least this is how it looks like.
In fact, they are not spitting blood. It’s saliva colored 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 oral cancer in the future.
Traffic In Myanmar May Be Very Confusing!
When we arrived in Myanmar, everything about the traffic seemed fine. But after spending the first 10 minutes in a taxi we realized 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 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 Has A Weird Time Zone
Myanmar is one of the few countries in the world with a half-hour time zone.
The time in Burma is UTC +6:30, which 30 minutes different from a neighboring Thailand.
Myanmar Is A Homeland of Long Neck Tribe
Long neck women are famous all over the world. But only a 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.
Burma Has A Unique Metric System
Burma is one of 3 countries in 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.
Capital City Confusion
The capital of Myanmar for many years was Yangon. Like the country itself, this city has 2 names: Yangon and Rangoon.
In 2016, the capital was officially relocated by the military government to Naypyidaw.
Burma is 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!
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Did you know these fun facts about Myanmar? Do you know any other interesting informations about this country? Share your thoughts in comment!