The country formerly known as Burma, is one of South East Asia’s most unique destinations. Cathay Pacific has the following suggestions for visitors
Cultural cues. In keeping with the Myanmar way of life, it’s important to be aware of local etiquette to avoid causing any offence. Body language is important with the head considered to be holy, and the feet deemed to be dirty so don’t pat children on the head or point your feet in the direction of a place of worship.
Visit a pagoda.
Myanmar is home to some of the world’s oldest pagodas. Include the Shwegadon pagoda in your itinerary, where you can marvel at the temple’s stupas made of solid gold encrusted with 2,200 diamonds. There are more than 700 Buddhist temples and monasteries in Mandalay, the nation’s last royal capital. Remember to remove your shoes before entering any place of worship.
Enjoy a beer. Locals love spending their time at ‘beer stations’ on street corner, enjoying a brew and a live broadcast of European football. To get the waiter’s attention, the Burmese make short kissing sounds in their air – you will likely hear constant kissing sounds when walking down 19 Street in Yangon, as thirsty patrons place their orders.
Experience Mon culture. The Mon culture is one of the oldest in South-East Asia, with today’s Mon people considered to be the descendants of Indochina’s ancient civilisations. Visit the Mon State Cultural Museum in Mawlamyine or spend time at one of Myanmar’s temples during Moon festivals to see Mon dancers perform in traditional Burmese attire.
Indulge in local street-side treats. The country’s street food stalls are packed with treats. Grab a cup of Myanmar’s favourite sugar cane juice and an ‘E Kya Kway’ – a deep-fried bread – or a Bein Mont, a rice flour pancake, topped with white poppy seeds, almonds and fresh coconut slices
Wash away your troubles at Thingyan, a water festival at the end of the hot, dry season in Myanmar, to celebrate the Myanmar New Year. Locals splash water on one another to wash away the sins of the previous year and to offer blessings for a prosperous year ahead. This year’s Thingyan festival takes place from 14 to 16 April.
- To book flights, accommodation and tours to Myanmar, visit www.cathaypacific.com