Top 10 things to do when traveling to Myanmar

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Each country has its own traditions, customs and rules, and so does Myanmar. If you do not want to be considered an impolite person when you come to this country, you absolutely should never do 10 things below.

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1. Do not touch other people’s head

In Myanmar, the head is considered the most sacred part of the body so that touching the head of others (even in a friendly way) is considered extremely bad to the Myanmar people. Even for very adorable children, you should not touch their heads.

2. Don’t you feet as a point things

Similar to touching the head, using feet to point at someone or something especially budda statue is really a rudeness in Myanmar. Because legs are the dirtiest part of the body. In addition, visitors who come to this country should not put their foot on furniture in the house.

3. Avoid using your left hand

If you come to Myanmar, you’d better use your right hand for picking up food and delivering items; do not use your left hand because in Burmese’s perspective using your left hand is something irrespective, dirty and, not clean. While eating, the Burmese are always eating with their right hand, the left hand is only used for daily personal hygiene work so it is not used for eating.

Monk and tiger via Youtube

4. Have a proper attitude

Respecting monks, nuns (Burmese called Sangha) and the elderly, take care of children tradditions of Myanmar. Visitors when communicating to monk, should not shake hand. Instead, they should clasped their hands together and bow. Also, if you visit a Burmese’s house, you should leave your shoes outside before entering the house.

5. Do not wear shoes in pagodas or temples

Visitors coming to Myanmar temples and pagodas should leave their shoes or slippers (including socks) before entering. The first reason is to show respect for sacred destinations, the second is to keep the sanctuary clean. Local people are devout Buddhists, so walking shoes in the sanctuary is considered a disrespectful act.

6. Do not climb up any temple or shrine

Guests are not allowed to eat or sleep at temples and other religious buildings in Myanmar. However, because the sunset and sunrise in Bagan are so beautiful, many people are still defying the rules by climbing on temples’ roof for having a better view. Before visiting any temple or shrine, you should also find out whether climbing is permitted or not.

7. Cover your knees and shoulders when visiting religious area.

Before visiting religious sites in Myanmar, visitors should cover their knees and shoulders. Even in the city of Bagan, where many temples and shrines are unmanaged, visitors should also abide by this rule if they do not want people to look with uncomfortable eyes .or be invited out of the temple. Some places do not allow women to approach the altar or directly burn incense.

Burmese Woman via David Lazar

8. Do not ask women about their family

Visitors to Myanmar should not refer to the private issue such as family, husband, and children. Because of many reasons, about 30% of women in big cities do not want to get married, this percentage even jumps up to 50% in businesswomen or female officers.

9. Avoid expressing excessive feelings in public

As a nation with a majority of Buddhists, in Burma they do not accept expressing excessive feelings in public such as embracing, kissing, eye blink,…

10. Not staying at hotels and guest houses without registration

All guests staying in hotel guestrooms must be registered with the Myanmar Tourism Administration on their first come. All information about which hotels are you in, how long do you stay, travel schedule,… need to be written down. That’s why you should book in advance to avoid the hassle and enjoy more favorable rates.

Note:

Don’t walk without checking all the ways

Another important note to save your life in Burma when crossing a road, you had better make sure to look both ways, even when crosswalks are in front of your eyes. Drivers rarely yield for pedestrians, and it isn’t uncommon to also have to dodge bikers and trishaws while walking across busy intersections.

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