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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Culture & Religion

Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist, followed by 6.2% Christians, 4.8% Muslims, 2.5% Spirit Worshippers and Animists, and 1.5% Hindus. Tourists are advised to observe the following ethics and practices:

Typical Character

Friendly, helpful, honest, humble but dignified.
Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected.

Speaking

When addressing people, don't leave out U (meaning Mr) or Daw (meaning Ms/Mrs) preceding their names
Speak slowly and clearly.

Manners

It is not always customary to shake hands.
It is advisable to avoid public showing of affection with the opposite sex (such as hugging or kissing)

Don't touch any adult on the head, as it is considered rude.
Don't step over any part of a person, as it is considered rude.
Always receive or present things with your right hand.

In Myanmar, nodding mean YES, and shaking head means NO.

Eating

For hygiene reasons, try to eat meals that are properly prepare in restaurants. Street vendors might not be the most hygienic in preparing food.
Avoid drinking tap water.
Drink only bottled water and soft drinks that haven't been opened yet.
It is customary for the oldest member to eat first.
Chinese food is common and suggested
Local Myanmar food is often considered “oily”
To try good Myanmar food, go to decent restaurants, where they cook Myanmar food according to international standards.

Shopping

When buying gems, sculptures, or any expensive souvenir, make sure it comes with an export permit.
Buy artwork from authorized dealers only and get a certified receipt.

Safety

Don't leave valuables in your room. Use safe deposit box.
Beware of fraudsters, swindlers, imposters.

Health

Completely avoid narcotics and excessive alcohol consumption.
Carry some medicines for common discomforts such as headache, diarrhea, travel sickness.
Do now be unduly worried about illness. All doctors are English-literate.
Visit only certified medical practitioners.
Health insurance is not available.

Traveling

Be realistic about the amenities here. They may not meet your expectations.
While travelling by train, keep the windows shut.
Speed or distance are measured in miles, not kilometers.
Carry toilet paper with you when travelling

Visiting

• Most Myanmar do not wear shoes in their homes. Please remove them when visiting.

Moving About

Jaywalking is discouraged. Be vigilant when walking and watch what you step on.
City driving speed limit is 30 mph. Drive on the right side.

Religion

At religious places, visitors are requested to remove footwear.
Avoid shouting, talking loudly, horseplay, jesting or laughing at religious places.
Avoid being a nuisance when taking photographs.
Treat Buddha images with respect.
Tuck away your feet. Pointing the soles of your feet towards religious artifacts is considered inappropriate. Avoid point your feettowards pagodas, monks, or images of the Buddha.
Avoid playing music in religious compounds. It is important to note that Buddhist monks are not allowed to listen to music.
Do not put Buddha statues or images on the floor or somewhere inappropriate.
Don't touch sacred objects with disrespect. Hold them in your right- hand, or with both hands.
Leave a donation when possible.
Show respect to monks, nuns, and novices (even if they are children).
Avoid offering your hand to shake hands with a monk.
Sit lower than a monk and elders.
Avoid offering food to a monk, nun, or a novice after noon. Monks, nuns, and novices practice fasting after lunch.
Woman should avoid touching monks.

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