70 | Myanmar
Destination Highlights • A trip to Bagan is a must. Once the capital of the First Burmese Empire, it is home to thousands of temples including the famous Ananda Temple. • Visit the 2,500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda. It is considered to be the most sacred site of Buddhism in Myanmar. • Built atop an extinct volcano, the Buddhist monastery of Popa Taung Kalat is one of the most breathtaking sites in Myanmar.
Popa Taung Kalat
Events & Festivals October: Inle Lake Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival Buddha images are moved from village to village so people can pay homage. Dances, fairs and boat races counterbalance the more serious ceremonial aspect. General Information • Population: 54.4 million • Time difference: GMT +5.5 hours • Flying time: Approximately 11.5 hours to Naypyidaw • You will need to get a visa before you travel. You can apply at the nearest Burmese embassy or consulate, or via an online application, well in advance of travelling. The charge for this is approximately $50. Visit: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
Random Facts • Small children wear holy thread around their neck or wrist for protection from bad spirits or spells. • When the locals in Myanmar want to get your attention, they make a kissing sound. • There are millions of English Premier League and Champions League fans in Myanmar - and they are as serious as other football fans around the world. • The inhabitants of Myanmar have no surnames.
Best time to travel The best time to visit Myanmar is from November to February, as it’s dry across the board and temperatures haven’t yet reached stifling. From March to May, the country becomes very hot, and temperatures in Mandalay often reach in excess of 40°C.
The Essentials • US dollars are typically used for paying for items such as accommodation and we recommend you carry low denomination notes. Things like street food and tuk-tuks are paid for in the local currency (kyat). You can exchange currency in most hotels, banks or airports. Money should be handed over and received in the right hand. • Myanmar is a conservative country, and appropriate dress is considered as having shoulders and knees covered.
October: Mandalay Region Elephant Dance Festival
A colourful performance where two men dance around the town inside a huge elephant, made from bamboo and paper, to honour the Shwe Tha Lyaung Pagoda.
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