Myanmar covers an area of 671,00 sq km, sandwiched between Thailand and Laos to the east and Bangladesh to the west with India and China bordering country to the north. The country extends from approximately 28 degree north to 10 degree north latitude; the Tropic of Cancer crosses the country just above Mogok in the Mandalay Division and also intersects the Chin, Kachin and Shan states. The shape has been likened to a parrot facing west, with the beak touching Sittwe (Akyab), the claws gripping Yangon, the tail extending down the Tanintharyi peninsula, and outstretched wings forming the three northernmost states. Its greatest length from north to south is approximately 2,000 km, while the widest east to west distance is around 1,000 km. The Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea form the southern boundaries of the country. The central part of the country is marked by expansive plains and wide rivers emptying into the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Martaban (the upper Andaman Sea). Mountains rise to the east along the Thai border and to the north where you find the easternmost end of the Himalayas (highest elevations around 6,000m). Myanmar’s coastline extends 2,832 km from the mountain of the Naaf River near Bangladesh to the southern tip of Tanintharyi Division near Ranong, Thailand. Coastal barrier and delta islands are common in the estuarial areas stretching from the Rakhaing State to Mawlamyaing. Off peninsular Myanmar, farther south, over a thousand continental islands dot the littoral sea, forming a mostly uninhabited island group sometimes call the Mergui archipelago. The complete census has not been possible since the British colonial days, as of 2013 the population is estimated to be about 66 millions according to international sources, with an annual growth rate of around 2.1%. Approximately 74% live in rural areas.
The social ideal for most Myanmar citizens-no matter what their ethnic background-is a standard of behaviour commonly termed ‘bama hsan-jin’ or Burmese-ness. Although ethnologist have identified 111 different ethnolinguistic groups, however they are officially recognised as 67 groups. An appreciation of Buddhism and its history in Myanmar is a prerequisite for outsiders wishing to better understand the Burmese mind.
Transportation and Communication
Yangon international airport is able to take anything bigger than an Airbus 300 or a Boeing 767, so aircraft such as 747s and DC-10s can fly there. A new larger airport (50 km north-east of the capital, on the highway to Bago) has been in the planning. There are several major air route options. The first and most common is to travel out and back from Bangkok in Thailand. A second possibility is to slot Myanmar in between Thailand and Bangladesh, India or Nepal – many people travelling from South-East Asia to the subcontinent manage a few weeks in Myanmar in between. Other alternatives include travelling out and back from Kualalumpur,Beijing,Gaungzhou,Kunming,Chiangmai,Qatar,Seoul,Ho Chi Min City, Doha,Hanoi,Phnom Penh,Siem Reap,Gaya,Calcutta, Karachi, Dhaka, Hongkong, Taipei, Tokyo,Osaka,Bangkok and Singapore. Myanmar maintains 468 km of metre-gauge railway line and 550 train stations. As of 1995, rolling stock consisted of 318 locomotives – 48 steam and the remainder diesel – plus 1,139 passenger coaches. The IDD telephone is available everywhere. Government regulated mobile GSH, CDMA phone service is available, but costs – billed in US dollars only are bit high compared to elsewhere in the world. Mobile rental service available at the Yangon Mingaladon International Airport. Roaming phone service from Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia are can be used.Fax transmission service is available .Email access through Internet is available to view the websites is opened.
The geography of Myanmar considerably affects the monsoon rains. The delta region around Yangon gets about 250 cm a year, but the rainfall rapidly diminishes as the monsoon continues north; the central area of Myanmar is a large, comparatively dry zone with 60 to 110 cm of rain a year. Temperatures start to rise in February, and during March, April and May it can be unpleasantly hot. In Yangon the temperature often tops 40°C and in Mandalay and Bagan, it gets even hotter. Dry season rains known as ‘mango showers’ occasionally bring welcome but temporary relief. In May the rains start as the south-west monsoon again sweeps northward from the Indian Ocean. In October the rain tapers off and it becomes back to the cool, dry winter season. Monsoon forests are marked by deciduous tree varieties, which shed their leaves during the dry season to conserve water; rainforests are typically evergreen. Myanmar currently boasts natural forest cover of 43%. Another 31% of the land surface is covered by secondary forest, most of which is subject to shifting cultivation. Myanmar holds 75% of the world’s reserves of Tectona Grandis; better known as teak to English speakers, and kyun to the Burmese. This dense, long-wearing, highly prized hardwood is one of Myanmar’s most important exports, for which the biggest consumers are China, Singapore and India.
Since 1990 the government has moved towards more economic involvement with the outside world and has a number of major foreign-aided projects under way. When it comes to direct foreign investment in Myanmar, the single largest players are Singapore and the UK, each investing around US$1 billion in 1996-1997. The trade figures for 2013-14 are export,sea freight is USD 5834.955million,border trade is USd 2236.397million, import for sea freight is USD 8290.157million and border trade is USD 1375.365million.The government continues to control all legal foreign trade in timber, minerals, gems oil and gas – although foreign companies have been contracted for the exploration and extraction of some minerals and petroleum. The country’s lengthy coastline provides a wealth of saltwater fisheries. Until recently, all fisheries were state-owned, but since 1991 several private domestic and foreign companies have begun large-scale processing of marine products along the coast.
Myanmar uses two currencies, one of which is legal tender for everyone. Kyat the first is the everyday national currency, called kyat (pronounced chat). Another currency is US dollars. Cash dollars can legally be used only at establishments possessing a license to accept US dollars. There are money changers around the city and exchange services at the private Banks and International Air Port. In reality all merchants are happy to take US dollars as it can be used to exchange for kyat from licensed money changers or on the free market.