Flag of Myanmar

Myanmar (Burma)

The Union of Burma is a country in Southeast Asia that lies on the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea coast. It is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the north, Laos to the east, Thailand to the southeast, Bangladesh to the west, and India to the northwest, with the Andaman Sea to the south, and the Bay of Bengal to the southwest. One-third of its total perimeter, 1,930 km (1,199 mi), forms an uninterrupted coastline.

In 1989, the military junta officially changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar, along with changes to the English versions of many place names in the country, such as its former capital city from Rangoon to Yangon. However, because the military junta was not elected, many Western governments, including the UK, US, Ireland and Australia, Ireland, and Britain, do not recognise their authority to change the name, and continue to call it Burma. The European Union uses 'Burma/Myanmar' as an alternative.

The name Burma apparently derives from the Sanskrit name for the region: 'Brahmadesh', land of the Brahma, the Hindu god of creation. The name 'Myanmar' is derivative of the local short-form name Myanma Naingngandaw. This name was used as early as the 12th century, although its etymology remains unclear.

The country's culture, heavily influenced by neighbours, is based on Theravada Buddhism intertwined with local elements. It has been subject to rule by a military junta for some time now, and the country has a reputation as one where political dissent is brutally crushed. When in Myanmar (Burma) you must not insult the government and must abstain from political activities.

Map of Myanmar