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Where is Myanmar

Myanmar (Burma) is a country located in Southeast Asia. To put it in context, it is at the crossroads between the South Asian continent of India, the Southeast Asian peninsula of Indochina, and the East Asian continent of China.

Myanmar is bordered by 5 countries: India in the north, China in the northeast, Laos and Thailand in the east, and Bangladesh in the northwest.

Quick facts about Myanmar

Name of the country The Republic of the Union of Myanmar(since 1989) Abbreviation Myanmar
Capital Nay Pyi Taw (since 2005), former Yangon (Rangon) Continent Southeastern Asia
Population 52.8 million (2016) Area 676,552 sq km (261,218 sq miles)
Major language Burmese, minority languages Major religions Buddhism
Major cities Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Nay Pyi Taw Currency Kyat (approx. USD$1=MMK1300, September 2017)
President Htin Kyaw Famous figures Aung San Suu Kyi (Nobel Peace Prize 1991) ; U Thant (former UN Secretary)
Time Zone UTC+ 6:30 International call code +95

Shape and size of Myanmar

The Irrawaddy River

The Irrawaddy, the main river in Myanmar, flows from north to south through the tadpole. It meanders around 1,373 miles (2,210 km) and is immortalized by its Burmese name Ayeyarwady Myit, or “Blessings for the People”. In Rudyard Kipling’s poem, the river is also referred to as “The Road to Mandalay”.

Cruising the Irrawaddy

For visitors, a journey along the river is a classic way to experience the country’s timeless charm. A variety of options is available, from a day trip to Mingun, an hour up-river from Mandalay, to a 7-day cruise from Bhamo to Yangon. Luxury cruises sail the more scenic stretches of the river.

After admiring the sunset, passengers disembark at the Bagan Aye Yar jetty. As the ferries dock, local vendors crowd around, selling fruit, noodles and grilled fish on sticks, delicately arranged in round baskets.

Main cities in Myanmar

The main cities in Myanmar are dotted along the Irrawaddy River: Mandalay at the upper reaches, Bagan in the middle, and Yangon at the lower reaches. Other cities worth a mention include Naypyidaw (the new capital), Mawlamyine (a port city) and Taunggyi in the Inle Lake area.


Mandalay is the historical center of the nation, with a population of over 1.2 million. It was Myanmar’s capital before the British started colonial government and moved the capital to Yangon in 1855.

The 413-hectare royal palace compound at the center of the city is still fully protected, and can easily be identified from its four 2-km-long walls and a moat 64 meters wide.


Bagan is a small town by the banks of the Irrawaddy, with a population of around 300,000. It is most renowned for the thousands of Buddhist temples and pagodas scattered around its vast plain. Its archeological zone is probably one of the most interesting areas to visit in Asia, especially for visitors who are interested in Buddism.


Yangon was the capital of Myanmar until 2005, when the military government moved the capital to Naypyidaw. Yangon is the largest city in the country with 5.2 million inhabitants. It is the economic, cultural, and financial center of Myanmar, and the main gateway city linking Myanmar with the rest of the world.

Read more on Top 5 Destinations to Visit in Myanmar.

Visiting Myanmar

Millions of visitors have been traveling to Myanmar since the easing of the boycott on tourism in 2010. Aside from Myanmar’s unique culture and the fact that the country has been cut off from the outside world for so long, the kind and courteous character of the Burmese people is another reason why visitors find Myanmar charming.

Most visitors to Myanmar start their journey in Yangon, staying two days and observing its vibrant street life, religious monuments and colonial architecture. Then comes a two-day visit to Mandalay, exploring the monuments that still survive from the country’s golden era and the nearby ancient capitals, before viewing the sunset from U Bein’s teak bridge.

Getting to Myanmar

The most popular gateway city for Myanmar is Yangon, accessible by flight from Bangkok (Thailand), Chiang Mai (Thailand), Singapore and Kunming (China). There are no direct flights to Myanmar from the US, the UK or Europe.

Singapore and Bangkok operate most flights to Yangon, while there are direct flights from Hong Kong with Dragonair, from Tokyo with All Nippon, and from Doha with Qatar Airways. The air fare varies with the season, the most expensive being from December to January.

Tourist visas for Myanmar can be obtained via the online platform from the official government website, or via Myanmar embassies and consulates worldwide. Read more about applying for a Myanmar visa.

See more on How to Get to Myanmar.

Visit Myanmar with Asia Highlights

We work with local suppliers, who train local staff and help them develop their careers. Our guides are locals who take good care of every customer, trying to ensure an enjoyable experience.

We provide tailor-made tours to Myanmar. Tours typically start or end in Yangon or Mandalay and last approximately 9 days; visiting Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.

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Basic Facts about Myanmar

Myanmar Visas and How to Apply for

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