Are you getting ready for a Myanmar tour? Excellent choice: this country with ancient traditions is able to fascinate even the most cynical among modern travelers.
To fully enjoy your travel experience, here is some useful information on customs and traditions of the country, as well as some advice on its cuisine.
How do you really call this country? Burma or Myanmar? Both the current name of Myanmar, decided by the soldiers, both the name Burma, refer to the prevailing ethnic group, the Burmese. Even the most famous city, once Rangoon, is now called Yangon. Today, it is common to refer to the country as Myanmar.
Myanmar is the country with the highest number of domesticated elephants in the world, which are largely used for work. While traveling in Myanmar you might encounter the mahouts, the conductors of elephants, who raise them and care for them for all their life. During your trip to Myanmar, it will be easier to meet them in the mountains and teak forests near Taungoo.
If during your tailormade tour in Myanmar you notice red spots on the buildings or on the ground, do not be surprised. It is betel, a substance produced with lime hydrate and ground walnuts, which, according to the locals, restores energy and removes fatigue. The Burmese often chew it and their mouths are colored red. In the streets you will soon get used to recognize the typical smell of betel.
What do you eat in Myanmar? Very popular is the mohinga, a soup with noodles and fish with a strong flavor that is eaten at breakfast. You will also find a wide range of tasty fruits and vegetables as well as fish and meat, usually fried and seasoned with garlic. If you're brave, you can even sample the larvae of bamboo poles, sold still alive in the local market stalls.
If while walking on the street in Myanmar you hear the inhabitants produce strange sounds, it's because the Burmese make noises to draw the attention of another person, even in public places. If you happen to see a Burmese with his face covered by a strange white substance, know that it is the tanaka, a cream obtained from the plant with the same name. According to the locals, it purifies the skin and has an anti-aging function.