Myanmar

Driving Directions Myanmar

MYANMAR (formerly Burma) is the second-largest country in Southeast Asia. The heartland of the country is the valley of the great Irrawaddy river system. The north and west of the country are mountainous, and the Shan Plateau runs along the border with Thailand in the east.

The climate is equatorial at the coast, changing to tropical monsoon over most of the interior.

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A combination of factors has ensured that the country has remained relatively underdeveloped and unspoiled. Myanmar retains large tracts of tropical forest containing commercially valuable species such as teak and rubber.

Wildlife is abundant and includes some rarer Asian mammals such as tigers, leopards, rhinoceros, elephants, buffalo, and gibbon. Elephants are used as packs and work animals, and additionally, there are many birds, reptiles, fish, and insects. New species still discovered, such as the smallest known type of Muntjac deer, called the “leaf deer” by local people and measuring a mere 50 centimeters or 10 inches high at the shoulder.

Although Rangoon (Yangon) is now the country’s capital, it is Mandalay, its ancient royal seat, which is its cultural and spiritual heart. Buddhist pagodas, colorful traditional festivals, music, dance, and theater are all very apparent in Myanmar.

Most people live in rural areas and are engaged in traditional occupations such as agriculture, fishing, and forestry. The Irrawaddy river flows into the Andaman Sea, forming a vast delta area, ideal land for rice cultivation.

Rice is the country’s staple food and accounts for half its export earnings. Tropical fruits, such as bananas, mangoes, citrus, and guavas, grow well in the fertile coastal regions.

Myanmar is rich in timber and mineral resources such as natural gas, petroleum, jade, and natural rubies. However, because of poor communications, lack of development, and unrest among ethnic groups, these resources have not been fully exploited, which has at least contributed to the preservation of the country’s natural environment.

Google maps™ Myanmar

Myanmar, the largest nation of mainland Southeast Asia, has an extraordinary variety of terrain, from glaciers in the north to coral reefs in the south. There are four major topographic areas: mountains in the north and west, the Shan Highlands in the east, the plains of central Myanmar, and the delta and valley regions in the south near the Irrawaddy and Sittang Rivers. In the late 1980s, the military government changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar; the government also changed the names or spellings of many geographic features.

Myanmar’s western shores curve along the Bay of Bengal, coming to a point at Cape Negrais. The Irrawaddy delta and the southeastern region’s coasts together frame the Andaman Sea’s upper corner, joining at the Gulf of Martaban. All of these bodies of water are parts of the Indian Ocean.

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