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Last updated : Nov 2009
Myanmar Social Profile
Myanmar Culture and Social Profile - TravelPuppy.com
Food & Drink

Food in Myanmar is normally spicy and hot. Rice, fish, noodles and vegetables spiced with the staple ingredients of ginger, onions and chillies. Regional dishes include lethok son (a kind of spicy vegetarian rice salad), mohinga (fish with noodles soup) and oh-no khauk swe (rice noodles, chicken and coconut milk).

The avocados by Inle Lake are particularly good. Delicious fruits are sold in the markets. Food stalls appear on the street corners of most main towns. Indian and Chinese cuisine is served in a number of hotels and restaurants.

Tea is a favoured drink; the spices, added to it, tend to make the tongue turn bright red. Soft drinks, locally produced are usually not very good and a bit high-priced. Coffee is not very normal. There are alcoholic drinks such as beer, rum, gin and whisky produced in Myanmar.

Nightlife

Western-style nightlife is practically non-existent; however, there are some performances in Yangon’s 3 theatres including many rock and pop groups which are becoming increasingly popular. Cinemas are popular and 7 of Yangon’s 50 cinemas show English-language movies.

Shopping

Souvenirs include jewellery and handicrafts. A nice place to go shopping in Yangon is Bogyoke Aung San Market, which offers luxury goods, handicrafts, clothing, foodstuffs and consumer products. It is open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, close on Sunday and public holidays and the ideal time to visit is about 10.00 am. Mandalay is a great place for traditional handicrafts, which can be bought at Zegyo Market while Buddhist articles of worship are sold at Phatahe Bazaar.

Shopping hours: Monday to Sunday 8.00 am to 10.00 pm.

Special Events

The Buddhist calendar is filled with festivals; often coinciding with the full moon. Any visitors would be unlucky not to enjoy at least one during their visit.

Annual events include:
Jan-Feb Amanda Pagoda Festival
March Indawgyi Festival, Hopin; Pindaya Cave Festival
March 2 Peasant’s Day
April Maha Thingyan (New Year)
June-July Thihoshin Pagoda Festival, Pakkoku
July-Oct Buddhist Lent
August Taung Byone Festival, Matara
October Thadingyat Festival (Festival of Light); Elephant Dance Festival, Kyaukse
November Tazaaungdaing Festival; Fire Balloon Festival, Taunggyi
December Golden Spectacle Pagoda Festival, Schwetaung
Social Conventions

 Shaking hands is the common form of greeting.

 Full names are always used, preceded by U (pronounced oo) when greeting older or high-respected male people. Aung is used for younger males and Ko for male adults; a woman’s name is preceded by Daw.

 Respect and courtesy for tradition and religion is expected; for example, shoes and socks are taken off prior to entering any religious places. It is also a custom to take off shoes prior to entering a traditional home (in most modern homes this is no longer observed except in bedrooms).

It is considered offensive to show the soles of the feet. Small gifts are acceptable and appreciated, however never expected.

Mini-skirts and shorts should not be worn.

Tipping

A 5 to 10 percent tip on hotel and restaurant bills is usual. Taxi drivers don't expect to receive a tip.
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