From the ancestral pagoda temples that tell stories of splendor, to the picturesque mountain passages and rice fields, there's an almost endless list of things to discover in Myanmar. Shyly moving towards modernization, prices have gone up slightly since just a few years ago. However, it is still an inexpensive destination for expatriates considering relocating to South East Asia.
Located in South East Asia, Myanmar shares borders with five different countries India and China in the north, Laos and Thailand in the east, and Bangladesh in the south-east. The Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea make up most of its west and south frontiers, which means that up to a third of its territory enjoys an uninterrupted coastline.
The population density is one of the lowest in the region with some 51 million people living in the country. Nevertheless, Myanmar has over 130 recognized ethnic groups, which makes it a multicultural hub rich in local traditions, culinary delicacies, and diverse languages. The official tongue is Burmese and the most practiced religion is Theravada Buddhism, although Muslims, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, and people of other faiths coexist in peace everywhere in the country.
Expats moving to the capital Naypydaw, or other well-known cities like Yangon or Mandalay, will find themselves welcomed in this country that's also known as the Golden Land - a truly hidden treasure.
Myanmar's climate is a tropical monsoon type with three different seasons. The wet period runs from May to late October and it's characterized by heavy rain, thunderstorms and humidity. The cool and dry season spans from November to February. Temperatures during these months average 70-80°F (21-27°C) so it's the best time to travel to Myanmar, go on vacation or invite visitors over.
From March to April, the weather is dry but somewhat extreme, especially for those not used to high temperatures, which can exceed 110°F (43°C). If you want to visit Myanmar during these months, make the Highland areas your destination, as temperatures are a bit cooler at a higher altitude.
Also, average rainfall varies in each region independently of the season. The central plain receives little rain in comparison with the west and south of the country, which are typically hit by the monsoon rains. The delta region has an average rainfall of 270 centimeters per year (Rangoon) while the average rainfall in the dry zone in the center of Burma (Mandalay) is less than 100 centimeters per year.
The easiest way to get to Myanmar is by plane. Visitors will first have to make their way to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Hong Kong or other neighboring Asian cities, as there are no direct flights from Europe or America. Asian Wings Airways, Air Asia, and Myanmar Airways International are some of the many airlines that offer regular flights to the two international airports of the country: Yangon International and Mandalay.
Getting to the country by land is also possible, although it's not a very practical option, especially if you are an expatriate moving to Myanmar. There are five border crossings in Thailand but once in Myanmar, trains, buses, cars or boats are unreliable. This is the same with the crossings from China and India. There are no overland border crossings to Bangladesh, yet. Arriving by boat is not yet possible either.