11 Interesting Facts About Myanmar

Before we begin, make sure you read our recent blog on “10 Intriguing Facts About Greece” for some insightful information.

11. Astrology is a major business in Myanmar. The Burmese zodiac comprises the 12 signs of the Western zodiac and also has 27 lunar mansions and 8-weekday signs. E Thi, a blind, deaf-mute Myanmar soothsayer is one of the country’s most famous astrologers. Her prominent clients include deported Thaksin Shinawatra, the Prime Minister of Thailand and ex-junta leader General Than Shwe.

10. Myanmar gives the world’s finest rubies. Untreated rubies from Mogok and Mong Hsu are high in chromium and low in iron, giving them high fluorescence and that coveted, ‘pigeon’s blood’ hue. The most famous of them all, the ‘Graff Ruby’ ring, fetched $8.6 Million at a Sotheby’s auction in 2015, setting a new world record.

9. Yangon is often mistaken to be the capital, but this changed in 2006.  Around 320 kilometers away from Yangon lies Naypyidaw which means, the abode of the king, Myanmar’s new capital. It’s planned construction began in 2002.

8. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is a well-known Buddhist pilgrimage site. It is only 7 meters, but it rests on the top of a huge boulder that’s been covered in gold leaf. The rock is balanced on the edge of a cliff. During peak pilgrimage season, chants float through the air day and night.

7. If you visit Myanmar, you’ll witness people wearing a longyi- a cylindrical piece of cloth worn around the waist, down to the feet. It comes in various colors, fabrics, and patterns. Men’s longyi is called Paso, which is usually plaid, striped, or plain. Whereas, the women’s is called htamein, which is usually brightly hued.

6. There are roughly 135 ethnic groups here. It is ranked as the 75th most cultural and ethnically diverse country in the world, which is more than the USA. The government groups these into eight main ‘races’: Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine, Shan, and Bamar (the dominant group, who make up nearly 70% of the population).More than 60 languages are spoken by the people in this country.

5. Myanmar abodes more than 1,000 species of birds, of which six are endemic and 51 are endangered. If you fancy a spot of bird-watching, Bagan and Mt Victoria are two places where you’ll see lots of feathered friends, as well as the wetlands of the Ayeyarwady delta region.

4. Women and children from Myanmar are often seen covering their cheeks with thanaka, which is a cosmetic paste made from the bark of the selected tree. It is said that it keeps the skin smooth and protects it against the sun. It has been used for many decades.

3. Myanmar is one of the only three countries in the world, who do not use the metric system. The country follows it’s own units of measurements such as 1 viss or peittha is equal to 1.68 kg. Although, gas is measured in gallons and distance is measured in miles.

2. Shwedagon Pagoda, the most sacred of sites is believed to hold, among other relics, eight strands of Gautama Buddha’s hair. According to legend, two merchants met the Buddha (who lived around 2,500 years ago) on their travels and returned to Burma with the strands of hair, which were placed in the temple with the other relics.

1.The Shwedagon Pagoda is a shimmering gold temple that is not only covered in gold leaf but its very top is covered in more than 4,500 diamonds. The largest diamond is at the top which is of 72 carats.