Basic Facts About Myanmar



Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia and is bordered on the north and north-east by China, on the east and south-east by Laos and Thailand, on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal and on the west by Bangladesh and India. It is located between latitudes 09 32'N and 28 31'N and longitudes 92 10'E and 101 11'E.


The country covers an area of 677,000 square kilometers (261,228 square miles) ranging 936 kilometers (581 miles) from the east to west and 2051 kilometers (1275 miles) from north to south. It is a land of hills and valleys and is rimmed in the north, east and west by mountain ranges forming a giant horseshoe. Enclosed within the mountain barriers are the flat lands of Ayeyarwady, Chindwin and Sittaung River valleys where most of the country's agricultural land and population are concentrated.

East longitude 96 13'nd North Latitude 16 45'run through Yangon, the capital of Myanmar. The Myanmar Standard Time, taken as on East Longitude 97 30', is 6 hours 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich meantime. The length of contiguous frontier is 6159 kilometers (3828 miles) and the coastline from the mouth of Naaf River to Kawthaung is 2228 kilometers (1385 miles). The total length of the Myanmar-Bangladesh boundary is 271 kilometers (168.7 miles). It consists of two parts, namely the Naaf River boundary 64 kilometers (39.5 miles) and the land boundary 208 kilometers (129.2 miles). The total length of Myanmar-China boundary is 2204 kilometers (1370 miles); Myanmar-Thailand 2107 kilometers (1309.8 miles); Myanmar-India 1338 kilometers (831.8 miles); and Myanmar-Laos 238 kilometers (147.9 miles).


The climate of Myanmar is roughly divided into three seasons: Summer, Rainy Season, and Winter Season. From the end of February to the beginning of May are Summer months, with highest temperatures during March and April in Central Myanmar up to above 110F (43.3C) while in Northern Myanmar it is about 97F (36.1C) and on the Shan Plateau between 85F (29.4C) and 95F (35C). Rainy Season, from mid May to the end of October, with annual rain fall of less than 40 inches in Central Myanmar while the coastal regions of Rakhine and Tanintharyi get about 200 inches. Winter which starts from November and lasts to the end of February with temperature in hilly areas of over 3000 feet drops below 32F (0C).

As a whole, the location and topography of the country generate a diversity of climatic conditions. Seasonal changes in the monsoon wind directions create summer, rainy and winter seasons. Extremes of temperature are rare. The direction of winds and depression bring rain, and although it is always heavy in the coastal areas during Monsoon season, it seldom creates hardships. The Government is giving priority to forest conservation and greening of nine arid districts in central Myanmar.

Monthly Average Temperature (C) in Yangon

























Flora and Fauna

Myanmar is endowed with a rich diversity of habitat types arising largely from its unusual ecological diversity. It is home to nearly 300 known mammal species, 300 reptiles about 100 bird species, and a haven for about 7000 species of plant life. The potential worth of plant species in Myanmar is considerable. Since Myanmar considers such a rich pool of biodiversity as an important national asset, the Government of the Union of Myanmar has drawn up strict regulations to protect its reservoir of biodiversity and biological resources.

Historical Background

Archaelogical findings reveal that parts of Myanmar were inhibited some five thousand years ago. The ancestors of present-day Myanmars, the Pyus and the Mons established several kingdoms throughout the country from the 1st century A.D. to the 10th century A.D. From that early beginning, there are today a fascinating 135 nationalities who call Myanmar home.

Myanmar history dates back to the early 11th Century when King Anawrahta unified the country and founded the First Myanmar Empire in Bagan more than 20 years before the Norman Conquest of England in 1066(i.e. 1044 A.D.). The Bagan Empire encompassed the areas of the present day Myanmar and the entire Menam Valley in Thailand and lasted two centuries.

The Second Myanmar Empire was founded in mid 16th Century by King Bayinnaung(1551-1581). King Alaungpaya founded the last Myanmar Dynasty in 1752 and it was during the zenith of this Empire that the British moved into Myanmar. Like India, Myanmar became a British colony but only after three Anglo-Myanmar Wars in 1825, 1852, and 1885.

During the Second World War, Myanmar was occupied by the Japanese from 1942 till the return of the Allied Forces in 1945. Myanmar has become a sovereign independent state since 4th January 1948 after more than 100 years under the colonial administration.


The main religions of the country are Buddhism (89.2%), Christianity (5.0%), Islam (3.8%), Hinduism (0.5%), Spiritualism (1.2%) and others (0.2%). Religious intolerance or discrimination on grounds of religion is nonexistent in the Union of Myanmar throughout its long history.


The Union of Myanmar is made up of 135 national races, of which the main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Population of the country is estimated at 52.4 million (July, 2003) and the population growth rate is 1.84 percent.

8 Major National Races
Composition of 135 Ethnic Groups

Kachin State and Kachin National

Kayah State and Kayah National

Kayin State and Kayin National

Chin State and Chin National

Mon State and Mon National

The majority of largest national race “Bamar” live in (7) divisions

Rakhine State and Rakhine National

States and Divisions

  1. Ayeyarwady  Division

  2. Bago Division

  3. Magway Division

  4. Mandalay Division

  5. Sagaing Division

  6. Tanintharyi Division

  7. Yangon Division

  8. Chin State

  9. Kachin State

  10. Kayah State

  11. Kayin State

  12. Mon State

  13. Rakhine State

  14. Shan State

The State Flag

The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, adopted a new state flag on 21 October 2010. The new flag was introduced along with implementing changes to the country's name, which were laid out in the 2008 Constitution. The design of the flag has three horizontal stripes of yellow, green and red with a five-pointed white star in the middle. The three colours of the stripes are meant to symbolise solidarity, peace and tranquility, and courage and decisiveness.

The State Seal

The distinguishing features of the State Seal are as follows:-

  • At the center of the State Seal is a pinion with fourteen equal-sized cogs on which the map of Myanmar is superimposed. The pinion and the map are encircled with two ears of paddy.

  • The ears of paddy are flanked on each side by an artistic Myanmar Lion. The lion on the right side faces towards the right and the one on the left side faces towards the left.

  • The words "The Union of Myanmar" are inscribed in Myanmar below the lions and the ears of paddy.

  • At the top of the State Seal is a star with five vertices.

  • Myanmar floral designs are etched on either side of the ears of paddy and the star.


Myanmar National Anthem (Orchestra)  (Vocal)

We shall always love Myanmar, Land of our forefathers.
We fight and give our lives For our union.
For her we responsibly shoulder the task,
Standing as one in duty to our precious land.


Towards a New Modern Developed Nation

The State Peace and Development Council is undertaking systematic plans and striving for building a new modern developed nation after laying down the following specific political, economic and social objectives:-

Four political objectives

• Stability of the State, community peace and tranquillity, prevalence of law and order
• National Reconsolidation
• Emergence of a new enduring State Constitution
• Building of a new modern developed nation in accord with the new State Constitution

Four economic objectives

• Development of agriculture as the base and all-round development of other sectors of the economy as well
• Proper evolution of the market-oriented economic system
• Development of the economy inviting participation in terms of technical know-how and investments from sources inside the country and abroad
• The initiative to shape the national economy must be kept in the hands of the State and the national peoples

Four social objectives

• Uplift of the morale and morality of the entire nation
• Uplift of national prestige and integrity and preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage and national character
• Uplift of dynamism of patriotic spirit
• Uplift of health, fitness and education standards of the entire nation

Foreign Policy of The Union of Myanmar

A) Emergence of Foreign Policy

1. A State attains some of its national objectives by adopting and implementing its domestic policies. However as it is interrelated with other states, it becomes necessary to adopt policies that would persuade other states to react favorably. To attain such objectives, a state needs to establish diplomatic relations with other states and work in concert towards joint resolutions and cooperative implementations of common issues. The conduct of such relations in a systematic and consistent manner is said to be the Foreign Policy of a State. Both domestic and Foreign Policies are intended to attain objectives of national interest. They are interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

2. To study the Foreign Policy of a State it is necessary to observe the basic objectives of its policy or its fundamental strategy. In adopting a Foreign Policy, States usually adopt one of the following principles:-

a. isolationism
b. non-alignment
c. polarization

3. Myanmar, since achieving independence, and for quite some time thereafter, adopted and practised an “independent”and “non-aligned”Foreign Policy. Evolution of the objectives of this policy may be observed as follows-

a. At the time of Myanmar’s independence, the international system has an Eastern and Western bloc, between which a “Cold War” was raging. It was also the time when colonial nations were regaining their independence.These newly independent states were in favour of adopting “independent” Foreign Policies,” “independent”in the sense of being totally free of outside influence.

b. For Myanmar, which wrested independence with great difficulty, only an “independent” Foreign Policy was congruent with independence.

c. Concurrently with independence, Myanmar faced an internal insurgency and therefore wished to avoid a disastrous contention on its soil between the Eastern and Western blocs.Hence it wished to be non-aligned between the two great blocs.

d. At the time of independence, it was essential to prioritize on economic and social reconstruction.It was declared at that time that foreign assistance , without any strings attached from both sides, will be accepted.

e. As Myanmar is geographically situated between two highly populous nations, India and China, it desired to be independent and non-aligned.

4. For the above mentioned reasons Myanmar consistently practised an Independent and non-aligned Foreign Policy.

B) Independent and Active Foreign Policy

5. Beginning in 1971 Myanmar transformed its independent and non-aligned Foreign Policy to an independent and active Foreign Policy. The State Law and Order Restoration Council , by its Declaration 3/88 of 18.9.88 promulgated that it would continue to adhere to the independent and active foreign policy.In practising its Independent and Active Foreign Policy, Myanmar will not align itself with any bloc on international issues except to consistently stand on the side that is right.Myanmar also actively participates in activities for world peace; opposes war, imperialism and colonialsm; and maintains friendly relations with all countries.

6. Myanmar practises the Independent and Active Foreign Policy in accordance with the following principles:

- respect of and adherence to the principle of equality among peoples and among nations and the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence;
- taking a non-aligned, independent and just stand in international issues;
- maintaining friendly relations with all nations, and good-neighbourly relations with neighbouring countries;
- continued support of, and active participation in, the United Nations and its affiliated organisations;
- pursuance of mutually beneficial bilateral and multilateral cooperation programmes;
- regional consultation and beneficial cooperation in regional economic and social affairs;
- active participation in the maintenance of international peace and security and the creation of an equitable economic order and opposition to imperialism, colonialism, intervention, aggression and hegemonism;
- acceptance of foreign assistance which is beneficial to national development, provided there are no strings attached;

C) The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence

7. In 1954 Myanmar, China and India, during Chinese Premier Chou En Lai’s visit to India and Myanmar expounded the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. Accordingly, on 28.6.1954 China and India signed in New Delhi and on 29.6.1954 Myanmar and China signed in Yangon, agreements to adhere to these Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence. The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence are:

- mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty;
- to abide by mutual non-agression;
- non-interference in each other’s internal affairs;
- respect for mutual equality and to work for mutual benefit; and
- peaceful co-existence

The above Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence still steadfastly remain the main cornerstone of Myanmar Foreign Policy.

8. In matters of world affairs and international issues, in line with the principles and purposes of the United Nations and on the basis of the principles of Peaceful Co-existence, Myanmar has acted as follows;

- actively participating in United Nations activities in accordance with its own basic principle;
- consistently supporting disarmament;
- opposing arms race, production and sales;
- supporting national liberation movements;
- supporting decolonialization;
- opposing aggression of imperialists;
- opposing colonialism, apartheid and racial discrimination;
- supporting efforts to ensure world peace; and
- opposing aggressive imperialistic wars.

• National Reconsolidation (Click here to read..)
• Emergence of a new enduring State Constitution (Click here to read..)
• Myanmar Economy (Click here to read..)
• Foreign investment in Myanmar (Click here to read..)
• Development of Border Areas and National Races (Click here to read..)
• Environment (Click here to read..)
• Tourism (Click here to read..)
• The City of Yangon (Click here to read..)

General Information

Geographical Location

Myanmar is located in South East Asia bordering the People's Republic of China on the North and North East, Laos on the East, Thailand on the South East, Bangladesh on the West and India on the North West. It is also strategically located between South Asia and South East Asia. More interestingly, Myanmar is sandwiched between the two most populous nations in the World-- China and India. Bangladesh, 5 times smaller in size with a population 3 times larger than Myanmar, is another of her neighbours. The former, unlike Myanmar is not blessed with abundant natural resources, in addition to which she has the misfortune to be battered by natural disasters almost every year.

Border Length with Neighboring Countries and Coast Line
Length of Border
256 km
1,331 km
2,192 km
2,24 km
2,096 km
Total Land Border
6,099 km
Coast Line
2,276 km

People And Religion

Myanmar comprises eight major national ethnic races with some 135 ethnic groups. The major national races are Kachin, Kayin, Kayah, Chin, Mon, Bamar, Rakhine and Shan. The Bamar form the largest national race constituting 70% of the whole population. In the religious sector, 89.2% of the population is Buddhist, while Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Animism are also practised.