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MyanmarTravel.Info  - amigo tour, myanmar travel, myanmar travels, myanmar tour, myanmar tours, myanmar tour operator, myanmar tour guideDos & Don'ts

Dos & Don'ts

The usual Asian rules of conduct apply in Myanmar, plus there are a few specially Burmese ones. As with elsewhere in Asia it is unseemly to show too much emotion losing your temper over problems and delays gets you nowhere, it just amazes people. Stay calm and collected at all times. The Burmese frown on such displays of anger just as much as they frown on too open a display of affection.

As in other Buddhist countries the head is the highest part of the body - spiritually as well as literally. You should never deliberately touch somebody else on the head or pat a child on the head. Equally, the feet are the lowest part of the body - don't point your feet at somebody.

Buddha images are sacred objects, so don't pose in front of them for pictures and definitely do not sit or climb upon them.
A couple of rules apply specifically to women. Women should never ride on the roofs of vehicles or boats,which would be a cultural insult to any male pasengers below.Those males who weren't gravely offended might take the roof-sitting as licence to harass such 'loose women'.

Monks are not supposed to touch or be touched by women. if a woman wants to hand something to a monk, the object should be placed within reach of the monk, not handed directly to him.

Dress

One should dress neatly (no shorts or skimpy tank tops) when visiting religious sites. Most important of all in Myanmar, remember to take off your shoes and socks before entering the grounds of any Theravada Buddhist shrine, zedi, temple, paya or monastery. Even at the most dilapidated, run-dowm, ruined paya in Bagan the 'no footwearing' rule still applies. You must go barefoot in every part of a Buddhist compound, not just in the shrine buildings as in neighbouring Buddhist countries. In the middle of the day going barefoot can get a little painful as the paved area around a paya often becomes very hot. At major payas there will often be a mat walkway around the platform.

At one time this restriction caused quite a stir betweem the Burmese and the British. As part of the growing surge of nationalism between the wars, and as a neat way to put the British in their place, the Burmese decided to rigidly enforce the no-footwear rules, from which the Europeans had previously been exempted . Signs also suddenly appeared announcing that there was to be 'no umbrellaring' - in case you' ve never seen anyone do this, it means using an umbrella to point things out!

Shoes - but not necessarily socks - are also taken off before entering private homes. Actually the Burmese very rarely wear socks. You'll find it easier to deal with temples and private homes if you follow their example and go sockless. Or take it a step further and wear slip-on-sandals-the nost convenient footwear for travelling in Myanmar - like the locals do .
Beach attire or sloppy lounge clothes are not considered appropriate for walking around town. The attitude of 'this is how i dress at home and no one is going to stop me' gains nothing but disrespect or even disgust from the Burmese. Men should try to keep theri shoulders covered except at the beach or when bathing. Likewise long trousers, longyis (sarong-style garment) or skirts are considered more appropriate than shorts in all situations except at the beach. Women can wear sleeveless blouses, but should try to avoid tight or breast-baring tank tops.

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