Myanmar shares borders with Thailand, Laos, China, India and
Bangladesh. Southern Myanmar borders the Bay of Bengal and
the Andaman Sea. The central part of the country is
characterized by wide rivers and expansive plains. The major
river, the Ayeyarwady (formerly spelt Irrawaddy) is
navigable for 1600km (900mi) of its length and its flood
plains form the country's main agricultural centre.
Mountains rise to the east along the Thai border and to the
north to meet the eastern end of the Himalayan range. The
highest peak, Hkakabo Razi (5881m/19,290ft), is on the
Myanmar-Tibet border. It's the highest peak in South-East
Almost half of Myanmar is covered by forest, but if timber
concessions (and smuggling) to Thailand and other Asian
countries continue at current rates, widespread
deforestation is inevitable. About 15 per cent of total land
is cultivated, mainly with rice. Myanmar used to be the
world's largest exporter of rice.
There are three distinct seasons: the cool, dry winter from
November to February; the summer from March to May; and the
wet, humid monsoon from May to October.