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How You Can Visit Myanmar Responsibly

How You Can Visit Myanmar Responsibly

The Ministry of Hotels & Tourism Myanmar proposes the following Do's and Don't 

Typical Character

  • Friendly, helpful, honest, but proud.

  • Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected.


  • When addressing people, don’t leave out U (which stand for Mr) or Daw (which stand for Ms/Mrs)

  • Speak slowly and clearly.


  • Not always necessary to shake hands.

  • Don’t hug or kiss in public.

  • Don’t touch any adult on the head.

  • Don’t step over any part of a person, as it is considered rude.

  • Accept or give things with your right hand.

  • In Myanmar, unlike the Indian continent, nodding means YES, and shaking head means NO.


  • For hygiene reasons, eat only in decent restaurants.

  • When not available, always eat heated food.

  • Don’t eat food purchased from street vendors.

  • Don’t drink tap water.

  • Drink only bottled water and soft drinks that haven’t been opened yet.

  • Let the oldest be served first.

  • Chinese food is common and suggested.

  • Myanmar food has often been complained about being ‘oily’.

  • To try good Myanmar food, go to decent restaurants in Yangon area, where they cook Myanmar food according to international standards.


  • When buying gems, sculptures, or any expensive souvenir, make sure it comes with an export permit.

  • Buy arts from authorized dealers only and get a certified receipt.


  • Don’t leave expensive items in your room. Use safe deposit box.

  • Beware of cheats, swindlers, imposters.


  • Stay away from narcotic drugs.

  • Carry some medicines for diarrhea.

  • If sick, don’t worry. All doctors are English literate.

  • Health insurance is not available


  • Accept that facilities may not be the best.

  • On trains, keep windows shut.

  • Speed or distance descriptions are in miles, not kilometers.

  • Carry toilet paper in your bag.


  • Most Myanmar do not wear shoes in their homes. Take off when visiting.

  • Moving About

  • Don’t jay walk. Watch where you walk and what you step on.

  • If driving, city speed limit is 30 mph. Drive on the right side.


  • At religious places, remove footwear, but to remove headwear is not necessary.

  • Avoid shouting or laughing.

  • Avoid being a nuisance when taking photographs.

  • Tread Buddha images with respect.

  • Tuck away your feet. Don’t point it toward the pagoda or a monk.

  • Don’t play loud music in these areas. Note that Buddhist monks are not allowed to listen to music.

  • Do not put Buddha statues or images on the floor or somewhere inappropriate.

  • Don’t touch sacred objects with disrespect. Hold them in your right- hand, or with both hands.

  • Leave a donation when possible.

  • Show respect to monks, nuns, and novices (even if they are children).

  • Don’t offer your hand to shake hands with a monk.

  • Sit lower than a monk and elders.

  • Don’t offer food to a monk, nun, or a novice after noon time.

  • A woman should not touch a monk.


Contributed By Si Thu


Contributed By Si Thu