The climate of Myanmar is tropical monsoon type and it has been divided into three seasons: June to October – Rainy Season, November to February – Winter Season and March to May – Summer Season. During winter season, the weather is cool and dry, temperature is about 70-80° F (21-27° C) whereas humidity is higher in Summer, highest temperature can be 110° F (43° C). However, the weather conditions widely differ from place to place according to their location and elevation of the land. For instance, the highland areas such as Northern Myanmar and Shan Plateau experience cooler temperature and even snow can be found on the Mountain peaks in Northern state during Winter Period.
Myanmar culture has been heavily influenced by Buddhism and also by the cultures of neighboring countries such as India, Thailand and China. After British colonial once ruled Burma, now called as Myanmar, western elements were manifested and colonial architectural influences are still retained in Yangon, the former capital city of Myanmar. Yangon is a unique example of a 19th century British Colonial capital.
Myanmar culture shows are held during just about any celebration and many of them may recount Buddhist legends, or light-hearted entertainments such as slapstick comedy, traditional dance or Giant Puppets. During those show, cultural instruments such as drums, boat-shaped harps, gongs and bamboo flutes are used for creating music. Another Myanmar culture is a ceremony called “Shin Byu” which is a very important event for Buddhist family. Every boy of the Buddhist family needs to be a novice (beginner for Buddhism) before he gets to the age of twenty and to become a monk for a short period of time (at least a week).
Temples and Pagodas are also a big part of Myanmar culture, displaying artistic paints, wood carvings and sculptures.
The main currency of Myanmar is Kyat, pronounced as “Chat”. Also, FEC (foreign exchange certificate) and US dollar are used in Myanmar. In the past, visitors were required to exchange their US dollar to FEC as only FEC were legally accepted in Myanmar. FEC is issued by government and it always equivalent to a US dollar. Hence, the rate of FEC fluctuates in accordance to US dollar.
Nowadays, visitors are no longer needed to exchange their US dollar to FEC as most of the Hotels and some businesses that deal with foreign visitors accept US dollar. Also, entrance fees to most of the attractions such as Pagodas, Museums and other zones are in US dollar. Therefore, it is advisable to always carry some dollars with the visitors. However, the condition of the dollar bills must be good and preferably new bills. Old, torn, dirty, written on, or heavily creased dollar will be rejected in Myanmar.
Rice is the main food and comprises about 75% of the diet for Myanmar people. In tradition, it is served with meat or fish, soup, salad and raw vegetables and always side dished with a condiment made with fermented fish or prawn and chili powder. Most common method of cooking the main dishes is to cook meat or fish in oil, seasoned with pounded onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, chili and spices, simmer until most of the water evaporates and leave with some gravy.
In modern days, Myanmar cuisine has been influenced by China, India and Thailand. During the colonial period, the influx of Chinese and Indians also had an impact on Myanmar Cuisine. Due to glottalization and trade liberalization, Myanmar has more access to all sorts of cuisine and food products around the world yet majority of Myanmar people still cherish their own food and ensure its uniqueness remains unchanged.