Weird things in Myanmar a.k.a Burma

I traveled to Myanmar because I hate my life at home. Myanmar has long been closed to tourism but recently in the past decade the country is opening up and allowing tourists in limited quantities.

After, traveling for few days, I found some weird things about Myanmar. Take a look.

The military government is out of mind
In 2010, two weeks after the military backed government won the elections, that were mostly rigged, they changed the official name of the country first from Burma to Union of Myanmar and then from Union of Myanmar to Republic of the Union of Myanmar. Moreover, they also changed the national flag much to the disliking of its people, which looks like an alloy of Lithuania flag and the star from the Vietnamese flag.

Myanmar Old and New Flag

Myanmar Old and New Flag

Men wear skirts
I was quiet shocked to see men wearing skirts. But well, they are not skirts, but a skirt look alike. It’s called a lyongi. A rectangular piece of cloth is stitched at both ends making it into a cylindrical shape. Lyongi is tied around the waist and runs down to the ankle. But, sometimes few men fold it up to their knees for better air circulation and extra comfort.

Rickshaw driver wearing lyongi

Rickshaw driver wearing lyongi

Unique Myanmar driving and the General’s dream
The general rule is that, cars with steering on right should be driven to the left side of the road and cars with steering on left should be driven to the right side. Being under the British rule, the cars in Myanmar had steering on the right and drive on the left. All was well and good until 1970, when the government surprisingly moved the traffic to the right. What’s more surprising is the reason beyond this move. It’s rumored that the General then, had a dream, that changing the direction of the traffic would also change the direction in which the country was progressing. Pretty intelligent, isn’t it.

People have red color teeth
Don’t be surprised if you see people with red teeth. I love the Burmese smiles, but beyond those smiles lies a dark secret. Their addiction to beetle nut has teeth stained into reddish black color. The whole country is addicted to chewing beetle nut (or Kun Ja in Burmese) and it’s a national time pass. They chew it from since they wake up in the morning until they sleep.

Burmese woman with teeth stained in red

Burmese woman with teeth stained in red

Ban on motorcycles
Motorcycles are totally banned in Yangon. You would not find even a single motorbike on the roads. It’s rumored that a motorbike rider showed some offensive gestures to a military general and since then the ban was applied. There is another story that a military general was angered by a motorist who hit his car and a ban has been applied.

Did you see any thing else weird in Myanmar. Share your experience with us in the comment section.

Photo Source
Rickshaw driver wearing lyongi – http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlc-hk/3455044995/
Burmese woman with teeth stained in red – http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/49880661

Sai Karthik Reddy Mekala

Karthik Reddy has been traveling around the world since completing his M.B.A in 2012. He is passionate about photography, trying out new food, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and explore places solo.

6 Responses

  1. AJ says:

    very useful told me what i wanted to know

  2. Kenneth says:

    It is not lyongi. It is Longyi.

  3. Prashanthi says:

    This is very nice information for my knowledge.

  4. Ari ale says:

    Hi
    very very good your post and website.
    thanks
    ari ale

  5. ksharma01 says:

    amazing blog that very good thanks

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