Travel Etiquette

Myanmar Dos & Donts

From the view of travel expert, we believe that a proper attitude of travelling in Myanmar will be good for your time in Myanmar. As a discerning travelers, we recommend you to spend time learning about Myanmar dos and donts and it would be extremely helpful for your trip through the country:

For greeting

Do say “Mingalarbar” when meeting someone, use “U” in front of men names and “Daw” in front of women names;
Do let the oldest be served first;
Do offer articles with both hands and keep both feet on the ground;
Do bend slightly in front of the elders;
Do dress and act decently, speak slowly and clearly;
Do ask permission before taking photographs;
Don’t touch anybody’s head; Don’t touch women;
Don’t point a finger straight in the face;
Don’t step over any part of the person;
Don’t go where you are advised not to go;
Don’t traffic, handle, or use narcotic drugs;
When entering pagodas or monasteries, wear decent clothes (no shorts, bare shoulders or chests) and take off your shoes;
Don’t sit with your back towards Buddha’s image;
Show respect to monks, novices and nuns, don’t offer to shake hands, a woman should not touch a monk, don’t step on a monk’s shadow;
Don’t handle Buddha images or sacred objects with disrespect or keep them in inappropriate places (on the floor for example)
(This article was originally published under http://www.mekongresponsibletourism.org/myanmar/10-profile-myanmar/40-pe…)

Manners

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 mean YES, and shaking head means NO.

Eating

For hygiene reasons, eat only in decent restaurants. When not available, always eat heated food.
Don’t drink tap water.
Drink only bottled water and soft drinks that haven’t been opened yet.
Let the oldest be served first.
Myanmar food are often complained as ‘oily’.

Shopping

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.
Religion

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.
(Originally published under http://www.myanmartourism.org/dosanddont.htm)


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