A magical land of golden pagodas, stupas, hill stations, tribal villages, rivers, mountain ranges and stunning beaches. Mandalay, the Irrawaddy River, the temples of Bagan, Rangoon - all conjure up images of a bygone era steeped in colonialism, immortalised in the works of Kipling and Orwell. From its remote villages with floating gardens and houses on stilts, to bustling markets in the old towns, Burma is an extraordinary country rarely captured on camera. Panoramic Fixers can fulfill all your film and media production needs in Burma (Myanmar).
When to go
Burma has 3 seasons:
- Cool Season - October to February with average temperatures 20-24C;
- Hot Season - March to May with average temperatures 30-35C;
- Wet Season - June to September with average temperatures 25-30C.
The ideal time to visit Burma is during the cool season. However, even during the wet season, Yangon normally only receives morning and afternoon showers, while rainfall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low. The weather around Inle Lake and in Shan State is quite pleasant all year round but cold at night from December to February.
Taunggyi in Burma is famed for its Balloon Festival, with balloon competitions throughout the day and night. Day balloons are usually in the form of pagodas, and animals such as elephants, dragons or ducks. At night, the balloons are usually in the shape of a rugby ball, huge elongated paper balls with hundreds of small lighted multicoloured paper lanterns hung around their sides. The night balloons string along fireworks and fire sticks which are set off mid-air.
Held in Bagan and celebrated at the Ananda temple the Anandar Pagoda Festival takes place in the days leading up to the full moon day of Pyatho. It is held to raise money for the upkeep of Bagan’s thousand-year-old Ananda temple. Hundreds of oxen cart travel for days to get to the venue from various villages.
Thingyan (or the Burmese New Year Water Festival) is a Buddhist festival celebrated over a period of four to five days culminating in the new year. The dates of the festival, which often coincide with Easter, are observed as the most important public holiday throughout Burma. Water-throwing or dousing one another from any shape or form of vessel or device that delivers water is the distinguishing feature of this festival.
The Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is one of the largest Buddhist festivals in Burma. The celebrations take place over more than 20 days. Pilgrims from all over the country come to pay homage to the four Buddha images which are paraded around the lake in an elaborate, gilded barge pulled by traditional long boats manned by hundreds of rowers. Over the years these images have become so covered by gold leaf that it is difficult to recognise them.
There are a number of tribes in Burma living in traditional village set ups, though it is becoming increasingly likely to see electricity and television there. Most of these tribes see religion and music as part of their daily lives, many handcrafting their own instruments.
Cuisine in Burma is a cross between Chinese and Indian, and a typical family meal consists of liberal servings of rice, usually eaten with a curry that will be slightly different from the Indian variety, involving fewer spices and more garlic and ginger. Rice is served with meat or fish, soup, salad and vegetables all cooked in their own ways, and some relishes to complement the meal. During meals all the dishes are laid out on the dining table and served together so that diners can make their own choices and combinations.
Football is the most popular sport in Burma, as well as Burmese kickboxing and martial arts (thaing).
Burma is predominantly a Buddhist country, with almost 90% of the population following the school of Theravada Buddhism. There are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists. The country's religious tolerance is evident in the existence of religious buildings of different beliefs in large cities.
From elephants, sun bears and jackals to blue whales and dugongs, Burma has a huge animal population, some of which are critically endangered. One of the country's most famous animals is the Burmese Python, one of the largest snakes in the world, which can swallow a goat whole. Flying foxes are native to Burma, as is the tapir, a pig-like animal which can be found in the forests. A number of different primates can also be found living in the trees.