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Worldworx TravelFeatures: Myanmar

Myanmar (Burma) - Union of Burma
Myanmar (Burma): Union of Burma
Capital
: Rangoon (regime refers to the capital as Yangon)
Population: 42,238,224
Currency: kyat (MMK)
Languages: Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages
Religions: Buddhist 89%, Christian 4% (Baptist 3%, Roman Catholic 1%), Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Borders: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

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Myanmar is a Southeast Asian country bordered by Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh. Myanmar enjoys a coastline measuring 1,930 km, facing the Bay of Bengal, Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea. The Mergui Archipelago off the south coast of the country is also considered part of Myanmar's territory. The total land area of Myanmar equates to 657,740 sq km with an additional 20,760 sq km of water. The terrain is comprised of a low-lying central region, watched over by the steep, rugged Shan plateau. The highest point of elevation is Hkakabo Razi at a height of 5881m. Nearly half of the country is covered by dense forest, housing an interesting collection of birds, mammals and flora. The Irrawady River in the west of the country is perhaps Myanmar's most famous natural feature. The wealth of Myanmar's natural resources is particularly worthy of note as the country houses reserves of petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones and natural gas. Myanmar holds a strategic position near the major Indian Ocean shipping lanes.

Originally known as Burma, Myanmar was invaded by the British in 1824, although the Japanese also staked a claim during World War Two. In 1964, the country gained full independence. Many of the old place names have changed since independence although in Yangon (formerly Rangoon), old colonial British street signs still stand alongside Myanmanese versions. The total population of Myanmar is 41,994,678 of which 83.1% are literate. The official language is Burmese and the national unit of currency is the Kyat.

Some 65% of Myanmar's working population works within the agricultural sector, producing rice, corn, oilseed, sugarcane and pulses. Industry accounts for 17% of the country's GDP. The main industries are agricultural processing, textiles and footwear, copper, tin and iron. Myanmar's chief export partner is India. The transport network of Myanmar is made up of 3,991 km of railways and 28,200km of highways, of which 3,440km are paved.

The climate of Myanmar is tropical monsoon, with rainy, humid summers. The southwest monsoon is from June to September, and the northeast monsoon runs from December to April. Earthquakes, cyclones and landslides are all fairly common during heavy rainfalls. The hottest recorded temperature in Yangon was 41�C.

 
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