Myanmar (Burma) is one of the poorest but at the same time one of the most fascinating countries of Southeast Asia and these two seemingly opposed attributes are more over connected. The country is poor because for decades its government fiercely protected it from almost each foreign influence, which is also the reason for its fascinating character. Travelling to Myanmar is not only a voyage into a different geographic region, but also a voyage into another time.
How far back into the past one travels depends of course on the destinations one chooses inside Myanmar. If you compare the Burmese capital Yangon (Rangoon) to the Thai capital Bangkok, the voyage may take you 30 to 40 years back into the past. On the other hand, a visit to backwash hill tribes can equal a voyage into the middle ages!
In the native tongue Burma's name has always been Myanmar. In 1989 the Burmese military government issued a decree that the country be known by the name of Myanmar among the international community. Since then in official publications and in diplomatic exchanges only Myanmar is mentioned referring to the country, which so far most people had been accustomed to calling Burma. But unofficially the name Burma is still very much in use.
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