DOs & DON'Ts from the Ministry of Tourism

Typical Character

- Friendly, helpful, honest, but proud.

- Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected.


- When addressing people, don’t leave out U (which stand for Mr) or Daw (which stand for Ms/Mrs)

- Speak slowly and clearly.


- 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.

Typical Character of Myanmar   Speak slowly and clearly   Don't kiss in public

- For hygiene reasons, eat only in decent restaurants.

When not available, always eat heated food.

- Don't eat food purchased from street vendors.

- Don't drink tap water.

- Drink only bottled water and soft drinks that haven’t been opened yet.

- Let the oldest be served first.

- Chinese food is common and suggested.

- Myanmar food are often complained as ‘oily’.

- To try good Myanmar food, go to decent restaurants in Yangon area, where they cook Myanmar food according to international standards.


- 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.


- Don’t leave expensive items in your room. Use safe deposit box.

- Beware of cheats, swindlers, imposters.


- Stay away from narcotic drugs.

- Carry some medicines for diarrhea.

- If sick, don’t worry. All doctors are English literate.

- Health insurance is not available.

Stay away from narcotic drugs.   Shopping

- Accept that facilities may not be the best.

- On trains, keep windows shut.

- Speed or distance descriptions are in miles, not kilometers.

- Carry toilet paper in your bag.


- Most Myanmar do not wear shoes in their homes. Take off when visiting.

Moving About

- Don’t jay walk. Watch where you walk and what you step on.

- If driving, city speed limit is 30 mph. Drive on the right side.

Don't disturb people praying or meditating

- 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.

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