Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, covers an area of 677,000 square kilometers - approximately the size of France and Great Britain combined. It shares borders with Thailand, Bangladesh, China, India and Laos. Myanmar has a population of some 50 million and is among the most ethnically mixed countries in Southeast Asia. Officially the Burmese government distinguishes 135 different ethnic groups. Each group has its own distinct customs, culture and dialect. The major ones are Burman, Shan, Karen, Mon, Kachin, Chin, Kayin, Kayar and Rakhine. Over 85 percent of the Burmese citizens are Buddhist. The official language is Burmese, and Yangon is the largest city and the capital of the country.
Myanmar is blessed with great geophysical diversity varying from snow-capped mountains in the north to wide rivers and extensive plains in the center. The Andaman and the Indian Sea encircle the south. The 2000-kilometer Ayeyarwaddy River flows south from its source in East-Tibet making its vast delta one of the most fertile, agricultural regions of the world.
Decades of social and economic isolation have preserved many parts of Burmese unique culture and tradition, which have been lost in other Asian countries. Myanmar is a captivating country endowed with rich natural and cultural treasures combined with friendly and hospitable people. It remains one of the most exciting and fascinating places to be discovered in the world.