DOs and DON’Ts

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.

• 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 foods 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.
• 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 jaywalk. Watch where you walk and what you step on.
• If driving, city speed limit is 30 mph. Drive on the right side.

• 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.