Dos & Don'ts For Tourists

When visiting Myanmar, there are some customs and beliefs that travelers should be aware of before coming to the country in order to avoid offending any of the locals.

Here are some helpful hints to keep in mind whilst visiting:

–  Never wear shoes and socks inside a pagoda or monastery, as they are not allowed, although some monasteries allow footwear in the grounds. When visiting someone’s home, shoes should always be left at the door. You should also remember that carpets, mats and other kinds of floor covering are meant to be sat upon, so should avoid walking on them especially with your shoes on.
–  Myanmar dress is conservative; therefore visitors should avoid wearing anything alluring in public. In a pagoda, men and women should avoid wearing sleeveless shirts or revealing clothing.
–  Do not step over the body of anyone else. But if you must, always ask to be excused first.
–  When you offer something to a monk or nun or an elderly person, use both hands. With others, apart from casual transactions at shops or food stalls use your right hand or both hands in order to be polite in the case of giving or receiving gifts, etc.
–  Monks and nuns should not be touched. Women should be careful not to let any part of their body touch a monk’s robes.
–  Do not lose your temper. Furthermore, touching someone older than you on the head may also be interpreted as an act of aggression and should be avoided.
–  Please ask before taking photos of people, particularly monks
–  Avoid posing or sitting with Buddhist images
–  Don’t point your feet at anybody or anything. As well, be sure not to sit with your feet pointed at a Buddha image (sit cross-legged or with your legs tucked behind you)
–  Learn a few words of the Myanmar language. It is always greatly appreciated!
–  Do not show affection in public.
–  Do not give money directly to a monk.
–  Do not step voluntarily on a monk’s shadow.
–  Do not accept any kinds of drugs here. Penalties for drug-trafficking range from five years’ imprisonment to a death sentence.
– Having a Buddha tattoo is considered as offensive for most of the Buddhists if located on certain parts of your body (feet, legs, calf). Please do cover this part of your body during your stay in Myanmar should you have any Buddha tattoo.
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