Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia and is bordered on the north and northeast by China, on the east and southeast by Laos and Thailand, on the south by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal and on the west by Bangladesh and India. It is located between latitudes 09 32 N and 28 31 N and longitudes 92 10 E and 101 11 E.
The country covers an area of 677,000 square kilometres (261,228 square miles) ranging 936 kilometres (581 miles) from east to west and 2,051 kilometres (1,275 miles) from north to south, It is a land of hills and valleys and is rimmed in the north, east and west by mountain ranges forming a giant horseshoe. Enclosed within the mountaion barriers are the flat lands of Ayeyarwaddy, Chindwin and Sittaung River valleys where most of the country's agricultural land and population are concentrated.
As a whole, the location and topography of the country generated a diversity of climate conditions. Seasonal changes in the monsoon wind directions create summer, rainy and winter seasons. Extremes of temperature are rare. The directions of winds and depression bring rain, and although it is always heavy in the coastal areas during monsoon season, it seldom creates hardships. The Government is giving priority to the forest conservation and greening of nine arid districts in central Myanmar.
The main religions of the country are Buddhism (89.2%), Christianity (5.0%), Islam (3.8%), Hinduism (0.5%), Spiritualism (1.2%) and others (0.2%). Religious intolerance or discrimination on grounds of religion is nonexistent in the Union of Myanmar throughout its long history.
The Union of Myanmar is made up of 135 national races, of which the main national races are Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Bamar, Mon, Rakhine and Shan. Population of the country is estimated at 52.4 million (July, 2003) and the population growth rate is 1.84 percent.
Myanmar possesses a rich and vibrant cultural tradition. Great natural beauty combines with magnificent temple architecture. Traditionally, Myanmar tourism is based on culture. Myanmar with its long history, culture and religion has many pagodas, temples and monuments all over the country. In addition, Myanmar is also blessed by nature with natural attractions. There are snow-capped mountains, deep forests, cool and scenic places, long rivers, beautiful lakes, and manu unspoiled beaches and archipelagoes. The different national races and their way of life, traditional arts and crafts offer exotic vistas of the nation while the warm hospitality of Myanmar people world-renowned.
Why called "The Golden Land"?
The Gold is the most precious metal. Right, Myanmar (Burma) love gold. The Gold is used every where: Pagoda, Monasteries, Accessories of the Nobles, and so on. Most pagodas in Myanmar are covered with gold leaves, or for those who cannot afford use gold paint in the modern days.
When you get to Myanmar, or if you have ever been to Myanmar, this question will need not be answered. You will see golden things or gold-covered monuments in every direction you turn. No wonder, this is called the Golden Land!