Dos and Don'ts


Typical Character

  •     Friendly, helpful, honest, but proud.
  •     Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected.
  •     Speaking
  •     When addressing people, don't leave out U (which stands for Mr) or Daw (which stands 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 means 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 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.


  •     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.


  •     At religious places, remove footwear, but to remove headwear is not necessary.
  •     Avoid shouting or laughing.
  •     Avoid being a nuisance when taking photographs.
  •     Treat 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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