Business Guide For Burmese Culture Adaption

Comprehensive guide of how to adopt yourself into the cultural environment of Myanmar while doing business in the country

Like all other countries, Myanmar is also rich in its cultural heritage. In fact, Myanmar deserves exceptional commendations due to its unique idiosyncrasies. Some of these are very enjoyable and visitors are quite attracted by the events. But some require subtle behavior and adjustments by the visitors to get delighted.

Religious Courteousness
The focal point of Myanmar culture is the ancient Burmese belief i.e. Buddhism. This belief is infused in the secluded as well as the public life of the Myanmar people. Young people spend time learning in monasteries; the monks and nuns have an esteemed place in the Burmese society. They must not be touched by an ordinary person; they are always to be seated at the highest possible position; they hold exceptional privileges for example freedom of first class travel on all public transport (sometimes they even have reserved seats).
In the mountainous border areas like Chin, Karen, and Kachin, there is some Christian belief found and the Christians of this region are quite orthodox in their beliefs – though often their belief is mixed with the ancient Burmese beliefs just as in the rest of Myanmar.

Some other aspects of Burmese religion are also present and are quite distressful for the travelers at times. These are given below:
• Clothing which exposes the body is grimaced by the Myanmar people. Nevertheless, this is becoming common amongst women especially while they are in public. But it is strictly forbidden to wear revealing clothes in Monasteries and at sacred placed
• Shoes and socks are to be removed before entering a religious shrine, monastery or pagoda. Also before entering private homes and offices, shoes are to be removed
• Head and feet are very important parts in Myanmar Culture. Children’s head mustn’t be touched and feet must not be put on tables.
• Myanmar women are not to be touched in public, although it is acceptable to shake hands with them if they offer their hand first.
• Couples are forbidden from displaying affection in public places.

Living and Working as a Businessman/Businesswoman
For a person being in business, most of your traveling with be done seeing sunsets or sunrises. This is because travelers are used to trains and trains depart usually at 5 in the morning. A drawback of living in Myanmar is that there is no nightlife; this is a serious concern for the late-night workers. There are, however, some bars in the bigger cities which stay open till late.
Following are the common business hours in Myanmar:
• Banks: Monday-Friday, 0900-1600
• Restaurants: All week, 0800-2100
• Shops: Monday-Saturday, 0930-1800
• POs and Government offices: Monday-Friday, 0930-1630
• Business office hours: Monday to Friday, 0900-1730
• Internet Cafés: All week, 0900-2200


Further Cultural Issues
Travelers have to keep in mind that traveling around the country can be quite uncomfortable due to lack of development. The truth is that this country is very poor. Its whole economy is based on cash; there is little official banking. In the field of electricity, this county is very recessive and most of the people don’t even have a connection to the electricity grid of the country. Only some people have access to electricity, which frequently shuts down. Internet and telephone lines are facilities far from being provided to the general public. Only expensive restaurants possess these. The government is still trying to improve this.


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