Myanmar, famous with communism politic and young-troops as well as Golden Triangles Area. These past few years, Myanmar changed a lot from fully-100%-communist with close-market to become one of the most attractive market to be invest in ASEAN countries for the investors. Myanmar’s economics is growing dramatically. GDP per capita is US$1,711 [World Economic Outlook 2003], higher than Cambodia’s GDP. This is very good for doing business in Myanmar while the government is not open for all investors to invest in this country. That’s a very good sign for Myanmar.
Capital and Currency
The capital of Myanmar is Naypyidaw. Yangon is the largest city of Myanmar with the population of 5,998,000, nearly 50% of total Cambodian population. In Yangon, motorbike is not allow to drive, only car and you will not difficult to catch a taxi. The official currency of Myanmar is Kyat [US$=MMK973.994] but you can always use US dollar for some reason.
Food and Drinks
Traditional or local food is looks very similar to Indian food with the taste and smile very similar but they don’t use curry as much as Indian does. It is hard for a proper restaurant for a good food, especially very hard to find Thai restaurant or American restaurant and definitely, no KFC, StarBuck, Burger King or Pizza Hut. If you want to try Thai-liked restaurant you might need to drive more than 20 minutes. But in general, the food is okay and the beef is really good.
Buildings and Infrastructures
Hm.. speaking about buildings and infrastructures, Myanmar is under developing in this area. Most of the buildings are old and French-colonial style. There are also many new hotels with new modern style. Sule Shangri-la, ParkRoyal Hotel…are the famous hotel in the town with very modern decoration and style. And you can watch your favorite cable TV without any doubt. They also offers free internet connection, but it’s not so speedy.
People and Communication
Burmese are look quite alike to Cambodian, Thai, Indian and Laotian. But they are seem not so friendly if compare to Laotian, Thai or Cambodian people. They’re still very conservative in term of communicates with foreigners. Maybe they’ve separated from the world too long. The strangest thing here, Burmese women still put white-powder on their face which I used to saw this when I was read a grade 7 geometry books. I don’t know what that white-powder made from, but it is somehow looks very obvious. Maybe it’s herbal to protect their skin or make them more beautiful.
Burmese if the only official language and it is use wisely. Burmese people are not good at English communication in general. Their speech was not easy to understand at all. I spent 10 minutes to just tell taxi driver to bring me from hotel to my office. But however, they still didn’t play around [taxi drivers are generous, will not cheat you] at all.
Mobile phones are selling there in Myanmar but I’m sorry, it is easy to own a SIM card because it is too expensive and the calling price also never cheap at all. If I want to call or chat to my wife, I have to wait until I come back to my hotel otherwise, I cannot contact her.
Myanmar is in ASEAN region so the climate is not much different from Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and any other ASEAN countries, but a bit warmer if compare to climate in Cambodia because Yangon is quite close to the beach.
Entertainment and Cinemas
There are a few clubs [ I asked my colleague] operating here but it’s not so easy to get it. But they also have a few cinemas which showing Hollywood movies like Hercules, Lucy Lucy… I didn’t see it yet but I planned to see it.
In general, Myanmar is a good place for business and Myanmar need to change more in terms of communication, openness and perception. I believe Myanmar will become of the fastest growing in term of economic in the very short future.