Myanmar Dos and Don’ts project

NOV2013_myanmar-do-donts

Visitors to Myanmar (Burma) who want to do the ‘right thing’, now have it easy with the production of terrific cartoon booklets. Dos and Don’ts for Tourists – How you can visit Myanmar responsibly – is the entertaining and informative material recently developed for travellers to Myanmar.

Myanmar is currently one of the hottest new destinations for travellers and the Myanmar Government has recognised the possible risks of unsustainable tourism growth. To this end, they have developed booklets, posters and banners for visitors.  Intrepid Travel, with its responsible travel approach and range of tours to Myanmar, has been pleased to sponsor a print run of Dos and Don’ts booklets.

Not only are the booklets educational – raising visitor’s awareness about the intricacies of Myanmar culture and society – but with illustrations from five of Myanmar’s top cartoonists, the booklets are also funny and make a great souvenir!

The booklets were developed after consultation with a wide range of Myanmar tourism stakeholders. Over 350 people were interviewed, leading to the development of the code of 30 Dos and Don’ts. Then a wide range of cartoonists were approached, with five being chosen representing five very different cartoon styles, reflecting the diversity of Myanmar culture.

Here’s the code and some of the wonderful cartoons!

Myanmar cartoon by Ngwe Kyi

1. The Myanmar people are friendly, helpful and polite.
The typical Myanmar character is kind and trustworthy.
2. Respect the Myanmar people and their unique traditions.
3. Don’t take any photos that may make people feel embarrassed.
4. Do smile.
5. Don’t point with your foot.
6. Wear decent clothes when visiting religious sites.
7. Do tuck away your feet.
8. Don’t touch anyone on the head.
9. Please learn the basic words of Myanmar language.

Myanmar cartoon by Thit Htoon

10. Women travellers are very safe in Myanmar.
Myanmar is a very safe place for tourists but it is recommended that women dress decently.
11. Don’t kiss in public.
12. Don’t disturb people praying or meditating.
13. Calling with your finger up means calling for a challenge.
14. Please learn the local customs before visiting ethnic minority villages.
15. Do try Myanmar traditional transport facilities.
16. Visitors should be understanding when experiencing electricity outages.

Myanmar cartoon by Harn Lay

17. Don’t touch the robe of a monk.
Monks are very revered; they observe many rules, study the Dhamma, practice meditation and are highly respected. Visitors should never touch the robe of a monk, not even if they see a worm crawling up his robe.
18. Spread your wealth, use your money wisely.
19. Myanmar is a cultural destination.
20. Myanmar currency should be exchanged at the official exchange counters and banks.

Myanmar cartoon by Aw Pi Kyal

21. If tourists wish to help the people of Myanmar, they should consider creative ways to contribute to communities, not to individuals.
For example, visitors can donate to communities, schools, health facilities, NGOs or monasteries that take care of children.
22. Giving money or sweets to children is not advisable.
23. Myanmar people are delighted when tourists participate in their festivals.
24. Using drugs is illegal in Myanmar.

Myanmar cartoon by Chit Thu

25. Help protect Myanmar wildlife by refusing to purchase wildlife products.
The illegal selling of wildlife endangers the species native to Myanmar and tourists should not buy these products.
26. To maintain Myanmar’s unique heritage, do not buy antiques. Buy arts and crafts instead.
27. Help us keep Myanmar clean.
28. Practice safe sex.
29. Do not go where you are advised not to go.
30. Relax and enjoy your holiday!

You can download the Dos and Don’ts for Tourists or ask your Intrepid group leader for a copy on arrival in Myanmar. Check out Intrepid’s range of tours to Myanmar (Burma).

Cartoon credits:
1.Ngwe Kyi – his most famous cartoon character is called Kabasha. He is the author of a range of books called Myanmar laughter.
2.Thit Htoon – draws comics, satire, illustrations and animation cartoons, and uses watercolour for his cartoons.
3.Harn Lay – after fleeing Burma following the uprising in 1988, he began contributing his art to several exiled organisations and media groups. Harn Lay now works as a staff cartoonist for The Irrawaddy, a source of news, information, and analysis on Burma and the Southeast Asian region.
4.Aw Pi Kyal – is a very popular cartoon artist in Myanmar. In particular he is famous for his satire cartoons, which he regularly publishes in Myanmar journals and magazines.
5.Chit Thu – is famous for drawing child educational cartoons, monthly Myanmar hero cartoons, rural customs and monastery laughter cartoons.

About the author

Jane Crouch - Jane is currently Intrepid Travel's Responsible Business Communications Specialist and writes about all aspects of how travel can bring positive environmental, social and economic benefits. Informed through travel on 7 continents, leading Intrepid trips through SE Asia, work in outdoor education, energy conservation, international development, travellers philanthropy and climate change action, plus a big love of walking, mountains and world music.

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