• Delnicka 54, 170 00 Prague, Czech Republic
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About Burma/Myanmar

Which is the correct name: "Burma" or "Myanmar"?

The current official name in English is “Republic of the Union of Myanmar”, in short: “Myanmar”. While “Myanmar” is now almost exclusively used especially among younger people inside the country, many dissidents in exile preferred to keep the name “Burma”.

According to the government, the new name was untainted by a historical burden and also non-discriminative against ethnic minorities.  Both names, however, have the same deficits:

  1. regarding the legitimacy: The name “Burma” has a colonial history, while “Myanmar” was introduced by the military junta. None of them were based on democratic decisions by the people.
  2. regarding inclusiveness: Both names are words from the Burmese (“myanma saka”) language, the language of the largest ethnic group that holds most of the key positions in government and army. In that language, these words are different merely on a stylistic level: “Bama” is more colloquial while “Myanmar” is used in official and written communication. The political connotation exists only in their English equivalents.

Read more about the background here.

Should I travel to Burma/Myanmar?

The situation in the country has dramatically changed, but still many people believe that going there as a tourist would inevitably support the wrong forces.

We believe that this question cannot be answered anymore with a clear yes or no. Rather, it depends on how you travel, and what is the long-term impact on the country and its population.

Read more about this question here and visit our project EcoBurma.

Do Burmese names have a first and a last name?

In Burma there is a multitude of ethnic groups with their own customs and traditions. The majority of people, however, doesn’t use first and last name, as we know it. Names can be made up of several syllables that form together one name. When traveling abroad people usually split their names into first and last names.

It is also quite common to use nicknames and English Christian names in communication when introducing themselves to foreigners.

What is the meaning of "Daw" and "U" before the names?

These are honorific titles. Most of them are derived from names for family relationships, such as “aunt”, “uncle” or “sister”. In Burmese, you would only call children or very close people without a title.

Common titles are:

Female

  • Daw: Used for women who could be the age of your parents, or who are of advanced age.
  • Ma [‘mah’]: Used for adult women who could be your own age or younger.
  • Sayama [‘Sayahmah’]: Used for teachers and women with academic education, such as physicians.

 

Male

  • U [‘Oo’]: Used for men who could be the age of your parents, or who are of advanced age.
  • Ko: Used for adult men who could be your own age or younger.
  • Maung [‘Moung’]: Used for young men.
  • Saya [‘Sayah’]: Used for teachers and men with academic education, such as physicians.

 

Monks, nuns and army ranks have their own titles.

About the Burma Center Prague

Are you affiliated with any political party in Burma?

No. We believe that that political system should facilitate plurality and equal chances among the parties and that eventually the people should decide based on truly free elections.

What is your relationship towards the Burmese government?

We see ourselves as a critical observer who is supportive to developments that are in line with our mission.

We believe that governments and their institutions should serve the people, in their entirety, and promote their equality and prosperity, defend their human rights and encourage an active and relevant civil society.

Can I send you commercial emails?

No, please don’t.

Can I visit you at your office?

Due to our limited resources, we cannot receive unsolicited visitors. Please contact us first for an appointment.

Internship and Volunteering

Is it possible to do an internship at the BCP?

Due to our very limited resources, we can supervise interns only in rare cases when we have suitable tasks and free capacities.

Is it possible to volunteer for the BCP?

We sometimes need volunteers for ad hoc translations (Czech ↔ English, Czech, English ↔ languages of Burma/Myanmar) or to author texts about traveling to Burma. We prefer a long-term working relationship. Volunteers should be able to provide high-quality work that is ready for use and to keep agreed deadlines. Unfortunately we are not able to train volunteers, nor can we refund any expenses.
Please register at the volunteer roster. We will contact you when we seek volunteers for a particular task.
We also recommend to register at the website umsemumtam.cz where we advertise tasks that require particular professional skills.

Traveling to Burma (Myanmar)

What is needed for a visa to Burma?

This depends very much on your nationality, the type of visa and other questions. Please consult a Myanmar Embassy. The one that is in charge of the Czech Republic is located in Berlin.

How long does it take to get a visa?

This depends very much on your nationality, the type of visa and other questions. Please consult a Myanmar Embassy. The one that is in charge of the Czech Republic is located in Berlin.

Is it possible to get a visa from Bangkok?

Mostly yes. Please contact a travel agency or the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok: 132 Sathorn Nua Road, Bangkok, 10500 (5 minutes walk from the BTS skytrain station of Surasak)

Is it possible to enter Burma by car or bus?

The situation is changing every year, new boarder check points are being opened, but further travels into the country may not be possible for everyone. Please consult a travel agency or the Myanmar Embassy. The one that is in charge of the Czech Republic is located in Berlin.

Do you assist with finding accommodation or a tour guide?

Please contact a travel agency or search accommodation online.

Do you offer other services for tourists?

Please contact a travel agency.

How is the general safety situation?

If you stay in the touristic area, safety is not usually an issue. One of the increasing problems is the traffic.

For up-to-date information, please see the travel recommendations of your foreign ministry. For Czech ciitzens, the page can be found here.

Do I need a vaccination?

Please consult with your doctor who will be able to take into consideration the current situation and your past vaccination status.

Is it possible to travel with children?

Yes, but general rules of caution apply here as well.

Which places do you recommend to visit?

Please consult a travel agency or travel guide. You can also find many travel reports here.