People have moved across continents over centuries; today’s inhabitants of Turkey has ancestors from the steppes of Asia. Within South East Asia people moved east, west and south. In the case of Myanmar, the Bagan Kingdom was created from people from South West China. Bagan is one of the highlights of a Myanmar family tour package. While the Bamar is the majority population of Myanmar there are well over 100 ethnic groups; there are several states within the country and different ethnic strands live within them:
• Kachin, originally Jinghpaw, comprisesthe Hkahkus, Gauris, Lashis, Marus, Atsis and Nungs in addition to the Jinghpaw themselves.
• Kayah includes the Kayah, Kayan, Kayaw, Yintalei, Gekho, Hheba, Shan, Intha, Bamar, Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Kayin, Mon and Pao.
• Kayin are in mountain villages and the Thai border area.
• Chins are found in western of Myanmar in the State of the same name; around 1.5 million in total. They also live across the border in India; the states of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur and Assam. They are a mix of Chinese and Burmese and their dialect a mix of Bamar and Tibetan.
• The Mons are a branch of the Mon-Khmer. There are around 2.5 million in total.
• The Rakhine live on the west coast and are related to the Bamar though there are linguistic variations.
• The Shan live on the eastern plateau beyond the Ayeyawady and Sittaung valleys, just south of Bhamo and north of Kayah.
One of the real delights of Myanmar travel packagesis to see the diversity and that include the people living within its borders. The different groups have one thing in coming; their natural hospitality. There is no conflict within their cultures. Groups live both inside and beyond the national borders.
• The Lisu people are an ethnic group who also inhabit China, Thailand, and Arunachal Pradesh in India. They originate in eastern Tibet, mountain people whom missionaries tried to convert to Christianity, largely in vain.
• The Akha originate in China and Tibet and the majority now live in villages in the mountains of China, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.
• Palaung also live in China where they are known as Bulang.
• The Mergui Archipelago and its 800 islands is the home of the sea gypsies (the Moken); it is the place that those on a Myanmar holiday will see more of the Myanmar fishing community.
Travellers who set out to see the world want more than just an album full of photographs of the places they have visited. They want to learn about the country and if there is a substitute for actually living in a country, it is to meet its people, both urban and rural. Those who take an Indochina tour package will have the chance to see as many as five countries. Some of South East Asia’s ethnic groups live in more than a single country and each country has wide diversity as well. Myanmar offers a great chance to meet people and genuinely add to the travel experience.