Myanmar, as Burma is now known, is strategically situated between the world's two most populous nations—China and India—and its distinctive ancient culture shares some traditions with both countries. Hidden away from the eyes of the world for half a century by its military rulers' policy of self-isolation, "the Burmese Way to Socialism," with a new democratic parliament and civilian government Myanmar is undergoing important changes as it approaches its next elections in 2015. Its most famous political detainee, Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel peace laureate, has been released after nearly twenty years of house arrest. The present administration faces teething problems in politics, governance, education, its dealings with over a hundred ethnic groups, and its society. At the same time, progress has been made with the emergence of a free press, the release of political prisoners, and the reemergence of the long-lost voice of the man and woman on the street. The country is opening up to tourism and business. The Burmese people are by nature friendly and polite, and are traditionally easy-going and peaceable. Most are devout Buddhists, and there are pagodas and meditation centers all over the country. They are also great lovers of fun, entertainments, and festivals—in fact, there is a festival for each Myanmar calendar month. Culture Smart! Myanmar provides much needed information about a country taking its first steps to becoming an important player on the world stage. It offers invaluable insights into the inner life of the Burmese, their history, traditions, attitudes, and work ethic, and gives practical advice on what to expect and how to behave in different circumstances. While their hosts may be naturally polite and accommodating, foreign visitors will have to go through a steep learning curve to understand the dos and don'ts of Burmese social customs. This book serves as an essential guide for Western tourists and entrepreneurs who are interested in visiting or doing business in this beautiful, enigmatic, and resource-rich country.