Myanmar is an Asian country, located in the tropics, with borders to Thailand, China, India and Bangladesh. The border to the east, where many countries meet, is infamous for the drugs which are produced there and called the Golden Triangle. Obviously the drug dealers use the remoteness and the possibility to cross the borders for their own purposes. The western border is a coast, the northeastern part of the Indian Ocean, the northern part of Myanmars coast is called the Bay of Bengal, the southern the Andaman Sea.
The language spoken is Burmese, the capital is Naypyidaw. The currency is Kyat (MMK). The land has an area of about 675,000km² and a popuation of 50 Million people. The main religion is the Burmese form of Theravada Buddhism. But there are a diverse range of indigenous cultures, which often believe in animism or shamanism, in totem animals and nature gods. They also speak their own languages.
The state of Burma has been under direct or indirect control by the military since 1962. In 1989 the Burma was renamed Myanmar by the governing military junta. Some countries did not recognize this government and still called the country Burma. The first free elections in 1990 failed, as the military junta refused to cede power. However, ongoing civil war, demonstrations, international sanctions and the devastating Cyclone Nargis finally caused the dissolution of the junta and democratic elections. They were again disputed and called fraudulent, but democratic reforms finally lead to the 2015 election which was the first openly contested elections and gave gave the National League for Democracy an absolute majority.
Such political quarrels are not relevant for caves, but they are relevant for tourism. Since 1992, the government has encouraged tourism, but because of the political and security issues it was always low. With the political changes there are hopes for the future, but currently it is still difficult to travel to Myanmar. You can only travel by plane and direct flights are limited. Nevertheless, the access to new parts of the country was opened to tourists and as a result the number of listed sites increased dramatically.
|1||Khauk Khaung (Stone Cave)||Shan||Ywangan||4,790m||2012-14|
|2||Phruno River Cave||Kayah||Hpruso||4,580m||2016-17|
|3||Red River Cave||Kayah||Bawlakhe||4,095m||2015-16|
|4||Namun Spring Cave||Shan||Pinlaung||2,628m||2013-14|
|Jörg Dreybrodt, APR-2017|