Myanmar, formerly known as Burma until 1989, is recognized by the world as the Golden Land. The country's name was officially changed by the military government that took over in 1988. Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) is the commercial capital and largest city. Naypyidaw is the administrative capital since 2012.
The republic of the Union of Myanmar, located in Southeast Asia, bounded on the west by Bangladesh, on the northwest by India's Assam State, on the northeast by China's Yunnan Province, on the east by Laos and Thailand, and on the southwest by the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. The longest land border is shared with China. The country covers an area of 261,228 square miles (675,577 sq km) and has a coastline measuring 1,275 miles (2,051 km).
The terrain ranges from arid plains to cool, sprawling hills, ice-capped mountains, white-sand beaches, lush farmland, hidden valleys and thick virgin forest. Throughout history, the rivers in Myanmar have been its lifelines. The longest and most important river called Ayeyarwaddy (Once called Irrawaddy) and being long 1,240 miles is running down the centre of the country from its very tip into the sea. Other rivers are the Chindwin being navigable 492 miles, the Sittaung not being navigable due to strong currents but being used to float down teak logs and the Thanlwin being navigable 55 miles. All over the country and especially in the delta, there are natural springs, hundreds of streams and rivulets, and canals and dams constructed for farmers. The jungles in Myanmar are filled with rare animals, birds, butterflies, orchids and medicinal plants. Many places, especially in the deep jungles, have been designated as protected areas, such as Natma Taung ( Mt. Victoria) National Park, Indawgyi Wetland Wildlife Sanctuary, Phunganrazi and Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuaries, Hukaung Valley Tiger Reserve, Hkakaborazi National Park, Maing Nung Forest Reserve, Nant Yin Forest Reserve, Nang Mung Forest Reserves, Alaungdaw Katthapa National Park, Lumpi Marine National Park in the Myeik Archipelago which has around 1,000 islands, Moe Yun Gyi Bird Sanctuary not far from Yangon and Mount Popa National Park near Bagan.