Geography of Myanmar


Terrain shapes and bedrock

The main features of the terrain in Burma are entirely determined by the north-south bedrock structures that emerged during the folding of this eastern part of the Himalayas. The country also has a general slope from close to 6,000 meters above sea level. in the north to the sea surface in the south.

A number of landform regions can be distinguished. In a northern mountain area, a number of mountain ranges radiate from a larger mountain massif in the far north. Here, several of the major rivers in Southeast Asia begin their journey towards the sea, initially only separated by narrow mountain ridges.

According to COUNTRYAAH, the western mountain ranges, which form a border with India in the west, occupy, among other things. Patkai Mountains and continues south as the Arakan Mountains all the way out to Cape Negrais. They then follow the seabed until they reach the sea surface again, forming the long ears of the Andaman and Nicobar. They originate from the Middle Ages.

To the east, an elongated central basin area spreads, where the Irrawaddy, Chindwin and Sittang rivers deposited powerful alluvial layers, which now cover the bedrock, which consists of sandstone, clay slate and clay. The river plain is very even, and only a few hills rise at most 20 m. A series of extinguished volcanoes with crater lakes and eroded volcanic canoes are located in the northern part of the rock bar. At its highest is Popaberget, 1,519 m above sea level.

In the far east, the wide Shan plateau rises to an average height of 1,000 m above sea level. It was formed during the Mesozoic period, but also shows later folded, north-south ridges that rise to 2,000-2,600 m above sea level. over the torn plateau surface. To the south, it continues in the Tenasser Mountains on the western side of the Malacca Peninsula.

The coastal area is occupied by a large number of deltas, both in the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Martaban, which lies east of Irrawaddy’s large estuary in Lake Andaman, which is part of the central basin area.

The topsoil in the highlands is at the top a red, lateritic soil, which is eroded as soon as the forest falls. The lowland areas have a muddy, alluvial soil, which, however, lacks important nutrients and humus, except where the precipitation in the central part is less and brown and black soil respectively develop.


According to BRIDGAT, Burma has a monsoon tropical climate, which is, however, modified by the north-south oriented topography and by altitude and distance from the sea. The southwestern monsoon from the Indian Ocean will thus hit the north-south mountain ranges at an oblique angle, resulting in a rain shadow effect. The northern mountains, which do get snow for about 2 months, prevent cold air masses from the north from penetrating the country.

The temperature difference during the day is small, as is the variation during the year. The average temperature stays between 28 ° C around Mandalay and 22 ° C on the Shan Plateau.

The rainfall is very high in the coastal and mountain areas, 5 100 mm per year, while the delta areas get about half as much. The central part of the country lies in rain shadow from the Arakan Mountains and receives only 500-1,000 mm per year, while the Shan plateau receives 1,625 mm per year.

Three seasons can be distinguished in the country, namely a cool and dry period from October to February, a hot and dry period from March to mid-May and a rainy season from May to October.

Plant-and animal life

Myanmar Wildlife

About half of Burma’s area is wooded. Along the damp west sides of the mountains up to 900 m above sea level. grow evergreen rainforests with trees belonging to, among other things. the families are herbaceous, myrtle, pea, dipterocarpus and palm trees. The drier east sides house deciduous monsoon forests with, among other things. teak. In the zone between 900 and 1,200 m above sea level. you will find evergreen mountain forests with different chestnut relatives (Castanopsis spp.), oak and magnolia species. Between 1,200 and 3,500 meters above sea level. dominates coniferous forests, in their quarters with large elements of rhododendrons. In the zone 3,500-4,000 m above sea level. one finds pure rhododendron forests. At higher altitudes the vegetation is alpine. In the Shan area and in the lowlands, which were originally wooded, dry grass and shrubs with scattered trees now dominate the pea plant species Acaciaand Dalbergia. In the Irrawaddy’s and Sittang’s delta there are mangrove swamps.

In the lower lying wooded areas you will find elephant, scab rag paper, tiger, leopard, tree leopard, several macaques and langures, holok, wood glory, gaur, banteng, (wild) water buffalo, several deer, rat hedgehogs (including moon rats), malaysia- and collar bear. However, many of these species are few today. Both java horns and sumatranos horns existed before, but are now completely extinct in the country. In the northern mountain forests there are among other things. cat bear, and the two goat animals goral and taki. The bird fauna is rich; Typical groups are pheasants, parrots, beards, trogons, bulbils, timalias and sunbirds. The kräldjurs fauna includes crocodiles, warts, python norms and cobras.

Nature conservation

In 2010, there were six national parks in Burma. The largest of these was Alaungdaw Kathapa (1,600 km2).