Yangon, Myanmar: Five things you should know before you go

Five essential things to consider before you go to Yangon.

1 The Australian Government is still grappling with colonial vs contemporary place names when it comes to Burma/Myanmar. To make like a local, call the country's commercial centre Yangon, not Rangoon.

2 Shwedagon Pagoda, visible from most parts of Yangon, is Myanmar's most sacred Buddhist site. Dress modestly (no spaghetti straps) and wear easy-to-remove footwear.

3 Myanmar Buddhists pray at one of eight points around the pagoda assigned to their day of birth (Wednesday-borns are divided into morning and afternoon). An animal figure marks each spot. Monday-borns, for example, should look for a tiger.

4 If you learn just one word, make it "mingalaba" – the greeting is always returned with a smile. 

5 Hark back to colonial times with cocktails or afternoon tea at The Strand, a landmark luxury hotel built in 1901 by the founders of Singapore's Raffles Hotel.