The government of Myanmar recognises more than 100 ‘national races’, the term used to describe the different ethnic groups, tribes and cultures that make up the population. The most numerous group is the Bamar (Burmese), who comprise around 65% of the population. The largest minority group are the Shan, who make up around 9% of the population and are related to, and speak a similar language to the Thai. Other large minorities include the Kachin, Chin, Kayah, Kayin (Karen), Mon and Rakhaing. The culturally-rich people of Myanmar are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality – The people themselves are the highlight of a visit to Myanmar.

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