Unlike westerners, Burmese don’t wear shoes or slippers indoor. They don’t wear shoes or slippers on the pagoda. It is important that visitors to Burma should pay proper attention to this custom when visiting Myanmar. To give a rough idea what a foreigner should observe about footwear, we would like to give our readers a few advice.
Burmese usually don’t wear shoes or slippers in their house. Whether wooden floor, carpeted or cement/marble floor, we don’t wear shoes indoor. Thus it is advisable for a foreigner to remove his/her shoes or slippers before entering a house. There is usually a place at the entrance where the visitors could leave their shoes. Leave your shoe or slipper there. You don’t need to remove your socks. It is ok to have your socks on in a Burmese house.
- On pagoda, footwear of any kind is strictly prohibited. No shoes, no slippers, no socks, no stockings, no footwear of any kind. You have to walk BAREFOOT on the pagoda. If you wear socks on the pagoda, Burmese would consider it an insult to their religion. It was a source of intense political movement 90 years ago in British Burma when Europeans were allowed to wear shoes on the pagodas. Surely, you wouldn’t want to remind Burmese of this forgotten event.
- Monasteries: it has two parts, the monastery compound (ground) and the monastery building. Monks are allowed to wear slippers in the monastery ground. For ordinary people, this is a controversy. Some monks believe that people should wear footwear in the monastery compound while others believe they should not wear. It depends on the monastery you are visiting. The best advice is to ask the monk from the monastery you are visiting whether you should remove your shoes or not. In most cases, you can wear your shoes up to the entrance of the monastery building. However, before entering the building, you have to remove your shoes and socks. The monastery building floor is the same as the pagoda floor.
- Shops and restaurants: there is usually no need to remove your shoes.
- Government offices: most of the government offices have cement floor thus no need to take off shoes. However, in some offices, the floor is a wooden one, and many need to take off your shoes (but not always). Look whether there are slippers at the entrance or whether people inside are wearing slippers. If in doubt, ask.
- Private company and business offices: it depends. Some of the company offices, even though they have cement floor, ask the employees and visitors to take off and leave the slippers at the entrance. If you see slippers at the entrance, it means you should also do the same.
Another advice about shoes is to invest in a pair of cheap, light and comfortable slippers. You will find yourself having to take off your shoes several times during your visit to pagodas. Surely, you won’t want to lose your expensive shoes while visiting the pagoda.
2 thoughts on “Shoe Advice”
Myanmar is a good place to visit.
To be on the safe side, I would recommend going barefoot all the time as long as you can cope with that.
PLEASE ALL MCA MEMBERS FAR FROM YIP KUM FOOK!
现在世界各先进国都盡力保存佛教的文化和保护佛教的僧侶，但马华公会鹅唛區会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook, MCA Gombak Chairman) 却反其道而行, 帶一般流垊到佛教埾地(SAMNAK SAMBODHI THAI BUDDHIST TEMPLE, NO: 19 JALAN 38 TAMAN DESA JAYA KEPONG 52100 KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA)試圄摧毁佛教文化, 挑衅和打架, 并电招警方人員要扣留佛寺沙彌, 这种不按佛教條规, 軽视佛教精神的行动, 对世界佛教信徒实有侮辱之举, 的确令人不敢恭维.
除此之马华公会鹅唛區会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook, MCA Gombak)也利用杖势, 連众人朝拜的印度廟TAMAN DAYA, KEPONG, KUALA LUMPUR 放火燒毁把土地佔为已有, 马华公会鹅唛區会主席叶金福律师 (Yip Kum Fook, MCA Gombak Chairman)这种冒犯宗教的不良行为, 已引起廣大的大马人民愤怒而不满, 所以, 在耒屇的大选, 希望马华公会的中央领神, 能深明大義, 对此娄党员, 最好疏薳距离, 以免影响选票, 造成马华公会大大的败北, 遗恨江山此致, 并祝安康, 工作快乐.
This Datuk is very bad like a dog; everyone has to send any message to the King(Agong) because it is a shame for the whole of Malaysia to be called Datuk
By Ng Swee Huat, Kepong