Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Diaries Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was seen as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also altered, which is why you will certainly see Rangoon currently referred to as Yangon.
For tourism, Burma travel is Myanmar travel. Same same, as they say in Southeast Asia.
Both the names Burma as well as Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly three seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm yet not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited holiday accommodation choices difficult to secure and will indicate trying to book ahead or face paying out for the more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as upcoming rains are due. There is a limited number of travelers that makes it very easy to book accommodation yet it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should obtain approval within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you arrive and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter is valid for 90- days from the date of issue as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa through your local Myanmar embassy might be less costly. As an example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as do not neglect to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the current at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for tourists as the initial mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entry, although not all of them are advised because of safety.
Regardless, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of choices, where you will certainly require to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary to northern Thailand)
- Myawaddy (in the Kayin State of southeastern Myanmar on the boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region of northwestern Myanmar on the boundary to northeastern India).
- Rih Khaw Dar (a six-hour drive from the boundary village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stick to the one you initially specified when possible to prevent any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Furthermore, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is more affordable and also has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options may be aggravating yet the cross country propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and also flying is economical so it may be your better option.
You can still book flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane as well as flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing firms and a series of high-end levels.
A lot of buses travel over night which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, yet isn’t so excellent for rest. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to sleep immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the high-end buses will certainly give you a blanket yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food and also toilet break– a little bit aggravating if you’re trying to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as cheesy video up until the early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about fate, criminal activity levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you should take the usual precautions of using hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is dirty as well as there isn’t always soap in washrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, lots of tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it’s typically pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
The majority of government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the country continue to be shut to foreigners due to dispute between the government as well as different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the major traveler destinations.
Exact information on conflicts and also closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, and ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will certainly make everyone more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and t-shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and usually enforced for entering the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone puts on skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Lots of vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so get a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear option. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will find people in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but somewhere else it’s much less typical.
The local people are incredibly genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, hot and slow-moving however bear in mind: you chose to go to Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens that wish to talk. Visitors are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are lovely as well as more than happy to appear in pictures and attempt and also converse via minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is normally best dealt with by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re spending for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it delivers a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spat out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the kids. Why not? Read this fantastic article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as also serves as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops as well as restaurants as citizens utilize the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to determine the location of the kissing noise so don’t be alarmed!
The two crucial expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, however it is well received. Be prepared for a lot of residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand as well as is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually require washing as well as clean your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is really typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can not manage anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, much better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the street and also the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more concerning your network options right here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘quick’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips at any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it for free– as well as the internet is now spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can use the net an irritating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and do not expect to Skype home very frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Luggage aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up several high staircases isn’t far better.
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