Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Tourism Myanmar Co-Op Ltd
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been till 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was viewed as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were also changed, which is why you will certainly see Rangoon now referred to as Yangon.
For tourism, Burma travel is Myanmar travel. Same same, as they say in Southeast Asia.
Both the names Burma and Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly 3 periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm however not stifling, as well as draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal lodging alternatives tricky to secure and also will certainly indicate attempting to book in advance or face paying for the much more costly choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar and upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of vacationers which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation but it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa 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 and also you should get approval within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you get here and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter stands for 90- days from the date of issue and allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be less expensive– if you want to save some cash, getting a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy may be cheaper. For example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as don’t fail to remember to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the common alternative for travellers as the first mode of access, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are several for land entrance, although not every one of them are encouraged due to safety and security.
Regardless, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes just how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of choices, where you will require to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary to north Thailand)
- Myawaddy (in the Kayin State of southeastern Myanmar on the boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area 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 border of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stay with the one you originally stated if possible to avoid any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be mentioned up-front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly and also has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be frustrating but the cross country propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is economical so it might be your better option.
You can still book flights the traditional way 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 listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and getting your bag off a trolley by the plane and flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing businesses and also a range of high-end levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so terrific for rest. Also, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at odd times in the early morning as well as will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to sleep straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the deluxe buses will certainly provide you a covering however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hours for a food and also toilet break– a bit irritating if you’re trying to sleep 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 tacky music videos until the very early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding he time of arrival. Due to superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will get to a destination conjures up bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The outcome? You will not get an answer.
You will primarily book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will generally charge a fee yet be aware that the charge can vary drastically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this actually does vary depending on destination, mode of travel and also company. Look for a company that does include pickup as taxis are expensive.
Reserving buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one useful on-line reservation portal and the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it doesn’t always indicate the bus is full. Try booking somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without fees.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, however bus rides are bumpy– you might consider taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are likewise an option for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst tourists.
There are no international car-rental agencies, however most travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses and also hotels elsewhere– can organize cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With minimal public transport, taxis will be your major way of navigating especially for getting to and from airports and also within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are set on the spot (after a fast ‘how much can I get away with’ computation) and you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Typically the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will be greater than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi prices.
Cabs for the day may be your much better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan and also $28 for a few hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in determining the expense of hiring a driver: a 12 hr trip about Yangon can cost USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar as well as is a massive contributing element to the expense.
Every person wants to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing journeys. Don’t hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transportation. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, some of the side trips can be fascinating and also drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your schedule and you may be happy you went with their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest areas, and also nearly all tourists establish a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– otherwise you’ll be one of the numerous tourists walking around toting head to foot road rash and plasters.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres should give you an idea. The time advised for reaching the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hour trip in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with absolutely nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Get ready for the unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the extremely early hours of the early morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, yet given that this is the primary form of tourist transport here it is only natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can utilize 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they must be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and newer than 2006. Each individual note is reviewed for flaws, discolouration and also creases at the currency exchange stands. You might also have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in US dollars so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is likely to be cheaper because the USD exchange rate is casual– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, possibly relying on just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines as well as they mainly function yet make sure you have money before showing up at more remote places like the coastline. Sometimes they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM fee of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of fees your financial institution could bill. And also you probably will not be able to withdraw greater than $150 at a time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places about, but primarily the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as require cash payment. If you have booked your hotels beforehand online this might save you taking added cash money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, generally charging a tiny charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being built. That includes guesthouses as well as restaurants. Businesses are recouping their expenses.
Holiday accommodation expenses
A dorm bed will certainly set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic private room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In visitor hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dull, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where deluxe comes with a cost of $250 per night) with various other excellent choices coming in at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ locations like Ngapali beach can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a couple of hostels there too). On the bonus side, you typically obtain a cost-free morning meal with your holiday accommodation.
Street food is most economical– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will certainly set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is affordable, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise cheap at a number of bucks per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to spend for the benefit of being a foreigner and making use of squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing shoes and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of items like souvenirs however if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest and also walk away.
Tipping is not typical practice in Myanmar, and it’s just foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak as well as out cold by 10pm! The heat is typically excruciating throughout the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the traveler buses make it more difficult to get amazing images as well as move around freely.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and the far, crime levels are remarkably low.
Still, you need to take the common safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is gross as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, lots of travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it’s typically pre-cut, search for a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has brought about the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the nation stay closed to foreigners because of conflict in between the government and various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, as well as far from the significant tourist destinations.
Exact details on disputes and also closed areas can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s recommendations before taking a trip, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the high temperatures, and also you will certainly make everyone a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and usually enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Every person uses skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Several visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so grab an affordable one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are vital! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear selection. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and at the beach however in other places it’s less typical.
The local people are exceptionally genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be irritating, warm and slow but bear in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by locals who intend to chat. Travelers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are charming and also are happy to appear in photos and attempt and speak with limited usual words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a lot which is normally best handled by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re spending for a guide, ensure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| since it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spat out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also cab drivers frequently roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this brilliant short 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 item in Myanmar and likewise serves as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes as well as dining establishments as locals use the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to determine the place of the kissing sound so do not be distressed!
The two crucial phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, yet it is well received. Be ready for many citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand as well as is billed per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothes laundered as well as unless you wish to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly require washing and also wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t cope with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd 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 also North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at most airports when you land or in among the stores in the road as well as the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more about your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading videos whenever. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it completely free– and the internet is currently spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power failures can use the net an irritating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and don’t expect to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Tourism Myanmar Co-Op Ltd