Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel & Tour Website
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country officially called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been up 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 nation’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were additionally 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 write-up breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Visit Myanmar
There are usually 3 periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the restricted holiday accommodation alternatives difficult to secure and will certainly indicate attempting to book in advance or deal with paying for the a lot more costly options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level increases in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as 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 day of issue and also permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be more affordable– if you want to save some money, making an application for a visa via your local Myanmar consular office might be cheaper. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research and don’t forget to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration web site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for visitors as the initial mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entrance, although not every one of them are encouraged due to security.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a list of choices, where you will certainly require to pick one of 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 as well as Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border to north 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 Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region of northwestern Myanmar on the border to northeastern India).
- Rih Khaw Dar (a six-hour drive from the border town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to adhere to the one you initially mentioned preferably to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be mentioned up-front. Furthermore, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is more affordable and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation options may be frustrating but the long distance propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is budget-friendly so it might be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the old-school method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and also getting your bag off a trolley by the airplane and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing companies and a range of luxury levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so fantastic for sleep. Also, you’ll often tend to reach at weird times in the morning and also will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to take a nap immediately.
Buses are extremely chilly, the high-end buses will certainly give you a covering however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a bit frustrating if you’re trying to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and cheesy music videos till the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a vehicle driver regarding he time of arrival. Because of superstitions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a location invokes bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The outcome? You will not get a response.
You will mainly reserve buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a cost but understand that the charge can vary drastically.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this truly does vary depending on destination, mode of traveling and also company. Look for a company that does include pickup as taxis are exorbitant.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one useful on-line booking portal and also the ones that do exist have a limited number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it does not necessarily mean the bus is full. Attempt reservation in other places.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without charges.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, however bus rides are bumpy– you might take into consideration taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are additionally a choice for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among travellers.
There are no international car-rental firms, yet a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– along with guesthouses as well as hotels somewhere else– can arrange cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will be your primary way of navigating especially for getting to as well as from airport terminals and within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are set on the spot (after a fast ‘how much can I get away with’ estimation) and you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Often the taxi to and from the airport/bus will certainly be more than you spent 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 better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of taking in the sights in Bagan and $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in dictating the expense of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each way, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar as well as is a significant contributing element to the expense.
Everybody intends to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer during your sightseeing journeys. Don’t hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transport. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, several of the side journeys can be interesting and drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you chose their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest areas, and also almost all vacationers establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– otherwise you’ll be one of the lots of vacationers walking around toting head to foot road rash and also plasters.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 km ought to provide 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 don’t count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hr journey 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 unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the extremely early hours of the morning, your only alternative to reach my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, but considering that this is the major form of vacationer transport here it is only natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they need to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each specific note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration and folds at the money exchange kiosks. You might additionally have problems changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be more affordable because the USD exchange rate is casual– someplace in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, possibly relying on just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and they mainly function however see to it you have cash before turning up at more remote spots like the beach. In some cases they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM charge of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any fees your financial institution might bill. And you possibly won’t be able to take out more than $150 at a time.
ATMs give kyat only. There are lots of exchange places about, yet mostly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational flight terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and call for cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels ahead of time online this may save you taking added cash money for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily only in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, typically billing a little fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also restaurants. Businesses are recovering their expenses.
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard private room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In vacationer hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where high-end comes with a rate of $250 per night) with various other very good alternatives can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A modern hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package vacationer’ 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 also). On the plus side, you generally get a totally free breakfast with your holiday accommodation.
Street food is most budget-friendly– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will certainly set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is cheap, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also cheap at a number of bucks per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to spend for the privilege of being a foreigner and utilizing squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing shoes and also taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the more touristy areas.
It’s possible to negotiate on prices of items like mementos but if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and walk away.
Tipping is not common technique in Myanmar, and also it’s only foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and also out cold by 10pm! The heat is frequently unbearable during the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it harder to get amazing pictures and walk around easily.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous area of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and the far, criminal activity levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you ought to take the typical precautions of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty and also there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, several tourists use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories alert against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually led to the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the country remain closed to foreigners due to conflict in between the government as well as different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are primarily in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the significant vacationer locations.
Accurate details on problems and also closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, and also ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of information from tourists 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 you will make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and also often enforced for getting in the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and 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 essential! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear selection. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet elsewhere it’s much less usual.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, hot and also sluggish however keep in mind: you selected to check out Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. However, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by locals who intend to chat. Travelers are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Usually the people are lovely and also are happy to appear in photos and also attempt and also speak via minimal usual words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a whole lot 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, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as cab drivers frequently roll down the window in slow traffic to spit 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 children. Why not? Read this brilliant article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as also works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as restaurants as residents use the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to recognize the location of the kissing noise so don’t be alarmed!
Both essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared for many citizens to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothing laundered and also unless you wish to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you actually require washing and also clean your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely typical in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t handle anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, far better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the road as well as the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more regarding your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ link, do not expect to be downloading video clips any time. On-line accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it totally free– and also the web is now spreading tomore remote places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can use the web a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not expect to Skype home very often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up many high stairs isn’t far better.
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