Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Blog 2017
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been until 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was viewed as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. 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 and Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm yet not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal holiday accommodation alternatives tricky to secure and will certainly mean trying to book ahead or face paying out for the a lot more costly options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as approaching rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of travelers that makes it very easy to book lodging yet it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should get authorization 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 and also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be less costly– if you intend to save some money, applying for a visa via your local Myanmar consular office might be less expensive. For example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research and do not forget to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the latest at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the normal alternative for visitors as the first mode of access, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land access, although not every one of them are recommended because of safety.
Regardless, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of options, from which you will need to select 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 and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula and the cluster 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 border 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 stick to the one you originally mentioned when possible to avoid any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. Additionally, you may exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper and has extra connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport choices might be frustrating but the cross country propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and also flying is budget-friendly so it may be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional means by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and also getting your bag off a cart by the airplane as well as 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. As well as a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing businesses as well as a range of deluxe levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so great for rest. Additionally, you’ll often tend to reach at strange times in the morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are very cold, the luxury buses will provide you a blanket yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food and toilet break– a little bit aggravating if you’re attempting to rest 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 as well as cheesy music videos up until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim region are generally off-limits to vacationers unless you have actually obtained a government visa in advance. In some places you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is challenging– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure implies that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise might be really pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its daybreaks and sundowns, which additionally corresponds perfectly with staying inside (probably for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Anticipate to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re discovering Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t allowed either so you just have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can clean off some after each visit.
Be a mindful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Expect to pay an access charge for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening up, implying you can rest in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years back. Things are gradually improving for solo travellers, though expenses are still far more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but enchanting. The accommodation offers a feeling for what a local house may be like, basic but wonderfully decorated in teak) and also the morning meal was generally exceptional. Plus, it’s nice to place money into the hands of the residents, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses offer a towel yet you may need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly likewise supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels as well as guesthouses do as well, yet it can’t be relied on.
Be careful about the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book lodging as well as transport beforehand throughout peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to keep speed with. The majority of resorts are little and boutique like so if there’s somewhere particular you wish to stay it’s necessary to book ahead of time. It is particularly vital to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small cost if there are no spaces readily available. But do not rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the very best choice. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and also an outstanding range of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Lots of items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so excellent looking water supply and also dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a perfect option.
Inform the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify just how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on travelers!
The fish is scrumptious and an excellent, fresh option in a lot of dining establishments.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), ensure you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus but do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded and also seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and also don’t typically feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia but you can locate it and it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t drink the water but most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your room or using a big water dispenser at reception. Or else, bottled water is very low-cost.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and also scotch being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to locate as well as fun locations to get a beverage with the locals if you do not intend to sit in a dining establishment.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. as well as bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at daybreak is more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Big chains can’t be discovered and brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brands and also consuming from local restaurants.
Shops are small, family owned affairs– you will not locate a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated around, however primarily you’re going to purchase treats and beverages from tiny, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Don’t worry, just step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a nation where smoking cigarettes in public locations has actually long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe country– most of the population is Buddhist and with an idea in karma, criminal activity levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you ought to take the common safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female travellers should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean as well as there isn’t always soap in washrooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to 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. Likewise take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, many tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
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 led to the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the nation continue to be closed to foreigners as a result of problem 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 and also Thailand, and far from the significant visitor locations.
Accurate details on disputes and closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s advice prior to taking a trip, and also inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the heat, and you will certainly make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tees are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged and also typically enforced for entering the temples and pagodas.
Everyone uses skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Several travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm as well as tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so get one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are crucial! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the best footwear selection. Battling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome interruption. Bring some cleaning 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 as well as shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach yet somewhere else it’s less common.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, hot and sluggish but remember: you selected to see Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by locals who want to talk. Travelers are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Usually the people are lovely and also are happy to appear in photos and try and also speak through minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is normally best dealt with by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| because it provides a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spat out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and also cab drivers usually 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 children. Why not? Read this fantastic article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar and also serves as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops as well as restaurants as residents utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to recognize the location of the kissing sound so do not be alarmed!
Both crucial expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared for most locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and also is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothing washed as well as unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly need washing as well as wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely typical in developing nations where the plumbing system can not cope with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, far better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of airports when you land or in one of the shops in the road and the shop staff will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more regarding your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it free of charge– as well as the web is currently spreading tomore remote places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and don’t anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a luggage. Luggage aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up lots of steep stairs isn’t better.
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