Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar 1 Week Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t till 1989 that the ruling military junta changed 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 Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were likewise altered, which is why you will 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 also Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are typically three periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the limited accommodation options tricky to secure and will mean attempting to book in advance or deal with paying for the more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it very easy to book lodging however it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is offered to visitors from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes 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 day of issue as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be less costly– if you want to save some cash, obtaining a visa through your local Myanmar consular office may be less costly. As an example, the price is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the USA, so do your research and do not fail to remember to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the current at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common alternative for tourists as the initial mode of access, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, thinking about where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land entry, although not all of them are recommended because of safety.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes just how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of choices, where you will need 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 and Yangon)
Going Across 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 as well as the collection 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 border of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stick to the one you initially mentioned preferably to prevent any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be stated up-front. Furthermore, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less costly as well as has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options might be frustrating yet the cross country propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is economical so it may be your far better choice.
You can still reserve 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 includes ticking people off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport as well as grabbing your bag off a trolley by the airplane and 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 lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are cost effective with competing companies and a series of deluxe levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so terrific for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the morning as well as won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the luxury buses will certainly offer you a blanket however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a bit frustrating if you’re attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although 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 early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and also Tenasserim area are normally out-of-bounds to tourists unless you have actually gotten a government visa beforehand. In some locations you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is challenging– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure indicates that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise may be really pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its sunrises and sunsets, which also matches well with staying inside (perhaps for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Expect 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 lot of animal faeces while you’re checking out 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 wipe some after each visit.
Be a mindful temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entrance cost for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this fee is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, implying you can rest in economical accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are gradually getting better for solo visitors, though costs are still much more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet enchanting. The lodging gives a feel for what a local house might be like, basic however perfectly decorated in teak) and the breakfast was normally remarkable. Plus, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the citizens, not some huge brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and guesthouses give a towel but you may have to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do as well, but it can’t be depended 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 accommodation as well as transport beforehand throughout peak season. The tourist sector in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has fallen short to keep pace with. The majority of hotels are small as well as boutique like thus if there’s somewhere certain you want to stay it’s vital to book in advance. It is particularly necessary to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small fee if there are no spaces readily available. But don’t rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the best choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments as well as an incredible range of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so excellent looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an optimal alternative.
Inform the staff if you don’t consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals state just how much spice you like as the chefs have a tendency to go easy on travelers!
The fish is tasty as well as a fantastic, fresh option in most dining establishments.
There is rather a lot of sugar in the food and drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), see to it you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus but do not anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated and also seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and also don’t generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you might get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia however you can discover it as well as it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can’t drink the water but most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your space or using a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is extremely economical.
Alcohol is extensively available with beer, rum and bourbon being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to locate and enjoyable places to get a drink with the locals if you don’t wish to being in a restaurant.
Understand 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 prominent than late night drinking.
Large chains can not be found and also brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brands like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brand names as well as eating from local dining establishments.
Shops are small, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted around, but primarily you’re going to purchase snacks and drinks from small, 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 individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a nation where smoking cigarettes in public locations has actually long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe country– a lot of the populace is Buddhist and also with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you should take the usual preventative measures of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Women visitors 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 before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, many travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. Nevertheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, try to find a seller that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless people. Some other parts of the nation stay shut to foreigners due to dispute between the government and various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the major vacationer locations.
Exact information on disputes and closed areas can be tough to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs regardless of the heat, and also you will make everyone more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged and usually enforced for going into the temples and pagodas.
Everybody uses skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Several travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so get one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are necessary! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot and also flip flops are the very best footwear selection. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but somewhere else it’s much less typical.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, warm as well as slow-moving yet bear in mind: you selected to visit Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that want to talk. Vacationers are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are charming and also are happy to appear in photographs as well as try and also converse with limited usual words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a lot which is generally best managed by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| since it provides a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spat out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and cab drivers usually roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as also functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also dining establishments as citizens utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to determine the area of the kissing audio so do not be alarmed!
Both essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be prepared for most locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and also is charged per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed and also unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually need washing as well as wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is really usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t manage anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the street and the store staff will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘fast’ connection, do not expect to be downloading video clips whenever. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it free of charge– and also the net is currently spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can make using the internet an irritating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as don’t anticipate to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a luggage. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up several high stairs isn’t far better.
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