Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Travel Free And Easy
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially known as Burma got 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 viewed as a relic of the nation’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. 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 and Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are usually 3 periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and also attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited holiday accommodation choices difficult to secure as well as will imply trying to book in advance or face paying for the much more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar as well as approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of visitors that makes it very easy to book accommodation but it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and 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 day of issue and also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be more affordable– if you intend to save some cash, getting a visa using your local Myanmar embassy may be more affordable. For instance, the expense is just , 14 in the UK but $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as do not forget to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the current at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the typical choice for travellers as the very first mode of access, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land entrance, although not all of them are suggested because of safety and security.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of options, from which you will certainly require to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center 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 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 Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as 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 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 stay with the one you originally mentioned if possible to prevent any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be specified up-front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less expensive and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be discouraging yet the long distance propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is affordable so it might be your far better option.
You can still reserve 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 entails ticking people off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart 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. And a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing businesses and a range of high-end levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so excellent for rest. Likewise, you’ll tend to arrive at odd times in the morning and also won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to rest immediately.
Buses are extremely cold, the deluxe buses will certainly provide you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food and toilet break– a little bit aggravating if you’re trying to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, despite the fact that these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also tacky music videos until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about he time of arrival. As a result of superstitions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will arrive at a location conjures up bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t get an answer.
You will mostly book buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will normally bill a fee however understand that the charge can differ substantially.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this actually does differ depending upon destination, mode of traveling and company. Look for a business that does include pickup as taxis are exorbitant.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one handy on-line reservation site and the ones that do exist have a limited number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it does not necessarily imply the bus is full. Try booking in other places.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without fees.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, but bus rides are bumpy– you might consider taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise a choice for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst tourists.
There are no international car-rental agencies, however the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses as well as hotels in other places– can organize 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 transportation, taxis will be your major way of getting around particularly for getting to and also from airports and within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are established on the spot (after a quick ‘how much can I get away with’ estimation) as well as you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Usually the taxi to and 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 amount for taxi prices.
Taxi cabs for the day may be your better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan and $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger aspect than time in dictating the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hr journey around Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and is a substantial contributing element to the cost.
Everyone wants to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing and tour trips. 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, some of the side journeys can be interesting and also drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you opted for their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more inexpensive but beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far among the dustiest places, and almost all tourists develop a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– or else you’ll be among the numerous travelers walking toting head to foot road rash and also plasters.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres should give you an idea. The time suggested for getting to the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning as well as 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.
Prepare for the unanticipated. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the extremely early hours of the early morning, your only option to reach my hotel may be using horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, yet since this is the major form of tourist transport here it is only all-natural that they are waiting for new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to utilize dollars, they must be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each individual note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration and folds at the money exchange booths. You might also have problems changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in United States bucks so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is likely to be cheaper due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is casual– somewhere 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 and also they mainly function but see to it you have money prior to turning up at more remote spots like the beach. Occasionally they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM charge of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of fees your bank could bill. And you possibly won’t have the ability to take out more than $150 at a time.
ATM machines give kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places about, however mainly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport terminal to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and require cash payment. If you have booked your hotels in advance online this may save you taking extra cash for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly just in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, typically charging a little charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being constructed. That includes guesthouses and dining establishments. Businesses are recouping their expenses.
Holiday accommodation prices
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard personal room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In tourist hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a run down, no-frills room.
For hotels, luxury resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where high-end comes at a rate of $250 per night) with other excellent options can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package visitor’ destinations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there as well). On the bonus side, you usually obtain a cost-free breakfast with your lodging.
Street food is most affordable– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also cheap at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to spend for the benefit of being a foreigner as well as making use of squat toilets, entering pagodas, storing footwear and taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the more touristy areas.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of things like mementos however if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest and leave.
Tipping is not typical practice in Myanmar, and it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise as well as fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is usually excruciating throughout the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the traveler buses make it more difficult to get amazing pictures and move freely.
Not anywhere 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 extremely low.
Still, you need to take the normal precautions of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is dirty and there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will 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 biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, many tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, try to find 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 traveling 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 individuals. A few other parts of the country stay closed to foreigners as a result of problem between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the significant vacationer locations.
Precise details on disputes as well as closed locations can be difficult to find. Check your government’s recommendations before 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 information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs despite the high temperatures, and also you will make everybody much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as frequently enforced for getting in the temples and also pagodas.
Every person wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so pick up one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear option. Battling with laces in the scorching 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 far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but somewhere else it’s less usual.
The local people are exceptionally genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm as well as sluggish yet 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. However, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents that intend to chat. Vacationers are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are wonderful and also more than happy to appear in pictures as well as try as well as converse via minimal typical words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is generally best managed by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as 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 spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| because it supplies a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth and taxi drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great write-up 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 as well as additionally works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as restaurants as citizens make use of the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the place of the kissing sound so do not be distressed!
The two essential phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be ready for many locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and also is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and also unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly require washing and also 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 tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hrs in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of airport terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the street and also the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading videos any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it free of charge– and also the web is now spreading tofarther places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can use the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as don’t expect to Skype home very often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a travel suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up many high staircases isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Travel Free And Easy