Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Exotic Myanmar Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t until 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 former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were likewise 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 on the world stage. This article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Visit Myanmar
There are normally three seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm but not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the minimal accommodation alternatives tricky to secure and also will mean trying to book ahead or deal with paying out for the more costly choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists that makes it very easy to book accommodation but it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and also you should obtain authorization within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you get here and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter is valid for 90- days from the day of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy might be cheaper– if you want to save some money, requesting a visa via your local Myanmar embassy might be more affordable. For instance, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the United States, so do your research and do not forget to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration web site for the current at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the common alternative for tourists as the very first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. However, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land access, although not all of them are suggested due to safety and security.
Regardless, you need to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a listing of choices, from which you will need to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border 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 and also 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stay with the one you initially specified preferably to prevent any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be stated up front. Furthermore, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is cheaper and has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives may be irritating however the long distance propositions are far more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is affordable so it may be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional way by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking people off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and grabbing your bag off a cart by the airplane and flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are cost effective with competing firms as well as a series of deluxe levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so excellent for rest. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to reach at strange times in the morning and won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to take a nap straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the luxury buses will certainly give you a blanket yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food and also toilet break– a bit frustrating if you’re trying to sleep 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 more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and cheesy music videos until the very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and also Tenasserim region are typically out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have made an application for a government visa ahead of time. In some places you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is difficult– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise might be extremely pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its sunrises and also sunsets, which likewise matches nicely with staying indoors (probably for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day .
Expect to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re checking out Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you simply need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators and also keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entry charge for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, indicating you can sleep in low-cost accommodation than you could a few years ago. Things are gradually improving for solo tourists, though prices are still far more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however lovely. The lodging gives a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic but wonderfully decorated in teak) and also the morning meal was typically exceptional. And also, it’s nice to put cash right into the hands of the citizens, not some large brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses give a towel however you might have to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly also supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do as well, however it can not be depended on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book holiday accommodation and transport beforehand throughout peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to keep pace with. A lot of resorts are small and boutique like so if there’s someplace certain you intend to stay it’s vital to book beforehand. It is specifically essential to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small cost if there are no spaces readily available. However do not count on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best selection. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants as well as an outstanding selection of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Several items of cutlery are wiped with a not so great looking water supply and also dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a perfect alternative.
Tell the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your dishes specify how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is tasty and a wonderful, fresh alternative in the majority of dining establishments.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food as well as beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), make sure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus but don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded and seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and don’t typically feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar as well as you may get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other locations in Southeast Asia yet you can find it and it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t consume the water however most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your area or via a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is very cheap.
Alcohol is extensively offered with beer, rum as well as scotch being preferred options.
Beer stations are very easy to locate and also enjoyable places to get a drink with the locals if you don’t wish to sit in a dining establishment.
Understand that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at dawn is a lot more preferred than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can not be found and brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and also beyond drink brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brand names and also eating from local restaurants.
Stores are small, family owned affairs– you will not discover a 7-Eleven. There are a few comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated around, however primarily you’re going to get treats as well as drinks from small, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking cigarettes in public locations has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe area– the majority of the population is Buddhist as well as with an idea in karma, crime levels are remarkably low.
Still, you should take the usual precautions of using hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Women visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is gross and there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, numerous travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nevertheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, search for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories alert against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners due to problem between the government and various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the major visitor destinations.
Accurate information on disputes and also closed locations can be challenging to come by. Check your government’s recommendations prior to taking a trip, and also ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everybody much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as often enforced for entering the temples as well as pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so get an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but somewhere else it’s much less common.
The local people are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, warm and also slow however keep in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by citizens who want to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely and also are happy to appear in pictures and also attempt and talk via limited typical words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is generally best dealt with by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and if you’re spending for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| since it provides a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and taxi drivers typically roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar and likewise works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also restaurants as citizens utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the location of the kissing noise so don’t be distressed!
The two essential phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be ready for a lot of residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and is charged per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed and also unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly require washing and also wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t deal 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 ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several 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 overcome it or, far better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airport terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the road as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more about your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it for free– as well as the internet is currently spreading tomore remote areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can make using the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a luggage. aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and also out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t much better.
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