Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Tour Di Myanmar Gia Re
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t up 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 seen as a relic of the nation’s previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were additionally changed, 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 utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly three periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm however not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the minimal holiday accommodation choices challenging to secure as well as will certainly mean attempting to book ahead or face paying for the much more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of vacationers which makes it easy to book lodging however it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also you should obtain 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 permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy might be cheaper– if you want to save some cash, obtaining a visa through your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the USA, so do your research and don’t forget to consider 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; and also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for tourists as the first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous for land access, although not every one of them are advised due to security.
Regardless, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes just how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of options, where you will certainly require to pick one of 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 and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 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 border 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 stay with the one you initially stated ideally to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints given that your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. Furthermore, you may exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly and has extra connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be discouraging however the cross country propositions are a lot more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is cost effective so it might be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school means by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and getting your bag off a cart by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by a person 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 don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing businesses and a range of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing, yet isn’t so excellent for sleep. Also, you’ll often tend to reach at weird times in the morning and also will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Consider if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to sleep immediately.
Buses are really cold, the deluxe buses will certainly offer 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 as well as toilet break– a bit aggravating if you’re attempting 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 more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as tacky video till the very early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. Due to superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will come to a location summons bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The outcome? You will not obtain a response.
You will mostly reserve buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will usually charge a cost however be aware that the charge can differ drastically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this really does differ depending upon destination, mode of travel as well as company. Look for a firm that does include pickup as taxis are expensive.
Reserving buses online is harder– There isn’t one handy online booking portal as well as the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t always indicate the bus is full. Try reservation elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without costs.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough– you may take into consideration taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are likewise an alternative for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst visitors.
There are no international car-rental agencies, yet the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan– as well as guesthouses and also hotels in other places– can organize cars and drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will certainly be your primary way of navigating especially for getting to and also from airport terminals and also within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– prices are set on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ calculation) and you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Frequently the taxi to and also 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.
Cabs for the day might be your much better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of taking in the sights in Bagan as well as $28 for a few hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much larger element than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and is a massive contributing variable to the expense.
Every person intends to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer during your sightseeing and tour journeys. Don’t be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your very own personal transportation. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, some of the side trips can be intriguing and drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you went with their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electrical motorbikes) outside the cities is much less expensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest places, and also mostly all vacationers establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– or else you’ll be among the lots of visitors walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as bandages.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 km ought to give you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus station (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning and 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.
Plan for the unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hrs of the morning, your only alternative to get to my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, however considering that this is the main form of vacationer transportation here it is just natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money and ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can utilize 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they must be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and more recent than 2006. Each individual note is reviewed for problems, discolouration and creases at the currency exchange kiosks. You might likewise have problems changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US bucks so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is likely to be less expensive due to the fact that the USD currency exchange rate is informal– someplace in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, possibly depending upon just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mostly work however make sure you have money before turning up at more remote spots like the coastline. Often they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM fee of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any charges your financial institution might charge. And also you most likely won’t have the ability to withdraw greater than $150 at once.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places around, however mainly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the large 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 might save you taking added cash money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, normally billing a small fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being built. That includes guesthouses as well as dining establishments. Companies are recouping their costs.
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 traveler hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where deluxe comes with a price of $250 per night) with other very good choices coming in at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package vacationer’ destinations like Ngapali beach can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there also). On the plus side, you generally get a complimentary morning meal with your holiday accommodation.
Street food is most affordable– 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 cost $7-$12.
Bottled water is economical, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also inexpensive at a number of bucks per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and using squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing footwear and also taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on prices of products like mementos however if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest as well as walk away.
Tipping is not common method in Myanmar, and also it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is frequently unbearable during the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the tourist buses make it more difficult to get amazing images and also move around easily.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, together with the western Chin State and also the far, crime levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you ought to take the common preventative measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross and 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 really dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, many travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, search for a seller that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
A lot of government advisories advise against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has led to the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the country continue to be closed to foreigners as a result of problem between the government and different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the major tourist destinations.
Exact info on problems as well as closed locations can be difficult to find. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, and also inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of information from visitors 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 also you will certainly make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also often enforced for getting in the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone puts on skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Lots of vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so pick up an affordable one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an undesirable interruption. 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 and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach however elsewhere it’s less usual.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be irritating, warm and also slow but keep in mind: you picked to see Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that wish to talk. Visitors are no longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely as well as are happy to appear in photographs and attempt and speak through minimal typical words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is normally best dealt with by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention and if you’re spending 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, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to 6 mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spat out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers typically roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this brilliant post 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 product in Myanmar and additionally works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and also dining establishments as locals utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to determine the area of the kissing audio so do not be alarmed!
The two most important phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be ready for the majority of locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand as well as is billed per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothes laundered as well as unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly need washing and clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not deal with anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time zone 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 also North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of airports when you land or in among the shops in the street as well as the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it completely free– as well as the web is now spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power outages can make using the web a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also don’t expect to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a luggage. aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up many high staircases isn’t far better.
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