Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Ananda Travel Yangon Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change 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 seen as a relic of the nation’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were likewise altered, 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 also Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the restricted lodging alternatives difficult to secure and also will imply trying to book ahead or face paying for the a lot more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and also impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of vacationers which makes it very easy to book accommodation but it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. 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 stands for 90- days from the day of issue as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be less expensive– if you intend to save some cash, looking for a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be less expensive. For instance, the cost is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and do not 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 three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for travellers as the very first mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and also India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entry, although not every one of them are encouraged because of safety and security.
Regardless, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a list of alternatives, from which you will require to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and also 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 border village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you originally stated if possible to avoid any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Furthermore, you may exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable as well as has much more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation choices might be aggravating yet the cross country propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is affordable so it might be your much better option.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking people off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart by the airplane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms and also a range of deluxe levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so excellent for sleep. Also, you’ll tend to reach at weird times in the early morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are really chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly offer you a covering however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hours for a food as well as toilet break– a bit frustrating 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and tacky music videos till the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim region are normally off-limits to tourists unless you have gotten a government visa ahead of time. In some places you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is difficult– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise could be extremely pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its dawns and sunsets, which also corresponds nicely with staying indoors (possibly for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously unclean floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re exploring Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t allowed either so you just need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can clean off some after each visit.
Be a considerate temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entry fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening up, indicating you can rest in economical accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are gradually getting better for solo tourists, though expenses are still far more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however lovely. The holiday accommodation provides a feeling for what a local house might be like, basic however perfectly decorated in teak) and also the morning meal was typically superior. Plus, it’s nice to place money right into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels and guesthouses provide a towel however you might need to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will additionally provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, but it can not be counted 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 during peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has fallen short to maintain pace with. The majority of resorts are small as well as boutique like so if there’s somewhere certain you wish to stay it’s vital to book in advance. It is especially essential 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 rooms available. Yet do not rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and an impressive selection of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Many items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a perfect alternative.
Tell the staff if you don’t consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is tasty as well as an excellent, fresh choice in most dining establishments.
There is rather 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, newly blended juices), ensure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus yet do not anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and don’t generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar as well as you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia but you can find it and also it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not consume the water yet most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your room or via a large water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is very affordable.
Alcohol is widely available with beer, rum and scotch being prominent alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to find and also fun places to get a beverage with the locals if you don’t intend to sit in a dining establishment.
Be aware that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at daybreak is much more prominent than late night alcohol consumption.
Big chains can’t be discovered and also brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and beyond drink brands like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brand names and consuming from local dining establishments.
Stores are small, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated around, but mainly you’re going to purchase snacks and drinks from tiny, local businesses. They can look a 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 shock if you come from a country where smoking in public places has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe area– a lot of the population is Buddhist and also with a belief in karma, crime levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you should take the typical precautions of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female tourists should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross as well as there isn’t always soap in washrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, search for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories advise against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless individuals. Some other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners due to problem between the government as well as different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and also far from the major traveler locations.
Exact details on disputes and closed locations can be tough to come by. Check your government’s advice before taking a trip, and also inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs despite the heat, as well as you will make everybody a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tees are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also typically enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody uses skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up a cheap one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but somewhere else it’s much less common.
The local people are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, hot as well as slow-moving yet bear in mind: you chose to go to Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by citizens who intend to chat. Tourists are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Typically the people are charming and more than happy to appear in photographs and attempt and converse with limited common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a whole lot which is typically best managed by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re spending for a guide, ensure 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 that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| since it supplies 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.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth and taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the kids. Why not? Read this great short article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as also works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and dining establishments as locals use the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to identify the location of the kissing sound so don’t be startled!
Both most important phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared for many citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand as well as is charged per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothes laundered and also unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually need washing and also clean your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t manage anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual 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 numerous adaptors for European as well as 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, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road as well as the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more concerning your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it free of charge– and the internet is now spreading tomore remote places. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can use the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also do not 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 backpack than a travel suitcase. Suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up several high stairs isn’t much better.
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