Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Exo Tour Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially called Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been till 1989 that the ruling military junta altered 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 previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also altered, which is why you will 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 also Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are normally 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm however not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the restricted lodging choices challenging to secure and will imply attempting to book in advance or deal with paying out for the much more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar and also upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of visitors which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa web site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and 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 as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be more affordable– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa using your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. For instance, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research as well as 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 and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the current at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for travellers as the initial mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. However, thinking about where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land entrance, although not all of them are recommended due to security.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of alternatives, from which you will certainly need to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned 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 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 boundary of the Thai Peninsula and the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region of northwestern Myanmar on the border 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 enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you originally stated if possible to prevent any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints given that your exit point does not need to be stated up front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less expensive and has more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives may be aggravating but the cross country propositions are much more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is budget-friendly so it may be your better choice.
You can still book 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 entails ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also getting your bag off a cart by the plane as well as 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 also a lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are affordable with competing companies and a range of luxury levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so excellent for rest. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at strange times in the morning and won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to sleep immediately.
Buses are very cold, the deluxe buses will certainly give you a covering but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a bit discouraging 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and also cheesy video up until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about he time of arrival. Because of superstitions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a destination summons bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The outcome? You will not get an answer.
You will primarily book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a cost however understand that the cost can differ considerably.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this truly does vary depending on destination, mode of traveling and company. Try to find a business that does include pickup as taxis are extortionate.
Reserving buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one convenient online booking website and also the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not always indicate the bus is full. Attempt reservation elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, but bus rides are rough– you might think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise a choice for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among visitors.
There are no international car-rental firms, but a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– as well as guesthouses as well as hotels somewhere else– can arrange cars and drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will certainly be your major means of navigating especially for getting to as well as from airport terminals and also within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are established 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 unusual to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Commonly the taxi to and from the airport/bus will certainly be greater than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi prices.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your much better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and also $28 for a few hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger aspect than time in determining the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey around Yangon can cost USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each method, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is expensive in Myanmar and is a significant contributing element to the price.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing and tour journeys. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own private transport. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, some of the side trips can be fascinating and drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive however beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest areas, as well as mostly all travelers create 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 several tourists walking toting head to foot road rash and also bandages.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km should give you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hr trip in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Prepare for the unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hrs of the early morning, your only option to reach my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, yet because this is the major form of vacationer transportation here it is just all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATMs in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they must be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each individual note is reviewed for imperfections, discolouration and creases at the money exchange stands. You could additionally have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States dollars so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is likely to be less expensive due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is informal– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, probably depending on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATMs and also they mostly work yet see to it you have money prior to showing up at more remote areas like the beach. Sometimes they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine fee of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of costs your bank could bill. As well as you possibly will not be able to withdraw greater than $150 each time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places around, but mainly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational flight terminal to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as call for cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels in advance online this might save you taking additional cash for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily only in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, typically billing a small charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also restaurants. 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 vacationer hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where luxury comes with a rate of $250 per night) with various other very good alternatives coming in at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ locations 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 bonus side, you normally get a cost-free morning meal with your accommodation.
Street food is most cost effective– 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.
Mineral water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise inexpensive at a couple of dollars per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner and making use of squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing footwear and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the much more touristy areas.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of products like mementos but if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest and leave.
Tipping is not common method in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak and fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is frequently unbearable throughout the peak sunshine hours and the arrival of the visitor buses make it harder to get remarkable photos as well as move around freely.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous area of Myanmar, along with the western Chin State as well as the far, crime levels are remarkably low.
Still, you ought to take the typical safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, several tourists use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. However, as it’s typically pre-cut, look for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
The majority of government advisories caution against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has led to the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the nation stay shut to foreigners due to dispute in between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the significant traveler destinations.
Exact info on conflicts and also closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, as well as inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the heat, and you will make everyone a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as usually enforced for getting in the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody 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 tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so pick up an inexpensive one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but in other places it’s much less usual.
The local people are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, hot as well as slow-moving yet bear in mind: you picked to visit Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents who wish to talk. Tourists are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Normally the people are wonderful and also more than happy to appear in photos and also attempt and also converse through limited common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is usually best managed by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re paying 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 chewing betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that’s equivalent to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spat out, most times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as cab drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not 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 and additionally acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and also restaurants as residents make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to determine the place of the kissing audio so do not be surprised!
Both essential expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, however it is well received. Be prepared for many citizens to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating 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 show up with your garments washed as well as unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually require washing as well as clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing nations where the plumbing system can not manage anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time zone 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 connects in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, far better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of airport terminals when you land or in among the stores in the road as well as the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more concerning your network choices right here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘fast’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading videos any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it completely free– and the internet is now spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power outages can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and also 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 excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t much better.
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