Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Exo Travel Myanmar Reviews
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been up 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 seen as a relic of the nation’s former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Other names were additionally changed, 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 utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are generally three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm however not stifling, and also attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal holiday accommodation options tricky to secure and also will certainly imply attempting to book ahead or face paying out for the more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and approaching rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of tourists that makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is extremely hot.
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 upload a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should get approval 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 date of issue and also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be less costly– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa via your local Myanmar embassy might be cheaper. For example, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK however $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 Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the latest at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for travellers as the initial mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land access, although not every one of them are recommended because of safety.
No matter, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes just how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of alternatives, where you will require to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated 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 border 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 town 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 initially specified 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 Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be stated up-front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper as well as has extra connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation options might be discouraging but the cross country propositions are much more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is affordable so it may be your much better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional means 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 listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as getting your bag off a cart by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and 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 companies and a range of high-end levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so wonderful for rest. Likewise, you’ll tend to reach at weird times in the early morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Consider if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to take a nap straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the high-end buses will certainly provide you a covering yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food and toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though 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 as well as tacky music videos up until the early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim region are generally off-limits to tourists unless you have actually gotten a government visa ahead of time. In some areas you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure indicates that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise may be very pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its sunrises as well as sundowns, which also matches perfectly with remaining indoors (probably for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re exploring Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you simply have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a considerate temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for visitors. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators and also keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entrance charge for Bagan and Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening up, meaning you can rest in more inexpensive accommodation than you could a few years earlier. Things are slowly getting better for solo travellers, though expenses are still a lot more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but charming. The lodging offers a feeling for what a local house might be like, basic however perfectly decorated in teak) as well as the morning meal was typically superior. And also, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the locals, not some huge brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels and also guesthouses supply a towel however you could need to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly likewise provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels as well as guesthouses do also, however it can not be counted on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve holiday accommodation as well as transportation in advance throughout peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has fallen short to maintain speed with. The majority of hotels are small and also boutique like so if there’s somewhere particular you wish to stay it’s essential to book beforehand. It is especially vital to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small cost if there are no areas readily available. Yet don’t rely upon the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the very best option. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and an incredible range of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Lots of items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so terrific looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a suitable choice.
Inform the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify how much spice you like as the chefs have a tendency to go easy on travelers!
The fish is tasty and a wonderful, fresh alternative in a lot of 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, freshly blended juices), make sure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections yet do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated and also seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and don’t generally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and you could get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia yet you can locate it and it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can’t drink the water but most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or through a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is extremely affordable.
Alcohol is extensively available with beer, rum and also bourbon being prominent options.
Beer stations are simple to discover and enjoyable areas to get a drink with the locals if you do not intend to sit in a dining establishment.
Be aware that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and also bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at sunrise is much more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can’t be discovered as well as brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brands and also consuming from local dining establishments.
Shops are small, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equivalent ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted around, yet primarily you’re going to buy treats as well as beverages from little, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Don’t worry, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a nation where cigarette smoking in public locations has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe area– a lot of the population is Buddhist as well as with an idea in karma, criminal activity levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you should take the common preventative measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean and there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, several travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it’s usually pre-cut, search for a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Most government advisories warn against travel 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 thousands of people. Some other parts of the nation continue to be shut to foreigners due to problem in between the government as well as different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant traveler locations.
Exact information on disputes and closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, as well as ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the heat, as well as you will make everyone 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 highly encouraged and commonly enforced for entering the temples and 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. Several travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so grab a cheap one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Going into pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but elsewhere it’s less common.
The local individuals are extremely genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be irritating, hot as well as slow yet remember: you picked to see Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. However, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that intend to talk. Travelers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Normally the people are charming and are happy to appear in photographs and attempt and converse with minimal common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is typically best managed by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| because it provides 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 spat out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this brilliant 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 product in Myanmar and also functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops as well as dining establishments as locals make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the place of the kissing sound so do not be startled!
Both most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be ready for most 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 and is charged per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothing laundered and unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you really 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 require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is really common in developing countries where the plumbing system can not cope with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, much better still, get a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the road and the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more concerning your network options right here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not expect to be downloading videos whenever. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it free of charge– and the internet is currently spreading tomore remote locations. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power outages can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and do not expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a luggage. Luggage aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up several high stairs isn’t far better.
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