Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Hello Myanmar Travel
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally called Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but 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 viewed as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were additionally altered, 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 Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are typically three periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm but not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the restricted lodging alternatives challenging to secure as well as will certainly imply trying to book in advance or face paying out for the more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of travelers which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation but it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and 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 date of issue and also permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be less expensive– if you want to save some cash, requesting a visa via your local Myanmar embassy may be more affordable. As an example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the USA, so do your research and also don’t neglect to factor in 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; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration internet site for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the normal option for visitors as the first mode of entrance, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous for land entry, although not all of them are suggested due to safety.
Regardless, you need to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of choices, where you will need to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located 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 border to northern 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 border of the Thai Peninsula and the cluster 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 reality, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to adhere to the one you originally specified ideally to avoid any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints given that your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less expensive as well as has more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be discouraging yet the long distance propositions are a lot more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is budget friendly so it may be your much better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as grabbing your bag off a cart by the airplane as well as flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are cost effective with competing companies and a variety of deluxe levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so great for sleep. Also, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the early morning and won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to take a nap straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the deluxe buses will offer you a covering yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours for a food and also toilet break– a little bit aggravating 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 location around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as cheesy video up until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southern Mon State and also Tenasserim region are usually off-limits to vacationers unless you have requested a government visa ahead of time. In some areas you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure implies that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise might be really expensive.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is well-known for its daybreaks as well as sundowns, which additionally corresponds perfectly with remaining inside (probably for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a great deal 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 great deal of animal faeces while you’re checking out 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, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for visitors. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an access fee for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this fee is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening, implying you can sleep in cheaper accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are slowly getting better for solo visitors, though expenses are still much more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but lovely. The lodging offers a feel for what a local house could be like, basic yet magnificently decorated in teak wood) as well as the morning meal was normally remarkable. Plus, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses offer a towel yet you may have to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, yet it can not be relied on.
Be careful about 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 lodging and also transport beforehand throughout peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has failed to maintain pace with. Many hotels are small and also boutique like so if there’s somewhere particular you want to stay it’s vital to book in advance. It is particularly vital to book ahead during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small charge if there are no areas available. But do not rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best choice. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and an outstanding variety of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Many items of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a suitable option.
Tell the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your dishes mention how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is scrumptious as well as a wonderful, fresh alternative in most restaurants.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food and beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), ensure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus however don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned as well as seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and also do not typically feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and also you might get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia yet you can find it and it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can not consume the water yet most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or through a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, bottled water is really low-cost.
Alcohol is extensively available with beer, rum and whiskey being popular choices.
Beer stations are simple to locate and enjoyable locations to get a beverage with the locals if you don’t intend to sit in a dining establishment.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. as well as bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at daybreak is more prominent than late night drinking.
Huge chains can not be located as well as brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brand names as well as eating from local restaurants.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted around, but primarily you’re going to buy treats and drinks from small, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking in public places has actually long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe country– most of the population is Buddhist and also with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly low.
Still, you ought to take the normal safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Women travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty and there isn’t always soap in washrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, several 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 body immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories alert 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. A few other parts of the country stay shut to foreigners because of dispute in between the government and also different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mainly in Kachin and also Shan States, near the frontiers with China and Thailand, and also far from the significant vacationer locations.
Precise info on conflicts and closed locations can be tough to find. Check your government’s recommendations before taking a trip, and also ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of news from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of 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 tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged and commonly enforced for entering the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Many tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Going into pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Battling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but in other places it’s less common.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travel can be aggravating, hot and also slow-moving however bear in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens who wish to talk. Tourists are no longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are beautiful and more than happy to appear in photographs and also try and speak through limited common words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a whole lot which is generally best dealt with by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this fantastic 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 acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and dining establishments as residents make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to recognize the area of the kissing noise so don’t be surprised!
Both essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be prepared for most residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and also is billed per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed as well as unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually require washing as well as wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple 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 really common in developing nations where the plumbing system can not deal with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hrs in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, far better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at most airports when you land or in one of the shops in the street and also the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more regarding your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips any time. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it totally free– and also the internet is now spreading tomore remote locations. However tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can use the net a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a luggage. aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up several high staircases isn’t much better.
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