Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Hidden Places To Visit In Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t 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 country’s former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Other names were likewise changed, which is why you will certainly 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 post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally 3 periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm but not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted lodging choices tricky to secure as well as will imply trying to book in advance or face paying out for the more pricey alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar as well as impending rains are due. There is a minimal number of travelers that makes it easy to book lodging however it is incredibly warm.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and you should obtain 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 day of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be less expensive– if you intend to save some money, looking for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office may be cheaper. For instance, the cost is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the United States, so do your research and also do not forget to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the current at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for travellers as the first mode of access, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east as well as India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land access, although not all of them are recommended because of safety and security.
Regardless, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of alternatives, from which you will require to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary 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 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 boundary village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to adhere to 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 Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be stated up front. Furthermore, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less expensive and has more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options might be discouraging however the long distance propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is budget friendly so it might be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the old-school way by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also getting your bag off a trolley by the aircraft 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. As well as a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms as well as a range of luxury levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so fantastic for rest. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the morning as well as won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to sleep immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly provide 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 frustrating if you’re attempting to rest 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 song CD’s and also tacky video until the very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State and Tenasserim region are typically out-of-bounds to tourists unless you have actually gotten a government visa beforehand. In some places 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 means that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Attempting to do otherwise might be really pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is famous for its sunrises and also sundowns, which also matches perfectly with staying inside (maybe for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day heat.
Anticipate to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re checking out Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you just have 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 simply views for visitors. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an entry fee for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this cost 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 up, implying you can rest in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are gradually improving for solo tourists, though prices are still a lot more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet lovely. The holiday accommodation gives a feel for what a local house could be like, basic yet perfectly decorated in teak) as well as the morning meal was usually exceptional. Plus, it’s nice to put money right into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
Many hostels, hotels and also guesthouses offer a towel however you might have to provide a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly likewise provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do as well, yet it can’t be relied on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book holiday accommodation and transportation ahead of time during peak season. The tourist sector in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has actually fallen short to maintain speed with. The majority of resorts are small and also boutique like thus if there’s somewhere certain you want to stay it’s vital to book ahead of time. It is particularly important to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small fee if there are no rooms offered. Yet don’t rely upon the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also an incredible range of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply and also dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an optimal choice.
Tell the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your dishes state just how much spice you like as the cooks often tend to go easy on visitors!
The fish is delicious and also an excellent, fresh choice in the majority of dining establishments.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), see to it you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus but don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and also don’t normally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and you might get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia but you can discover it as well as it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t drink the water but most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your room or by means of a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, bottled water is extremely economical.
Alcohol is extensively offered with beer, rum and bourbon being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to find and enjoyable places to get a drink with the locals if you don’t want to being in a dining establishment.
Know that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at sunrise is more prominent than late night drinking.
Big chains can not be discovered as well as brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brand names like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brand names and also eating from local restaurants.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equivalent ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated around, but mainly you’re going to buy treats and also 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 nation where smoking in public locations has long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe area– the majority of the population is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you should take the common preventative measures of utilizing hotel storage 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 filthy as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, numerous visitors use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it’s usually pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories caution against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes 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 nation remain closed to foreigners due to dispute in between the government as well as various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and far from the significant tourist destinations.
Accurate information on conflicts as well as closed areas can be hard to come by. Check your government’s guidance prior to travelling, and inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the high temperatures, and you will make everybody more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as often enforced for entering 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 males and females. Many tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so get an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas indicates going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but in other places it’s much less typical.
The local people are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, warm as well as slow but keep in mind: you chose to check out Myanmar which 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 taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents that intend to chat. Vacationers are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are lovely and are happy to appear in photographs as well as try as well as chat with minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is normally best managed by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spat out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and cab drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after chewing 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 great write-up by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as likewise acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and also restaurants as locals utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to determine the location of the kissing sound so don’t be alarmed!
The two essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it respectful, yet it is well received. Be ready for a lot of citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand as well as is charged per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed and also unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you really need washing and wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can not handle anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird 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 in addition to 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 get one at most airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the street as well as the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more about your network options right here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos whenever. Online access has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it completely free– as well as the internet is currently spreading tomore remote areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power failures can use the web an aggravating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up many steep stairs isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Best Places Myanmar