Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – How Safe Is Myanmar To Visit
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally known as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t 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 country’s previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were also 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 as well as Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly three seasons in which you can see 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 is warm but not stifling, and draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the limited accommodation options tricky to secure and also will certainly imply trying to book ahead or deal with paying out for the a lot more costly options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as impending rains are due. There is a minimal number of tourists which makes it very easy to book lodging however it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also 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 date of issue and also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you want to save some cash, obtaining a visa through your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. As an example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK but $40 in the USA, so do your research and do not fail to remember to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter 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) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the current at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for tourists as the initial mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entrance, although not every one of them are recommended due to safety and security.
No matter, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of choices, from which you will need to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also 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 boundary town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stay with the one you initially mentioned when possible to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be mentioned up-front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is cheaper and also has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices might be irritating however the cross country propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish as well as flying is economical so it may be your much better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a 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 and grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane and also 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 a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing companies and also a range of luxury levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so excellent for sleep. Additionally, you’ll often tend to reach at weird times in the early morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to take a nap straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the high-end buses will certainly offer you a blanket 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 frustrating if you’re trying to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although 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 cheesy video until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State and also Tenasserim area are usually off-limits to tourists unless you have applied for 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 challenging– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure indicates that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise could be really expensive.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its sunrises as well as sundowns, which also corresponds nicely with staying inside (probably for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day heat.
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a great deal 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 wipe some after each visit.
Be a considerate temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators as well as keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Expect to pay an entry fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost 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 slowly opening, indicating you can rest in economical accommodation than you could a few years ago. Things are gradually improving for solo travellers, though costs are still a lot more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but enchanting. The accommodation provides a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic but wonderfully decorated in teak) and the morning meal was generally exceptional. And also, it’s nice to put money right into the hands of the citizens, not some large brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses supply a towel but you might need to provide a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will additionally supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, yet it can’t be depended 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.
Reserve holiday accommodation and also transport in advance throughout peak period. The tourist sector in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has actually fallen short to keep speed with. The majority of hotels are little as well as boutique like thus if there’s somewhere particular you intend to stay it’s important to book ahead of time. It is specifically important to book ahead during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small fee if there are no areas readily available. However 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 very best selection. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and an impressive array of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are cleaned with a not so fantastic looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an ideal choice.
Tell the staff if you don’t consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals state just how much spice you like as the cooks tend to go easy on travelers!
The fish is scrumptious and an excellent, fresh option in most restaurants.
There is quite a lot of sugar in the food and beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), make certain you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus however don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt and also 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 places in Southeast Asia however you can find it and it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not drink the water but most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your room or through a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is really inexpensive.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and also whiskey being popular options.
Beer stations are very easy to locate and also fun locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not want to being in a restaurant.
Know that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at daybreak is more prominent than late night alcohol consumption.
Big chains can not be found and also brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brand names as well as eating from local dining establishments.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you will not discover a 7-Eleven. There are a few comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated about, yet primarily you’re going to purchase treats as well as drinks from small, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not worry, 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 cigarettes in public areas has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe area– a lot of the population is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly low.
Still, you need to take the normal preventative measures of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists 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 certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, lots of visitors use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, 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 sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually caused the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners as a result of conflict in between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the significant visitor locations.
Exact information on conflicts as well as closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, and also inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs regardless of the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also often enforced for going into the temples as well as 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. Lots of vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so grab one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas indicates going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear option. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but in other places it’s less usual.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, hot as well as slow yet bear in mind: you chose to visit Myanmar which 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 locals who wish to talk. Visitors are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are wonderful as well as more than happy to appear in photos as well as try and also speak through minimal common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a whole lot which is typically best managed by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| since it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the children. Why not? Read this fantastic post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar and also functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and dining establishments as locals utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to determine the location of the kissing audio so do not be upset!
The two essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, yet it is well received. Be ready for a lot of residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your garments laundered as well as unless you wish to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually need washing as well as clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are 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 really typical in developing nations where the plumbing system can not handle 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 numerous adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, much better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airport terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the street and the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more regarding your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ link, do not expect to be downloading videos any time. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it for free– as well as the internet is now spreading tofarther areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can make using the internet an aggravating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and don’t expect to Skype home very frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Luggage aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up lots of steep staircases isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Best Places To Trek In Myanmar