Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Mistral Tour Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been till 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 Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were also altered, 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 as well as Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally three seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm yet not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the limited lodging choices tricky to secure and also will certainly mean attempting to book in advance or face paying for the a lot more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar and also approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of vacationers that makes it easy to book lodging but it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as 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 and permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be less costly– if you want to save some cash, making an application for a visa via your local Myanmar consular office may be cheaper. For instance, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the United States, so do your research and do not neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the current at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for visitors as the very first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. However, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land entrance, although not every one of them are advised due to safety and security.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of alternatives, from which you will certainly require to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Going Across 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 most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area 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).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to adhere to the one you initially stated when possible to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Additionally, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be frustrating but the cross country propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is economical so it might be your much better option.
You can still book flights the traditional way by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little 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 and also getting your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by an individual 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 budget-friendly with competing companies as well as a variety of luxury levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so wonderful for rest. Also, you’ll have a tendency to reach at weird times in the early morning as well as will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for 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 sleep straight away.
Buses are extremely chilly, the deluxe buses will provide you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food as well as toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re attempting to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, despite the fact that 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 cheesy music videos until the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim area are typically off-limits to travelers unless you have gotten a government visa ahead of time. In some places you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is difficult– 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 differently. Trying to do otherwise may be very costly.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its dawns and sunsets, which also corresponds perfectly with remaining inside (possibly for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
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 expect to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re checking out Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you simply need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a mindful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an access cost for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening up, implying you can sleep in cheaper accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are gradually improving for solo tourists, though expenses are still much more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however enchanting. The lodging offers a feel for what a local house may be like, basic but perfectly decorated in teak) as well as the morning meal was typically superior. And also, it’s nice to put money right into the hands of the residents, not some huge brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses give a towel however you may need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly additionally provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, but 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 as well as transportation ahead of time during peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to maintain speed with. A lot of resorts are little and boutique like so if there’s somewhere certain you wish to stay it’s necessary to book ahead of time. It is particularly vital to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small cost if there are no spaces offered. But 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 choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also an incredible range of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Many pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so fantastic looking water supply and dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a suitable choice.
Inform the staff if you don’t eat something. If you like a little spice in your dishes state how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on visitors!
The fish is tasty and also a fantastic, fresh choice 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, newly blended juices), make sure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus yet do not anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned and seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice as well as don’t usually include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other places in Southeast Asia yet 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 not consume the water yet most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your room or by means of a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is really inexpensive.
Alcohol is commonly available with beer, rum and whiskey being popular alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to find and also enjoyable places to get a drink with the locals if you don’t wish to sit in a restaurant.
Understand that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and also bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at dawn is more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can’t be located and brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and also beyond drink brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brands as well as consuming from local dining establishments.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted around, however mostly you’re going to purchase snacks and also beverages from little, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Don’t fret, simply 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 actually long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe country– a lot of the population is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, crime levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you need to take the typical safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is dirty and there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Also take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, many travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s often pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories caution against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the country continue to be closed to foreigners because of problem between the government as well as various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, as well as far from the major visitor locations.
Precise info on conflicts as well as closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s advice prior to taking a trip, and also inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the heat, and you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and usually enforced for entering the temples and 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. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so pick up a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are essential! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear selection. Struggling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet somewhere else it’s less common.
The local people are remarkably genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be discouraging, warm and slow yet remember: 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, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens who want to chat. Tourists are no longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are wonderful as well as are happy to appear in photographs and try and talk through minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is generally best dealt with by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| due to the fact that it supplies a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth and cab drivers usually roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the children. Why not? Read this great article 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 product in Myanmar as well as likewise functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops as well as dining establishments as residents utilize the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to recognize the place 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 courteous, but it is well received. Be ready for most locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and also is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothes washed and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you really need washing as well as clean your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t 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 hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome 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 stores in the road and the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more about your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips whenever. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it free of cost– as well as the net is now spreading tomore remote areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power failures can use the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and don’t anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up several steep stairs isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Mistral Tour Myanmar