Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Cruise Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however 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 nation’s previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were likewise 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 used interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are typically 3 periods in which you can see 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 is warm but not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited holiday accommodation choices difficult to secure as well as will indicate attempting to book in advance or deal with paying for the a lot more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar as well as approaching rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of travelers that makes it very easy to book accommodation yet it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa web site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes 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 stands for 90- days from the day of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be more affordable– if you want to save some money, looking for a visa through your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. As an example, the cost 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 costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual option for tourists as the very first mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern and India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land access, although not all of them are advised because of safety and security.
Regardless, 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 be provided a listing of choices, from which you will require to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Going Across at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary to north 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 Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as 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 boundary 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 stated preferably to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. Furthermore, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less costly and also has much more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives may be irritating yet the cross country propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is economical so it might be your much better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school means by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal as well as grabbing your bag off a trolley by the airplane as well as flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing businesses and also a series of luxury levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Likewise, you’ll tend to arrive at odd times in the morning as well as won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting on a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to sleep immediately.
Buses are very cold, the deluxe buses will offer you a blanket but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hours for a food and also toilet break– a little bit aggravating 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as tacky video till the very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State and also Tenasserim region are generally off-limits to visitors unless you have actually obtained 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 tough– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure implies that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Attempting to do otherwise might be very pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is well-known for its dawns and also sundowns, which additionally matches well with remaining inside (possibly for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Expect to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floors. 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 need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for visitors. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators and keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entry cost 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, meaning you can rest in cheaper accommodation than you could a couple of years back. Things are slowly getting better for solo visitors, though costs are still far more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however lovely. The accommodation offers a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic however wonderfully decorated in teak) and also the breakfast was usually exceptional. Plus, it’s nice to place money into the hands of the citizens, not some large brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses provide a towel however you might need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will additionally provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels as well as guesthouses do also, however it can’t be depended on.
Be cautious 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.
Reserve holiday accommodation and transportation in advance throughout peak season. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has failed to keep pace with. Many resorts are little as well as boutique like so if there’s someplace particular you want to stay it’s vital to book ahead of time. It is specifically important to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small charge if there are no areas available. But don’t count on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as 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 an amazing range of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Lots of items of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply and also dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an excellent choice.
Tell the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify just how much spice you like as the chefs often tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is tasty as well as a great, fresh choice in most dining establishments.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food and also beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), ensure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on food selections however do not anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and also do not typically feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar as well as you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia yet you can discover it and also it’s good. 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 complimentary water either in bottles in your area or through a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is really affordable.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and also bourbon being prominent options.
Beer stations are very easy to find and enjoyable areas to get a beverage with the locals if you do not wish to sit in a restaurant.
Know 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 nation where meditation at daybreak is much more preferred than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can not be discovered and also brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brands like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brands and eating from local restaurants.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted around, yet mainly you’re going to purchase snacks and drinks from tiny, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking cigarettes in public places has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe area– most of the population is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you ought to take the typical safety measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is dirty and there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, lots of travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you sick.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. However, as it’s frequently pre-cut, try to find a seller 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 thousands of people. Some other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners because of dispute between the government and also different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China and Thailand, and also far from the significant visitor destinations.
Accurate info on disputes and also closed areas can be hard to come by. Check your government’s advice before taking a trip, as well as inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the heat, and you will make everybody much 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 strongly encouraged and also often enforced for entering the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody puts on skirts– males and females 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 heat as well as tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so get one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are necessary! Going into pagodas indicates going barefoot and also flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Battling with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome interruption. Bring some cleaning 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 as well as shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however somewhere else it’s less usual.
The local people are extremely genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm and slow-moving but remember: you selected to visit Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals who want to talk. Travelers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are wonderful and are happy to appear in photos as well as attempt and also converse through minimal usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a whole lot which is typically best handled by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| since it provides a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. However, 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 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 fantastic short article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar and additionally functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and also restaurants as residents utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to recognize the place of the kissing audio so do not be surprised!
Both most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it polite, but it is well received. Be prepared for many locals 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 as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothes laundered as well as unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually require washing and also wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airports when you land or in among the shops in the street and also the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more about your network choices right here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not expect to be downloading videos whenever. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it absolutely free– and the internet is now spreading tomore remote places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can use the web a frustrating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate 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. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up many high stairs isn’t much better.
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