Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Diethelm Travel
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been 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 seen as a relic of the nation’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were likewise changed, which is why you will certainly 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 also on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm however not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the minimal lodging alternatives difficult to secure as well as will indicate attempting to book in advance or face paying for the a lot more costly options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level increases in Myanmar and also upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of visitors which makes it easy to book accommodation however 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 be required to submit a passport photo and pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and you should obtain authorization within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you get here 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 costly– if you intend to save some cash, getting a visa using your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. For example, the cost is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and also don’t neglect to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the normal alternative for tourists as the initial mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are several for land entry, although not every one of them are recommended because of safety.
Regardless, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of choices, where you will certainly require to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay and also 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 Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula as well as 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 town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stick to the one you initially stated ideally 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 Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be stated up front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less expensive as well as has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives might be discouraging however the long distance propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is economical so it may be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and also grabbing your bag off a trolley by the plane as well as flight announcements are made by an individual 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 affordable with competing businesses and also a series of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel over night which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so great for sleep. Additionally, you’ll often tend to reach at odd times in the morning and also won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are very cold, the deluxe buses will certainly 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 and also toilet break– a bit aggravating if you’re attempting to sleep 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 even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and also tacky video until the very early hours of the 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 area are generally out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have obtained 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 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 otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise might be extremely pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is famous for its sunrises and sunsets, which additionally matches nicely with staying inside (maybe for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Expect to go barefoot a great deal 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 wipe some after each visit.
Be a mindful temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators as well as keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance cost for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, implying you can sleep in cheaper accommodation than you could a few years ago. Things are gradually improving for solo visitors, though costs are still far more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet enchanting. The holiday accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic but magnificently decorated in teak wood) and the breakfast was typically remarkable. Plus, it’s nice to put cash right into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses offer a towel however you might have to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will likewise provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do as well, yet it can’t be counted on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve lodging and transportation ahead of time during peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to maintain pace with. Many hotels are small and also boutique like thus if there’s somewhere certain you wish to stay it’s vital to book ahead of time. It is specifically vital to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small fee if there are no rooms available. But do not depend on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the very best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also a fantastic selection of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so terrific looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an optimal alternative.
Inform the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is tasty and a fantastic, fresh alternative in a lot of restaurants.
There is quite 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, freshly blended juices), see to it you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections but do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice as well as don’t usually include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar as well as you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia however you can discover it and also 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 however most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply free water either in bottles in your area or using a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is very inexpensive.
Alcohol is extensively available with beer, rum as well as scotch being prominent alternatives.
Beer stations are easy to find as well as enjoyable areas 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 dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and also bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at dawn is more prominent than late night drinking.
Huge chains can not be discovered as well as brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brands like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brand names and consuming from local restaurants.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you will not locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equivalent ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted around, however mostly you’re going to buy snacks and also beverages from tiny, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a nation where cigarette smoking in public areas has actually long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe area– a lot of the populace is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly low.
Still, you ought to take the common preventative measures of making use of 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 prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, lots of tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually brought about the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the nation remain shut to foreigners as a result of conflict in between the government as well as different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and far from the major visitor destinations.
Accurate info on problems and closed areas can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s guidance before taking a trip, and ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the heat, and you will certainly make everybody much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged and also typically enforced for getting in the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone uses 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 heat as well as tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so pick up an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are necessary! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear selection. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however in other places it’s less usual.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be discouraging, warm and sluggish yet remember: you picked 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. However, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens who wish to chat. Vacationers are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are lovely and more than happy to appear in pictures and try and also talk through limited typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is normally best dealt with by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re spending for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to six cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as taxi drivers typically roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after chewing 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 post 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 also serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and also dining establishments as citizens make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to identify the location of the kissing sound so do not be distressed!
The two most important phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be ready for the majority of residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and also is charged per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothing washed and also unless you wish to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually need washing as well as clean your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is really usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t cope with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several 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 the majority of airports when you land or in among the shops in the street and also the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more about your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘quick’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading video clips at any time. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it for free– and also the web is currently spreading tomore remote places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power failures can make using the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also do not anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a luggage. Travel suitcases aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up several high stairs isn’t far better.
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