Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Eco Tourism
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally known as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t till 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was viewed as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Damp, 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, consequently, makes the restricted holiday accommodation choices challenging to secure and also will certainly mean trying to book ahead or face paying for the much more costly choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar and also approaching rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of visitors which makes it easy to book accommodation but it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as 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 stands for 90- days from the day of issue as well as permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office might be more affordable– if you wish to save some money, getting a visa via your local Myanmar embassy might be cheaper. As an example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also do not fail to remember 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 border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the current at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for travellers as the initial mode of access, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land entrance, although not every one of them are recommended because of safety and security.
Regardless, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a list of alternatives, from which you will certainly need to choose among 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 Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border to north 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 the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area of northwestern Myanmar on the border to northeastern India).
- Rih Khaw Dar (a six-hour drive from the border 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” but it is best to stay with the one you initially mentioned preferably to avoid any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be specified up-front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper and also has more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options might be frustrating but the long distance propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is economical so it might be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering 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, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also getting your bag off a trolley by the plane 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. And also a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing companies and also a variety of high-end levels.
Many buses travel over night which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so excellent for rest. Also, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to sleep straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the high-end buses will provide you a blanket yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t 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, despite the fact that these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also tacky music videos until the very early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim area are generally out-of-bounds to tourists unless you have made an application for a government visa in advance. In some locations 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 may be extremely costly.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is famous for its daybreaks and also sunsets, which also corresponds nicely with staying indoors (perhaps for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re exploring 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 considerate temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators as well as keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an access charge for Bagan as well as 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 slowly opening up, meaning you can rest in cheaper accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are slowly improving for solo tourists, though expenses are still far more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however captivating. The holiday accommodation offers a feel for what a local house could be like, basic however wonderfully decorated in teak) as well as the breakfast was usually remarkable. And also, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the citizens, not some huge brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels and guesthouses provide a towel however you may have to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will also 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 get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book accommodation as well as transport ahead of time throughout peak period. The tourist industry in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has fallen short to maintain pace with. Many resorts are tiny and boutique like so if there’s somewhere specific you wish to stay it’s vital to book beforehand. It is specifically essential to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small fee if there are no areas available. However don’t depend on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the very best option. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments as well as an amazing selection of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Lots of items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so wonderful 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 just how much spice you like as the cooks have a tendency to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is delicious as well as a great, fresh alternative in the majority of dining establishments.
There is quite a lot of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), ensure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections yet do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned and seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice as well as do not generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and also you could get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia yet you can find it and also it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t drink the water however most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply free water either in bottles in your area or through a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, bottled water is very low-cost.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and whiskey being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are simple to find and fun locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not wish to sit in a restaurant.
Be aware 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 dawn is much more prominent than late night drinking.
Huge chains can not be found and brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brands and also consuming from local dining establishments.
Shops are small, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated about, however primarily you’re going to buy snacks and also drinks from little, 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 individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a nation where smoking cigarettes in public areas has actually long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe area– most of the population is Buddhist as well as with an idea in karma, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you need to take the normal safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross and also 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 extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, many tourists use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, 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 sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories caution against traveling 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 nation remain shut to foreigners as a result of conflict in between the government as well as various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, as well as far from the major tourist locations.
Accurate details on disputes and also closed areas can be difficult to find. Check your government’s advice prior to taking a trip, and ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged and often enforced for entering the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody uses skirts– males and females 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 warmth and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so grab an affordable one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are essential! Going into pagodas indicates going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear selection. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but elsewhere it’s less usual.
The local individuals are extremely genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm and sluggish yet remember: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents who wish to talk. Travelers are no longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are charming and also more than happy to appear in photos as well as try and also talk via minimal common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a great deal which is usually best handled by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| due to the fact that it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red discolored teeth and cab drivers commonly roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the kids. Why not? Read this brilliant 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 as well as additionally serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and dining establishments as locals use the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to identify the location of the kissing noise so don’t be upset!
The two crucial phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be ready for most residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand as well as is charged per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly require washing and also clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t manage anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange 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 several adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, far 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 street as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more about your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ link, do not expect to be downloading videos whenever. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it for free– and also the web is currently spreading tomore remote places. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can use the net a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and don’t anticipate to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Luggage aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up several high stairs isn’t better.
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