Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Embassy Tourist Visa Form
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally known as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been up 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 viewed as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also changed, 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 and Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are normally 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm yet not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal lodging choices challenging to secure as well as will certainly indicate attempting to book ahead or face paying for the much more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar as well as upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of visitors which makes it very easy to book accommodation yet it is incredibly warm.
An e-Visa is offered to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a charge 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 enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be less expensive– if you want to save some cash, obtaining a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be less expensive. As an example, the price is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as do not fail to remember to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical choice for tourists as the initial mode of entry, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east and India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous for land entrance, although not all of them are suggested because of safety.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a list of options, from which you will need to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border to northern Thailand)
- Myawaddy (in the Kayin State of southeastern Myanmar on the border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the boundary 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 border town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to adhere to the one you originally specified preferably to prevent any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be specified up-front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly and also has much more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be aggravating however the cross country propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and flying is budget-friendly so it may be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking people off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also grabbing your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and 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. As well as a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing businesses as well as a variety of luxury levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so great for rest. Additionally, you’ll often tend to reach at odd times in the early morning and also will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to sleep immediately.
Buses are extremely chilly, the luxury buses will offer you a blanket yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs 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, although these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as tacky video until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver about he time of arrival. As a result of superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a destination conjures up bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The result? You will not get an answer.
You will generally book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will usually charge a fee however understand that the cost can vary significantly.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this really does vary depending on destination, mode of travel and company. Search for a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one convenient on-line reservation site and also the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it does not always imply the bus is full. Try reservation somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without costs.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, yet bus rides are bumpy– you might take into consideration taking tablets for nausea. Boats are also an alternative for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among travellers.
There are no international car-rental agencies, but the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan– along with guesthouses and also hotels elsewhere– can arrange cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With minimal public transportation, taxis will be your major method of getting around particularly for getting to and from airports and also within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– prices are set on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ estimation) as well as you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Commonly the taxi to and from the airport/bus will certainly be more than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi fares.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your far better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan and also $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger factor than time in dictating the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hr trip around Yangon can cost USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each means, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is expensive in Myanmar and also is a massive contributing element to the price.
Every person intends to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing and tour trips. Don’t hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transport. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side journeys can be fascinating as well as drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much cheaper but beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest locations, as well as nearly all travelers establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– otherwise you’ll be one of the many visitors walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as plasters.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 kilometres ought to provide you an idea. The time suggested for reaching the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hr trip in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Get ready for the unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hours of the early morning, your only choice to reach my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, but considering that this is the primary form of vacationer transport here it is just all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATMs in Myanmar
You can utilize 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they need to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each individual note is checked thoroughly for imperfections, discolouration as well as creases at the money exchange booths. You may likewise have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States bucks so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be less expensive due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is informal– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is typically applied on the spot, probably depending on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mostly function but ensure you have money prior to turning up at more remote areas like the coastline. Occasionally they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine charge of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any type of fees your bank might bill. And you possibly will not be able to withdraw more than $150 each time.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places about, however mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also require cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels in advance online this may save you taking additional money for lodging.
Credit cards are accepted primarily just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, generally charging a little cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Companies are recouping their costs.
Holiday accommodation expenses
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic personal room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In tourist hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dull, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where luxury comes with a price of $250 per night) with various other very good alternatives can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A modern hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package visitor’ locations like Ngapali beach can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a number of hostels there too). On the plus side, you generally obtain a totally free breakfast with your holiday accommodation.
Street food is most cost effective– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will cost $7-$12.
Bottled water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally cheap at a number of dollars per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to spend for the privilege of being a foreigner as well as utilizing squat toilets, entering pagodas, storing footwear and taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of items like mementos but if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not usual method in Myanmar, as well as it’s only foreigners that tip.
Taking in the sights in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is usually unbearable during the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it harder to get amazing images and move freely.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous area of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State as well as the far, crime levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you ought to take the typical preventative measures of using hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women visitors should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when cycling around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it’s usually pre-cut, search for a vendor that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories caution 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 led to the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the country stay shut to foreigners as a result of dispute between the government as well as different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant traveler locations.
Exact details on disputes and closed areas can be hard to find. Check your government’s advice before taking a trip, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and legs despite the high temperatures, as well as you will certainly make everybody much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also often enforced for getting in the temples as well as pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so get an affordable one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear option. Battling with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after visiting 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 find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but in other places it’s much less common.
The local people are extremely genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travel can be discouraging, warm as well as slow-moving 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 citizens. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by locals that wish to chat. Tourists are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Generally the people are beautiful and also are happy to appear in pictures as well as try as well as chat through minimal common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is normally best managed by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have great 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 and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| since it delivers a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as likewise serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also restaurants as citizens make use of the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to recognize the place of the kissing sound so do not be alarmed!
Both essential phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, however it is well received. Be ready for a lot of locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and also is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly need washing as well as wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is really usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not handle anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird 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 numerous adaptors for European as well as 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, buy a local SIM. You can get one at most airports when you land or in one of the stores in the road and the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more regarding your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘rapid’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading video clips whenever. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it free of charge– and also the internet is currently spreading tomore remote places. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power blackouts can use the web an aggravating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as do not 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. Travel suitcases aren’t suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up numerous high stairs isn’t better.
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