Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Food Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially called Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been till 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 nation’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were additionally changed, which is why you will 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 also Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are normally three periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging options tricky to secure and will certainly mean trying to book in advance or face paying for the a lot more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and impending rains are due. There is a limited number of vacationers that makes it very easy to book accommodation yet it is exceptionally warm.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should get 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
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you want to save some money, looking for a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy might be less costly. As an example, the cost is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also don’t forget 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 three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the current at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common choice for visitors as the very first mode of entrance, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several for land entry, although not every one of them are encouraged due to security.
Regardless, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of choices, from which you will require to select 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 and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula and 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 town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to adhere to the one you originally mentioned if possible 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 Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be specified up front. Furthermore, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less costly as well as has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be discouraging yet the long distance propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is affordable so it might be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are cost effective with competing companies and also a variety of high-end levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so terrific for sleep. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at strange times in the morning and also will not 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. Take into consideration 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 cold, 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 hours for a food and also toilet break– a little bit irritating if you’re trying 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 even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as tacky video up until the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State and Tenasserim area are normally out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have made an application for a government visa in advance. In some areas you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is challenging– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure indicates that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Trying to do otherwise may be extremely pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its sunrises as well as sundowns, which additionally corresponds perfectly with staying indoors (probably for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day heat.
Expect to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously grubby floors. 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 have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can clean off some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators and keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this fee 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, implying you can sleep in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are slowly improving for solo tourists, though costs are still a lot more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however captivating. The holiday accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house may be like, basic but perfectly decorated in teak) and also the breakfast was typically exceptional. Plus, it’s nice to place cash right into the hands of the residents, not some huge brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses supply a towel yet you may need to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, however it can’t be counted 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 accommodation and transport beforehand during peak period. The tourist sector in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to maintain pace with. The majority of hotels are little as well as boutique like thus if there’s somewhere certain you intend to stay it’s vital to book in advance. It is particularly important to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small fee if there are no spaces 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 very best choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants as well as a remarkable range of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Lots of items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so excellent looking water supply and also dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an ideal alternative.
Inform the staff if you don’t consume something. If you like a little spice in your dishes mention just how much spice you like as the chefs have a tendency to go easy on visitors!
The fish is delicious and a fantastic, fresh choice in many dining establishments.
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, fresh blended juices), make certain you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus yet do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned and also seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and don’t normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar as well as you could get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other locations 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’t consume the water however most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your room or using a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, bottled water is very economical.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and whiskey being prominent choices.
Beer stations are very easy to find and fun places to get a drink with the locals if you do not want to sit in a dining establishment.
Be aware that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at sunrise is more prominent than late night drinking.
Large chains can not be found and brand names are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and also beyond beverage brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brands as well as eating from local restaurants.
Shops are small, family owned affairs– you will not discover a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted around, however primarily you’re going to purchase treats and beverages from small, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Don’t worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where cigarette smoking in public locations has actually long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe country– most of the population is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, crime levels are extremely low.
Still, you should take the common preventative measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is dirty and there isn’t always soap in washrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, numerous travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, look for a seller that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
A lot of government advisories advise 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 brought about the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the nation continue to be shut to foreigners due to dispute in between the government as well as various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the major visitor locations.
Accurate information on conflicts and closed locations can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s advice before taking a trip, and also ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders as well as legs regardless of the high temperatures, as well as you will make everybody more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and often enforced for going into the temples as well as pagodas.
Every person uses skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so pick up an affordable one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Struggling with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach however in other places it’s much less common.
The local people are incredibly genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be frustrating, warm as well as slow but bear in mind: you chose to see Myanmar and that 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 whole lot by locals that wish to talk. Visitors are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are charming and more than happy to appear in pictures and attempt and converse via minimal common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a whole lot which is usually best dealt with by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and 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 eating betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers frequently roll down the window in slow 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 brilliant post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar and likewise works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as restaurants as residents make use of the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to recognize the area of the kissing sound so do not be surprised!
Both most important phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it polite, but it is well received. Be ready for the majority of residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and also is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothing laundered and unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually need washing as well as wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can not deal with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin connects in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of flight terminals 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 minutes. You can learn more about your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t expect to be downloading videos whenever. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it totally free– as well as the internet is currently spreading tomore remote locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can make using the web an aggravating 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 operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and also out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up several high staircases isn’t far better.
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