Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Future Tourism
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially known as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been until 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was seen as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were likewise 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 as well as Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly 3 seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm but not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the minimal holiday accommodation choices tricky to secure and will mean trying to book in advance or face paying out for the more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as impending rains are due. There is a limited number of visitors that makes it easy to book holiday accommodation but it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is offered to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also 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 date of issue and also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be more affordable– if you intend to save some cash, getting a visa via your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as don’t fail to remember to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration web site for the most up to date at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the normal choice for tourists as the very first mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entrance, although not every one of them are encouraged because of safety and security.
No matter, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a list of options, where you will require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Going Across at Land Boundary 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 southernmost 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 Area of northwestern Myanmar on the border to northeastern India).
- Rih Khaw Dar (a six-hour drive from the boundary village 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” but it is best to stick to the one you initially 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 and Land Border Checkpoints given that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper as well as has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices might be aggravating yet the long distance propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is inexpensive so it may be your better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional way by wandering 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 terminal and also grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane and flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms as well as a range of deluxe levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so terrific for sleep. Also, you’ll tend to reach at strange times in the early morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Consider if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to rest immediately.
Buses are very cold, the high-end buses will certainly offer you a covering but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a bit discouraging 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 more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and cheesy video until the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. As a result of superstitious notions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a location summons bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The outcome? You will not obtain a response.
You will mainly book buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically bill a cost however understand that the cost can vary drastically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this truly does differ depending on destination, mode of travel as well as company. Search for a company that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one useful online reservation portal as well as the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t always indicate the bus is full. Try booking elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without fees.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, but bus rides are rough– you could consider taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise a choice for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among tourists.
There are no international car-rental companies, yet most travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses and also hotels somewhere else– can organize cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With minimal public transportation, taxis will certainly be your primary way of getting around especially for getting to and from flight terminals and also within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– prices are established on the spot (after a quick ‘how much can I get away with’ calculation) as well as you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Frequently the taxi to and from the airport/bus will be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi fares.
Cabs for the day may be your far better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of taking in the sights in Bagan as well as $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much larger element than time in dictating the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip around Yangon can cost USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each way, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is expensive in Myanmar and is a huge contributing variable to the expense.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing journeys. Do not be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your very own personal transport. Besides, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, a few of the side journeys can be fascinating as well as drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your itinerary and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive however beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt among the dustiest areas, and almost all vacationers create a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can not manage it– otherwise you’ll be just one of the numerous vacationers walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as plasters.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km ought to provide you an idea. The time advised for reaching the bus terminal (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hr journey in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with absolutely nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Prepare 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 via horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, however considering that this is the main form of visitor transport here it is only all-natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATM Machines 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 have to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for problems, discolouration and creases at the currency exchange booths. You could likewise have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is likely to be more affordable because the USD currency exchange rate is casual– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is typically applied on the spot, possibly relying on how rich you look.
There are ATMs and also they mostly work but make sure you have money before showing up at more remote places like the coastline. Occasionally they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM charge of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any fees your bank may charge. And you probably will not have the ability to take out more than $150 at once.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places around, yet mainly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as call for cash payment. If you have booked your hotels ahead of time online this may save you taking additional cash for lodging.
Credit cards are accepted mostly just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, usually billing a little cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being constructed. That includes guesthouses as well as dining establishments. Businesses are recouping their expenses.
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic private room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In visitor hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a drab, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where luxury comes at a cost of $250 per night) with various other great options can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ locations like Ngapali coastline can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the bonus side, you generally get a free morning meal with your accommodation.
Street food is most cost effective– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will certainly cost $7-$12.
Bottled water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise cheap at a couple of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to spend for the benefit of being a foreigner as well as making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes and taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of products like souvenirs however if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest as well as walk away.
Tipping is not usual practice in Myanmar, as well as it’s only foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and out cold by 10pm! The heat is often unbearable during the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the visitor buses make it harder to get fantastic photos and move easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and the far, crime levels are exceptionally low.
Still, you ought to take the common precautions of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean and there isn’t always soap in washrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly 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 cycling around. Likewise take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, as it’s often pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories caution against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the country remain closed to foreigners as a result of dispute between the government as well as various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China and also Thailand, as well as far from the significant visitor destinations.
Exact information on problems as well as closed locations can be tough to come by. Check your government’s recommendations prior to travelling, and also inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the heat, and also you will certainly make everyone a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also typically enforced for getting in the temples and also pagodas.
Every person puts on skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Numerous travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so pick up one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are essential! Entering pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear option. Dealing with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but somewhere else it’s much less typical.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, hot and also sluggish however 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 citizens. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents that wish to chat. Vacationers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are beautiful as well as more than happy to appear in pictures and also try and also speak with limited usual words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is generally best managed by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it provides a hit that’s equivalent to six cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spat out, most times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and also cab drivers commonly roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the kids. Why not? Read this great short article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as likewise serves as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops as well as restaurants as locals use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the place of the kissing sound so do not be upset!
Both essential phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be ready for most citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothes washed and also unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually need washing and clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy 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 usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t cope with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, far better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at many flight terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the road and the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more concerning your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading video clips at any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it totally free– as well as the internet is now spreading tofarther places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can make using the web an irritating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also don’t anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up lots of high stairs isn’t better.
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