Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Helicopter Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been till 1989 that the ruling military junta changed 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 former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Other names were likewise altered, 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 used interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are usually 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, as well as draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the restricted accommodation choices difficult to secure and also will mean trying to book in advance or face paying for the a lot more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and also upcoming rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and 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 and also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be less costly– if you want to save some money, making an application for a visa through your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. For instance, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the United States, so do your research and also don’t forget to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the latest at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for visitors as the very first mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. However, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entrance, although not all of them are advised because of safety.
Regardless, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of alternatives, from which you will certainly need to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary 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 Area on the border 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 boundary town 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 stick to the one you initially mentioned if possible to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one 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 entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly and also has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options may be discouraging but the long distance propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish as well as flying is affordable so it might be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school means 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 list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and getting your bag off a cart by the airplane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are affordable with competing companies as well as a series of high-end levels.
Many buses travel over night which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so terrific for rest. Also, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at strange times in the morning as well as 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’ nap. Think about if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to rest immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly give you a blanket however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food and also toilet break– a little 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 even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also tacky music videos till the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim area are usually out-of-bounds to travelers unless you have actually gotten a government visa ahead of time. In some places you’ll require 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 could be really expensive.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is famous for its daybreaks and sunsets, which likewise matches nicely with remaining inside (perhaps for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day heat.
Anticipate to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floors. 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 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 clean off some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance fee for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening up, meaning you can sleep in affordable accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are gradually improving for solo travellers, though prices are still much more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but enchanting. The holiday accommodation offers a feeling for what a local house might be like, basic but perfectly decorated in teak) and the morning meal was usually exceptional. And also, it’s nice to place money right into the hands of the citizens, not some huge brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels and also guesthouses supply a towel yet you could need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will likewise provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels as well as guesthouses do as well, yet it can not be relied on.
Be cautious about the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve lodging as well as transportation in advance during peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has actually failed to keep pace with. Many hotels are small as well as boutique like so if there’s someplace specific you wish to stay it’s essential to book beforehand. It is especially important to book ahead during high season (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 rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the very best choice. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments as well as an impressive array of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Lots of items of cutlery are wiped with a not so terrific looking water supply and also dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a perfect option.
Tell the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your dishes state how much spice you like as the cooks tend to go easy on travelers!
The fish is delicious and also a wonderful, fresh option in the majority of restaurants.
There is rather a lot of sugar in the food as well as drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), ensure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections however do not anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and do not normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and you might get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other places in Southeast Asia but you can locate it and also it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not drink the water however most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or through a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is extremely low-cost.
Alcohol is widely available with beer, rum and also whiskey being prominent options.
Beer stations are simple to find as well as enjoyable areas to get a drink with the locals if you don’t wish to sit in a dining establishment.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and also bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at daybreak is a lot more preferred than late night alcohol consumption.
Large chains can not be discovered and brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brand names like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brands and also eating from local dining establishments.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted about, yet mainly you’re going to get snacks and drinks from little, local businesses. They can look a little 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 shock if you come from a country where cigarette smoking in public places has long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe country– most of the population is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, crime levels are incredibly low.
Still, you ought to take the usual preventative measures of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Women visitors should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is gross and also there isn’t always soap in shower rooms 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 as well as nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, lots of travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, search for a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories alert against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has brought about the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation continue to be closed to foreigners as a result of dispute in between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the significant tourist locations.
Accurate information on problems as well as closed areas can be tough to find. Check your government’s advice before travelling, as well as inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource 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 regardless of the heat, and also you will make everybody much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged and typically enforced for getting in the temples and 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. Numerous visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so pick up an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Going into pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and at the beach however elsewhere it’s much less usual.
The local people are extremely genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, warm as well as slow-moving yet bear in mind: you picked to see Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. However, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents who wish to talk. Tourists are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are wonderful as well as are happy to appear in photos and also attempt as well as converse via limited typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is usually best dealt with by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re spending for a guide, make sure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels which 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 6 mugs of coffee. However, 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 locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as cab drivers typically roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this fantastic short article 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 product in Myanmar as well as additionally acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and dining establishments as citizens utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the area of the kissing audio so don’t be startled!
Both most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it respectful, yet it is well received. Be prepared for a lot of citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and also is charged per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothes washed as well as unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly need washing as well as clean your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t handle anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, much better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of airports when you land or in one of the stores in the road as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more regarding your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips at any time. Online access has improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it totally free– as well as the net is currently spreading tofarther places. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can use the internet an aggravating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and don’t 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 knapsack than a luggage. aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up lots of high staircases isn’t far better.
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