Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Heritage Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t up until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered 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 a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were also altered, 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 Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Visit Myanmar
There are usually three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the limited lodging alternatives tricky to secure and also will certainly mean trying to book ahead or face paying for the a lot more pricey alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of vacationers that makes it easy to book accommodation yet it is exceptionally warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as you should obtain approval 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 date of issue and also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be cheaper– if you want to save some money, obtaining a visa through your local Myanmar consular office may be cheaper. For example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as do not fail to remember to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into 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) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical alternative for tourists as the very first mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. However, thinking about where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are several for land entrance, although not all of them are recommended due to safety.
Regardless, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of options, from which you will certainly need to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Going Across 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 Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection 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 border of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stick to the one you initially specified if possible to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper as well as has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options may be discouraging however the cross country propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is cost effective so it might be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school 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, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport and grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing companies as well as a variety of deluxe levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so terrific for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to reach at odd times in the early morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to rest straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the high-end buses will give you a covering 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 frustrating if you’re attempting to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, despite the fact that 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 tacky video till the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding fate, criminal activity levels are incredibly low.
Still, you need to take the usual safety measures of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Women visitors should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is filthy as well as there isn’t always soap in washrooms so use 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 carry something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, numerous travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, search for a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Most government advisories caution against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the country stay shut to foreigners because of dispute between the government as well as different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the major tourist locations.
Exact information on disputes and also closed areas can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s advice before travelling, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the high temperatures, as well as you will make everyone a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as t-shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as commonly enforced for getting in the temples as well as pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Lots of travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so pick up one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear choice. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find people in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but somewhere else it’s less typical.
The local people are incredibly genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, warm and slow however bear in mind: you chose to visit Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that wish to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are charming and also are happy to appear in pictures and also try and also speak via limited typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is typically best managed by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention and if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that’s equivalent to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red discolored 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 youngsters. Why not? Read this brilliant article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar and additionally acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes as well as dining establishments as locals make use of the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the area of the kissing sound so do not be upset!
Both most important expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be ready for the majority of residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand as well as is billed per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothing washed and unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you really need washing as well as wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very common in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t manage anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the street and the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more concerning your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ connection, do not expect to be downloading video clips at any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it totally free– as well as the net is currently spreading tomore remote areas. However tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can use the internet an irritating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and don’t expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a luggage. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up lots of high staircases isn’t much better.
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