Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Highlights Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially known as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been 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 former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are typically 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and also attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging choices tricky to secure as well as will imply trying to book in advance or face paying out for the more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as approaching rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it very easy to book lodging yet it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and you should obtain authorization within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you arrive and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter is valid for 90- days from the day of issue and permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be less expensive– if you wish to save some money, looking for a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office might be less costly. For instance, 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 factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the most up to date at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual option for visitors as the very first mode of access, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east and India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entry, although not every one of them are suggested due to security.
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 listing of choices, from which you will certainly require to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Going Across at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border to north Thailand)
- Myawaddy (in the Kayin State of southeastern Myanmar on the boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region 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 adhere to the one you originally specified when possible to avoid any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be mentioned up front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less expensive as well as has more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation options may be discouraging but the cross country propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is inexpensive so it may be your much better option.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking people off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and 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 budget-friendly with competing businesses and also a variety of luxury levels.
Many buses travel over night which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so terrific for rest. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at odd times in the early morning as well as will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to sleep straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the high-end buses will offer you a blanket however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food as well as toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re trying to sleep 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 as well as tacky music videos until the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty 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 and Tenasserim area are usually out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have requested a government visa beforehand. In some areas you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure indicates that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go differently. Attempting to do otherwise may be very pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its daybreaks and also sundowns, which likewise matches well with remaining inside (maybe for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day warmth.
Anticipate to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re discovering 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 considerate temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance cost for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening, meaning you can rest in cheaper accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are gradually getting better for solo travellers, though expenses are still a lot more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but enchanting. The holiday accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic however wonderfully decorated in teak) as well as the morning meal was normally exceptional. And also, it’s nice to put cash right into the hands of the residents, not some large brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels and guesthouses supply a towel yet you might have to provide a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly additionally provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do too, yet it can’t be depended on.
Be careful about the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve holiday accommodation as well as transportation ahead of time throughout peak season. The tourist sector in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has fallen short to maintain pace with. Most resorts are tiny as well as boutique like thus if there’s somewhere certain you intend to stay it’s important to book in advance. It is particularly essential to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small fee if there are no rooms available. However don’t rely upon the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the best selection. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments as well as an outstanding array of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Many pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so excellent looking water supply and also dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an optimal option.
Inform the staff if you don’t eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state just how much spice you like as the cooks often tend to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is delicious and a terrific, fresh option in the majority of restaurants.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), make certain you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus however don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated and also seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and don’t normally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you might get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia however you can find it and also it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can not drink the water however most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply complimentary water either in bottles in your area or through a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is really low-cost.
Alcohol is widely available with beer, rum and also scotch being popular choices.
Beer stations are simple to locate and fun locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not intend to being in a restaurant.
Know 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 nation where meditation at dawn is more prominent than late night alcohol consumption.
Large chains can not be discovered and brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brand names like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brands and also consuming from local dining establishments.
Shops are small, family owned affairs– you will not locate a 7-Eleven. There are a few comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated about, but mainly you’re going to get treats and beverages from small, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Don’t worry, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a nation where smoking cigarettes in public areas has actually long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe area– a lot of the populace is Buddhist and with an idea in karma, criminal activity levels are remarkably low.
Still, you need to take the typical safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is unclean as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye 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 a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, lots of travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, try to find a seller that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories caution against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually caused the mass displacement of countless individuals. Some other parts of the country continue to be shut to foreigners due to problem between the government as well as various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the significant visitor locations.
Precise info on disputes as well as closed locations can be tough to find. Check your government’s guidance prior to travelling, and also 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 also legs despite the high temperatures, and also you will make everybody more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and usually enforced for going into the temples and also 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. Several travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so pick up an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear option. Battling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however somewhere else it’s less typical.
The local people are incredibly genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, warm and sluggish but bear in mind: you selected to see Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens that wish to talk. Visitors are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are beautiful and also are happy to appear in pictures as well as try and also talk via minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is normally best handled by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure 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 as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| because it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to 6 mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth and cab drivers often 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 brilliant write-up 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 item in Myanmar as well as likewise functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and also restaurants as residents use the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to identify the location of the kissing sound so do not be upset!
Both crucial phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it courteous, however it is well received. Be prepared for the majority of citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and is charged per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothes laundered and unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you really require washing as well as clean your smaller items on your own 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 tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t cope with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the street as well as the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more about your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘quick’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading videos at any time. On-line accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it completely free– and also the internet is now spreading tofarther locations. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power interruptions can use the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and don’t anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Suitcases aren’t suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up numerous high staircases isn’t much better.
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