Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Local Tour Agency
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been until 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 country’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also altered, which is why you will see Rangoon now 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 used interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Visit Myanmar
There are commonly three periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm yet not stifling, and also attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the restricted lodging alternatives tricky to secure as well as will certainly indicate trying to book ahead or deal with paying out for the much more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of tourists which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation but it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa website. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also you should obtain authorization within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you get here and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter is valid for 90- days from the date of issue as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be less expensive– 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 expense is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the United States, so do your research as well as don’t neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration web site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the common choice for tourists as the first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several methods for land access, although not every one of them are recommended because of security.
No matter, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes exactly how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of alternatives, from which you will require to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster 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 truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you originally specified preferably to prevent any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Furthermore, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable and also has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be frustrating yet the long distance propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is cost effective so it may be your better option.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking individuals off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and also getting your bag off a trolley by the plane and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing companies and a variety 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. Likewise, you’ll often tend to arrive at weird times in the early 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. Consider if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the high-end buses will provide you a blanket but, 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 toilet break– a little bit irritating if you’re attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and also tacky video till the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim region are normally out-of-bounds to vacationers unless you have requested a government visa ahead of time. In some locations you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is tough– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go differently. Trying to do otherwise could be really pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is well-known for its sunrises and sundowns, which likewise matches well with staying inside (perhaps for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day heat.
Anticipate to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also 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 just need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can clean off some after each visit.
Be a considerate temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just views for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an access cost for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening up, meaning you can sleep in economical accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are gradually improving for solo tourists, though expenses are still a lot more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but captivating. The accommodation gives a feel for what a local house may be like, basic yet magnificently decorated in teak wood) and the breakfast was generally superior. Plus, it’s nice to place money into the hands of the locals, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses offer a towel but you might have to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will likewise supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do also, yet it can’t be depended on.
Beware 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 accommodation and transport in advance during peak season. The tourist sector in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to maintain pace with. The majority of hotels are tiny as well as boutique like so if there’s someplace certain you want to stay it’s necessary to book in advance. It is especially necessary to book ahead during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small charge if there are no areas readily available. But 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 constantly the very best choice. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments as well as a remarkable selection of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Many pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a perfect option.
Tell the staff if you don’t consume 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 tasty and an excellent, fresh alternative in a lot of restaurants.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food and beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), ensure you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections but do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded and also seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and also don’t normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and you may get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia yet you can locate it and also it’s good. 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 as well as guesthouses supply complimentary water either in bottles in your space or via a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is really low-cost.
Alcohol is extensively available with beer, rum as well as scotch being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are easy to locate and also enjoyable areas to get a drink with the locals if you don’t want to sit in a restaurant.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. as well as bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at sunrise is a lot more prominent than late night alcohol consumption.
Large chains can’t be found and brand names are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brands like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brands as well as consuming from local dining establishments.
Stores are small, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted about, however mostly you’re going to get treats and drinks from small, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking in public locations has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe country– a lot of the population is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you should take the typical safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Women travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, search for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually led to the mass displacement of countless individuals. Some other parts of the nation remain shut to foreigners due to problem in between the government and different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the major visitor destinations.
Exact details on disputes as well as closed areas can be hard to find. Check your government’s guidance before taking a trip, and ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs regardless of the high temperatures, as well as you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and also often enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everyone puts on skirts– males and females 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 tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so pick up an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear choice. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach yet in other places it’s less typical.
The local people are incredibly genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be irritating, hot as well as sluggish but bear in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar and that 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 cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents who intend to chat. Travelers are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are beautiful as well as more than happy to appear in photographs and try and converse through minimal usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is normally best handled by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, 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 pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| because it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. But, 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.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this brilliant short article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar and additionally functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as restaurants as residents use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the area of the kissing audio so don’t be surprised!
The two most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be prepared for a lot of residents 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 is charged per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed and unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually require washing and also wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but 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 nations where the plumbing system can not handle anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple 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 overcome it or, better still, buy a local SIM. You can get one at most flight terminals when you land or in among the stores in the street as well as the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more concerning your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not expect to be downloading videos whenever. Online access has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it free of charge– and also the net is now spreading tomore remote places. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and also do not anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a suitcase. aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up lots of high staircases isn’t far better.
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