Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Mandalay Tourism
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t till 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was seen as a relic of the nation’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were likewise altered, which is why you will certainly 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 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 changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are generally three periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited accommodation alternatives difficult to secure and also will certainly imply trying to book in advance or face paying out for the a lot more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar and approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of travelers that makes it easy to book lodging but it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is offered to visitors from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa website. You’ll need to upload a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as 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 is valid for 90- days from the day of issue and also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you wish to save some cash, looking for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office might be less expensive. For instance, the cost is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as do not neglect to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for tourists as the initial mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land access, although not every one of them are recommended because of safety and security.
Regardless, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes just how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will be provided a list of choices, where you will need to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border 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 Area on the boundary 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” yet it is best to adhere to the one you originally stated preferably to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints given that your exit point does not need to be specified up front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less expensive and also has more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be frustrating but the long distance propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is affordable so it may be your much better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking people off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and also getting your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. As well as a lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing businesses and also a range of luxury levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so fantastic for rest. Likewise, you’ll tend to arrive at strange times in the morning as well as won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to rest immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the luxury buses will certainly offer you a blanket however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few 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, despite the fact that these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also tacky music videos up until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a driver about he time of arrival. Due to superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will come to a destination conjures up bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The result? You won’t obtain an answer.
You will mainly reserve buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will normally charge a fee but be aware that the cost can differ drastically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this truly does vary depending upon destination, mode of traveling as well as company. Look for a business that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one helpful on-line reservation website and also the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily indicate the bus is full. Try booking elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without fees.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, however bus rides are bumpy– you may think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are additionally a choice for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among tourists.
There are no international car-rental companies, but a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan– along with guesthouses as well as hotels elsewhere– can organize cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With minimal public transport, taxis will be your main method of navigating especially for getting to as well as from airports and within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are set on the spot (after a fast ‘how much can I get away with’ calculation) and also you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Often the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will certainly be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi prices.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your much better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of taking in the sights in Bagan as well as $28 for a few hours 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 set you back USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each way, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and also is a significant contributing aspect to the cost.
Everybody wants to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing trips. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transportation. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, several of the side journeys can be fascinating as well as drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your itinerary and you may be happy you opted for their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more inexpensive but beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest places, and nearly all travelers establish a dust cough. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can not manage it– otherwise you’ll be just one of the several travelers walking around toting head to foot road rash and bandages.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 km should provide you an idea. The time suggested for reaching the bus terminal (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hour trip 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 really early hours of the early morning, your only alternative to reach my hotel may be by means of horse and cart. There is still a bargaining process to be had, yet because this is the primary form of visitor transport here it is just all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATMs in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they must be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased as well as more recent than 2006. Each specific note is checked thoroughly for problems, discolouration as well as creases at the currency exchange stands. You could also have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is most likely to be cheaper because the USD currency exchange rate is casual– someplace between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, possibly depending on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATMs and also they mostly function yet make certain you have cash prior to showing up at more remote areas like the beach. Often they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM fee of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of costs your financial institution might charge. As well as you most likely won’t have the ability to take out greater than $150 at once.
ATM machines give kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places about, yet mainly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as require cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels beforehand online this might save you taking added money for lodging.
Credit cards are accepted mainly only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, usually charging a little fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being constructed. That includes guesthouses as well as dining establishments. Companies 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 run down, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where deluxe comes with a price of $250 per night) with other great alternatives coming in at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ destinations like Ngapali beach can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there too). On the bonus side, you generally obtain a free breakfast with your holiday accommodation.
Street food is most economical– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will certainly set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is inexpensive, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also low-cost at a number 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 utilizing squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes and taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of items like souvenirs however if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not usual method in Myanmar, as well as it’s only foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and out cold by 10pm! The heat is frequently excruciating throughout the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the visitor buses make it more difficult to get outstanding pictures and also move around freely.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous area of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and the far, criminal activity levels are incredibly low.
Still, you need to take the usual safety measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is unclean as well as there isn’t always soap in washrooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, lots of travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories warn 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 actually brought about the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the country remain closed to foreigners due to dispute between the government and different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the major vacationer destinations.
Exact information on disputes as well as closed locations can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, and inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of news from tourists 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, and also you will make everyone more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged and commonly enforced for going into the temples and pagodas.
Everyone wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so grab an affordable one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are crucial! Entering pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the best footwear selection. Struggling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however in other places it’s much less typical.
The local people are incredibly genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, hot as well as sluggish however bear in mind: you picked to check out Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by residents that want to talk. Tourists are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are lovely and are happy to appear in pictures and also attempt and also speak with limited typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a lot which is generally best dealt with by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, 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 sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it provides a hit that’s equivalent to six mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not 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 product in Myanmar as well as also works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as restaurants as locals use the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to identify the area of the kissing audio so do not be alarmed!
The two most important phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be ready for many locals to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and also is charged per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your clothes laundered and unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly need washing as well as clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple 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 very common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t manage anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several 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 get over it or, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at most flight terminals when you land or in among the stores in the road and the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more regarding your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ link, do not expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online access has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it absolutely free– and the internet is currently spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, as well as 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. Suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up lots of steep stairs isn’t better.
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