Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Muslim Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally known as Burma gained 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 seen as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were also changed, 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 short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are typically three periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm however not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the limited lodging choices difficult to secure and will mean attempting to book ahead or deal with paying out for the much more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level increases in Myanmar as well as upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of travelers that makes it very easy to book lodging yet it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and you should obtain 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 date of issue and also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be less expensive– if you intend to save some cash, making an application for a visa using your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. As an example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the United States, so do your research and don’t fail to remember to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical choice for travellers as the first mode of access, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and also India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are several methods for land access, although not all of them are encouraged due to safety.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online 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 pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 border of the Thai Peninsula as well as 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 border 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” yet it is best to stay with the one you initially stated ideally to prevent any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be specified up front. Furthermore, you may exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be discouraging however the cross country propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is inexpensive so it might be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school way 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 list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and grabbing your bag off a trolley 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 really is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing firms and a series of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Likewise, you’ll often tend to reach at strange times in the early morning and 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. Take into consideration if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are really cold, the luxury buses will certainly give you a covering yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours for a food and also toilet break– a bit irritating if you’re trying 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 as well as tacky video up until the very early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim region are generally out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have made an application for a government visa ahead of time. In some areas you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is difficult– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Attempting to do otherwise might be very pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its dawns and sundowns, which additionally matches nicely with staying indoors (perhaps for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Anticipate to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously unclean floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re checking out Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you simply have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for visitors. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators and keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Expect to pay an access fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, indicating you can sleep in cheaper accommodation than you could a few years ago. Things are gradually getting better for solo tourists, though expenses are still far more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however lovely. The holiday accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house may be like, basic but beautifully decorated in teak wood) and the breakfast was generally superior. Plus, it’s nice to put cash right into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses offer a towel yet you could need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly additionally provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, however it can’t be relied on.
Be careful about the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve lodging and also transport in advance throughout peak season. The tourist market in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has fallen short to keep pace with. Most resorts are little and boutique like thus if there’s someplace certain you wish to stay it’s important to book beforehand. It is specifically essential to book ahead during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small charge if there are no areas offered. But 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 option. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and an incredible variety of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Many items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so great looking water supply and also dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a suitable option.
Inform the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify how much spice you like as the chefs often tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is delicious and a terrific, fresh alternative in the majority of restaurants.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food as well as beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), make certain you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus however don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and don’t generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar as well as you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia however you can discover it as well as it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t drink the water yet most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your area or via a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is really cheap.
Alcohol is widely available with beer, rum as well as whiskey being prominent alternatives.
Beer stations are easy to locate and also fun places to get a drink with the locals if you do not wish to sit in a dining establishment.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and also bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at sunrise is much more preferred than late night drinking.
Big chains can’t be discovered as well as brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and beyond drink brands like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brand names and eating from local dining establishments.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted around, but mainly you’re going to buy snacks as well as 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 people smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a country where cigarette smoking in public places has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe country– the majority of the population is Buddhist and also with a belief in karma, crime levels are exceptionally low.
Still, you should take the typical preventative measures of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Women visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty and also there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, many 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 body immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it’s commonly pre-cut, look for a seller that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories advise 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 brought about the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the country continue to be closed to foreigners as a result of conflict in between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant visitor locations.
Exact info on conflicts as well as closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, as well as inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs regardless of the high temperatures, and also you will make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as t-shirts are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged and typically enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so grab one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are essential! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Struggling with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but in other places it’s less common.
The local people are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be discouraging, warm as well as sluggish however bear in mind: you chose 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 residents. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens who want to chat. Tourists are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are wonderful and are happy to appear in pictures and also try and also speak via limited typical words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is normally best managed by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re spending for a guide, ensure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it supplies a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and cab drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great write-up by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as also acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes as well as dining establishments as residents use the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to determine the area of the kissing noise so do not be startled!
The two essential expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be ready for many citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and is billed per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your garments laundered as well as unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually require washing and also wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t handle anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange 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 numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, far better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airport terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the road and also the shop staff will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more concerning your network choices right here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ link, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips whenever. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it totally free– as well as the internet is now spreading tomore remote locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can make using the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up numerous steep stairs isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Muslim Tour