Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Tour Itinerary
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however 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 seen as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were likewise changed, 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 used interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm however not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the limited holiday accommodation options tricky to secure and also will indicate attempting to book in advance or deal with paying for the more pricey alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar as well as upcoming rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation but it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official 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 get here and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter stands for 90- days from the day of issue as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be more affordable– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa via your local Myanmar consular office might be cheaper. As an example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and do not neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the normal choice for visitors as the first mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land entry, although not all of them are suggested because of safety.
Regardless, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a listing of choices, where you will need to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay as well as 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 most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster 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).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you initially specified ideally 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 because your exit point does not require to be stated up front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable and has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices might be discouraging yet the long distance propositions are a lot more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is budget friendly so it might be your much 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 involves ticking individuals off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport as well as getting your bag off a trolley by the airplane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly 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 also a series of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to reach at odd times in the early morning as well as won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are very 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 anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food and toilet break– a 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 music CD’s as well as tacky video till the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. As a result of superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will arrive at a destination invokes bad spirits and is taken seriously. The result? You won’t get a response.
You will mainly book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will usually charge a fee yet be aware that the charge can vary substantially.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this really does vary depending upon destination, mode of travel and also company. Try to find a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one useful online booking site and also the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it does not always mean the bus is full. Attempt booking somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without fees.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, yet bus rides are bumpy– you might take into consideration taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are additionally a choice for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst travellers.
There are no international car-rental companies, however many travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses and hotels elsewhere– can arrange 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 transportation, taxis will be your main means of navigating especially for getting to and also from airport terminals and within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– prices are established on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ estimation) and also you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Typically the taxi to as well as from the airport/bus will be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi fares.
Taxi cabs for the day may be your much better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much larger factor than time in determining the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each way, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar and is a significant contributing aspect to the price.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk factory or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing and tour journeys. Do not be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your very own private transportation. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side journeys can be intriguing and also drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorbikes) outside the cities is much more inexpensive but beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt among the dustiest locations, as well as almost all travelers develop a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and 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 numerous travelers walking toting head to foot road rash and also bandages.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 km ought to give you an idea. The time advised for getting to the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning as well as leather seats– that 1.5 hr trip in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Plan for the unanticipated. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hrs of the early morning, your only alternative to reach my hotel may be using horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, however considering that this is the primary form of traveler transport here it is only all-natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATM Machines 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 need to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased as well as newer than 2006. Each individual note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration and folds at the money exchange booths. You may likewise have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Utilizing kyat is most likely to be less costly due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is usually applied on the spot, possibly depending upon just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mainly function but see to it you have money prior to showing up at more remote spots like the coastline. Sometimes they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM fee of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of costs your bank may bill. And you possibly will not be able to take out more than $150 at once.
ATMs give kyat only. There are lots of exchange places about, but mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational flight terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also call for cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels in advance online this might save you taking extra cash money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mostly only in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, usually charging a small cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being developed. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Businesses are recouping their costs.
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard personal room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In vacationer hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where luxury comes at a price of $250 per night) with other very good alternatives being available at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A modern hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package visitor’ locations like Ngapali coastline can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there too). On the bonus side, you normally get 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 including something like pizza) will set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is economical, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally low-cost at a couple of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and also making use of squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing shoes and also taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on prices of items like souvenirs but if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not common technique in Myanmar, and it’s just foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and also out cold by 10pm! The heat is often excruciating during the peak sunlight hours and the arrival of the tourist buses make it more difficult to get impressive pictures as well as walk around easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and also the far, criminal activity levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you need to take the typical safety measures of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Women travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is filthy and also there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look 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 air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, lots of visitors 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 this way. However, as it’s often pre-cut, try to find a seller that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories warn against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually caused the mass displacement of thousands of people. A few other parts of the nation stay closed to foreigners due to problem between the government and also various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, as well as far from the major tourist destinations.
Exact information on problems as well as closed locations can be tough to find. Check your government’s recommendations prior to travelling, and also inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the heat, and you will certainly make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and commonly enforced for entering the temples and also pagodas.
Every person wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Several tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so get an inexpensive one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear option. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but somewhere else it’s less usual.
The local people are extremely genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm and also slow-moving but bear in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by citizens who intend to chat. Tourists are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are lovely and more than happy to appear in photographs and also attempt and also converse through limited usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is usually best dealt with by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re paying for a guide, ensure 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 which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| since it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers typically roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after eating 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 short article 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 and also works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and restaurants as locals utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to determine the area of the kissing sound so do not be upset!
The two crucial expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
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 typically done by hand and also is billed per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your garments laundered and unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually 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 paper or sanitary products– this is very common in developing countries where the plumbing system can not handle anything aside 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 several adaptors for European and also 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, get a local SIM. You can get one at most airports when you land or in one of the stores in the road as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more about your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it absolutely free– as well as the net is currently spreading tofarther areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can make using the web an irritating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not expect to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a luggage. Luggage aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up lots of high stairs isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Tour Itinerary