Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Tour Video
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been till 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 country’s former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were also changed, 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 utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the question: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Visit Myanmar
There are usually three seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, as well as draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the limited holiday accommodation alternatives difficult to secure and will mean attempting to book ahead or face paying out for the more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar and upcoming rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it very easy to book accommodation however it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is offered to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also you should obtain approval 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 day of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy might be more affordable– if you want to save some cash, requesting a visa using your local Myanmar consular office might be more affordable. As an example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as do not fail to remember to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the normal choice for visitors as the initial mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. However, considering where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are several for land entry, although not all of them are encouraged due to safety and security.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of choices, where you will certainly require to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border 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 southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border 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 border village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you originally stated when possible to avoid any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be specified up-front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper as well as has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation options may be frustrating however the long distance propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is economical so it may be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional means by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking individuals off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft as well as flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing companies and a range of luxury levels.
Many buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing, yet isn’t so great for sleep. Additionally, you’ll often tend to arrive at strange times in the morning and won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to take a nap immediately.
Buses are extremely cold, the high-end buses will give you a blanket yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food and toilet break– a little bit frustrating if you’re attempting to rest 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 more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and tacky video up until the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim region are typically off-limits to visitors unless you have gotten a government visa in advance. In some areas you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is challenging– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure implies that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go otherwise. Trying to do otherwise might be extremely pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is famous for its daybreaks and also sundowns, which additionally matches perfectly with staying indoors (probably for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day heat.
Expect to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re exploring 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 mindful temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entry charge for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this fee 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, indicating you can rest in affordable accommodation than you could a couple of years back. Things are gradually improving for solo visitors, though prices are still far more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but enchanting. The accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house might be like, basic yet magnificently decorated in teak) as well as the breakfast was normally exceptional. And also, it’s nice to put cash right into the hands of the residents, not some large brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses provide a towel yet you might need to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly additionally supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, however it can not 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 transport beforehand throughout peak period. The tourist industry in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has actually fallen short to keep speed with. A lot of resorts are little as well as boutique like thus if there’s somewhere specific you wish to stay it’s important to book ahead of time. It is particularly important to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small charge if there are no spaces offered. But do not rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and 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 as well as an impressive variety of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Many pieces of cutlery are cleaned with a not so great looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a suitable option.
Inform the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify just how much spice you like as the chefs often tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is tasty and a wonderful, fresh choice in many restaurants.
There is rather a lot 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, freshly blended juices), ensure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections but do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded and seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and also do not typically include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and also you could get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other locations in Southeast Asia but you can find it and also it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can’t consume the water but most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply complimentary water either in bottles in your room or using a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is very cheap.
Alcohol is commonly available with beer, rum as well as scotch being popular choices.
Beer stations are easy to find and enjoyable places to get a drink with the locals if you do not wish to sit in a restaurant.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and also bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at daybreak is a lot more preferred than late night drinking.
Big chains can not be discovered and brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brands and also eating from local restaurants.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you will not locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equivalent ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated around, but mainly you’re going to purchase snacks as well as drinks from tiny, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a nation where cigarette smoking in public areas has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe area– the majority of the populace is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you need to take the normal preventative measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty as well as there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it’s usually pre-cut, look for a seller that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make certain 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 and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has resulted in the mass displacement of countless individuals. Some other parts of the nation remain shut to foreigners due to dispute in between the government and different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the significant visitor locations.
Accurate details on conflicts and closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s guidance prior to taking a trip, and also ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will make everyone a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as t-shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and also frequently enforced for entering the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody uses skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so grab a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Dealing with laces in the scorching heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet elsewhere it’s less common.
The local people are extremely genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be aggravating, warm and slow-moving yet remember: you chose to go to Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens that want to talk. Travelers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are charming and also are happy to appear in photographs and attempt and speak through limited typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a lot which is normally best dealt with by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing 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| due to the fact that it provides a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also taxi drivers frequently roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the kids. Why not? Read this fantastic short article 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 and also acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and also restaurants as citizens use the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to identify the place of the kissing audio so don’t be distressed!
The two crucial phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared for the majority of residents to giggle in reaction– 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 as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothes laundered as well as unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually require washing as well as clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t manage anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead 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 have to get over it or, far better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road as well as the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more regarding your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it free of charge– and also the net is now spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power failures can make using the web a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up several high stairs isn’t better.
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