Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Tourism Ad
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t till 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the nation’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 a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. 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 and Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are typically three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the restricted accommodation choices tricky to secure as well as will certainly imply trying to book in advance or face paying out for the much more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar as well as upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it easy to book lodging yet it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and you should get 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 date of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be less costly– if you want to save some cash, making an application for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. As an example, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as don’t fail to remember to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for visitors as the initial mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. However, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east as well as India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land access, although not all of them are recommended because of safety.
Regardless, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a list of options, from which you will need to pick among 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 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stay with the one you originally specified when possible to avoid any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be specified up front. Furthermore, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper and also has much more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport options might be discouraging yet the cross country propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and flying is budget-friendly so it may be your much better choice.
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 people off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart by the airplane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms and also a variety of luxury levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to reach at odd times in the early morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to take a nap straight away.
Buses are really cold, the luxury buses will certainly provide you a covering but, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hours for a food and also toilet break– a little bit aggravating if you’re trying to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and tacky music videos up until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver about he time of arrival. As a result of superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will get to a destination summons bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The result? You won’t get a response.
You will mainly reserve buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will usually charge a cost yet understand that the fee can vary dramatically.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this really does vary depending on destination, mode of travel and also company. Try to find a company that does include pickup as taxis are extortionate.
Reserving buses online is harder– There isn’t one convenient online booking site and also the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the bus is full. Try reservation in other places.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are almost always faster than the trains, yet bus rides are rough– you could take into consideration taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are likewise an option for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst visitors.
There are no international car-rental firms, yet many travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses as well as hotels elsewhere– can arrange cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly evident in the local transport.
With limited public transportation, taxis will certainly be your major method of navigating particularly for getting to and also from flight terminals and also within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are established on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ computation) as well as you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Frequently the taxi to as well as 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 fares.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan as well as $28 for a few hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much larger element than time in dictating the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip around Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each means, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and is a massive contributing factor to the expense.
Everybody wishes to take you to a craft shop, a silk factory or a nut manufacturer during your sightseeing journeys. Don’t be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your own private transportation. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, a few of the side journeys can be interesting and drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you chose their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more affordable but beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest places, and also mostly all visitors establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– otherwise you’ll be one of the several tourists walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as bandages.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 kilometres ought to give you an idea. The time advised for reaching the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hr 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.
Get ready for the unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hours of the early morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a haggling process to be had, but since this is the major form of tourist transportation here it is just natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATMs in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as 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 and also more recent than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for imperfections, discolouration as well as folds at the currency exchange booths. You could likewise have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in US dollars so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be cheaper due to the fact that the USD currency exchange rate is casual– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is normally applied on the spot, most likely depending on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mainly function but make certain you have cash prior to turning up at more remote spots like the beach. In some cases they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine cost of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any type of fees your financial institution might bill. As well as you probably will not be able to take out more than $150 each time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places about, but mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also need cash payment. If you have actually booked your hotels beforehand online this may save you taking additional cash money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, typically billing a little cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being developed. That includes guesthouses and dining establishments. Companies are recouping their costs.
Holiday accommodation prices
A dorm bed will certainly set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic 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 drab, no-frills room.
For hotels, luxury hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where high-end comes at a cost of $250 per night) with various other great choices can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A modern hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ locations like Ngapali coastline can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a number of hostels there also). On the plus side, you usually obtain a totally free morning meal with your holiday accommodation.
Street food is most cost effective– 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.
Mineral water is inexpensive, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally low-cost at a couple of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour costs
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner as well as making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing footwear and taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the more touristy areas.
It’s possible to negotiate on prices of items like mementos but if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest as well as walk away.
Tipping is not usual practice in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is usually excruciating throughout the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it harder to get incredible pictures and also 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 as well as the far, criminal activity levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you need to take the usual preventative measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women visitors should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross and also there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be really 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 hot. As a result, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. Nevertheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, look for a seller that has actually kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories advise against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually brought about the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners due to problem between the government and various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mainly in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant tourist locations.
Accurate info on disputes and also closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government’s recommendations before taking a trip, and also inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs regardless of the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as frequently enforced for getting in the temples and pagodas.
Every person wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so grab one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Battling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach yet elsewhere it’s much less typical.
The local people are exceptionally genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, warm as well as sluggish but remember: you picked to visit Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that want to chat. Travelers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are charming as well as are happy to appear in photographs and also try as well as speak via minimal common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is usually best managed by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| since it supplies a hit that’s equivalent to 6 mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spat out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth and cab drivers often 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 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 acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and restaurants as citizens utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to determine the area of the kissing noise so don’t be distressed!
Both essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be ready for a lot of residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and is charged per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothes laundered and unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually need washing and also clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can not handle anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, much better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at many flight terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the street and also the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more concerning your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘fast’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading videos at any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it absolutely free– and the net is currently spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power outages can use the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Luggage aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up many steep stairs isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Tourism Ad