Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Tourism Australia
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally called Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but 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 viewed as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were also altered, 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 and Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are normally 3 seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm however not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal accommodation alternatives challenging to secure and will certainly mean trying to book ahead or deal with paying for the a lot more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar and also upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of tourists that makes it very easy to book lodging however it is incredibly warm.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa website. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins 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 and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office might be less costly– if you wish to save some cash, making an application for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office might be cheaper. For instance, the cost is just , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also don’t fail to remember to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as 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 current at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the normal choice for visitors as the initial mode of entrance, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land access, although not every one of them are encouraged due to safety and security.
Regardless, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of choices, from which you will require to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay as well as 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area 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 boundary village 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” however it is best to stay with the one you initially specified if possible to prevent any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be mentioned up-front. Furthermore, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is more affordable and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation choices may be aggravating but the long distance propositions are much more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is cost effective so it might be your much better option.
You can still reserve flights the traditional way by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport and also getting your bag off a trolley by the plane 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 lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing companies as well as a series of luxury levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so wonderful for rest. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to reach at odd times in the early morning and also will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to rest straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the deluxe buses will certainly offer you a covering 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 bit frustrating if you’re attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and tacky video until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ever ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State as well as Tenasserim region are normally off-limits to tourists unless you have actually gotten a government visa in advance. In some places 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 indicates that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Trying to do otherwise could be really expensive.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its sunrises and sundowns, which likewise matches nicely with remaining inside (possibly for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
Anticipate to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floorings. 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 discovering Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t allowed either so you simply need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a considerate temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Expect to pay an entry fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening up, meaning you can sleep in more inexpensive accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are gradually getting better for solo tourists, though costs are still much more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but lovely. The accommodation offers a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic but perfectly decorated in teak) and also the breakfast was generally exceptional. Plus, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the locals, not some large brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses supply a towel yet you may have to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will likewise supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, but it can’t be counted on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book lodging and also transport beforehand throughout peak season. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to keep speed with. Many hotels are little and boutique like thus if there’s someplace particular you want to stay it’s important to book in advance. It is specifically vital to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small fee if there are no rooms readily available. Yet do not 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 selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and also an incredible array of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are cleaned with a not so great looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a perfect option.
Inform the staff if you don’t eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify just how much spice you like as the cooks often tend to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is scrumptious and a wonderful, fresh alternative in the majority of dining establishments.
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, newly blended juices), make sure you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections yet do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded and seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and don’t typically feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and also you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other areas in Southeast Asia however you can find it as well as it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can not consume the water yet most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply free water either in bottles in your room or by means of a large water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is very affordable.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and bourbon being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are simple to find as well as enjoyable areas to get a drink with the locals if you do not wish to being in a dining establishment.
Understand that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. as well as bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at daybreak is much more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can not be found and also brand names are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brand names like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brand names as well as consuming from local restaurants.
Stores are little, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted around, however primarily you’re going to get treats as well as drinks from little, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Don’t fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where cigarette smoking in public locations has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe area– the majority of the populace is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are extremely low.
Still, you ought to take the normal precautions of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female tourists should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is filthy and also there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser before 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 biking around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, numerous travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, search for a seller that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has led to the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the country remain shut to foreigners because of conflict between the government as well as various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and far from the major tourist destinations.
Precise info on disputes and also closed areas can be challenging to find. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, and also inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the high temperatures, as well as you will certainly make everyone more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tees are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as commonly enforced for entering the temples and pagodas.
Everyone uses skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth as well as 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 necessary! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Struggling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but elsewhere it’s much less usual.
The local individuals are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, warm and slow but remember: you picked to visit 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 residents who wish to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are charming as well as more than happy to appear in photographs as well as attempt and also chat via minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is generally best dealt with by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers typically roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as also functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as dining establishments as locals make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the place of the kissing noise so don’t be distressed!
Both crucial expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared for many locals to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand as well as is billed per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed and unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly need washing as well as clean your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t handle anything besides 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 several adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs along with 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 get one at many flight 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 mins. You can read more about your network selections right here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not expect to be downloading videos at any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it for free– and the net is now spreading tomore remote locations. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power blackouts can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and also don’t expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up numerous high stairs isn’t better.
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