Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Tourism Board Official Website
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been up until 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 nation’s previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were likewise 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally 3 periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the limited lodging options tricky to secure and will mean attempting to book ahead or face paying out for the much more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of travelers that makes it easy to book lodging yet it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins 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 day of issue and also permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be less expensive– if you want to save some money, getting a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office might be more affordable. As an example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and also do not forget to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration web site for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for travellers as the initial mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entrance, although not all of them are advised due to safety.
No matter, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of options, from which you will certainly need to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and the cluster 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 boundary village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stick to the one you originally mentioned preferably to avoid any type of hold up in the processing 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. Additionally, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less costly and also has much more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport choices might be irritating but the cross country propositions are much more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and also flying is economical so it may be your much better option.
You can still book flights the traditional means by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking individuals off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as getting your bag off a cart by the airplane and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. As well as a lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are cost effective with competing businesses as well as a range of luxury levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Also, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the early morning as well as will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs waiting on a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to take a nap immediately.
Buses are very chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly offer you a covering but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a little bit discouraging 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and also cheesy video till the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy 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 and Tenasserim area are typically out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have actually requested a government visa beforehand. 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 means that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go differently. Attempting to do otherwise might be really costly.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its daybreaks and also sundowns, which likewise corresponds well with staying indoors (possibly for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby 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, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for visitors. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators and keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, implying you can sleep in more inexpensive accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are slowly getting better for solo visitors, though expenses are still far more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however enchanting. The lodging provides a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic but beautifully decorated in teak wood) and the breakfast was usually remarkable. And also, it’s nice to put money right into the hands of the locals, not some large brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses provide a towel yet you could need to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly also supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do also, yet it can’t be depended on.
Be careful about the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book accommodation and also transportation beforehand during peak period. The tourist sector in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has fallen short to keep speed with. Many hotels are little as well as boutique like so if there’s someplace certain you wish to stay it’s vital to book beforehand. It is especially essential to book ahead during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small cost if there are no spaces readily available. 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 very best option. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also a fantastic range of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Many items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a perfect alternative.
Inform the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify how much spice you like as the chefs have a tendency to go easy on tourists!
The fish is tasty as well as a great, fresh option in most dining establishments.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food as well as drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), make sure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on food selections but don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded as well as seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and do not generally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar as well as you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other places in Southeast Asia yet you can locate it and also it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t drink the water however most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply free water either in bottles in your area or through a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, bottled water is extremely cheap.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and bourbon being prominent alternatives.
Beer stations are easy to find as well as fun areas to get a drink with the locals if you don’t intend to sit in a dining establishment.
Be aware 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 nation where meditation at sunrise is much more popular than late night drinking.
Big chains can not be found and also brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brands and also eating from local dining establishments.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated around, yet mostly you’re going to purchase snacks and also drinks from small, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking 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 country where smoking cigarettes in public locations has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe area– most of the populace is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, criminal activity levels are incredibly low.
Still, you ought to take the common precautions of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Women tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is filthy as well as there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize 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 carry something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, many travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures 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 typically pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories alert against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the country stay shut to foreigners due to dispute in between the government and also various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the major tourist destinations.
Exact information on conflicts as well as closed areas can be challenging to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, and also ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the high temperatures, as well as you will make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tees are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and frequently enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody uses skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so get an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are essential! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet in other places 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 frustrating, warm as well as slow-moving yet keep 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 citizens. However, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens who wish to chat. Tourists are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are lovely as well as more than happy to appear in pictures and attempt and also chat through limited typical words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is usually best dealt with by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hi 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 good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| due to the fact that it supplies a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spat out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers frequently roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this fantastic write-up 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 likewise serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and also dining establishments as residents utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to recognize the location of the kissing audio so don’t be upset!
The two essential phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be prepared for many locals to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and also is charged per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed as well as unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you actually require washing and clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very 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 really typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t manage anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird 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 numerous adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, far better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road and the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more regarding your network options right here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘fast’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading videos at any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it absolutely free– and also the web is currently spreading tomore remote places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can use the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and don’t anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a suitcase. Luggage aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up several high stairs isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Tourism Board Official Website