Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Tourism Photos
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered 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 former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also changed, which is why you will 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 utilized interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can see 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 is warm but not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted lodging choices challenging to secure as well as will certainly indicate attempting to book ahead or face paying for the a lot more costly options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and also upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of visitors which makes it very easy to book accommodation however it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as 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 and also permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be less costly– if you intend to save some money, looking for a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be cheaper. As an example, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research and don’t neglect to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration internet site for the latest at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common alternative for visitors as the initial mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land access, although not all of them are recommended due to safety and security.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of options, where you will certainly require to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Boundary 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area 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 border of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stay with the one you initially mentioned if possible to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be stated up-front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less costly as well as has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation options might be irritating but the cross country propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is budget-friendly so it may be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school way 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 listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport and also getting your bag off a trolley by the airplane as well as flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing firms as well as a series of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so terrific for sleep. Likewise, you’ll often tend to arrive at strange times in the early morning and won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Consider if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are very cold, the luxury buses will certainly give you a covering however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food and toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re trying to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, despite the fact that these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and cheesy video up until the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. As a result of superstitions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a destination summons bad spirits and is taken seriously. The result? You won’t obtain a response.
You will generally book buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a cost but be aware that the charge can vary considerably.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this truly does differ depending upon destination, mode of travel as well as company. Look for a company that does include pick-up as taxis are exorbitant.
Reserving buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one convenient on-line reservation website and the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not necessarily indicate the bus is full. Try booking in other places.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without costs.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, yet bus rides are rough– you might consider taking tablets for nausea. Boats are also an option for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst visitors.
There are no international car-rental companies, yet a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– in addition to guesthouses as well as hotels somewhere else– can organize cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With minimal public transportation, taxis will certainly be your primary way of navigating particularly for getting to and from airports and within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are set on the spot (after a fast ‘just how much can I get away with’ calculation) as well as you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Commonly the taxi to and from the airport/bus will be greater than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi fares.
Taxis 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 couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger element than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip around Yangon can cost USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each means, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar and also is a significant contributing factor to the price.
Everybody wants to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing and tour journeys. Don’t hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transport. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, several of the side journeys can be interesting as well as drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your schedule and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electrical motorbikes) outside the cities is much less expensive however beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt among the dustiest locations, as well as mostly all travelers develop a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– or else you’ll be one of the several tourists walking toting head to foot road rash and bandages.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km should provide you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus station (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
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 unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hours of the early morning, your only option to reach my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, however because this is the main form of visitor transportation here it is just natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and also 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 pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also more recent than 2006. Each individual note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration and folds at the money exchange stands. You may additionally have problems changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in United States bucks so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is most likely to be less expensive since the USD currency exchange rate is casual– someplace in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is usually applied on the spot, possibly depending on how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and they mainly work but make sure you have money prior to turning up at more remote areas like the beach. Often they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine charge of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of fees your financial institution may bill. And also you probably will not be able to take out greater than $150 at a time.
ATM machines give kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places around, yet mostly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as need cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels beforehand online this may save you taking additional cash for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, normally charging a little cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a whole lot more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Companies are recouping their expenses.
Holiday accommodation costs
A dorm bed will certainly set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic private room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In tourist hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where luxury comes at a price of $250 per night) with various other great options coming in at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A modern hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ destinations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there also). On the plus side, you usually obtain a free morning meal 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 featuring something like pizza) will certainly cost $7-$12.
Mineral water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise inexpensive at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour costs
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to spend 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 preferred in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of items like souvenirs but if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and leave.
Tipping is not typical practice 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 frequently excruciating during the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the traveler buses make it more difficult to get fantastic images and walk around freely.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, along with the western Chin State and also the far, criminal activity levels are remarkably low.
Still, you ought to take the common preventative measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean as well as there isn’t always soap in shower rooms 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 and also nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, several travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Many 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 actually resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the country remain shut to foreigners as a result of dispute in between the government and different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant traveler destinations.
Exact details on conflicts as well as closed locations can be tough to come by. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, and also ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs despite the high temperatures, and you will make everyone much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as frequently enforced for entering the temples as well as pagodas.
Every person puts on skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Numerous tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so grab one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Entering pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the very best footwear selection. Dealing with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however somewhere else it’s much less common.
The local people are incredibly genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, warm and also sluggish yet keep in mind: you picked to see Myanmar and that 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 great deal by citizens who want to talk. Travelers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are wonderful and are happy to appear in photos and also attempt and speak through limited usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is usually best managed by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| because it supplies a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. But, 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.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as cab drivers typically roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great write-up 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 product in Myanmar as well as additionally acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and also restaurants as residents utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the location of the kissing audio so don’t be startled!
The two most important phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be prepared for the majority of citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothes laundered and unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly need washing and wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not deal with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange 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 multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at many airport terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the street and also the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more regarding your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it for free– and the internet is now spreading tofarther places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can make using the web a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a luggage. Luggage aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up many steep stairs isn’t better.
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