Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Tourism Safety
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially called Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the country’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 much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Other names were additionally changed, which is why you will 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 as well as Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly 3 periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm yet not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted holiday accommodation choices challenging to secure and will certainly indicate attempting to book ahead or face paying out for the a lot more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar and also impending rains are due. There is a minimal number of tourists that makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation but it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as you should obtain authorization 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 as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be less expensive– if you wish to save some money, getting a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy may be less costly. For instance, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as don’t neglect to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the current at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the typical alternative for travellers as the very first mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land entry, although not every one of them are advised due to safety.
Regardless, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of choices, where you will require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and 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 boundary town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stay with the one you initially specified if possible to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Furthermore, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less costly as well as has much more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be aggravating yet the cross country propositions are much more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is cost effective so it might be your better option.
You can still book flights the traditional 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 airport and 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 actually is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms and also a range of high-end levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so excellent for sleep. Also, you’ll tend to reach at odd times in the early morning as well as won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to take a nap immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the high-end buses will provide you a blanket but, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a bit discouraging 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 also tacky video till the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim region are generally off-limits to travelers unless you have actually applied for a government visa beforehand. In some areas you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is tough– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure implies that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Trying to do otherwise could be very pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is famous for its sunrises and sunsets, which likewise matches perfectly with remaining inside (possibly for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously unclean floors. 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 allowed 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 just views for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an entry fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this fee is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, indicating you can rest in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are gradually improving for solo travellers, though prices are still a lot more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet charming. The holiday accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house might be like, basic however beautifully decorated in teak) as well as the morning meal was generally exceptional. And also, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the locals, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and guesthouses provide a towel yet you may need to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do also, yet it can not be relied on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book holiday accommodation as well as transport in advance throughout peak season. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has actually fallen short to keep pace with. A lot of hotels are little and boutique like thus if there’s someplace specific you intend to stay it’s vital to book in advance. 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 areas readily available. But don’t rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best selection. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and an amazing selection of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Many pieces of cutlery are cleaned with a not so excellent looking water supply and also dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a suitable alternative.
Inform the staff if you don’t consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals state how much spice you like as the chefs often tend to go easy on travelers!
The fish is delicious as well as a wonderful, fresh alternative in many restaurants.
There is quite a great deal 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), make certain you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus however don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned and also seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and also do not normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar as well as you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other locations in Southeast Asia yet you can discover it and it’s great. 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 as well as guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your space or using a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, bottled water is very cheap.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and also scotch being popular options.
Beer stations are very easy to find and fun locations to get a beverage with the locals if you don’t want to sit in a restaurant.
Understand that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. as well as bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at dawn is much more prominent than late night drinking.
Big chains can’t be discovered and also brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and also beyond beverage brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brands and consuming from local dining establishments.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a few comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated around, yet mostly you’re going to buy snacks and also beverages from little, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking cigarettes in public places has actually long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe area– most of the population is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are incredibly low.
Still, you need to take the normal precautions of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is gross and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to 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 a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, numerous visitors use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, 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, ensure it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories caution 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 actually caused the mass displacement of countless people. Some other parts of the nation stay closed to foreigners due to conflict in between the government and also different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the significant vacationer destinations.
Exact info on disputes and closed areas can be challenging to find. Check your government’s advice before taking a trip, and inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will certainly make everybody more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and typically enforced for going into the temples and also 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. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so grab an affordable one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend 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 as well as at the beach yet somewhere else it’s less usual.
The local people are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, warm and also 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, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens who wish to talk. Tourists are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely as well as more than happy to appear in pictures as well as attempt and speak through minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is usually best managed by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and 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 chewing betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it provides a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. But, 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.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also taxi drivers frequently roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar and also functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and dining establishments as citizens use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to recognize the area of the kissing audio so do not be distressed!
Both most important expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, however it is well received. Be ready for most locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand as well as is charged per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and also unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually require washing and also wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy 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 really typical in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t manage anything apart from 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 multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin connects in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, far better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of airports when you land or in among the stores in the street as well as the store staff will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more concerning your network selections below. 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 coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it free of charge– and the net is now spreading tomore remote locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can make using the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect to Skype home very frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t far better.
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