Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Tourism Slogan
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t 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 viewed as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly 3 periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm however not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted lodging choices challenging to secure and will mean trying to book ahead or deal with paying for the much more costly 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 visitors which makes it very easy to book accommodation yet it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and also 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 is valid for 90- days from the date of issue and allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be less expensive– if you intend to save some money, getting a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be less costly. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research as well as do not fail to remember to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter 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 Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the latest at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for tourists as the very first mode of access, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. However, considering where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land access, although not all of them are recommended due to safety.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a listing of options, from which you will require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing 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 Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection 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 village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to adhere to the one you initially specified if possible to prevent any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. Furthermore, you may exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable as well as has much more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives may be discouraging yet the long distance propositions are far more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is economical so it might be your much better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little 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 and getting your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and 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 budget-friendly with competing firms and also a variety of luxury levels.
Many buses travel over night which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so fantastic for sleep. Likewise, you’ll often tend to arrive at strange times in the morning and also will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are extremely chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly give you a blanket however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hrs for a food and toilet break– a 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s as well as cheesy video up until the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a vehicle 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 arrive at a location summons bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t get an answer.
You will primarily book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically bill a cost however know that the charge can vary significantly.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this actually does differ depending on destination, mode of traveling and also company. Look for a firm that does include pickup as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one useful online reservation site as well as the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not always indicate the bus is full. Try booking elsewhere.
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 may consider taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are likewise an option for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among visitors.
There are no international car-rental firms, yet a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– along with guesthouses and hotels in other places– can organize cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly apparent in the local transport.
With minimal public transport, taxis will certainly be your main means of navigating especially for getting to as well as from flight terminals and also within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are established on the spot (after a fast ‘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 prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Usually the taxi to and from the airport/bus will certainly be more than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi fares.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your much better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan and also $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger factor than time in dictating the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey around Yangon can cost USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each way, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar and also is a huge contributing aspect to the expense.
Everybody wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk factory or a nut producer during your sightseeing and tour journeys. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your very own personal transportation. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, some of the side journeys can be fascinating and also drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you opted for their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorbikes) outside the cities is much more inexpensive however beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest locations, and also mostly all visitors establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can not handle it– or else you’ll be one of the lots of visitors walking around toting head to foot road rash and also bandages.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km ought to give you an idea. The time advised for getting to the bus terminal (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hr journey 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.
Plan for the unanticipated. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hrs of the morning, your only choice to get to my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, yet since this is the main form of traveler transport here it is just all-natural that they are waiting for new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATMs in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they have to be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also more recent than 2006. Each individual note is checked thoroughly for imperfections, discolouration and also creases at the money exchange booths. You could likewise have problems changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is likely to be less expensive since the USD currency exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is typically applied on the spot, probably depending on just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines as well as they mostly function however make certain you have money prior to showing up at more remote spots like the beach. Sometimes they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM charge of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any fees your bank could charge. And also you most likely will not have the ability to take out more than $150 each time.
ATMs give kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places about, however primarily the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational flight terminal to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and call for cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels ahead of time online this may save you taking additional cash money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly just in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, usually billing a little fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being developed. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Companies are recouping their expenses.
A dorm bed will 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 traveler hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where luxury comes with a rate of $250 per night) with various other great options 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 visitor’ destinations like Ngapali beach can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the bonus side, you typically obtain a complimentary morning meal with your lodging.
Street food is most affordable– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is economical, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also affordable at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner and using squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes as well as taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on prices of products like souvenirs however if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not common technique in Myanmar, and it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is frequently intolerable throughout the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the traveler buses make it more difficult to get remarkable pictures and move easily.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous location of Myanmar, together with the western Chin State and also the far, criminal activity levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you should take the common precautions of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female visitors should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Also take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, lots of visitors use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, look for a seller that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories alert against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually led to the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the nation remain shut to foreigners because of problem between the government as well as various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the major tourist locations.
Accurate details on problems as well as closed locations can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s recommendations before taking a trip, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs despite 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 tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and also typically enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everyone puts on skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm as well as tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Going into pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the very best footwear option. Dealing with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome 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 as well as shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but in other places it’s less typical.
The local individuals are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, hot and sluggish however keep in mind: you picked to check out Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by locals that want to talk. Travelers are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Usually the people are beautiful and also are happy to appear in pictures and try and converse through minimal usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a whole lot which is normally best dealt with by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| due to the fact that it supplies a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as cab drivers commonly roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great article 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 and also works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and restaurants as locals make use of the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to determine the place of the kissing audio so don’t be surprised!
Both essential phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, however it is well received. Be prepared for the majority of residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and is billed per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed as well as unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really require washing and also clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can not deal with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at most airport terminals when you land or in among the stores in the road and the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more regarding your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘quick’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips whenever. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it free of charge– as well as the net is now spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power failures can use the net an irritating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as do not 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 knapsack than a travel suitcase. aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up numerous steep stairs isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Tourism Slogan