Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Tourist Visa Cost
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially known as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t up 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 seen as a relic of the nation’s former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. 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 as well as on the world stage. This short article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are typically 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm yet not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the minimal holiday accommodation options tricky to secure and will mean attempting to book ahead or face paying out for the more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as approaching rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of vacationers which makes it easy to book accommodation but it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also you should get 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 day of issue and permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be less costly– if you want to save some money, applying for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office might be less costly. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and also don’t forget to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the latest at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for tourists as the very first mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land entry, although not all of them are recommended because of safety.
Regardless, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes just how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of options, where you will certainly require to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary to north 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 Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area 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 border of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to adhere to the one you initially stated when possible to prevent any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be specified up front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is more affordable and also has much more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options might be aggravating but the cross country propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and also flying is economical so it may be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing businesses and also a series of deluxe levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so wonderful for rest. Additionally, you’ll tend to reach at weird times in the early morning and won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the luxury 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 and also toilet break– a bit discouraging if you’re attempting to rest 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 song CD’s and also tacky music videos until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about he time of arrival. Due to 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 invokes bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t get a response.
You will generally book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a cost yet understand that the charge can vary substantially.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this actually does vary depending upon destination, mode of travel and company. Search for a business that does include pick-up as taxis are extortionate.
Reserving buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one handy online booking website and also the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily imply the bus is full. Attempt reservation somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are often faster than the trains, but bus rides are rough– you might take into consideration taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are also an alternative for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst visitors.
There are no international car-rental agencies, but the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– in addition to guesthouses and hotels in other places– can arrange cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With minimal public transport, taxis will be your main method of getting around especially for getting to and from flight terminals and within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– rates are set on the spot (after a fast ‘just how much can I get away with’ calculation) and you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Typically the taxi to as well as from the airport/bus will be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi fares.
Cabs for the day may be your far better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of taking in the sights in Bagan and $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in determining the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hr trip about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each method, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar and is a huge contributing factor to the expense.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut producer during your sightseeing and tour trips. Don’t hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your very own private transportation. Besides, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side trips can be fascinating and also drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt among the dustiest locations, and mostly all visitors create a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– or else you’ll be just one of the lots of vacationers walking toting head to foot road rash and plasters.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km ought to give you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus terminal (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hour journey 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 unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hrs of the early morning, your only option to reach my hotel may be by means of horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, but considering that this is the main form of tourist transportation here it is only natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they need to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and newer than 2006. Each specific note is checked thoroughly for imperfections, discolouration as well as folds at the currency exchange kiosks. You may additionally have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in United States dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Utilizing kyat is most likely to be less costly because the USD exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is usually applied on the spot, possibly relying on how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mostly function however make sure you have money before turning up at more remote places like the coastline. 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 charges your financial institution might charge. As well as you most likely will not have the ability to withdraw greater than $150 at a time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places about, but primarily the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and require cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels ahead of time online this might save you taking extra cash for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mostly just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, usually billing a tiny fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Companies are recovering their 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 dull, no-frills room.
For hotels, luxury resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where high-end comes at a price of $250 per night) with various other excellent 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 set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ destinations like Ngapali beach can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there also). On the bonus side, you normally obtain a complimentary morning meal with your accommodation.
Street food is most cost effective– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will certainly set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is economical, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also inexpensive at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to spend for the privilege of being a foreigner as well as utilizing squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes as well as taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the more touristy areas.
It’s possible to bargain on prices of things like souvenirs yet if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and walk away.
Tipping is not common method in Myanmar, and it’s just foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak and out cold by 10pm! The heat is commonly excruciating during the peak sunlight hours and the arrival of the tourist buses make it harder to get amazing photos and also move 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 as well as the far, crime levels are remarkably low.
Still, you need to take the normal precautions of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is filthy as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, many tourists use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. However, 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, make sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
A lot of government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the country stay closed to foreigners as a result of problem in between the government as well as different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant vacationer locations.
Precise information on disputes as well as closed locations can be tough to find. Check your government’s guidance prior to travelling, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs regardless of the heat, and you will make everyone more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as t-shirts are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as 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 males and females. Several tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat as well as tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so grab a cheap one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are crucial! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to 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 and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but in other places it’s less usual.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, warm as well as slow but keep in mind: you picked to visit Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by residents who want to chat. Tourists are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Generally the people are lovely and also more than happy to appear in pictures as well as attempt and also converse through limited typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is usually best dealt with by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting 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| since it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off 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 usually roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic write-up 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 as well as additionally functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also restaurants as residents use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the location of the kissing audio so do not be upset!
Both essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, yet it is well received. Be ready 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 generally done by hand and is charged per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed and unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you really require washing and clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not manage anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd 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 numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the street and also the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more concerning your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos any time. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it free of cost– and also the net is now spreading tofarther places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can use the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also don’t expect to Skype home very frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and also out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up many high stairs isn’t better.
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