Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Tourist Visa Express
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but 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 many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also changed, 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 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 Visit Myanmar
There are usually 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the restricted lodging options challenging to secure and will certainly imply trying to book in advance or deal with paying for the much more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar as well as impending rains are due. There is a limited number of travelers that makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should get 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 date of issue and also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy might be less costly– if you intend to save some money, applying for a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office might be less expensive. As an example, the cost is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and also do not neglect to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in 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 web site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual option for visitors as the very first mode of access, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east and also India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are several avenues for land access, although not all of them are suggested because of safety.
Regardless, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a list of alternatives, where you will certainly require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located 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 Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region of northwestern Myanmar on the boundary 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stay with the one you originally stated ideally to avoid any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be specified up-front. Furthermore, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly as well as has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport options may be irritating but the cross country propositions are a lot more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and also flying is affordable so it might be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school 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 airport and getting your bag off a cart by the airplane as well as 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 great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing firms as well as a series of high-end levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so excellent for sleep. Additionally, you’ll often tend to reach at odd times in the early morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to take a nap immediately.
Buses are extremely cold, 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 anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food and toilet break– a bit frustrating 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 even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and tacky video till the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim area are generally out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have obtained a government visa ahead of time. In some places you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving 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 struggle to go any other way. Trying to do otherwise may be extremely costly.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is famous for its sunrises as well as sundowns, which also 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 grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re checking out Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you simply need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a mindful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an access charge for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening, implying you can rest in low-cost accommodation than you could a few years ago. Things are slowly improving for solo tourists, though prices are still a lot more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet lovely. The accommodation provides a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic but wonderfully decorated in teak) as well as the breakfast was usually superior. And also, it’s nice to place money right into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses offer a towel yet you might have to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do as well, but it can’t be relied on.
Be careful about the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve accommodation and also transportation ahead of time during peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the facilities has actually fallen short to maintain pace with. The majority of resorts are small and boutique like thus if there’s someplace particular you wish to stay it’s necessary to book beforehand. It is particularly necessary to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small charge if there are no areas available. Yet do not rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the best choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also an incredible array of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so excellent looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an excellent choice.
Tell the staff if you don’t eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state how much spice you like as the chefs have a tendency to go easy on visitors!
The fish is delicious and a wonderful, fresh option in a lot of restaurants.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food as well as beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), see to it you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus however do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and also don’t typically feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you might get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia yet you can find it and it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can not consume the water yet most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your space or by means of a large water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is really economical.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and also scotch being popular options.
Beer stations are very easy to discover and fun areas to get a drink with the locals if you do not intend to sit in a restaurant.
Understand that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and 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 not be found as well as brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and also beyond drink brands like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brands and eating from local restaurants.
Stores are small, family owned affairs– you won’t discover a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted about, but primarily you’re going to purchase snacks and also beverages from tiny, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Don’t worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking in public locations has actually long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe country– most of the populace is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you should take the normal precautions of utilizing hotel storage 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 dirty and also there isn’t always soap in restrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, several tourists use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s often pre-cut, look for a seller that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Most government advisories caution against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually caused the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the country stay closed to foreigners due to dispute between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, as well as far from the significant vacationer destinations.
Exact information on problems as well as closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s recommendations before taking a trip, and ask about the situation once 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
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs despite the heat, as well as you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged and usually enforced for going into the temples and pagodas.
Every person wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so grab a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with laces in the scorching heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach yet in other places it’s much less usual.
The local people are incredibly genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm and sluggish but keep in mind: you picked to check out Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by citizens who want to talk. Visitors are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are beautiful and are happy to appear in photos and attempt as well as chat through minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is generally best dealt with by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re spending for a guide, make sure 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 and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| due to the fact that it delivers a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers frequently roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic short 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 product in Myanmar and likewise works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and also restaurants as citizens make use of the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to recognize the area of the kissing sound so do not be alarmed!
The two crucial expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be prepared for a lot of citizens to giggle in response– 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 garments laundered and unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really need washing and also clean your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is really typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can not deal with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs along with 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 the majority of flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the road as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network selections right here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘fast’ link, do not expect to be downloading video clips any time. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it free of cost– as well as the net is currently spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power interruptions can make using the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as don’t expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Luggage aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up lots of high staircases isn’t better.
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