Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Checklist
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been till 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 nation’s former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were also 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 also Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are usually three seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal accommodation alternatives tricky to secure and will imply attempting to book in advance or deal with paying out for the more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as impending rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it very easy to book lodging yet it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins 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 also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be cheaper– if you want to save some cash, requesting a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be less expensive. As an example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as don’t fail to remember to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration web site for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for travellers as the initial mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land entrance, although not all of them are recommended due to safety and security.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a listing of options, where you will certainly need to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated 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 boundary of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster 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 border town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to adhere to the one you initially specified preferably to avoid any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. Furthermore, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is more affordable as well as has much more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport options might be discouraging but the cross country propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is inexpensive so it may be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport as well as getting your bag off a trolley by the plane 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 inexpensive with competing firms and a range of high-end levels.
Most buses travel over night which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so wonderful for rest. Additionally, you’ll tend to reach at strange times in the morning and also will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly provide you a covering however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hours for a food and toilet break– a bit frustrating if you’re trying to sleep 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 music CD’s as well as tacky video up until the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim area are normally off-limits to tourists unless you have actually requested a government visa ahead of time. In some locations you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise could be really pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its dawns as well as sunsets, which additionally corresponds nicely with remaining indoors (perhaps for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously unclean floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re exploring Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t allowed either so you just need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just views for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Anticipate 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 up, meaning you can rest in more inexpensive accommodation than you could a few years earlier. Things are gradually improving for solo travellers, though expenses are still a lot more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet captivating. The accommodation offers a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic but perfectly decorated in teak wood) and the morning meal was typically exceptional. And also, it’s nice to place cash into the hands of the citizens, not some huge brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels and guesthouses give a towel however you might need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly likewise supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, however it can’t be depended on.
Be cautious 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 as well as transportation ahead of time during peak season. The tourist sector in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the facilities has actually fallen short to maintain pace with. A lot of hotels are little and boutique like thus if there’s somewhere specific you wish to stay it’s essential to book ahead of time. It is particularly vital to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small charge if there are no areas available. But don’t rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best option. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and a fantastic range of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are wiped with a not so terrific looking water supply and also dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a perfect choice.
Inform the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state just how much spice you like as the chefs often tend to go easy on travelers!
The fish is delicious and also a great, fresh choice in a lot of dining establishments.
There is quite a lot of sugar in the food and drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), see to it you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus however don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded and also seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice as well as don’t usually include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar as well as you may get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other places in Southeast Asia yet you can discover it and it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t consume the water but most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or via a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is extremely low-cost.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and also bourbon being popular options.
Beer stations are simple to find and fun locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not wish 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 follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at daybreak is much more preferred than late night drinking.
Big chains can not be located and also brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brands like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brands and eating from local restaurants.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted about, but mainly you’re going to purchase treats and also drinks from tiny, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Don’t fret, 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 areas has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe area– the majority of the population is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, crime levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you ought to take the common precautions of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is dirty and also there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Also take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, many travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories caution against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless individuals. Some other parts of the country remain closed to foreigners due to problem in between the government and different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, as well as far from the significant vacationer destinations.
Exact info on disputes and closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, as well as inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the heat, and you will certainly make everyone a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and commonly enforced for going into the temples as well as 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. Several vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so grab an inexpensive one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are necessary! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear choice. Struggling with laces in the scorching heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however somewhere else it’s less typical.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, warm and also slow however remember: you picked to visit Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by residents that want to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely and also are happy to appear in photographs and also try and converse via minimal common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a great deal which is typically best dealt with by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and 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 spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers typically roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the kids. Why not? Read this great 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 acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and dining establishments as residents make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to recognize the place of the kissing sound so don’t be startled!
The two most important phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, however it is well received. Be ready for most residents 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 and is charged per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothing washed and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly need washing and also wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not cope with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, buy a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of airports when you land or in among the shops in the street and the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more about your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips whenever. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it free of charge– and also the net is now spreading tomore remote areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can use the web a discouraging exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and also do not anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a suitcase. Luggage aren’t suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up several steep stairs isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Travel Checklist