Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Travel Destination
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma got 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 seen as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. 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 also Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the minimal lodging alternatives difficult to secure and will certainly imply trying to book ahead or face paying for the much more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar and impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of visitors that makes it very easy to book accommodation yet it is incredibly warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and you should get authorization 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 day of issue and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be less expensive– if you want to save some money, requesting a visa via your local Myanmar consular office may be cheaper. For instance, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the USA, so do your research and do not forget to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual alternative for tourists as the initial mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. However, considering where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east as well as India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land entry, although not all of them are suggested because of security.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of choices, where you will need to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border 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 Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection 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 truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stick to the one you originally specified preferably to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints given that your exit point does not require to be stated up front. In addition, you may exit 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 transportation choices might be irritating however the cross country propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is budget-friendly so it may be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the traditional way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane as well as flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. As well as a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing businesses as well as a range of high-end levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing, yet isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Additionally, you’ll tend to reach at strange times in the morning and also will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to rest straight away.
Buses are really cold, the deluxe buses will certainly give you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hours for a food and also toilet break– a little bit aggravating if you’re trying 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 as well as cheesy music videos up until the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim area are typically out-of-bounds to travelers unless you have made an application for a government visa ahead of time. In some locations you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is difficult– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go any other way. Trying to do otherwise might be very expensive.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its dawns and also sundowns, which additionally corresponds well with remaining indoors (maybe for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day warmth.
Anticipate to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also 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 need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, most of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for visitors. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an access fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this fee is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening, indicating you can sleep in more inexpensive accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are slowly getting better for solo tourists, though prices are still far more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but lovely. The accommodation offers a feel for what a local house could be like, basic but wonderfully decorated in teak wood) and the morning meal was generally superior. Plus, it’s nice to place money right into the hands of the locals, not some huge brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses supply a towel but you could have to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly also supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, yet it can’t be relied on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve holiday accommodation and transportation beforehand during peak season. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to keep pace with. Many hotels are little and boutique like thus if there’s somewhere specific you wish to stay it’s vital to book in advance. It is especially essential to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small fee if there are no areas readily available. But don’t rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the very best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also a remarkable selection of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are wiped with a not so great looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an ideal alternative.
Tell the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your dishes specify just how much spice you like as the chefs often tend to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is scrumptious as well as a terrific, fresh alternative in the majority 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 ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections yet do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned as well as seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and do not generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia but you can discover it and also it’s excellent. 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 and guesthouses supply free water either in bottles in your space or using a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is extremely low-cost.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and also bourbon being popular alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to find and fun areas to get a drink with the locals if you don’t want to being in a restaurant.
Be aware 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 preferred than late night drinking.
Huge chains can not be located as well as brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brands like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brand names as well as eating from local restaurants.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated about, however mainly you’re going to get treats as well as drinks from small, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not worry, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a country where smoking cigarettes in public locations has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe area– the majority of the populace is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you ought to take the typical preventative measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Women travellers 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 prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, many visitors use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it’s usually pre-cut, try to find a seller that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
A lot of government advisories alert against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually brought about the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the nation stay shut to foreigners because of dispute between the government and also various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant visitor destinations.
Accurate information on problems as well as closed areas can be challenging 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 great source of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the heat, and you will make everybody a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and also usually enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Every person puts on skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so get a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are necessary! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear option. Battling 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 clothe 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 yet somewhere else it’s less typical.
The local individuals are exceptionally genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, warm and slow-moving but bear in mind: you chose to see Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by locals that intend to talk. Travelers are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are beautiful and more than happy to appear in pictures as well as try and also speak via limited common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is typically best handled by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and if you’re spending for a guide, make sure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| due to the fact that it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers frequently roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the kids. Why not? Read this brilliant short article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as additionally functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes as well as restaurants as locals make use of the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to identify the place of the kissing sound so don’t be upset!
The two crucial phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared for most citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and also is billed per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed and unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really need washing and clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can not manage anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hrs in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, far better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road and the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more concerning your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos whenever. On-line accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it free of charge– and the net is now spreading tofarther areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can use the net a discouraging 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 work at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a luggage. Travel suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up several steep staircases isn’t far better.
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