Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Guide
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered 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 numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were likewise altered, which is why you will 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 as well as Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are usually three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
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 however not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging options difficult to secure and will mean trying to book in advance or face paying out for the more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar as well as upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of travelers which makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation however it is exceptionally warm.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and also 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 stands for 90- days from the day of issue and allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be more affordable– if you intend to save some money, looking for a visa via your local Myanmar embassy might be less costly. For instance, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as don’t forget to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical alternative for visitors as the initial mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, thinking about where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entry, although not all of them are suggested because of security.
Regardless, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of options, where you will certainly need to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located 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 boundary 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 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 go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to adhere to the one you originally specified when possible to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints given that your exit point does not require to be stated up front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable as well as has more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be irritating yet the long distance propositions are much more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is budget-friendly so it might be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing businesses as well as a range of luxury levels.
Many buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so terrific for sleep. Also, you’ll tend to reach at weird times in the early morning as well as will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Consider if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to rest immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the deluxe buses will give you a blanket yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hours for a food as well as toilet break– a bit irritating 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 location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and tacky music videos till the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. As a result of superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will arrive at a location conjures up bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The result? You will not get a response.
You will primarily reserve buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a cost however understand that the charge can differ considerably.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this really does differ depending upon destination, mode of travel and also company. Look for a business that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one convenient online booking portal and the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily indicate the bus is full. Try booking somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough– you could take into consideration taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are also an option for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among tourists.
There are no international car-rental agencies, but a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– in addition to guesthouses as well as hotels somewhere else– can organize cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly evident in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will certainly be your major method of navigating especially for getting to and also from flight terminals as well as within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are established on the spot (after a fast ‘how much can I get away with’ computation) and also you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Commonly the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will 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 and tour in Bagan and also $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger factor than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hr trip around Yangon can cost USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each means, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar as well as is a big contributing aspect to the price.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft shop, a silk factory or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing and tour trips. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transportation. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side journeys can be interesting and also drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your itinerary and you may be happy you opted for their suggestions!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electrical motorbikes) outside the cities is much cheaper yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest areas, and also nearly all visitors establish a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– otherwise you’ll be among the numerous tourists walking toting head to foot road rash and also bandages.
The huge 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 suggested for getting to the bus station (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning as well as leather seats– that 1.5 hr trip in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Prepare for the unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hrs of the early morning, your only alternative to get to my hotel may be by means of horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, yet because this is the major form of tourist transportation here it is just all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and also the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they need to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and newer than 2006. Each specific note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration and creases at the money exchange booths. You could likewise have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States bucks so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Utilizing kyat is most likely to be less costly due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is typically applied on the spot, most likely depending upon just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and they mainly work however make certain you have money prior to turning up at more remote places like the coastline. Occasionally they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM cost of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any type of charges your bank may charge. And you possibly won’t be able to withdraw greater than $150 each time.
ATM machines give kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places around, yet mostly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational flight terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also require cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels ahead of time online this might save you taking extra money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily only in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, generally billing a tiny charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also restaurants. Businesses are recovering their expenses.
A dorm bed will 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 dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where deluxe comes at a rate of $250 per night) with other very good alternatives being available at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A modern hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package vacationer’ locations like Ngapali beach can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there as well). On the plus side, you typically get a complimentary morning meal with your accommodation.
Street food is most budget-friendly– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will certainly set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also low-cost at a number of dollars per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to spend for the benefit of being a foreigner and making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing footwear as well as taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the much more touristy areas.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of items like souvenirs yet if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest and also walk away.
Tipping is not common practice in Myanmar, and also it’s only foreigners who tip.
Taking in the sights in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak as well as out cold by 10pm! The heat is frequently excruciating throughout the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the traveler buses make it harder to get remarkable pictures 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 and the far, crime levels are remarkably low.
Still, you ought to take the normal precautions of using hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross and also there isn’t always soap in restrooms 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 carry something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, many travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. However, 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.
The majority of government advisories warn against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has brought about the mass displacement of thousands of people. A few other parts of the nation stay closed to foreigners because of conflict in between the government as well as different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant traveler destinations.
Exact information on problems and also closed locations can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, and inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the heat, and you will make everybody much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and typically enforced for entering 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. Lots of travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so pick up a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas indicates going barefoot and also flip flops are the best footwear choice. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach yet somewhere else it’s much less common.
The local individuals are extremely genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, warm and slow yet keep in mind: you chose to visit Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents that intend to talk. Travelers are no longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Generally the people are beautiful and are happy to appear in photos and try as well as converse via limited usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is typically best handled by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it supplies a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as taxi drivers typically roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after eating 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 great article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as likewise acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and dining establishments as residents utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the area of the kissing noise so don’t be surprised!
The two most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, yet it is well received. Be ready for a lot of locals to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand as well as is billed per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your garments washed and unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually need washing as well as wash your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by however tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t cope with anything other than 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 along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, far better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airports when you land or in among the stores in the street and also the store staff will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more about your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos any time. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it free of charge– as well as the internet is currently spreading tomore remote areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power outages can use the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and do not anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a luggage. aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up lots of high staircases isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Travel Guide