Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Travel Plan
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t till 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 country’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as 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 as well as Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are typically three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted holiday accommodation options difficult to secure and also will mean trying to book in advance or deal with paying for the a lot more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar and impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of visitors that makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation however it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa website. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also you should get approval within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you arrive and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter stands for 90- days from the day of issue and also permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be less expensive– if you want to save some money, applying for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office might be more affordable. As an example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as don’t forget to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for tourists as the very first mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land entrance, although not every one of them are encouraged because of security.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be given a list of options, from which you will certainly require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern 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 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to adhere to the one you originally stated ideally to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be specified up-front. In addition, you may exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less costly and has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport options may be frustrating but the cross country propositions are a lot more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is cost effective so it might be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional means by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and grabbing your bag off a trolley 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 really is an experience. And 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 range of high-end levels.
Many buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so terrific for sleep. Likewise, you’ll tend to arrive at odd times in the morning as well as won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Consider if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are really chilly, the deluxe buses will provide you a covering but, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and tacky video till the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State and also Tenasserim region are usually out-of-bounds to travelers unless you have actually applied for a government visa in advance. In some places you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise may be extremely expensive.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its dawns and sundowns, which also matches perfectly with remaining inside (perhaps for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously unclean floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re checking out 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 mindful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entrance fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost 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 slowly opening up, implying you can sleep in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years back. Things are gradually getting better for solo travellers, though costs are still far more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however enchanting. The accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house may be like, basic yet magnificently decorated in teak) and also the breakfast was normally remarkable. Plus, it’s nice to place cash into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses provide a towel but you might have to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will additionally supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, but it can not be depended on.
Beware 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 holiday accommodation and transportation in advance throughout peak season. The tourist sector in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has actually failed to keep speed with. Most hotels are tiny and boutique like so if there’s someplace specific you want to stay it’s necessary to book ahead of time. It is specifically necessary to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small cost if there are no rooms readily available. Yet don’t count 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 dining establishments as well as a fantastic range of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so terrific looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an optimal alternative.
Tell the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals state just how much spice you like as the cooks often tend to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is delicious and a great, fresh alternative in most dining establishments.
There is quite a lot 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), make certain you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on food selections but do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned and also seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice as well as don’t generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar as well as you could get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia however you can find 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 however most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or by means of a large water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is extremely affordable.
Alcohol is extensively available with beer, rum and also bourbon being popular options.
Beer stations are simple to locate and enjoyable places to get a beverage with the locals if you do not want to sit in a dining establishment.
Know that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and also bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at daybreak is much more preferred than late night alcohol consumption.
Big chains can’t be located and also brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brands like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brand names as well as eating from local restaurants.
Shops are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated about, but mainly you’re going to get snacks as well as beverages from little, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Don’t fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a nation where smoking cigarettes in public locations has actually long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe area– the majority of the populace is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, crime levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you should take the typical preventative measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female visitors should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is filthy and also there isn’t always soap in washrooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, lots of tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, search for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the country continue to be closed to foreigners because of conflict between the government and also different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin as well as Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, as well as far from the major tourist destinations.
Exact info on conflicts and closed locations can be tough to find. Check your government’s recommendations prior to travelling, and also inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs regardless of the high temperatures, and also you will make everybody a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and typically enforced for entering 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 men and women. Lots of tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so pick up an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear selection. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after visiting 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 and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however in other places it’s much less common.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm and slow but remember: you chose to see Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that wish to chat. Travelers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely as well as more than happy to appear in photos and attempt and converse through minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a lot which is typically best handled by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| due to the fact that 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, most times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers often roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit 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 children. Why not? Read this brilliant write-up 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 and likewise functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and restaurants as locals make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the place of the kissing audio so don’t be distressed!
The two most important 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.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand as well as is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothes washed and unless you wish to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly need washing and also wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t handle anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple 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 have to overcome it or, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at most airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road and the shop staff will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more about your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it free of charge– as well as the internet is currently spreading tofarther places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can use the web a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and don’t expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up several steep staircases isn’t far better.
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