Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Safe
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t till 1989 that the ruling military junta changed 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 much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were likewise changed, which is why you will certainly 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 as well as Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This short article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally three periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging options challenging to secure and will certainly mean trying to book in advance or deal with paying for the much more costly choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and also approaching rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of tourists that makes it easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is exceptionally warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as you should obtain 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 date of issue as well as permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you wish to save some cash, looking for a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. As an example, the price is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the United States, so do your research and don’t fail to remember to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in 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). Read the immigration internet site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for travellers as the initial mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entrance, although not all of them are advised due to safety.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of options, where you will need to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated 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 Border 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 most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also 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 border of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stay with the one you originally mentioned preferably to prevent any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be specified up front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less expensive and also has extra connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be irritating but the cross country propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is budget-friendly so it may be your far better choice.
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 entails ticking people off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as getting your bag off a trolley by the plane and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms and a range of high-end levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so fantastic for rest. Also, you’ll tend to arrive at strange times in the morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to take a nap straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the deluxe buses will certainly provide you a blanket however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food and also toilet break– a bit irritating 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 song CD’s as well as tacky video up until the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. As a result of superstitious notions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will arrive at a destination summons bad spirits and is taken seriously. The outcome? You will not get an answer.
You will mostly reserve buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a cost yet understand that the fee can differ drastically.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this truly does vary depending upon destination, mode of traveling and company. Search for a business that does include pickup as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one handy on-line reservation portal as well as the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not necessarily imply the bus is full. Try booking somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without fees.
Buses are almost always faster than the trains, yet bus rides are rough– you might consider taking tablets for nausea. Boats are additionally a choice for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst visitors.
There are no international car-rental firms, yet the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– in addition to guesthouses as well as hotels elsewhere– can organize cars and drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly apparent in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will certainly be your primary method of getting around particularly for getting to as well as from airports as well as within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are established on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ computation) and you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Typically the taxi to as well as from the airport/bus will be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi prices.
Cabs for the day may be your better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan and $28 for a few hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger aspect than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey around Yangon can cost USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is expensive in Myanmar and is a big contributing aspect to the expense.
Everybody intends to take you to a craft shop, a silk factory or a nut manufacturer during your sightseeing journeys. Don’t be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transportation. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, some of the side trips can be interesting as well as drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you opted for their recommendations!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest places, and also nearly all vacationers establish a dust cough. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can not handle it– or else you’ll be among the several vacationers walking toting head to foot road rash as well as plasters.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres ought to give you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning as well as leather seats– that 1.5 hour journey in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with absolutely nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Prepare for the unanticipated. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hrs of the morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, however considering that this is the major form of tourist transportation here it is only natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATMs in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to utilize dollars, they must be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased as well as newer than 2006. Each individual note is reviewed for problems, discolouration as well as creases at the currency exchange booths. You could also have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US bucks so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is most likely to be more affordable because the USD exchange rate is informal– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is normally applied on the spot, most likely relying on just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines as well as they mostly function but make sure you have money prior to turning up at more remote places like the beach. Often they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine charge of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any type of fees your bank could charge. As well as you most likely won’t have the ability to take out more than $150 at once.
ATM machines give kyat only. There are lots of exchange places around, but mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as require cash payment. If you have actually booked your hotels in advance online this might save you taking extra cash for lodging.
Credit cards are accepted mainly only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, generally charging a small fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being developed. That includes guesthouses as well as restaurants. Businesses are recouping their costs.
A dorm bed will certainly set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard personal room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In visitor hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a run down, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where high-end comes at a rate of $250 per night) with various other great choices can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package vacationer’ locations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the bonus side, you normally obtain a totally free breakfast with your lodging.
Street food is most inexpensive– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is affordable, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also affordable at a couple of dollars per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to spend for the benefit of being a foreigner as well as using squat toilets, entering pagodas, storing shoes and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of things like souvenirs yet if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest and also walk away.
Tipping is not common method in Myanmar, and it’s only foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and also out cold by 10pm! The heat is commonly unbearable during the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the traveler buses make it harder to get outstanding images and also move around freely.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous area of Myanmar, along with the western Chin State as well as the far, criminal activity levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you ought to take the normal safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female tourists 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 washrooms so use 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. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, lots of visitors use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, look for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories alert against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless people. Some other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners as a result of problem in between the government and various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the significant traveler locations.
Precise information on disputes and closed locations can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to taking a trip, and inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of news from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and also legs despite the high temperatures, as well as you will make everybody more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and frequently enforced for getting in the temples and pagodas.
Everyone uses skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so pick up an affordable one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are essential! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Battling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach however in other places it’s less usual.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be irritating, hot and sluggish but bear in mind: you chose to check out Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents who wish to talk. Travelers are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are beautiful and also are happy to appear in photos as well as try and speak via minimal common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is typically best managed by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers commonly roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic write-up 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 item in Myanmar and likewise acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops as well as dining establishments as residents make use of the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the area of the kissing audio so do not be upset!
The two crucial expressions 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 the majority of residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and is charged per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed and also unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you actually need washing and wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at many flight terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the street as well as the store staff will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more regarding your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘quick’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading videos at any time. On-line accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it completely free– as well as the net is now spreading tofarther places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can make using the internet an aggravating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also don’t anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a suitcase. aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t far better.
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