Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Scams
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally called Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been until 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 country’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. 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 Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the question: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the limited holiday accommodation choices tricky to secure and will certainly indicate trying to book ahead or deal with paying for the much more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as upcoming rains are due. There is a limited number of vacationers that makes it very easy to book lodging yet it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is offered to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes 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 stands for 90- days from the day of issue and allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be less costly– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa via your local Myanmar consular office might be less expensive. For instance, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also don’t forget to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration web site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the common choice for tourists as the first mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. However, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several avenues for land entry, although not every one of them are recommended due to safety and security.
No matter, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of alternatives, where you will certainly require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 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 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 town 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” but it is best to stay with the one you originally mentioned preferably to avoid any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be mentioned up-front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is cheaper as well as has more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport options may be aggravating yet the long distance propositions are a lot more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is inexpensive so it might be your much better choice.
You can still book 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 listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and also grabbing your bag off a trolley by the aircraft 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 affordable with competing companies as well as a series of high-end levels.
Most buses travel over night which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so excellent for rest. Also, you’ll tend to arrive at odd times in the morning and also won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to rest immediately.
Buses are extremely chilly, the deluxe buses will offer you a covering however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food as well as toilet break– a bit discouraging 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and tacky music videos till the early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request 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 off-limits to tourists unless you have actually requested a government visa in advance. In some places you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is difficult– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise might be really costly.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its daybreaks as well as sundowns, which additionally corresponds perfectly with staying inside (maybe for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day .
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re exploring Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t allowed either so you simply have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an entry charge for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, implying you can rest in more inexpensive accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are gradually getting better for solo tourists, though prices are still much more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but enchanting. The accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic yet beautifully decorated in teak wood) and also the breakfast was usually superior. And also, it’s nice to place cash into the hands of the citizens, not some huge brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses give a towel but you may have to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly also supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, but it can’t be counted on.
Be careful 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.
Book accommodation and transport ahead of time throughout peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to keep pace with. Many resorts are small and also boutique like thus if there’s someplace certain you wish to stay it’s essential to book beforehand. 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 cost if there are no rooms offered. However don’t rely upon the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the very best option. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants as well as an amazing selection of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Several items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so fantastic looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a suitable alternative.
Inform the staff if you don’t eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state just how much spice you like as the cooks have a tendency to go easy on visitors!
The fish is delicious and a terrific, fresh choice in a lot of restaurants.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), ensure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus yet don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and also do not usually include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and also you could get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia but you can find it as well as it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not drink the water but most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply complimentary water either in bottles in your area or using a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is very low-cost.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and whiskey being prominent choices.
Beer stations are easy to find and also enjoyable areas 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 bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at dawn is much more preferred than late night drinking.
Large chains can’t be discovered and also brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and beyond drink brand names like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brands as well as consuming from local restaurants.
Shops are tiny, family owned affairs– you will not discover a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equivalent ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated about, yet mainly you’re going to purchase snacks and also drinks from tiny, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Don’t fret, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a country where cigarette smoking in public places has actually long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe country– a lot of the population is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you need to take the usual safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is gross and also there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, many tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, search for a seller that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Many 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 people. A few other parts of the nation continue to be closed to foreigners as a result of problem between the government and also various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the major visitor locations.
Precise info on problems and closed locations can be challenging to come by. Check your government’s recommendations prior to travelling, as well as ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will certainly make everybody much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and typically enforced for getting in the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so grab one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear choice. Battling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach yet in other places it’s much less common.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travel can be irritating, warm and slow-moving yet remember: you selected to check out Myanmar which it’s not the same as 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 great deal by locals that wish to chat. Visitors are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are lovely as well as are happy to appear in pictures as well as attempt as well as speak via limited common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a whole lot which is normally best managed by providing a smile and also a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spat out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and cab drivers frequently roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after eating 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 great post 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 product in Myanmar and likewise serves 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 simpler for staff to recognize the area of the kissing sound so do not be surprised!
The two essential phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared for most locals to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand as well as is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothes washed and unless you want to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really need washing as well as clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely typical in developing nations where the plumbing system can not deal with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird 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 multiple adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at most airports when you land or in among the shops in the road and the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more about your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading video clips at any time. Online access has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it for free– and the net is now spreading tofarther places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can use the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a luggage. aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t far better.
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