Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Show
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been up 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 viewed as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were additionally altered, 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 Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly 3 periods in which you can go to 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 climate is warm however not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the limited accommodation options difficult to secure and also will mean trying to book in advance or face paying out for the a lot more pricey choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it easy to book accommodation but it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa website. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as you should get authorization within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you arrive and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter is valid for 90- days from the day of issue as well as permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be less expensive– if you want to save some money, applying for a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be cheaper. For example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and also don’t fail to remember to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for travellers as the initial mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are several avenues for land entrance, although not every one of them are suggested because of security.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of choices, where you will certainly need to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Crossing 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area 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” yet it is best to stay with the one you originally mentioned preferably to avoid any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is more affordable and has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives may be irritating but the long distance propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is affordable so it may be your much better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing companies and also a series of luxury levels.
Most buses travel over night which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so excellent for rest. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to reach at strange times in the early morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting for 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 straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the luxury buses will certainly give you a blanket yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t 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 attempting 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 even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and cheesy music videos till the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver about he time of arrival. Due to 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 location invokes bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The result? You will not get an answer.
You will mainly book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a cost but be aware that the fee can vary significantly.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this actually does vary depending upon destination, mode of traveling as well as company. Look for a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are exorbitant.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one convenient on-line booking website and the ones that do exist have a limited number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the bus is full. Try booking somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without fees.
Buses are often faster than the trains, but bus rides are bumpy– you might consider taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise an option for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among tourists.
There are no international car-rental agencies, however a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– along with guesthouses and also hotels elsewhere– can arrange cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With limited public transportation, taxis will be your primary method of getting around particularly for getting to and from airport terminals as well as within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– prices are set on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ calculation) and you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Often the taxi to and from the airport/bus will certainly be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi fares.
Taxis for the day may be your far better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan as well as $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger factor than time in dictating the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar as well as is a huge contributing aspect to the price.
Everybody wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut producer throughout your sightseeing and tour trips. 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, a few of the side trips can be intriguing as well as drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your itinerary and you may be happy you chose their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much more inexpensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest places, and also almost all tourists develop a dust cough. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– otherwise you’ll be one of the many tourists walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as bandages.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km ought to provide you an idea. The time suggested for getting to the bus terminal (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hour journey in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Plan for the unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hrs of the morning, your only alternative to get to my hotel may be using horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, however since this is the primary form of traveler transportation here it is just natural that they are waiting for new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATMs in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they must be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and more recent than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for problems, discolouration and folds at the money exchange kiosks. You could likewise have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in US dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be less expensive because the USD currency exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, possibly relying on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mainly work however make certain you have money prior to showing up at more remote spots like the beach. Occasionally they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM charge of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any type of charges your financial institution could charge. And also you most likely will not be able to withdraw more than $150 each time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places about, however primarily 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 call for cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels in advance online this might save you taking added cash money for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mostly only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, generally charging a small charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being developed. That includes guesthouses and dining establishments. Businesses are recovering their expenses.
Holiday accommodation expenses
A dorm bed will certainly 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 vacationer hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where luxury comes at a cost of $250 per night) with other very good alternatives can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A modern hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package visitor’ destinations like Ngapali beach can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there too). On the plus side, you typically get a free breakfast with your lodging.
Street food is most cost effective– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will certainly cost $7-$12.
Mineral water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally inexpensive at a couple of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and also utilizing squat toilets, entering pagodas, storing footwear as well as taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the much more touristy areas.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of products like mementos yet if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest and also walk away.
Tipping is not usual technique in Myanmar, and also it’s only foreigners that tip.
Taking in the sights in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and out cold by 10pm! The heat is usually unbearable during the peak sunlight hours and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it more difficult to get outstanding images and also walk around easily.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous location of Myanmar, together with the western Chin State and the far, crime levels are extremely low.
Still, you should take the typical precautions of making use of 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 as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth as well as nose when cycling around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, lots of travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the country stay closed to foreigners due to problem between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the significant visitor locations.
Accurate details on disputes and also closed locations can be tough to find. Check your government’s guidance prior to taking a trip, and ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs despite the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everyone more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and commonly enforced for entering the temples as well as pagodas.
Everybody puts on skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so pick up one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the best footwear selection. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach yet in other places it’s less common.
The local people are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, hot and slow-moving but keep in mind: you chose to go to Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens who wish to chat. Vacationers are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Normally the people are wonderful and also more than happy to appear in photographs and also attempt and chat via minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is generally best dealt with by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention and also 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 chewing betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as cab drivers typically roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and 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 girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as also functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and also restaurants as residents utilize the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to recognize the place of the kissing noise so do not be alarmed!
Both most important phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, however it is well received. Be ready for a lot of citizens to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand as well as is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered as well as unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly require washing and clean your smaller sized 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 really typical in developing nations where the plumbing system can not manage anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual 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 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 get one at most airports when you land or in one of the stores in the road and also the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more regarding your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘rapid’ link, do not expect to be downloading video clips whenever. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it totally free– and also the internet is now spreading tomore remote locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can use the net a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and do not expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Luggage aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up numerous high stairs isn’t much better.
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