Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Zone
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t up until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the nation’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, as well as Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Other names were also 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 and on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the restricted holiday accommodation alternatives tricky to secure as well as will certainly indicate trying to book in advance or face paying for the much more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as impending rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists that makes it easy to book holiday accommodation however it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and also 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 and allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be cheaper– if you wish to save some money, requesting a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office might be less costly. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also do not neglect to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common choice for visitors as the very first mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entry, although not all of them are encouraged due to security.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes just how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a list of choices, where you will need to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay as well as 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region of northwestern Myanmar on the border to northeastern India).
- Rih Khaw Dar (a six-hour drive from the boundary town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to adhere to the one you initially stated if possible to avoid any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is more affordable and has extra connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation choices may be frustrating yet the cross country propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is economical so it may be your far better option.
You can still reserve 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 involves ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and also grabbing your bag off a cart 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 truly is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are cost effective with competing companies and also a series of luxury levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so great for rest. Additionally, you’ll often tend to reach at strange times in the morning and also won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Consider if it will be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to sleep straight away.
Buses are really chilly, the luxury buses will certainly offer you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food and toilet break– a bit irritating 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 also cheesy video up until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim area are normally off-limits to visitors unless you have obtained 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 indicates that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go any other way. Trying to do otherwise might be very pricey.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its sunrises as well as sundowns, which likewise matches well with remaining indoors (maybe for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day heat.
Expect to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floors. 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 permitted either so you simply 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 just views for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators as well as keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an access charge for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening up, indicating you can sleep in economical accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are slowly improving for solo travellers, though costs are still a lot more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet lovely. The accommodation provides a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic however perfectly decorated in teak wood) and also the breakfast was normally remarkable. And also, it’s nice to place cash into the hands of the citizens, not some large brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses give a towel yet you might have to provide a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will likewise provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels as well as guesthouses do too, but it can not be relied on.
Be careful about the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book holiday accommodation and also transportation in advance throughout peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the facilities has failed to keep pace with. Many hotels are small as well as boutique like thus if there’s someplace certain you intend to stay it’s vital to book beforehand. It is especially essential to book ahead during high period (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 depend on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the very best choice. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and also an impressive variety of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous pieces of cutlery are cleaned with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a perfect alternative.
Inform the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your dishes mention how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is scrumptious and also an excellent, fresh alternative in the majority of restaurants.
There is quite a lot of sugar in the food and drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), see to it you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus however do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and also don’t typically include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and you could get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia however 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’t consume the water but most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply complimentary water either in bottles in your space or using a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is very economical.
Alcohol is commonly available with beer, rum as well as bourbon being prominent choices.
Beer stations are easy to find and also fun areas to get a drink with the locals if you don’t want to sit in a dining establishment.
Understand that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and also bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at sunrise is a lot more preferred than late night drinking.
Large chains can’t be found and brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brands like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brands as well as consuming from local restaurants.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equivalent ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted around, but primarily you’re going to get treats as well as beverages from tiny, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking in public places has actually long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe country– most of the populace is Buddhist and also with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you ought to take the usual precautions of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash 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.
Look 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 warm. As a result, several travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories alert 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 countless individuals. Some other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners due to conflict in between the government and different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the major tourist destinations.
Accurate information on problems as well as closed locations can be difficult to find. Check your government’s guidance before 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 information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs regardless of the heat, and you will make everybody more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and t-shirts are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as typically enforced for going into the temples as well as pagodas.
Every person uses skirts– men and women 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 heat and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so get an inexpensive one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear selection. Dealing with laces in the scorching heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however in other places it’s less usual.
The local people are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be discouraging, hot as well as slow but remember: you selected to see Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens who want to chat. Tourists are no longer a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are beautiful and also are happy to appear in photos and also try and also converse through minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is usually best handled by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting 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, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and cab drivers often roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew 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 kids. Why not? Read this brilliant short article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. 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 noise in the cafes and restaurants as citizens use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to recognize the place of the kissing sound so do not be surprised!
Both most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, but it is well received. Be prepared for most citizens 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 as well as is billed per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and also unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly require washing as well as wash your smaller sized items yourself 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 really common in developing nations where the plumbing system can not cope with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange 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 several adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at many flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the road and also the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more about your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘fast’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading videos whenever. Online access has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it totally free– as well as the internet is now spreading tofarther places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power outages can use the internet an irritating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and also don’t expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Luggage aren’t suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up lots of steep staircases isn’t better.
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