Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Visa Application In Malaysia
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it wasn’t till 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 former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were also altered, 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 and also Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are typically 3 periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm but not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging options difficult to secure as well as will mean attempting to book ahead or face paying for the a lot more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of travelers which makes it easy to book accommodation yet it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll need 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 get here and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter stands for 90- days from the day of issue and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office might be more affordable. For instance, the cost 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 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual option for travellers as the first mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entry, although not all of them are suggested because of safety.
Regardless, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of alternatives, where you will need to choose among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border 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 Region 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 border of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stick to the one you initially stated preferably to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper and also has extra connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport options might be irritating but the long distance propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is economical so it might be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school 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, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport as well as grabbing your bag off a cart by the airplane and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing businesses and a variety of luxury levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so terrific for sleep. Additionally, you’ll tend to reach at weird times in the early morning and also will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the high-end buses will certainly give you a blanket but, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food as well as 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 location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and cheesy music videos until the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about he time of arrival. Due to superstitious notions based upon 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 obtain an answer.
You will mainly book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will usually charge a fee yet know that the charge can differ drastically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this truly does differ depending upon destination, mode of travel and also company. Try to find a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are exorbitant.
Reserving buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one convenient online reservation site and also the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily indicate the bus is full. Attempt reservation somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without charges.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, yet bus rides are rough– you could think about taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are additionally an option for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst travellers.
There are no international car-rental companies, yet a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan– in addition to guesthouses as well as hotels elsewhere– can organize cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will be your main way of getting around particularly for getting to and from airports as well as within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are established on the spot (after a quick ‘how much can I get away with’ computation) and also you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Typically the taxi to as well as from the airport/bus will certainly be more than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi fares.
Taxi cabs for the day may be your much better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and also $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger element than time in dictating the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and also is a substantial contributing factor to the cost.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft shop, a silk factory or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing trips. Don’t be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transportation. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, some of the side journeys can be intriguing and drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your itinerary and you may be happy you opted for their recommendations!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electrical motorbikes) outside the cities is much less expensive however beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest locations, and nearly all tourists create a dust cough. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– or else you’ll be just one of the many visitors walking toting head to foot road rash and also bandages.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres should provide you an idea. The time recommended for getting to the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hr trip 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 unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hrs of the early morning, your only alternative to reach my hotel may be using horse and cart. There is still a haggling process to be had, however because this is the main form of tourist transport here it is only all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATMs in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and also the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to utilize dollars, they must be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and newer than 2006. Each individual note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration and also folds at the money exchange kiosks. You might likewise have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be more affordable due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, possibly depending on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mainly function however ensure you have cash prior to showing up at more remote spots like the coastline. Often they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM cost of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any type of fees your financial institution could bill. And you probably will not be able to take out more than $150 at a time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places about, yet mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport terminal 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 may save you taking added cash money for holiday accommodation.
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 cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Companies are recouping their costs.
Holiday accommodation prices
A dorm bed will 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 traveler hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dull, no-frills room.
For hotels, luxury 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 other great alternatives being available at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A modern hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package tourist’ destinations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there too). On the bonus side, you typically get a cost-free morning meal with your accommodation.
Street food is most affordable– 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 affordable, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise inexpensive at a number of bucks per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and also making use of squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing footwear as well as taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the much more touristy areas.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of items like mementos yet if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not typical method in Myanmar, as well as it’s only foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise as well as out cold by 10pm! The heat is often unbearable throughout the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the traveler buses make it harder to get fantastic photos and also walk around freely.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, together with the western Chin State and the far, crime levels are exceptionally low.
Still, you should take the typical preventative measures of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is filthy as well as there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, several 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 immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, search for a seller that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
The majority of government advisories caution against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has led to the mass displacement of thousands of people. A few other parts of the country remain shut to foreigners as a result of conflict between the government and various 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, and also far from the significant vacationer destinations.
Exact information on disputes and closed areas can be hard to come by. Check your government’s advice before travelling, and also ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and legs regardless 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 t-shirts are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as typically enforced for going into the temples and pagodas.
Everyone wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so get an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Struggling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but somewhere else it’s less usual.
The local individuals are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be frustrating, hot and slow however keep in mind: you picked to check out Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by citizens who wish to chat. Tourists are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Usually the people are lovely as well as more than happy to appear in pictures and try and converse via minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is normally best handled by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| because it provides a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spat out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the kids. Why not? Read this great 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 product in Myanmar as well as additionally serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and also dining establishments as residents utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to determine the area of the kissing sound so don’t be upset!
Both essential expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it polite, however it is well received. Be prepared for most residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and also is billed per item rather than 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 actually require washing and also clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t manage anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd 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 several 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 get over it or, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of flight terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the road and the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more about your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ link, do not expect to be downloading video clips whenever. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it free of charge– and also the web is now spreading tomore remote areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can use the web an irritating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also do not anticipate 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 travel suitcase. Luggage aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up lots of high stairs isn’t far better.
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