Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Visa In Hong Kong
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally known as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been till 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the nation’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, and also Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. 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 utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly 3 periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging options challenging to secure and also will certainly indicate trying to book ahead or face paying out for the much more costly options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar and also impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of tourists that makes it very easy to book accommodation however it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins 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 date of issue and also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be more affordable– if you want to save some money, obtaining a visa via your local Myanmar consular office might be less expensive. For instance, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research as well as do not neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the most up to date at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the typical alternative for travellers as the initial mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entrance, although not all of them are suggested due to safety and security.
Regardless, you need to define a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes just how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a list of options, from which you will certainly require to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border 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 Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and also 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 village 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 stick to the one you initially stated when possible to avoid any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Additionally, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is more affordable and also has much more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation options might be frustrating yet the cross country propositions are much more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is economical so it might be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the old-school way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also grabbing your bag off a trolley by the airplane and 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 also a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing businesses and a series of high-end levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so excellent for rest. Additionally, you’ll often tend to reach at weird times in the early morning as well as will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to take a nap immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the luxury buses will offer you a covering yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hours for a food and also toilet break– a bit frustrating 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and cheesy music videos up until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. Because of superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will come to a location summons bad spirits and is taken seriously. The result? You won’t get an answer.
You will mainly reserve buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will generally charge a fee however understand that the fee can vary considerably.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this actually does differ depending on destination, mode of traveling and also company. Try to find a business that does include pick-up as taxis are extortionate.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one convenient on-line reservation website as well as the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the bus is full. Try booking elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without costs.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough– you may consider taking tablets for nausea. Boats are also a choice for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among visitors.
There are no international car-rental companies, yet many travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– along with guesthouses and hotels in other places– can organize cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly evident in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will certainly be your major way of getting around especially for getting to and also from flight terminals and also within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– prices are set on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ estimation) and you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Frequently the taxi to and 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 quantity for taxi fares.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of taking in the sights in Bagan and $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger aspect than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey about Yangon can cost USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each way, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and is a big contributing factor to the price.
Everybody wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut producer during your sightseeing journeys. Don’t be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transport. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, a few of the side trips can be interesting and also drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you went with 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 by far one of the dustiest places, and also nearly all visitors establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can not handle it– otherwise you’ll be among the many tourists walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as plasters.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres ought to give you an idea. The time advised for getting to the bus station (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hr 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.
Prepare for the unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hrs of the early morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be using horse and cart. There is still a haggling process to be had, yet because this is the major form of visitor transportation here it is only natural that they are waiting for new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and also the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they need to be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and more recent than 2006. Each specific note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration as well as folds at the currency exchange stands. You could likewise have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States bucks so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be less costly due to the fact that the USD currency exchange rate is informal– someplace between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is normally applied on the spot, possibly relying on just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mostly function but see to it you have money prior to turning up at more remote spots like the coastline. In some cases they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM cost of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any type of charges your financial institution might charge. As well as you most likely won’t have the ability to take out more than $150 each time.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places about, but mostly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also call for cash payment. If you have actually booked your hotels beforehand online this might save you taking additional cash for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, usually billing a tiny charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and dining establishments. Businesses are recovering their expenses.
Holiday accommodation costs
A dorm bed will 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 traveler hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where luxury comes at a cost of $250 per night) with various other great alternatives being available at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A modern hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ destinations like Ngapali beach can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a number of hostels there too). On the bonus side, you typically obtain a cost-free breakfast with your accommodation.
Street food is most budget friendly– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will certainly set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally affordable at a couple of bucks per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes and taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of products like souvenirs but if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not usual practice in Myanmar, and it’s just foreigners who tip.
Taking in the sights in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is usually excruciating during the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the visitor buses make it more difficult to get remarkable images and walk around easily.
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, criminal activity levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you should take the usual safety measures 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 and also there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Also take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories caution against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually resulted in the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation continue to be shut to foreigners due to dispute in between the government and also various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant traveler locations.
Accurate info on conflicts as well as closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s recommendations prior to taking a trip, and inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and legs regardless of the heat, and you will make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also often enforced for going into the temples as well as 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. Lots of visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so grab an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are essential! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear selection. Struggling with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to 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 people in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach however elsewhere it’s less typical.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be discouraging, warm as well as slow-moving however remember: you picked to see Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by citizens that want to talk. Travelers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are charming as well as are happy to appear in photographs and also attempt and also talk through minimal typical words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a great deal which is typically best dealt with by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| since it provides a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as cab drivers typically roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the kids. Why not? Read this great 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 and also functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops as well as dining establishments as residents utilize the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the place of the kissing sound so do not be upset!
The two essential expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it respectful, yet it is well received. Be ready for the majority of residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various 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 washed as well as unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly require washing as well as clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird 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 as well as North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, far better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the street and also the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more about your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading videos any time. On-line accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it free of charge– as well as the net is currently spreading tofarther locations. However tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power failures can make using the internet an irritating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a travel suitcase. Suitcases aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up numerous steep stairs isn’t far better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Visa In Hong Kong