Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Visa On Arrival Tourist
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been until 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was viewed as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were likewise changed, 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 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?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are generally three periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal holiday accommodation alternatives challenging to secure as well as will certainly imply attempting to book in advance or face paying for the more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar as well as impending rains are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it very easy to book accommodation yet it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa website. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo as well as pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as 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 is valid for 90- days from the day of issue and permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be less costly– if you intend to save some cash, making an application for a visa using your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. For example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research as well as do not neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the most up to date at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the normal alternative for tourists as the very first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, thinking about where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land entrance, although not all of them are encouraged because of safety and security.
Regardless, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes just how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of choices, from which you will certainly need to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern 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 border 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).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you originally specified preferably to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. Furthermore, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less expensive as well as has extra connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices might be irritating however the cross country propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is budget-friendly so it might be your better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional means by wandering right 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 as well as grabbing your bag off a trolley by the plane and 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 lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are affordable with competing companies and also a range of high-end levels.
Many buses travel over night which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Also, you’ll often tend to reach at strange times in the morning as well as won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to rest immediately.
Buses are really cold, the deluxe buses will give you a blanket however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours for a food and also toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re trying to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although 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 also cheesy music videos till the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about he time of arrival. Because of superstitions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a location conjures up bad spirits and is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t get an answer.
You will mainly book buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically bill a fee however know that the fee can vary substantially.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this actually does differ depending upon destination, mode of traveling and company. Look for a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are extortionate.
Reserving buses online is harder– There isn’t one handy online reservation site as well as the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it doesn’t always mean the bus is full. Attempt booking elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without costs.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, yet bus rides are rough– you may think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise an alternative for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among travellers.
There are no international car-rental agencies, however a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– along with guesthouses and hotels in other places– can organize cars and drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With limited public transportation, taxis will certainly be your main method of navigating especially for getting to and also from airport terminals and also within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– rates are set on the spot (after a quick ‘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. Usually 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 prices.
Taxis for the day might be your better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan and $28 for a few hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger aspect than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip around Yangon can set you back USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each means, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and also is a big contributing factor to the price.
Every person intends to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing trips. Don’t be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your very own personal transportation. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side trips can be intriguing and also drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorbikes) outside the cities is much more affordable yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far among the dustiest areas, and nearly all travelers develop a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– otherwise you’ll be among the several tourists walking toting head to foot road rash as well as bandages.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 kilometres should provide you an idea. The time suggested for reaching the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning as well as leather seats– that 1.5 hour journey 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 extremely early hrs of the morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be by means of horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, however considering that this is the main form of tourist transportation here it is only all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they must be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for imperfections, discolouration and folds at the money exchange stands. You might likewise have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in US bucks so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is likely to be less costly due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is casual– someplace between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is usually applied on the spot, most likely relying on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATMs and also they mostly work yet ensure you have money prior to turning up at more remote areas like the beach. In some cases they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine cost of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any charges your bank might bill. And also you most likely won’t be able to take out greater than $150 at once.
ATMs give kyat only. There are lots of exchange places around, but primarily the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and require cash payment. If you have actually booked your hotels ahead of time online this might save you taking added cash for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mostly only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, typically charging a little charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a whole lot more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being developed. That includes guesthouses as well as dining establishments. Companies are recovering their expenses.
Holiday accommodation prices
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic personal 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 drab, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where deluxe comes with a price 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 contemporary hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ destinations like Ngapali coastline can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the plus side, you usually obtain a totally 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 featuring something like pizza) will cost $7-$12.
Bottled water is inexpensive, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally cheap at a couple of bucks per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner as well as utilizing squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes as well as taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to bargain on costs of things like souvenirs however if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and also leave.
Tipping is not usual method in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and also fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is often intolerable throughout the peak sunshine hours and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it more difficult to get fantastic images as well as move around easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous area of Myanmar, together with the western Chin State and also the far, criminal activity levels are extremely low.
Still, you ought to take the usual safety measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean and also there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, numerous travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it’s usually pre-cut, look for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories advise against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners because of problem in between the government and different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and Thailand, as well as far from the major traveler locations.
Exact info on problems and also closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government’s recommendations prior to taking a trip, and also ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the heat, and also you will make everyone a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and frequently enforced for going into the temples as well as pagodas.
Every person puts on 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 warm and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Entering pagodas indicates going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Dealing with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach however elsewhere it’s much less common.
The local people are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, warm and slow-moving however keep in mind: you selected to check out Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by locals who intend to talk. Vacationers are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Typically the people are beautiful as well as more than happy to appear in photographs as well as try and chat through minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a whole lot which is normally best managed by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spat out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers usually roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating 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 children. Why not? Read this fantastic write-up by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as also acts as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes as well as restaurants as citizens make use of the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the location of the kissing noise so don’t be surprised!
Both crucial phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it respectful, however it is well received. Be ready for most residents to giggle in reaction– 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 rather than kilo so try to show up with your garments washed and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly require washing as well as wash your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is really typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t manage anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the street as well as the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more regarding your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘quick’ link, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it free of cost– and also the internet is currently spreading tomore remote locations. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can make using the web an irritating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and don’t anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t much better.
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