Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Myanmar Visa Service Myanmar Language
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally known as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been till 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the country’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, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were additionally changed, 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 and also Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm however not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the restricted lodging alternatives tricky to secure and will certainly 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 level rises in Myanmar as well as approaching rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it very easy to book lodging but it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes 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 also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be less expensive– if you want to save some money, looking for a visa using your local Myanmar consular office might be less costly. For instance, the price is just , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also do not fail to remember to factor in 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 also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual option for visitors as the very first mode of entry, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land access, although not every one of them are recommended due to safety.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a listing of choices, where you will certainly require to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border 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 border town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to adhere to the one you originally stated preferably to avoid any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints given that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper and has more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation options may be frustrating but the cross country propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is budget friendly so it might be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional means 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, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport and also getting your bag off a cart by the plane and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. And a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing firms and also a series of deluxe levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so fantastic for sleep. Also, you’ll often tend to arrive at weird times in the early morning and won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to take a nap straight away.
Buses are really chilly, the luxury buses will certainly give you a covering however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a little bit irritating if you’re attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, despite the fact that 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 as well as tacky video till the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State and Tenasserim region are typically out-of-bounds to visitors unless you have actually applied for a government visa ahead of time. In some locations you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure indicates that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise could be extremely expensive.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its dawns and sunsets, which also matches well with remaining inside (perhaps for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously unclean floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re discovering Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you simply have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just views for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entrance charge for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening, implying you can rest in low-cost accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are gradually improving for solo visitors, though prices are still far more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet enchanting. The holiday accommodation provides a feel for what a local house may be like, basic yet beautifully decorated in teak) as well as the breakfast was generally superior. Plus, it’s nice to put money right into the hands of the residents, not some big brand chain.
Many hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses provide a towel yet you might need to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will likewise supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do too, but it can not be depended on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses might 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 transport in advance during peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to keep speed with. Most resorts are little and also boutique like so if there’s someplace specific you wish to stay it’s vital to book ahead of time. It is specifically important to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small charge if there are no rooms offered. Yet do not rely upon the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the best option. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and an impressive array of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are cleaned with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a perfect option.
Tell the staff if you don’t eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify how much spice you like as the chefs have a tendency to go easy on travelers!
The fish is tasty and also an excellent, fresh option in many dining establishments.
There is quite a lot of sugar in the food and also beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), ensure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus however don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated and seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and do not usually feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar as well as you might get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia however you can find it and it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can’t drink the water yet most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your area or via a large water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is really inexpensive.
Alcohol is extensively offered with beer, rum and also scotch being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are easy to locate and also enjoyable places to get a drink with the locals if you don’t intend to sit in a restaurant.
Know that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at sunrise is more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can not 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 dining establishments.
Shops are small, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated about, but mostly you’re going to purchase snacks as well as beverages from tiny, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not worry, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a country where cigarette smoking in public places has actually long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe area– the majority of the population is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you ought to take the typical safety measures of utilizing hotel storage 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 and also there isn’t always soap in washrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, many travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure 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 as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has resulted in the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners because of dispute between the government and various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China and also Thailand, as well as far from the significant visitor locations.
Precise details on conflicts and closed areas can be tough to come by. Check your government’s advice before taking a trip, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders as well as legs regardless of the heat, as well as you will make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and t-shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and frequently enforced for entering 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. Numerous travelers 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 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 best footwear selection. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach yet in other places it’s less typical.
The local individuals are extremely genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, warm as well as sluggish however keep in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents that wish to talk. Visitors are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are beautiful as well as more than happy to appear in pictures as well as attempt and converse through minimal usual 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 in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product 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 and also taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow 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 shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this brilliant article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar and additionally functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes as well as restaurants as residents utilize the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to recognize the location of the kissing audio so do not be distressed!
Both most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it polite, but it is well received. Be prepared for a lot of citizens 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 and also is billed per item instead of kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed and unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly need washing and also 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 tissue or sanitary products– this is really common in developing countries where the plumbing system can not manage anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, much better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airports when you land or in among the stores in the road and the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more concerning your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading videos at any time. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it free of charge– as well as the web is now spreading tomore remote places. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power interruptions can make using the web a frustrating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as do not expect to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and also out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up lots of high stairs isn’t much better.
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