Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Vision Ministries
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t 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 viewed as a relic of the nation’s previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Various other names were likewise 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are usually three seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted accommodation choices difficult to secure as well as will imply attempting to book in advance or deal with paying out for the more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar as well as upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of travelers which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation but it is incredibly warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should obtain authorization 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
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be less costly– if you wish to save some cash, looking for a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office may be less costly. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research as well as do not forget to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check 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 option for visitors as the very first mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several methods for land entry, although not every one of them are suggested because of safety.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a list of options, from which you will require to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary to north 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 boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as the cluster 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).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to adhere to the one you initially stated when possible to avoid any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints given that your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less expensive and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation options might be frustrating however the long distance propositions are far more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is budget-friendly so it might be your much better option.
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 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 aircraft as well as 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. As well as a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing firms and a series of high-end levels.
Many buses travel over night which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so terrific for rest. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to reach at strange times in the early morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Consider if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the luxury buses will provide you a covering however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food and toilet break– a little bit irritating if you’re trying to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as tacky video until the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State and Tenasserim area are usually out-of-bounds to travelers unless you have obtained a government visa beforehand. In some locations you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is tough– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go any other way. Trying to do otherwise may be really pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its dawns as well as sundowns, which additionally corresponds nicely with remaining inside (possibly for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re discovering Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t allowed either so you just need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Expect to pay an entry fee for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, implying you can rest in cheaper accommodation than you could a few years back. Things are slowly getting better for solo tourists, though prices are still far more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however enchanting. The accommodation offers a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic however magnificently decorated in teak) as well as the breakfast was generally superior. And also, it’s nice to put cash into the hands of the citizens, not some large brand chain.
Many hostels, hotels and also guesthouses offer a towel yet you may need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly additionally provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels as well as guesthouses do also, but it can’t be depended on.
Be cautious about 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.
Reserve lodging as well as transportation beforehand throughout peak season. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has fallen short to maintain pace with. A lot of resorts are tiny and also boutique like so if there’s someplace particular you intend to stay it’s essential to book in advance. It is particularly important to book ahead during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small cost if there are no areas available. However don’t count on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best option. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and an amazing variety of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so fantastic looking water supply and dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a suitable option.
Tell the staff if you don’t consume something. If you like a little spice in your dishes specify how much spice you like as the cooks tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is delicious and also a terrific, fresh alternative in many dining establishments.
There is quite a lot of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), ensure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus but don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned as well as seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice and don’t usually feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar as well as you could get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other areas in Southeast Asia yet you can find it and also it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not consume the water however most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your space or by means of a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is extremely low-cost.
Alcohol is extensively available with beer, rum and also scotch being popular alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to locate as well as fun areas to get a beverage with the locals if you do not want to sit in a restaurant.
Know that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. as well as bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at sunrise is a lot more popular than late night drinking.
Large chains can’t be found and also brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brands like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brands and eating from local dining establishments.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated about, but mostly you’re going to get treats and also beverages from little, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not worry, 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 banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe country– a lot of the populace is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are extremely low.
Still, you should take the common precautions of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean as well as there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, several travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s often pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories alert against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the country continue to be closed to foreigners because of conflict in between the government as well as different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the major vacationer locations.
Accurate details on problems and also closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government’s advice before 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 information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the heat, as well as you will certainly make everyone a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tees are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and also typically enforced for going into the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many tourists pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat as well as tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so pick up a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas indicates going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear selection. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but in other places it’s less common.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, hot and also sluggish but bear in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. However, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents who want to chat. Vacationers are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are charming and more than happy to appear in photos and also attempt and also talk via limited typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is usually best dealt with 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 spending for a guide, make sure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| due to the fact that it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to six mugs 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 stained teeth as well as taxi drivers often roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great post 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 and likewise serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops as well as dining establishments as citizens make use of the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to determine the place of the kissing audio so do not be distressed!
The two 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 respectful, however it is well received. Be ready for a lot of locals 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 is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your garments laundered as well as unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really require washing and also 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’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is really usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t manage anything apart 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 several adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin connects 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 many airport terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the street and the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more concerning your network selections right here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘quick’ link, 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 also cafes have it for free– as well as the net is currently spreading tomore remote places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can use the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as don’t anticipate to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a travel suitcase. aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and also out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up lots of high stairs isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Vision Ministries