Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Places To Visit In Myanmar In December
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered 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 former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were also 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 as well as Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are generally three seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm yet not stifling, as well as draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the minimal lodging choices tricky to secure and also will certainly imply attempting to book ahead or deal with paying for the a lot more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of travelers that makes it easy to book lodging however it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa website. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a cost 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 day of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be less expensive– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa via your local Myanmar consular office might be more affordable. As an example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research as well as do not fail to remember to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for travellers as the first mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land access, although not all of them are suggested due to safety and security.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of choices, where you will need to choose among 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)
Going Across at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary 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 as well as 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you initially mentioned preferably to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints given that your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is more affordable and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives might be irritating but the cross country propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish as well as flying is budget-friendly so it might be your much better option.
You can still book flights the traditional means by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking people off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal as well as getting your bag off a cart by the plane and flight announcements are made by a person 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 firms and a series of luxury levels.
Many buses travel over night which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so great for rest. Additionally, you’ll tend to reach at strange times in the morning and also won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to sleep immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the high-end buses will offer you a covering but, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food as well as toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re attempting 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 tacky music videos up until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding 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 get to a location invokes bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The outcome? You will not get an answer.
You will primarily reserve buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will generally charge a cost yet be aware that the cost can differ significantly.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this actually does vary depending upon destination, mode of travel and also company. Try to find a company that does include pick-up as taxis are extortionate.
Reserving buses online is harder– There isn’t one helpful on-line booking site and also the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it does not necessarily mean the bus is full. Try reservation elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, but bus rides are bumpy– you may take into consideration taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are likewise a choice for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst tourists.
There are no international car-rental firms, yet a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan– as well as guesthouses as well as hotels elsewhere– can organize cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With minimal public transport, taxis will be your main way of navigating particularly 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 established on the spot (after a quick ‘how much can I get away with’ calculation) and also you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Frequently the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will certainly be greater than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi prices.
Taxis for the day might be your much better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in determining the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey around Yangon can cost USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is expensive in Myanmar and also is a huge contributing element to the expense.
Everybody wants to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer during your sightseeing and tour journeys. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own private transportation. Besides, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side trips can be interesting and drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your itinerary and you may be happy you chose their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more inexpensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest areas, as well as mostly all tourists establish a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– otherwise you’ll be just one of the numerous visitors walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as plasters.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 km should give you an idea. The time recommended for getting to the bus station (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 trip 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 unanticipated. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hours of the morning, your only choice to reach my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, yet because this is the primary form of visitor transportation here it is only natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money and ATMs in Myanmar
You can utilize 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to utilize dollars, they have to be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each specific note is checked thoroughly for imperfections, discolouration as well as creases at the money exchange booths. You may likewise have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in US bucks so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Utilizing kyat is likely to be more affordable because the USD currency exchange rate is informal– somewhere in 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 ATMs as well as they mainly work but make certain you have money prior to turning up at more remote areas like the beach. Often they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine charge of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of charges your bank could bill. And you most likely will not be able to withdraw more than $150 at once.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places around, however mostly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational flight terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also need cash payment. If you have booked your hotels beforehand online this may save you taking additional money for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily just in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, typically billing a small fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a whole lot more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Companies are recouping their expenses.
A dorm bed will certainly 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 dull, no-frills room.
For hotels, luxury resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where deluxe comes with a rate of $250 per night) with various other great choices being available at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A modern hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ locations like Ngapali beach can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there as well). On the bonus side, you usually obtain a cost-free morning meal with your lodging.
Street food is most budget-friendly– 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 set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally low-cost at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to spend for the privilege of being a foreigner and also using squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the much more touristy areas.
It’s possible to bargain on prices of products like mementos yet if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and walk away.
Tipping is not common practice in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak and also fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is typically intolerable during the peak sunshine hours and the arrival of the tourist buses make it harder to get impressive pictures as well as move freely.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous area of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State as well as the far, criminal activity levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you should take the normal safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female travellers should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is dirty and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Also take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, several travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s usually pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories alert against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the country stay shut to foreigners as a result of dispute in between the government and also different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant tourist locations.
Precise info on disputes and closed areas can be hard to come by. Check your government’s guidance prior to travelling, and ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will certainly make everyone a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as often enforced for getting in the temples as well as pagodas.
Every person wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Many travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so grab one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are essential! Entering pagodas indicates going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear selection. Dealing with laces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome interruption. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach yet elsewhere it’s much less common.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm as well as slow yet remember: you picked to see Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens who intend to talk. Tourists are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely and more than happy to appear in photographs and try and converse through limited usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a whole lot which is usually best dealt with by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| due to the fact that it supplies a hit that’s equivalent to six mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and cab drivers commonly roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic write-up by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as likewise functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as dining establishments as citizens utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to recognize the place of the kissing audio so do not be distressed!
The two most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be ready for many residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show 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 need washing and wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing countries where the plumbing system can not manage anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual 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 and 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, much better still, buy a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road and also the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more regarding your network choices right here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos whenever. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it for free– and the net is currently spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power failures can use the web a discouraging exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Luggage aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up many steep stairs isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Myanmar Travel Information