Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Sa Tour Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered 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 former British colonial past, and Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were also altered, which is why you will certainly 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 Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Visit Myanmar
There are typically three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm however not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited holiday accommodation options tricky to secure and will mean attempting to book ahead or face paying for the a lot more pricey choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of vacationers which makes it easy to book accommodation yet it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is offered to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a fee 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 stands for 90- days from the day of issue and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be cheaper– if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa using your local Myanmar embassy may be more affordable. For instance, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as don’t neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in 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) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the latest at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the normal alternative for tourists as the very first 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 as well as Laos to the eastern and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land access, although not all of them are suggested due to safety and security.
No matter, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly 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 center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay and also 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 most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border 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 boundary village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stick to the one you initially specified preferably to avoid any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. Additionally, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable and also has much more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation choices may be aggravating however the long distance propositions are far more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is budget friendly so it may be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method 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 list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and grabbing your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing firms and also a series of high-end levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so wonderful for rest. Also, you’ll have a tendency 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 lot of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to rest immediately.
Buses are extremely chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly offer you a covering yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hours for a food and toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re trying to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, despite the fact that these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also cheesy music videos till the early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be switched off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State and also Tenasserim area are typically off-limits to travelers unless you have requested a government visa beforehand. In some areas 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 struggle to go differently. Trying to do otherwise may be very costly.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its daybreaks and sunsets, which also corresponds well with staying indoors (probably for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day heat.
Expect to go barefoot a great deal in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re checking out Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t permitted either so you just need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can clean off some after each visit.
Be a mindful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply views for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators as well as keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance cost for Bagan and 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 slowly opening, indicating you can sleep in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are gradually improving for solo tourists, though prices are still far more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet captivating. The lodging offers a feel for what a local house may be like, basic however beautifully decorated in teak wood) as well as the morning meal was usually superior. Plus, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the residents, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses supply a towel however you might need to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do too, but it can’t be depended on.
Be careful about the curfew– some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve lodging and transport ahead of time during peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar appears to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has actually fallen short to maintain pace with. Many resorts are small as well as boutique like so if there’s someplace certain you want to stay it’s essential to book in advance. It is especially vital to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small fee if there are no rooms readily available. However don’t rely on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and a remarkable selection of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are wiped with a not so terrific looking water supply and dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an excellent choice.
Inform the staff if you don’t eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state how much spice you like as the cooks have a tendency to go easy on tourists!
The fish is tasty and an excellent, fresh alternative in most dining establishments.
There is rather a lot of sugar in the food and also beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), ensure you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus but don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned and also seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and also do not normally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other places in Southeast Asia but you can locate it and it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not drink the water but most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your room or via a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is extremely affordable.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum as well as bourbon being prominent alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to locate and also enjoyable locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not wish to sit in a restaurant.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and also bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at daybreak is much more preferred than late night drinking.
Large chains can’t be found and also brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brands as well as eating from local restaurants.
Stores are small, family owned affairs– you will not locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted around, but primarily you’re going to buy snacks as well as drinks from little, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not fret, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking in public locations has actually long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe area– most of the populace is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, crime levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you should take the common safety measures of using hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is unclean and there isn’t always soap in washrooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely 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 hot. As a result, numerous tourists 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 in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories advise against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually caused the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners because of conflict between the government and also different ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the major visitor locations.
Precise details on conflicts as well as closed areas can be challenging to find. Check your government’s advice before travelling, and also ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the heat, as well as you will certainly make everyone more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also often enforced for going into the temples and 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. Several travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for taking in the sights so grab an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear selection. Battling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach yet in other places it’s less typical.
The local individuals are exceptionally genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm as well as slow-moving however keep in mind: you selected to see Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by locals that wish to chat. Visitors are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Generally the people are charming and more than happy to appear in pictures and also attempt as well as converse through minimal common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is normally best handled by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard and if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it delivers a hit that’s equivalent 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 locals have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers frequently roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this brilliant post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as likewise acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and restaurants as residents utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to identify the location of the kissing sound so do not be alarmed!
Both crucial phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it respectful, yet it is well received. Be prepared for most locals to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothes washed and also unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually need washing and wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can not manage anything other than 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 multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, much better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at many airport terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the road as well as the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can learn more regarding your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips at any time. Online access has improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it free of charge– as well as the web is now spreading tofarther locations. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can make using the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, as well as don’t anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and also hefting it up lots of steep stairs isn’t better.
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