Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Scenic Tour Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been 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 country’s former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. 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 Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the question: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are usually 3 seasons in which you can see 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 condition is warm however not stifling, and brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the minimal accommodation alternatives difficult to secure and will certainly imply attempting to book in advance or face paying out for the a lot more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar as well as upcoming rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists that makes it very easy to book accommodation but it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and 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 permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be cheaper– if you want to save some cash, requesting a visa via your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. For example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the United States, so do your research and also don’t forget to consider mailing costs.
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 boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the typical choice for tourists as the initial mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering 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 several methods for land entry, although not every one of them are advised because of safety and security.
Regardless, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes just how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of choices, where you will certainly need to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing 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 Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region of northwestern Myanmar on the boundary to northeastern India).
- Rih Khaw Dar (a six-hour drive from the boundary town 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 stay with the one you initially mentioned ideally to avoid any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be specified up front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is more affordable and has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives might be aggravating but the cross country propositions are much more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish 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 entails ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport as well as getting your bag off a cart by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing firms and also a series of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Likewise, you’ll often tend to arrive at odd times in the morning and also will not 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. Consider if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to take a nap straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the luxury buses will certainly offer you a covering however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food and also 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 location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s as well as tacky music videos until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be switched off.
Never ever ask a vehicle driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim area are typically out-of-bounds to travelers unless you have actually made an application for a government visa in advance. In some places you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is challenging– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Trying to do otherwise could be very expensive.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is popular for its dawns and sunsets, which also matches nicely with remaining indoors (possibly for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day .
Expect to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re exploring 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 wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just views for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Expect to pay an entry cost for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, meaning you can rest in cheaper accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are gradually getting better for solo tourists, though costs are still a lot more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet charming. The accommodation provides a feel for what a local house might be like, basic however wonderfully decorated in teak) and also the breakfast was generally remarkable. Plus, it’s nice to place cash right into the hands of the locals, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses supply a towel yet you might have to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly additionally supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do also, however it can’t be counted on.
Be cautious about the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve accommodation and also transportation beforehand during peak period. The tourist industry in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the facilities has failed to maintain speed with. Most hotels are tiny and also boutique like so if there’s somewhere specific you want to stay it’s vital to book beforehand. It is specifically necessary to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small charge if there are no spaces readily available. But 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 very best choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and also an amazing variety of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are wiped with a not so fantastic looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a suitable choice.
Inform the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your dishes mention just how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on visitors!
The fish is scrumptious as well as a wonderful, fresh alternative in the majority of restaurants.
There is rather a lot of sugar in the food as well as beverages. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), make sure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on food selections however don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are seasoned and also seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice as well as don’t generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and also you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other places in Southeast Asia but you can discover it as well as it’s good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can’t consume the water yet most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your room or by means of a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is very affordable.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum as well as whiskey being prominent alternatives.
Beer stations are easy to discover and also fun areas to get a drink with the locals if you don’t intend to sit in a dining establishment.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at dawn is much more prominent than late night alcohol consumption.
Big chains can’t be found as well as brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brand names like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brand names and consuming from local dining establishments.
Stores are small, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated around, however mostly you’re going to buy treats and also beverages from small, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Don’t worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a nation where cigarette smoking in public places has actually long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe area– the majority of the populace is Buddhist and with an idea in karma, crime levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you ought to take the normal precautions of using hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is unclean and also there isn’t always soap in washrooms so use your sanitiser prior to 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 cycling around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, lots of travellers use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. However, as it’s often pre-cut, try to find a seller that has actually kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
A lot of government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually brought about the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the nation continue to be shut to foreigners because of problem between the government and various 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 vacationer destinations.
Precise info on conflicts and also closed areas can be tough to find. Check your government’s guidance before taking a trip, and inquire about the situation when 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 as well as legs regardless of the heat, as well as you will certainly make everyone more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged and commonly enforced for getting in the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Several travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so get an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Entering pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Dealing with laces in the scorching heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach yet elsewhere it’s much less typical.
The local people are remarkably genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, warm and slow yet remember: you chose to see Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that wish to chat. Vacationers are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Usually the people are charming as well as more than happy to appear in photos and also attempt and also speak via minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is usually best dealt with by offering a smile and a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it supplies 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, many times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth and taxi drivers usually roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew 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 kids. Why not? Read this great short article by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar and additionally serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and also restaurants as residents use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to recognize the place of the kissing sound so do not be upset!
Both crucial phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be ready for many 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 also is billed per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and also unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really require washing and also wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple 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 extremely common in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of flight terminals when you land or in among the stores in the street and also the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more about your network selections right here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘rapid’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading videos at any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it for free– as well as the internet is currently spreading tomore remote locations. However tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can use the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and do not anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a travel suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up many steep stairs isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Scenic Tour Myanmar