Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Tour Economici Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t 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 nation’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were likewise 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 as well as on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and also brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted holiday accommodation choices tricky to secure and will certainly indicate trying to book in advance or face paying out for the more pricey alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and also approaching rains are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers which makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation however it is exceptionally warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply as well as you should get 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 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 embassy may be less expensive– if you wish to save some money, getting a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be more affordable. As an example, the price is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the USA, so do your research and also do not fail to remember 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; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the latest at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for visitors as the very first mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several avenues for land entry, although not all of them are suggested because of security.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of options, where you will require to pick 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 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 border of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster 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 boundary town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stick to the one you initially mentioned if possible to avoid any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints given that your exit point does not need to be stated up front. Furthermore, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is more affordable and also has more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be aggravating however the long distance propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is affordable so it may be your much better choice.
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 list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and grabbing your bag off a trolley by the plane and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really 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 businesses and also a variety of luxury levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so excellent for sleep. Likewise, you’ll often tend to reach at weird times in the morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting on a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to sleep immediately.
Buses are extremely chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly offer you a blanket but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours for a food and also toilet break– a 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 more, some still play their funky local music CD’s as well as cheesy video till the very early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a vehicle driver regarding he time of arrival. Because of superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will get to a destination summons bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t obtain an answer.
You will generally reserve buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a fee however understand that the cost can differ considerably.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this actually does vary depending on destination, mode of traveling and company. Look for a company that does include pick-up as taxis are extortionate.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one handy online reservation site and also the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not always indicate the bus is full. Try booking somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without charges.
Buses are often faster than the trains, however bus rides are bumpy– you might think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are additionally an alternative for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among travellers.
There are no international car-rental companies, yet most travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– as well as guesthouses and hotels elsewhere– can organize cars and drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly apparent in the local transport.
With limited public transportation, taxis will be your primary method of navigating especially for getting to and also from airports and within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are established on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ estimation) and also you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Often the taxi to and from the airport/bus will certainly be greater than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi fares.
Cabs for the day may be your better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan as well as $28 for a few hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in dictating the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hr trip around Yangon can cost USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and is a massive contributing element to the price.
Every person wants to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut producer during your sightseeing journeys. Do not be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your very own personal transport. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, several of the side journeys can be fascinating as well as drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much more affordable but beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far among the dustiest areas, as well as nearly all travelers establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– or else you’ll be just one of the several visitors walking toting head to foot road rash and also plasters.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres ought to give you an idea. The time recommended for getting to the bus station (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hour journey in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with absolutely nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Get ready for the unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hrs of the morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be by means of horse and cart. There is still a bargaining process to be had, but since this is the main form of traveler transportation here it is only natural that they are waiting for new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATMs in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they have to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased as well as more recent than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for imperfections, discolouration as well as folds at the currency exchange stands. You could additionally have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States bucks so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Utilizing kyat is most likely to be less costly due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is casual– someplace in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, probably depending upon how rich you look.
There are ATMs and they mainly function however make certain you have cash prior to turning up at more remote places like the coastline. In some cases they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine cost of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any costs your bank may charge. As well as you probably will not be able to take out more than $150 at a time.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places about, but mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational flight terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and need cash payment. If you have booked your hotels beforehand online this might save you taking added cash money for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly just in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, usually billing a tiny fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being developed. That includes guesthouses and dining establishments. Companies are recovering their expenses.
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic personal room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In tourist hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a drab, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where deluxe comes with a cost of $250 per night) with other very good alternatives coming in at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package tourist’ locations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the bonus side, you typically get a free breakfast with your holiday accommodation.
Street food is most affordable– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will cost $7-$12.
Mineral water is affordable, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise cheap at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner and utilizing squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing footwear and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of items like souvenirs yet if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest and leave.
Tipping is not usual practice in Myanmar, and also it’s only foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and out cold by 10pm! The heat is often unbearable during the peak sunshine hours and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it more difficult to get amazing pictures as well as move around freely.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous area of Myanmar, along with the western Chin State as well as the far, crime levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you ought to take the normal safety measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women travellers should not experience any 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 certainly go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, lots of visitors use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nevertheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories alert 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 brought about the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the nation remain shut to foreigners due to dispute in between the government and various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the major tourist locations.
Accurate info on disputes as well as closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government’s recommendations before travelling, and inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everybody more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as usually enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Lots of travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so pick up an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear selection. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. 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 find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however elsewhere it’s less common.
The local people are exceptionally genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, hot and slow however remember: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by locals that wish to talk. Visitors are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Normally the people are charming and are happy to appear in photographs as well as try and speak with minimal usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a lot which is usually best managed by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention and if you’re spending for a guide, make sure they have excellent 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 wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. But, 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.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red discolored 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 also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not 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 additionally functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also dining establishments as locals make use of the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to recognize the area of the kissing noise so don’t be startled!
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, yet it is well received. Be prepared for the majority of citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting 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 turn up with your clothes washed as well as unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you really require washing as well as clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t cope with 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 plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of airport terminals when you land or in among the stores in the road as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more regarding your network choices right here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it totally free– and the web is now spreading tomore remote locations. However tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can make using the web a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also don’t expect to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up several steep staircases isn’t much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Tour Economici Myanmar