Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Tour Of Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally known as Burma acquired 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 seen as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were likewise changed, 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 also Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are usually three seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the limited lodging choices tricky to secure and will certainly indicate attempting to book ahead or face paying for the more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar as well as approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it very easy to book lodging but it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and you should obtain authorization within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you arrive and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter stands for 90- days from the day of issue as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you wish to save some money, obtaining a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy might be less costly. For instance, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research and do not neglect to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the current at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the common choice for travellers as the very first mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. However, thinking about where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several methods for land access, although not all of them are encouraged because of security.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes exactly how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of choices, where you will need to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Going Across 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 Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula as well as 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 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” yet it is best to stay with the one you originally stated when possible to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. Furthermore, you may exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less expensive and also has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation options may be frustrating yet the cross country propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is affordable so it might be your much better option.
You can still reserve flights the traditional way by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking people off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and getting your bag off a cart by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as 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 cost effective with competing firms as well as a series of deluxe levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so fantastic for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at strange times in the early morning and also will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are really chilly, the luxury buses will provide you a covering but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food and toilet break– a little bit irritating if you’re trying to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and tacky music videos up until the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be switched off.
Never 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 arrive at a location conjures up bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The result? You won’t obtain an answer.
You will mostly book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will usually charge a fee however know that the cost can differ substantially.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this actually does differ depending upon destination, mode of travel as well as company. Search for a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are extortionate.
Reserving buses online is harder– There isn’t one handy online booking website and also the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not necessarily mean the bus is full. Try reservation in other places.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are often faster than the trains, yet bus rides are bumpy– you might consider taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are additionally an option for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among travellers.
There are no international car-rental agencies, but a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– as well as guesthouses and hotels elsewhere– can arrange cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With limited public transportation, taxis will certainly be your primary way of getting around particularly for getting to as well as from airport terminals as well as within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are set on the spot (after a fast ‘how much can I get away with’ estimation) as well as you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear prices of $1-$2 per kilometre. Often the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will be more than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi fares.
Taxi cabs for the day may be your better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and also $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much larger 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 means, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and also is a big contributing factor to the price.
Everybody intends to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing journeys. Don’t hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own private transportation. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side journeys can be intriguing and also drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your schedule and you may be happy you went with their suggestions!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more affordable however beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt among the dustiest areas, and almost all vacationers create a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– or else you’ll be among the lots of visitors walking toting head to foot road rash as well as bandages.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km ought to give you an idea. The time advised for reaching the bus terminal (22km far 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 hr 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 very early hrs of the morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be using horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, but considering that this is the primary form of visitor transportation here it is just all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they need to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also newer than 2006. Each individual note is reviewed for imperfections, discolouration as well as creases at the currency exchange booths. You could additionally have trouble changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States dollars so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Using kyat is likely to be more affordable because the USD currency exchange rate is informal– someplace in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is usually applied on the spot, probably depending on how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and they mostly function however make certain you have cash prior to turning up at more remote areas like the coastline. Often they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine cost of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of charges your bank could charge. And you possibly will not be able to take out greater than $150 each time.
ATM machines give kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places about, yet mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and require cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels in advance online this may save you taking extra money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, usually billing a small charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being constructed. That includes guesthouses as well as restaurants. Businesses are recovering their expenses.
A dorm bed will certainly set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard private 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 run down, 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 high-end comes with a rate of $250 per night) with other very good choices being available at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package tourist’ destinations like Ngapali beach can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there as well). On the plus side, you usually obtain a free breakfast with your accommodation.
Street food is most economical– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will certainly cost $7-$12.
Mineral water is economical, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also economical at a couple of bucks per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner and also making use of squat toilets, entering pagodas, storing footwear and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are preferred in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of things like souvenirs yet if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not typical technique in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak and fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is usually unbearable throughout the peak sunlight hours and the arrival of the visitor buses make it harder to get impressive photos as well as walk around easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, together with the western Chin State and also the far, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you should take the common preventative measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women visitors should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is filthy as well as there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, lots of visitors use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s often pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Most government advisories alert against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has led to the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation continue to be closed to foreigners as a result of problem between the government and various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the significant visitor locations.
Precise information on problems and also closed locations can be difficult 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 an excellent source of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the heat, and you will make everybody more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and also usually enforced for getting in 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 males and females. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so pick up a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are vital! Entering pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with laces in the blistering heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleansing 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 as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but in other places it’s much less common.
The local people are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, warm and also slow yet bear in mind: you selected to go to Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by citizens that want to chat. Tourists are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Usually the people are beautiful and are happy to appear in photos as well as try and also talk through minimal common words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a lot which is generally best handled by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re paying for a guide, make certain they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| since it provides a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spat out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers commonly roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the children. Why not? Read this great post 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 additionally works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as dining establishments as residents use the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to identify the place of the kissing noise so do not be startled!
The two essential 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 many residents to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and is charged per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed and also unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you actually require washing and wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very 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 area so it’s 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at many airport terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the road and the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more concerning your network options right here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘fast’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading video clips at any time. Online access has improved, with wi-fi the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it completely free– as well as the net is now spreading tomore remote places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power interruptions can make using the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and do not anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a luggage. Luggage aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up many high staircases isn’t far better.
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