Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Tour Packages In Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however 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 seen as a relic of the nation’s previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many 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 and also Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit 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: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm yet not stifling, and also attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted lodging alternatives tricky to secure and also will mean trying to book in advance or deal with paying out for the more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it very easy to book lodging but it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and also 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 is valid for 90- days from the day of issue and also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be cheaper– if you intend to save some cash, looking for a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office might be cheaper. For instance, the cost 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 three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration web site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual alternative for visitors as the very first mode of access, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are several avenues for land access, although not all of them are advised due to security.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a listing of options, where you will need to select 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 Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border 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 boundary to northeastern India).
- Rih Khaw Dar (a six-hour drive from the border 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” however it is best to stick to the one you originally stated ideally to prevent any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and also Land Boundary 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 entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper and has more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be aggravating however the long distance propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is budget-friendly so it might be your better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and grabbing your bag off a trolley by the plane as well as flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing companies as well as a series of luxury levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so great for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to reach at odd 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 hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to sleep straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the luxury buses will provide you a covering but, 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, despite the fact that these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also cheesy video till the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. Because of superstitious notions based on a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a location conjures up bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t obtain an answer.
You will mostly book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically bill a cost yet know that the cost can differ drastically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this really does differ depending on destination, mode of traveling as well as company. Try to find a firm that does include pickup as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one useful on-line reservation portal and also the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily imply the bus is full. Try booking elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without costs.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough– you could think about taking tablets for motion sickness. Boats are likewise an option for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst visitors.
There are no international car-rental agencies, however the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan– along with guesthouses and hotels in other places– can organize cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With minimal public transportation, taxis will be your main way of navigating particularly for getting to and also from airport terminals as well as within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past 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 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 amount for taxi fares.
Taxi cabs for the day may be your better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan and $28 for a few hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger factor than time in determining the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey around Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each method, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is expensive in Myanmar and is a big contributing aspect to the cost.
Every person intends to take you to a craft store, a silk factory or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing trips. Do not be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transportation. Besides, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, a few of the side journeys can be fascinating and drivers may take you to some cool locations that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you went with their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more affordable but beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest places, and mostly all tourists create a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can not handle it– or else you’ll be just one of the many visitors walking toting head to foot road rash and also bandages.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several 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 far from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning as well as leather seats– that 1.5 hr trip 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.
Prepare for the unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hours of the early morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, yet considering that this is the major form of tourist transportation here it is just natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money and ATMs in Myanmar
You can utilize 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and also 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 as well as more recent than 2006. Each individual note is reviewed for defects, discolouration and also creases at the currency exchange kiosks. You might also have problems changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in US dollars so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be cheaper because the USD currency 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 just how rich you look.
There are ATMs and also they mainly function yet make certain you have money prior to showing up at more remote spots like the beach. Often they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM fee of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of charges your bank might bill. As well as you probably will not have the ability to take out greater than $150 each time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places around, however mainly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational flight terminal to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and require cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels ahead of time online this may save you taking additional cash for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly just in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, generally billing a little fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a whole lot more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses as well as restaurants. Businesses are recovering their costs.
A dorm bed will certainly 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 dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where luxury comes at a price of $250 per night) with various other very good alternatives coming in 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 visitor’ locations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the plus side, you normally get a free breakfast with your accommodation.
Street food is most cost effective– 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 cost $7-$12.
Bottled water is affordable, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also low-cost at a couple of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner and also making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the much more touristy areas.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of products like mementos yet if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and leave.
Tipping is not typical practice in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak as well as out cold by 10pm! The heat is often intolerable throughout the peak sunlight hours and the arrival of the traveler buses make it more difficult to get remarkable images as well as move easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous area of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and also the far, criminal activity levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you should take the common safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is filthy and there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Likewise take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, numerous tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you sick.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients in this way. Nonetheless, as it’s often pre-cut, look for a seller that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make certain 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 in between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually brought about the mass displacement of countless people. Some other parts of the nation stay shut to foreigners due to conflict between the government and also various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the major traveler destinations.
Accurate information on disputes and closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s recommendations before taking a trip, and also inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the heat, and you will make everyone a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and often enforced for going into the temples as well as pagodas.
Everyone puts on skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so get an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Struggling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleaning 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 and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach but somewhere else it’s much less common.
The local people are extremely genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, warm as well as slow however 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, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by locals who intend to chat. Visitors are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Usually the people are lovely as well as more than happy to appear in photographs as well as try and converse via minimal common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is typically best handled 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 spending for a guide, ensure they have great 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 covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that’s equivalent to six cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct 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 and taxi drivers usually roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this fantastic 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 item in Myanmar as well as also works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and dining establishments as citizens use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to identify the place of the kissing noise so do not be surprised!
Both most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
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 anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and also is billed per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothing washed and unless you wish to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really require washing and also wash your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can not manage anything other than 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 several adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of airports when you land or in one of the shops in the road as well as the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more regarding your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it free of cost– and also the internet is currently spreading tomore remote areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power outages can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also don’t anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up several high stairs isn’t better.
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