Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Tourism Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country formally called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been up 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 viewed as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Other names were additionally altered, 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are normally 3 seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm yet not stifling, and draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited holiday accommodation choices challenging to secure as well as will indicate attempting to book ahead or deal with paying for the a lot more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar as well as approaching rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of travelers which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll need to submit a passport photo and also 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 and permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy might be less costly– if you intend to save some money, looking for a visa through your local Myanmar embassy might be more affordable. As an example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also don’t neglect to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common choice for travellers as the first mode of entry, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land entrance, although not every one of them are suggested because of safety.
No matter, you must define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a list of alternatives, 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 (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border 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 boundary of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region of northwestern Myanmar on the border 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stick to the one you initially mentioned preferably to prevent any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints given that your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper and has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives might be aggravating but the long distance propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is affordable so it might be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking individuals off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport as well as getting your bag off a trolley by the aircraft as well as flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing companies and also a series of high-end levels.
A lot of buses travel over night which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, yet isn’t so terrific for sleep. Additionally, you’ll often tend to arrive at weird times in the morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Consider if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to rest immediately.
Buses are really cold, the deluxe buses will provide you a covering however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food as well as toilet break– a bit irritating if you’re trying to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and cheesy music videos until the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and also Tenasserim region are normally out-of-bounds to travelers unless you have actually gotten a government visa beforehand. In some places you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is difficult– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure implies that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise might be extremely expensive.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is well-known for its daybreaks and sunsets, which additionally matches nicely with staying indoors (probably for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day heat.
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can anticipate 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 considerate temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just views for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entry charge for Bagan as well as Inle Lake– this fee is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening up, indicating you can rest in more inexpensive accommodation than you could a few years ago. Things are slowly getting better for solo visitors, though costs are still a lot more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic however lovely. The lodging provides a feeling for what a local house may be like, basic yet magnificently decorated in teak wood) as well as the morning meal was typically remarkable. And also, it’s nice to place cash into the hands of the locals, not some large brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses provide a towel yet you might need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will likewise provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do too, but it can’t be depended on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve holiday accommodation as well as transport ahead of time during peak period. The tourist industry in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to maintain pace with. Most resorts are small and also boutique like so if there’s somewhere particular you intend to stay it’s important to book beforehand. It is especially vital to book ahead during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small fee if there are no spaces available. But don’t count on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and also Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the very best choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants as well as an incredible selection of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so terrific looking water supply and dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an excellent choice.
Tell the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify just how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on visitors!
The fish is delicious and a great, fresh choice in most dining establishments.
There is rather a lot of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), make certain you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus but don’t expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated and also seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and also don’t normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other places in Southeast Asia however you can find 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 totally free water either in bottles in your space or through a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is really low-cost.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and also whiskey being preferred choices.
Beer stations are easy to locate and also fun locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not want to sit in a restaurant.
Be aware that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at sunrise is a lot more popular than late night drinking.
Big chains can not be found as well as brand names are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and also beyond drink brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brand names and eating from local dining establishments.
Shops are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores dotted around, but primarily you’re going to buy snacks and also drinks from tiny, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a country where smoking cigarettes in public places has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe area– the majority of the populace is Buddhist and with an idea in karma, criminal activity levels are exceptionally low.
Still, you should take the usual preventative measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female tourists should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean as well as there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, several travellers use the a/c in their room but 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 typically pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
The majority of government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually caused the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the nation remain closed to foreigners as a result of dispute between the government as well as various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, near the frontiers with China and Thailand, and also far from the significant traveler locations.
Accurate info on disputes and closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government’s guidance prior to taking a trip, and ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders as well as legs regardless of the high temperatures, and also you will make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as commonly enforced for going into the temples as well as pagodas.
Everybody puts on 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 warm as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up an affordable one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with shoelaces 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 far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as 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 individuals are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, hot as well as sluggish yet keep in mind: you selected to go to Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by locals that want to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are lovely and also more than happy to appear in photographs and also try and also speak through limited usual words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is typically best managed by offering 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, ensure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| due to the fact that it delivers a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. But, 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 discolored teeth and taxi drivers usually 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 also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not 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, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as also functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and also dining establishments as citizens utilize the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to determine the location of the kissing sound so do not be surprised!
Both most important phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be ready for the majority of citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and is billed per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you actually require washing as well as clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can not deal with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual 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 several adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, much better still, get a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of airport terminals when you land or in among the stores in the street and also the store staff will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more regarding your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘fast’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it completely free– as well as the net is currently spreading tomore remote locations. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can use the web an irritating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a luggage. Luggage aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up many high staircases isn’t far better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Tourism Myanmar