Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Travel From Myanmar To China
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been till 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 previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were additionally altered, 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 as well as Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm but not stifling, as well as draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted holiday accommodation options difficult to secure and also will certainly imply attempting to book in advance or deal with paying for the more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and approaching rains are due. There is a minimal number of visitors that makes it easy to book accommodation however it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 nations.
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 mins 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 stands for 90- days from the day of issue and allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be less expensive– if you wish to save some money, requesting a visa via your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. As an example, the cost is just , 14 in the UK but $40 in the United States, so do your research and do not forget to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration internet site for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual alternative for travellers as the first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. However, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entry, although not every one of them are advised because of security.
No matter, you have to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a list of alternatives, where you will need to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the border of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection 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 town 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” yet it is best to stay with the one you initially stated if possible to avoid any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less costly and also has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation choices may be frustrating yet the cross country propositions are far more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is cost effective so it might be your better choice.
You can still reserve 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 involves ticking people off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And a lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing businesses as well as a series of luxury levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to reach at weird times in the morning and won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same evening to take a nap immediately.
Buses are really cold, the luxury buses will certainly give you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hours for a food as well as toilet break– a bit frustrating if you’re attempting to rest 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 music CD’s as well as cheesy video till the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and also Tenasserim area are normally off-limits to travelers unless you have actually obtained a government visa beforehand. In some locations you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure indicates that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go any other way. Trying to do otherwise might be really expensive.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its daybreaks and sundowns, which likewise corresponds perfectly with staying indoors (perhaps for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day heat.
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously unclean floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re discovering Myanmar’s temples. Socks aren’t allowed either so you just have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can clean off some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ indicators and keep your voice down– people will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entrance charge for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening, implying you can sleep in affordable accommodation than you could a few years earlier. Things are gradually getting better for solo travellers, though expenses are still a lot more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but captivating. The accommodation gives a feel for what a local house might be like, basic but magnificently decorated in teak wood) as well as the morning meal was generally remarkable. And also, it’s nice to put money right into the hands of the citizens, not some huge brand chain.
Many hostels, hotels and guesthouses offer a towel yet you could have to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will likewise supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, but it can not be relied on.
Be cautious about 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 accommodation and transportation ahead of time throughout peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to maintain pace with. A lot of resorts are little and boutique like thus if there’s somewhere particular you wish to stay it’s necessary to book beforehand. It is particularly 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 areas readily available. However do not depend on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also an outstanding range of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so fantastic looking water supply and also dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a suitable choice.
Tell the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals state how much spice you like as the cooks have a tendency to go easy on travelers!
The fish is tasty and an excellent, fresh alternative in the majority of restaurants.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food as well as drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), make sure you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus however do not anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and don’t typically include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia but you can find it and it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can not drink the water however most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your space or through a big water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is very economical.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and whiskey being popular options.
Beer stations are easy to locate as well as fun places to get a beverage with the locals if you do not wish 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 daybreak is much more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Large chains can’t be found as well as brand names are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brand names like Coke and Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be purchasing local brands as well as eating from local dining establishments.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated around, yet mostly you’re going to purchase treats as well as beverages from tiny, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not fret, simply step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking cigarettes in public locations has actually long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe area– most of the populace is Buddhist and with an idea in karma, criminal activity levels are extremely low.
Still, you should take the common precautions of using hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Women tourists 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 restrooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, numerous visitors use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it’s often pre-cut, search for a seller that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Most government advisories caution 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 led to the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the country continue to be shut to foreigners as a result of problem in between the government and various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mainly in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant traveler destinations.
Accurate information on conflicts and also closed locations can be difficult to find. Check your government’s advice before taking a trip, and ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of news from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the high temperatures, as well as you will make everyone more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as t-shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as usually enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody puts on skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Many travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm as well as tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up a cheap one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are necessary! Entering pagodas indicates going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear selection. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet elsewhere it’s less common.
The local individuals are exceptionally genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, hot and also slow yet remember: you picked to visit Myanmar which 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 lot by locals who intend to chat. Tourists are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Usually individuals are beautiful as well as more than happy to appear in photographs and also attempt and talk via limited common words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a lot which is normally best handled by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it provides a hit that’s equivalent to six cups of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the children. Why not? Read this brilliant post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as additionally works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and restaurants as residents make use of the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to identify the area of the kissing noise so don’t be alarmed!
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 polite, but it is well received. Be prepared for a lot 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 usually done by hand and is charged per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothing laundered and unless you wish to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you actually require washing as well as wash your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very common in developing countries where the plumbing system can not manage anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several adaptors for European and also 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, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at most flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road and the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more about your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it for free– and also the internet is currently spreading tofarther places. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power outages can use the net an irritating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect 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 travel suitcase. Suitcases aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up numerous high staircases isn’t much better.
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