Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Travel Independent Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t 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 seen as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various 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 Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say as well as the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are normally three periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, as well as attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the limited holiday accommodation choices difficult to secure as well as will certainly mean attempting to book ahead or deal with paying for the more costly choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level increases in Myanmar and also approaching rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of visitors which makes it easy to book lodging yet it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is offered to visitors from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and also 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 date of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be less costly– if you wish to save some cash, obtaining a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office might be less expensive. As an example, the cost is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as 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; and 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 take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual option for travellers as the first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several avenues for land entry, although not every one of them are encouraged due to security.
No matter, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of options, where you will certainly require to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary to north 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 Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as 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 boundary village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border 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 ideally to prevent any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is more affordable as well as has much more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be discouraging but the long distance propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is inexpensive so it might be your much better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school way by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and grabbing your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing companies as well as a series of high-end levels.
A lot of buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing, yet isn’t so great for sleep. Also, you’ll have a tendency to reach at odd times in the morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Take into consideration if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are very cold, the high-end buses will give you a blanket however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food as well as toilet break– a little bit frustrating 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 cheesy video till the early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about fate, criminal activity levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you should take the normal preventative measures of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female visitors should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross and there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, lots of visitors use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it’s typically pre-cut, try to find a seller that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories advise against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually led to the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the country remain shut to foreigners because of problem in between the government as well as various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the major tourist locations.
Precise info on disputes as well as closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s guidance prior to travelling, and inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good source of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and also legs regardless 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 tees are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged and also typically enforced for going into the temples and pagodas.
Everybody uses 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 warmth and tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so grab an inexpensive one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas implies going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but elsewhere it’s much less common.
The local people are exceptionally genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travel can be discouraging, hot and slow-moving but bear in mind: 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 citizens. However, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by locals that want to talk. Tourists are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Generally the people are lovely as well as are happy to appear in pictures as well as attempt and speak through minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is normally best managed by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hi 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 pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly 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 spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers often roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic 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 item in Myanmar and likewise works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and dining establishments as locals make use of the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to recognize the location of the kissing sound so don’t be surprised!
Both crucial expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it polite, but it is well received. Be prepared for most locals 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 instead of kilo so try to turn up with your garments laundered and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really require washing and wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs 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 have to overcome it or, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at many flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road and also the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more about your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘quick’ link, do not anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it absolutely free– and also the net is currently spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power outages can use the web a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up lots of steep stairs isn’t better.
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