Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Travel Life Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t till 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the nation’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, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Other names were also 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 and also Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are usually three periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm however not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the minimal holiday accommodation options tricky to secure and also will certainly imply trying to book ahead or face paying for the a lot more costly choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar and also impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of vacationers which makes it easy to book lodging but it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should obtain 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 permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be more affordable– if you want to save some money, applying for a visa using your local Myanmar embassy may be cheaper. As an example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and also don’t neglect to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the most up to date at the time you take a trip.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for visitors as the very first mode of entry, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land entrance, although not every one of them are recommended due to safety and security.
Regardless, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes exactly how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of options, from which you will certainly need to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (located in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Going Across 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 most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and also the cluster of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area 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 border of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to adhere to the one you originally mentioned if possible to avoid any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be specified up front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper and has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation choices may be irritating 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 reserve flights the old-school way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a 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 and getting your bag off a cart by the aircraft as well as flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also 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 and also a variety of high-end levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so fantastic for rest. Additionally, you’ll tend to reach at odd times in the morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Consider if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to sleep straight away.
Buses are very cold, the luxury buses will provide you a blanket however, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours for a food and also toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re attempting to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s as well as cheesy video till the very early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding reaches of the southern Mon State as well as Tenasserim area are normally out-of-bounds to vacationers unless you have actually applied for a government visa ahead of time. In some locations you’ll require 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 means that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll struggle to go differently. Trying to do otherwise may be very expensive.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its sunrises and also sunsets, which additionally matches well with staying inside (perhaps 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 unclean floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and also dogs hangout, you can anticipate to step in a lot of animal faeces while you’re checking out 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 travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– individuals will be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance fee for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening, meaning you can rest in affordable accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are slowly getting better for solo travellers, though prices are still a lot more of what you’ll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but lovely. The holiday accommodation provides a feel for what a local house could be like, basic but magnificently decorated in teak wood) as well as the breakfast was usually remarkable. And also, it’s nice to place cash into the hands of the locals, not some big brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and guesthouses give a towel yet you might need to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do as well, but it can’t be counted on.
Beware the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Reserve holiday accommodation and also transport in advance during peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to keep pace with. Most hotels are little and also boutique like thus if there’s somewhere certain you want to stay it’s necessary to book beforehand. It is especially important to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small cost if there are no rooms readily available. Yet don’t depend on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and 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 dining establishments and an outstanding range of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Lots of items of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are a suitable alternative.
Tell the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your dishes mention just how much spice you like as the chefs tend to go easy on tourists!
The fish is tasty and also a great, fresh alternative in the majority of restaurants.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food and 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 request 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 and also lime juice as well as don’t typically feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and you could get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other areas in Southeast Asia however you can locate it and it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can’t drink the water but most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or through a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is extremely economical.
Alcohol is commonly available with beer, rum and whiskey being prominent alternatives.
Beer stations are easy to discover as well as fun locations to get a drink with the locals if you don’t wish to being in a dining establishment.
Understand that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at sunrise is a lot more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can not be found as well as brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brand names like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brands as well as consuming from local dining establishments.
Stores are tiny, family owned affairs– you won’t locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated around, however mainly you’re going to get snacks as well as drinks from small, 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 people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking in public areas has long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an extremely safe country– most of the population is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, crime levels are incredibly low.
Still, you ought to take the common safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is gross and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when cycling around. Also take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, lots of tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. Nonetheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of countless people. Some other parts of the nation remain shut to foreigners as a result of dispute between the government and also various ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the major visitor destinations.
Exact info on conflicts and closed locations can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, and inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and also legs regardless of the heat, and you will make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and t-shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as typically enforced for entering the temples and also pagodas.
Every person wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Numerous vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth 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 essential! Entering pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Struggling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet in other places it’s much less usual.
The local people are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be irritating, warm as well as slow-moving yet keep in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that intend to chat. Visitors are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are lovely and also more than happy to appear in photographs as well as attempt and also converse through limited common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is usually best handled by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re spending for a guide, ensure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spat out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and also cab drivers usually roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great post by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as likewise works as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also restaurants as citizens use the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to recognize the place of the kissing sound so don’t be surprised!
The two essential phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, yet it is well received. Be ready for most citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand as well as is billed per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your clothes washed and also unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly need washing as well as wash your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange 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 North American 2-pin plugs along with 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 obtain one at a lot of airport terminals when you land or in among the shops in the road as well as the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more about your network selections right here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it completely free– and the internet is currently spreading tomore remote areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power blackouts can use the net an aggravating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up numerous high staircases isn’t better.
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