Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Travel Mandalay Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet 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 seen as a relic of the country’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. 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 as well as Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are typically three periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm however not stifling, and brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the limited lodging options challenging to secure and will certainly imply attempting to book ahead or deal with paying out for the more pricey alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of tourists that makes it very easy to book accommodation however it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is offered to travellers from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and also you should get approval 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 date of issue as well as allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be cheaper– if you want to save some cash, making an application for a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be less costly. For instance, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as don’t neglect 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 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration internet site for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the normal choice for visitors as the first mode of entrance, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land entrance, although not every one of them are recommended due to safety.
No matter, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of choices, from which you will require to pick 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 as well as 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 most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Region 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 stay with the one you initially mentioned if possible to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints given that your exit point does not require to be specified up-front. Furthermore, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is cheaper as well as has much more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Long Distance
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be discouraging but the cross country propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and flying is budget friendly so it may be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and also getting your bag off a cart by the airplane and 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. As well as a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms as well as a range of high-end levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so excellent for sleep. Also, you’ll tend to arrive at weird times in the early morning and also won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to take a nap straight away.
Buses are really cold, the deluxe buses will certainly provide you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food and also toilet break– a little bit irritating if you’re attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although these are the buses which bring you to your destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s as well as cheesy music videos until the very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a vehicle driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim region are normally out-of-bounds to vacationers unless you have 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 indicates that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go otherwise. Trying to do otherwise may be really pricey.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its dawns as well as sundowns, which additionally matches well with staying inside (maybe for a nap or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Expect to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously unclean floors. 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 discovering 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 clean off some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just sights for tourists. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– individuals will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entry fee for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening up, implying you can sleep in economical accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are slowly improving for solo travellers, though expenses are still much more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet lovely. The accommodation gives a feeling for what a local house could be like, basic however perfectly decorated in teak) and the breakfast was typically exceptional. And also, it’s nice to put money into the hands of the citizens, not some big brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses provide a towel but you might need to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will certainly also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do also, yet it can’t be counted on.
Be careful 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 lodging and transportation in advance throughout peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to keep pace with. The majority of resorts are little and also boutique like so if there’s somewhere certain you want to stay it’s essential to book ahead of time. It is particularly necessary to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small charge if there are no areas available. But don’t rely upon the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the very best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and an incredible range of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Several items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so terrific looking water supply and also dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an optimal alternative.
Tell the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals specify how much spice you like as the cooks have a tendency to go easy on visitors!
The fish is scrumptious and an excellent, fresh option in the majority of restaurants.
There is rather a lot of sugar in the food and also drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), make sure you request ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature greatly on menus yet don’t anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinaded and also seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and don’t usually feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar as well as you might get ill once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia however you can discover it as well as it’s excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not consume the water but most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply complimentary water either in bottles in your area or via a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is extremely affordable.
Alcohol is widely available with beer, rum and also bourbon being prominent options.
Beer stations are simple to discover and also fun locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not intend to being in a restaurant.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and also bars do the same around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at daybreak is more preferred than late night drinking.
Big chains can’t be discovered and brand names remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains and beyond drink brand names like Coke as well as 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 will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equivalent ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops populated about, but mainly you’re going to get snacks and also drinks from little, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by walking in. Do not fret, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a country where cigarette smoking in public areas has actually long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an exceptionally safe area– a lot of the population is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are remarkably low.
Still, you should take the common safety measures of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is unclean as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so utilize 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 cycling around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, numerous visitors use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it’s often pre-cut, try to find a seller that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the country stay shut to foreigners as a result of dispute in between the government and different ethnic militaries gathered 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 vacationer locations.
Exact information on problems and closed locations can be difficult to find. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of information from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as t-shirts are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged and usually enforced for entering the temples and also pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Many travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so pick up a cheap one a the market if you have the chance.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and also flip flops are the very best footwear choice. Battling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach however elsewhere it’s less typical.
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, hot and slow-moving yet remember: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents who wish to chat. Visitors are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Typically the people are wonderful and are happy to appear in photos and also attempt as well as chat via limited typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a lot which is usually best dealt with by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing 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| because it delivers a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as cab drivers commonly roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the kids. Why not? Read this fantastic short article 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 product in Myanmar as well as also functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and also restaurants as locals use the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s less complicated for staff to determine the location of the kissing sound 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 respectful, however it is well received. Be prepared for many locals 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 also is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you really require washing and wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are 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 typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hours ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects 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 the majority of airports when you land or in one of the shops in the road and the store staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network selections right here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, don’t expect to be downloading videos any time. Online access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also coffee shops have it totally free– and the internet is now spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can use the web a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a travel suitcase. aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up lots of high stairs isn’t far better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Travel Mandalay Myanmar