Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Ultimate Travel Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially called Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t until 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 nation’s previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were additionally altered, 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 as well as Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are normally 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited holiday accommodation alternatives difficult to secure as well as will certainly indicate attempting to book in advance or face paying for the a lot more pricey alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar and also upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it easy to book lodging however it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo as well as pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and 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 as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy might be cheaper– if you intend to save some money, requesting a visa through your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. For example, the price is just , 14 in the UK however $40 in the United States, so do your research and also do not neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to get in Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration web site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for visitors as the very first mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. But, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land access, although not every one of them are encouraged due to security.
Regardless, 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 certainly be given a list of choices, where you will certainly need to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 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 cluster 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).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stick to the one you originally specified ideally to prevent any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints given that your exit point does not need to be stated up front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable and has more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation choices might be aggravating but the long distance propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is economical so it might be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school means by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal as well as grabbing your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing companies and also a variety of luxury levels.
Most buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing, however isn’t so fantastic for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at odd times in the morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same night to take a nap immediately.
Buses are very chilly, the high-end buses will give you a covering but, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hours for a food and also toilet break– a bit irritating if you’re trying 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 tacky video up until 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 turned off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. Due to superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a location invokes bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t obtain an answer.
You will mostly book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will normally bill a fee but understand that the charge can vary considerably.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this actually does vary depending on destination, mode of traveling as well as company. Try to find a business that does include pickup as taxis are exorbitant.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one convenient on-line reservation portal and also the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it doesn’t always indicate the bus is full. Try booking somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without fees.
Buses are often faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough– you may take into consideration taking tablets for nausea. Boats are additionally a choice for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst tourists.
There are no international car-rental companies, however many travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses as well as hotels somewhere else– can arrange cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and also this is most frustratingly evident in the local transport.
With minimal public transportation, taxis will be your main method of getting around particularly for getting to and from airports as well as within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– rates are set on the spot (after a fast ‘how much can I get away with’ estimation) and you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Typically the taxi to as well as from the airport/bus will be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi prices.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your much better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger aspect than time in determining the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hour journey around Yangon can cost USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each way, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and is a huge contributing element to the expense.
Everyone wants to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut producer throughout your sightseeing and tour journeys. Do not be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your very own personal transport. Nevertheless, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, some of the side journeys can be fascinating and drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much cheaper but beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest areas, and also nearly all travelers establish a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t handle it– or else you’ll be one of the numerous vacationers walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as plasters.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 kilometres ought to give you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus terminal (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning as well as leather seats– that 1.5 hour trip in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Get ready for the unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hours of the early morning, your only choice to get to my hotel may be by means of horse and cart. There is still a haggling process to be had, but since this is the major form of tourist transport here it is just natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they need to be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and more recent than 2006. Each individual note is reviewed for problems, discolouration and folds at the currency exchange booths. You might also have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be less expensive due to the fact that the USD exchange rate is informal– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, most likely depending on just how rich you look.
There are ATMs and also they mostly function but see to it you have money prior to turning up at more remote spots like the coastline. Sometimes they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine charge of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any type of fees your bank might charge. And also you probably won’t have the ability to withdraw more than $150 at a time.
ATM machines give kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places around, yet primarily the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport terminal to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as require cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels beforehand online this may save you taking additional money for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, usually billing a tiny charge, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a whole lot more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being constructed. That includes guesthouses and dining establishments. Companies are recovering their costs.
Holiday accommodation prices
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a basic personal room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In tourist hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, luxury hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where deluxe comes at a cost of $250 per night) with other excellent choices can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs around $120 a night). A modern hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package visitor’ destinations like Ngapali beach can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the plus side, you usually obtain a cost-free morning meal with your lodging.
Street food is most budget-friendly– around $1-$2 for a plate of something basic. Local restaurants cost around $2-$4 a dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will certainly cost $7-$12.
Bottled water is cheap, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise affordable at a number of dollars per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to spend for the privilege of being a foreigner and making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes as well as taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on prices of things like souvenirs yet if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest as well as leave.
Tipping is not usual technique in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise as well as out cold by 10pm! The heat is typically unbearable during the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the visitor buses make it more difficult to get incredible pictures and also move freely.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous area of Myanmar, together with the western Chin State and the far, crime levels are exceptionally low.
Still, you ought to take the common precautions of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is filthy as well as 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 extremely dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, several tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it’s commonly pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, make certain it’s filtered water.
The majority of government advisories caution against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has resulted in the mass displacement of countless people. Some other parts of the nation continue to be closed to foreigners due to dispute in between the government and different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, as well as far from the significant traveler destinations.
Accurate information on conflicts and closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s guidance prior to taking a trip, as well as inquire 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
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs regardless of the high temperatures, and also you will certainly make everybody much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as typically enforced for entering the temples as well as pagodas.
Every person wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the heat and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so grab a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot as well as flip flops are the most effective footwear option. Struggling with shoelaces in the scorching 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 and also shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet elsewhere it’s much less typical.
The local people are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, hot as well as sluggish however bear in mind: you chose to see Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that wish to talk. Travelers are no longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Usually the people are beautiful and are happy to appear in pictures and attempt as well as talk via minimal typical words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a great deal which is usually best dealt with by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have good 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 and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| since it provides a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth and taxi drivers commonly roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the children. Why not? Read this fantastic post 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 and also works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes as well as dining establishments as residents use the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to recognize the area of the kissing sound so don’t be surprised!
Both crucial expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be prepared 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 normally done by hand and is billed per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your garments laundered and also unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly require washing as well as clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is extremely common in developing countries where the plumbing system can not cope with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd 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 multiple 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 overcome it or, much better still, get a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the street and also the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more about your network options right here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a ‘rapid’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips whenever. Online accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it completely free– as well as the internet is now spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can make using the web a frustrating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also don’t expect to Skype home very often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up several steep stairs isn’t far better.
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