Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Visit Myanmar In 5 Days
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it had not been until 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was seen as a relic of the nation’s former British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also changed, which is why you will certainly 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 and also Myanmar are still utilized interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are generally 3 periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm however not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted accommodation options tricky to secure and also will certainly mean attempting to book in advance or deal with paying out for the a lot more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it easy to book lodging yet it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is available to visitors 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 charge of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and 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 day of issue as well as enables 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, making an application for a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office may be less costly. As an example, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and also don’t 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 three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration web site for the latest at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the normal choice for visitors as the very first mode of entrance, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar is located– surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India and Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous methods for land entrance, although not every one of them are suggested because of safety and security.
No matter, you need to define a “Port of Entry” in your online application which denotes how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a list of alternatives, where you will certainly need to pick 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 and Yangon)
Crossing at Land Boundary 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 Area 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stay with the one you originally stated if possible to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports as well as Land Boundary Checkpoints because your exit point does not require to be mentioned up front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper and has much more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be frustrating but the cross country propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is budget friendly so it might be your better choice.
You can still book 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 includes ticking people off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and also getting your bag off a cart by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are affordable with competing firms and a series of deluxe levels.
A lot of buses travel over night which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so excellent for sleep. Also, you’ll often tend to arrive at odd times in the morning as well as won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to sleep immediately.
Buses are extremely chilly, the deluxe buses will certainly give you a blanket however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food and also 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also cheesy video till the very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ever ask a driver about he time of arrival. As a result of superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will reach a destination invokes bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The result? You won’t obtain an answer.
You will generally book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically bill a cost but understand that the fee can vary drastically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this really does vary depending on destination, mode of travel as well as company. Try to find a business that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one helpful online booking site as well as the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not always indicate the bus is full. Try reservation somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are often faster than the trains, yet bus rides are rough– you might consider taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise an alternative for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst travellers.
There are no international car-rental companies, yet a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– along with guesthouses and also hotels elsewhere– can organize cars and drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With limited public transportation, taxis will be your primary method of navigating particularly for getting to as well as from flight terminals and within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– prices are established on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ estimation) and also you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Usually the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will certainly be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi prices.
Cabs for the day might be your far 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 factor than time in dictating the expense of hiring a driver: a 12 hr trip around Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each method, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar and also is a big contributing variable to the expense.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing journeys. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your very own personal transportation. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the flip side, several of the side journeys can be fascinating as well as drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your schedule and you may be happy you went with their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much cheaper yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest places, and almost all travelers create a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and also something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– otherwise you’ll be one of the numerous vacationers walking toting head to foot road rash as well as plasters.
The large cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km ought to give you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus terminal (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and leather seats– that 1.5 hr 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.
Prepare for the unexpected. 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 using horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, but given that this is the main form of tourist transportation here it is only natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money and ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to utilize dollars, they need to be immaculate. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased as well as more recent than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for problems, discolouration and creases at the currency exchange kiosks. You may additionally have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is most likely to be less expensive because the USD currency exchange rate is casual– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is normally applied on the spot, most likely relying on how rich you look.
There are ATMs and also they mostly function but make certain you have money prior to showing up at more remote areas like the beach. Often they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM charge of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any type of costs your bank could charge. And you possibly will not be able to take out greater than $150 each time.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places about, however mostly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational flight terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also require cash payment. If you have actually booked your hotels in advance online this might save you taking added cash money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mainly just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, usually billing a little cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being constructed. That includes guesthouses and also restaurants. Companies are recovering their costs.
A dorm bed will certainly set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard private 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 dull, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where high-end comes at a cost of $250 per night) with other very good alternatives can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A modern hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package traveler’ destinations like Ngapali coastline can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a number of hostels there as well). On the plus side, you usually obtain a free morning meal with your holiday accommodation.
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.
Mineral water is economical, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise cheap at a couple of dollars per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to spend for the privilege of being a foreigner and using squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing footwear as well as taking pictures. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of things like mementos but if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest as well as walk away.
Tipping is not typical practice in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise as well as fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is frequently excruciating during the peak sunshine hrs and the arrival of the tourist buses make it harder to get outstanding photos and also move easily.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, along with the western Chin State as well as the far, crime levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you ought to take the usual precautions of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is filthy and also there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when biking around. Also take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, many visitors use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, look for a seller that has 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 caution against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has led to the mass displacement of countless individuals. Some other parts of the nation stay closed to foreigners because of dispute between the government as well as different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the major traveler locations.
Exact details on conflicts and also closed areas can be challenging to come by. Check your government’s recommendations prior to travelling, and ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will make everybody more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and often enforced for getting in the temples and pagodas.
Everybody puts on skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Several vacationers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘traditional wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so grab an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas indicates going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with laces 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 also shoulders). You will find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach however elsewhere it’s less typical.
The local people are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be frustrating, hot and also sluggish yet keep in mind: you selected to see Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents that want to chat. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are charming and more than happy to appear in photographs and attempt as well as converse via limited typical words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is generally best handled by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, 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, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it supplies a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spat out, many times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as taxi drivers usually roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the kids. Why not? Read this fantastic article 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 product in Myanmar as well as additionally works as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also restaurants as citizens utilize the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to recognize the area of the kissing sound so do not be alarmed!
Both crucial expressions you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it polite, however it is well received. Be ready for a lot of locals to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and also is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your garments laundered and also unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly require washing and also wash your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t cope with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd 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 as well as 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, far better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the road and also the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘rapid’ link, do not expect to be downloading video clips any time. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it absolutely free– and also the net is currently spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power failures can make using the net a discouraging exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also do not anticipate to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be much better with a backpack than a travel suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Best Places To Visit In Myanmar In July