Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Visit Myanmar Tour
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country officially called Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t up 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 viewed 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 nation. Various other names were likewise 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 used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and also the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are generally three periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm but not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted lodging alternatives tricky to secure as well as will indicate trying to book ahead or deal with paying out for the a lot more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar as well as impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of travelers which makes it easy to book holiday accommodation yet it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and also pay a cost 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 stands for 90- days from the date of issue and also enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office may be cheaper– if you intend to save some money, getting a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be cheaper. For example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the United States, so do your research and also do not forget to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the latest at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the typical choice for visitors as the initial mode of entrance, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. But, thinking about where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the east and India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land entrance, although not all of them are suggested because of safety and security.
Regardless, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of alternatives, where you will certainly require to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border 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 Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and 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 town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to stick to the one you initially mentioned when possible to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be mentioned up front. Furthermore, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is cheaper and has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport options might be irritating however the cross country propositions are a lot more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is economical so it might be your much better choice.
You can still book flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes 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 an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually 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 firms and also a range of deluxe levels.
A lot of buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn’t so excellent for sleep. Also, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at strange times in the morning and also won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Consider if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to rest immediately.
Buses are very chilly, the luxury buses will provide you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours for a food as well as toilet break– a little bit discouraging if you’re trying to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, despite the fact that 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 also tacky video up until the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a vehicle driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim region are generally off-limits to vacationers unless you have actually requested a government visa beforehand. In some areas you’ll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are set routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise could be very expensive.
Work your sightseeing around the heat– Myanmar is renowned for its sunrises and also sunsets, which likewise corresponds well with staying indoors (possibly for a snooze 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 as well as dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re exploring 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 considerate temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not just views for travelers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs as well as keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an access cost for Bagan and Inle Lake– this cost is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Lodging in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, implying you can rest in economical accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are gradually getting better for solo travellers, though prices are still much more of what you’ll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet lovely. The accommodation offers a feel for what a local house might be like, basic yet wonderfully decorated in teak wood) as well as the breakfast was typically remarkable. Plus, it’s nice to put money right into the hands of the residents, not some big brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses supply a towel but you could need to offer up a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly likewise supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do too, but 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 holiday accommodation and transportation beforehand during peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have experienced a boom which the facilities has fallen short to maintain pace with. A lot of resorts are tiny and also boutique like so if there’s somewhere certain you wish to stay it’s essential to book beforehand. It is especially necessary to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small charge if there are no rooms offered. However don’t rely upon the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best option. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants as well as a fantastic array of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an optimal option.
Inform the staff if you don’t 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 tourists!
The fish is delicious as well as a wonderful, fresh choice in the majority of dining establishments.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food and drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), ensure you ask for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on menus however do not anticipate a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated and also seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice and do not normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia yet you can find it as well as it’s great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can’t drink the water yet most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your room or using a huge water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, mineral water is extremely cheap.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and also scotch being prominent options.
Beer stations are simple to locate and also enjoyable locations to get a drink with the locals if you don’t want to being in a restaurant.
Realize that there isn’t a late night culture in Myanmar– most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. and bars follow suit around 10– 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at daybreak is a lot more preferred than late night drinking.
Large chains can not be discovered and also brand names are in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a nation of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brands like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be getting local brands and consuming from local restaurants.
Stores are small, family owned affairs– you won’t find a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ shops dotted around, but primarily you’re going to purchase treats and also beverages from small, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not fret, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a nation where smoking in public areas has actually long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe country– most of the population is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, criminal activity levels are incredibly low.
Still, you should take the common preventative measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female visitors should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is filthy as well as there isn’t always soap in bathrooms so use your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as hot. Subsequently, several visitors use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s typically pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
A lot of government advisories warn against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of people. Some other parts of the country stay closed to foreigners due to problem in between the government and different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and far from the significant visitor destinations.
Accurate information on conflicts and also closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, and ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders as well as legs despite the heat, and you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as often enforced for going into the temples and also 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. Numerous travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so grab one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are crucial! Getting in pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the very best footwear selection. Struggling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but somewhere else it’s less typical.
The local individuals are extremely genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm and also slow yet bear in mind: you chose to check out Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by citizens that intend to talk. Tourists are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Generally the people are lovely and are happy to appear in photos and try and also speak through limited usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a whole lot which is normally best dealt with by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and also if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels that contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| since it supplies 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 spat out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and taxi drivers commonly 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 also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this brilliant article 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 acts as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and also restaurants as locals utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to recognize the area of the kissing sound so do not be startled!
Both most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, yet it is well received. Be ready for a lot of residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and is billed per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed as well as unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really require washing as well as wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird half-hour difference| to its time area so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have numerous adaptors for European as well as 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 most airports when you land or in one of the shops in the street and also the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more about your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t anticipate to be downloading videos any time. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it absolutely free– as well as the web is currently spreading tofarther locations. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power blackouts can use the net an aggravating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and do not expect 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 knapsack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up several steep stairs isn’t better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar – Gen Nakatani Visit Myanmar