Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Best Places To Eat In Amarillo Blog
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country officially referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it wasn’t till 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 nation’s previous British colonial past, and also Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Other names were additionally 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 as well as Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to Visit Myanmar
There are commonly 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, and brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited accommodation alternatives challenging to secure and also will mean attempting to book in advance or face paying out for the a lot more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of travelers that makes it easy to book lodging yet it is exceptionally warm.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also 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 date of issue and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be more affordable– if you want to save some cash, getting a visa through your local Myanmar embassy may be cheaper. As an example, the expense is just , 14 in the UK but $40 in the United States, so do your research and also do not forget to factor in 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 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the typical option for tourists as the first mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. However, thinking about where Myanmar lies– surrounded by China to the North and northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern and India and Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple methods for land entry, although not every one of them are suggested because of safety.
Regardless, you need to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of options, from which you will need to choose among 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 as well as Yangon)
Going Across 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and also the collection of islands)
- Tamu (in the Sagaing Area of northwestern Myanmar on the boundary 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 border of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to adhere to the one you initially stated preferably to prevent any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and also Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not need to be mentioned up-front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is more affordable and also has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives might be aggravating but the cross country propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish as well as flying is budget friendly so it may be your better option.
You can still book flights the old-school means by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane and flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And a great deal of fun if you don’t let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing companies and also a range of high-end levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so great for rest. Also, you’ll tend to arrive at strange times in the morning and won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs waiting on a ‘top-up’ nap. Take into consideration if it will be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to sleep immediately.
Buses are really chilly, the luxury 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 few hours for a food as well as toilet break– a bit frustrating 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and cheesy video until the very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, buy some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver about he time of arrival. Because of superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will come to a destination summons bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The result? You won’t obtain a response.
You will mainly book buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will normally bill a fee however understand that the charge can vary considerably.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this actually does vary depending upon destination, mode of traveling and company. Search for a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are exorbitant.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one helpful on-line reservation website and also the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re told they’re sold out, it doesn’t necessarily mean the bus is full. Try reservation in other places.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without charges.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough– you may think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are also a choice for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst tourists.
There are no international car-rental firms, but many travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses and hotels in other places– 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 limited public transport, taxis will be your major means of getting around particularly for getting to and from airport terminals and within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– rates are established on the spot (after a fast ‘just how much can I get away with’ computation) and also you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Often the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will certainly be greater than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi prices.
Taxis for the day might be your far better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan as well as $28 for a couple of hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger aspect than time in dictating the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hr journey around Yangon can set you back USD 70 while travelling further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each way, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar and is a huge contributing variable to the expense.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft shop, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer during your sightseeing trips. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transportation. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side trips can be fascinating as well as drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you went with their recommendations!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electrical motorbikes) outside the cities is much cheaper but beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far one of the dustiest places, and nearly all travelers create a dust cough. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can not manage it– or else you’ll be just one of the many tourists walking around toting head to foot road rash and also plasters.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 kilometres ought to provide you an idea. The time advised for getting to the bus station (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hour journey in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with absolutely nothing more than the heat of the engine fan to ‘cool’ you down.
Plan for the unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the extremely early hours of the morning, your only alternative to reach my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, yet because this is the main form of vacationer transportation here it is only natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATMs in Myanmar
You can make use of 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they have to be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also more recent than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for flaws, discolouration and creases at the currency exchange stands. You may additionally have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in US dollars so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Using kyat is likely to be less costly since the USD currency exchange rate is informal– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is normally applied on the spot, most likely depending upon exactly how rich you look.
There are ATMs as well as they mainly work however make certain you have money before turning up at more remote areas like the coastline. Often they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM charge of about $4 for every single withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of charges your financial institution could charge. And also you probably won’t have the ability to withdraw more than $150 at a time.
ATMs give kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places about, but primarily the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also call for cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels beforehand online this may save you taking extra money for holiday accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mostly just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, normally billing a little cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a lot more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and restaurants. Businesses are recouping their costs.
Holiday accommodation expenses
A dorm bed will certainly 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 traveler hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dull, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being an example where luxury comes with a price of $250 per night) with various other excellent alternatives can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A contemporary hotel can set you back USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package tourist’ destinations like Ngapali coastline can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a couple of hostels there as well). On the plus side, you usually get a cost-free breakfast 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 meal. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or featuring something like pizza) will set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is low-cost, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also low-cost at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour costs
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner as well as making use of squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing footwear as well as taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the more touristy areas.
It’s possible to negotiate on prices of products like mementos yet if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and also leave.
Tipping is not typical practice in Myanmar, as well as it’s just foreigners that tip.
Taking in the sights in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise and also out cold by 10pm! The heat is typically intolerable throughout the peak sunlight hours and the arrival of the traveler buses make it harder to get impressive pictures and also move around easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and the far, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you need to take the normal safety measures of utilizing hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is unclean and also there isn’t always soap in washrooms so use your sanitiser prior to 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 warm. As a result, 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 immune system with nutrients in this way. Nevertheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, search for a seller that has actually kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Most government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has brought about the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the country continue to be closed to foreigners due to dispute in between the government as well as different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant tourist destinations.
Precise details on problems and closed locations can be tough to find. Check your government’s advice before travelling, and also inquire about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of information from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders as well as legs despite the heat, as well as you will certainly make everyone a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged and also typically enforced for entering the temples and pagodas.
Everyone wears skirts– males and females 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 ‘traditional wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up an inexpensive one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Going into pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the best footwear option. Dealing with shoelaces in the scorching heat is an undesirable distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but in other places it’s much less typical.
The local people are remarkably genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travel can be aggravating, warm and also slow-moving but keep in mind: you selected to visit Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents who want to chat. Visitors are no more a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are wonderful and also more than happy to appear in photos and also attempt as well as talk with limited usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a great deal which is typically best handled by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard as well as if you’re spending for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it provides a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spat out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and cab drivers usually roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew 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 kids. Why not? Read this brilliant write-up by Uncornered Market.
It’s common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as additionally functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and restaurants as locals utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to identify the place of the kissing sound so don’t be upset!
Both most important phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Not only is it courteous, however it is well received. Be prepared for most citizens to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and also is charged per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your garments washed and also unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly need washing and also wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is really usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not handle anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird 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 and 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, better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of airports when you land or in among the shops in the street as well as the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos at any time. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it completely free– and also the internet is currently spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power blackouts can make using the internet a frustrating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and do not anticipate to Skype home extremely often, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t optimal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up several high staircases isn’t far better.
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