Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Best Places To Eat In Miramar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but 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 nation’s previous 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 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 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 inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are normally 3 periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, and draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted accommodation choices challenging to secure and also will mean trying to book in advance or face paying out for the much more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of tourists which makes it easy to book accommodation but it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa 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 approval within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you arrive and you’re in.
Your e-Visa letter stands 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 consular office may be more affordable– if you intend to save some cash, applying for a visa through your local Myanmar consular office may be less costly. As an example, the cost is just , 14 in the UK yet $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and do not neglect to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration site for the most recent at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the normal choice for travellers as the initial mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand as well as Laos to the eastern as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous avenues for land entry, although not every one of them are encouraged because of security.
Regardless, you need to specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be given a listing of choices, where you will need to choose 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 also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” but it is best to adhere to the one you originally specified ideally to avoid any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be specified up front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly and also has more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives may be discouraging however the long distance propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is economical so it may be your better choice.
You can still book flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport and also getting your bag off a trolley by the airplane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing businesses as well as a variety of deluxe levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn’t so excellent for rest. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the early morning as well as won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to rest straight away.
Buses are very cold, the high-end buses will certainly offer you a covering but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn’t have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food and toilet break– a 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 more, some still play their funky local song CD’s and also cheesy video till the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ever ask a driver about he time of arrival. Due to superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will get to a location summons bad spirits as well as is taken seriously. The result? You will not obtain a response.
You will primarily reserve buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically bill a fee however know that the fee can vary considerably.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this truly does differ depending on destination, mode of traveling and also company. Look for a firm that does include pick-up as taxis are expensive.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one helpful on-line reservation portal and the ones that do exist have a minimal number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not always mean the bus is full. Attempt reservation elsewhere.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without costs.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, however bus rides are bumpy– you might think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise an alternative for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among travellers.
There are no international car-rental agencies, however the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– in addition to guesthouses and also hotels elsewhere– can arrange cars as well as drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly apparent in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will be your major method of navigating especially for getting to and also from airport terminals and within cities like Yangon and also 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 you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Usually the taxi to and 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 amount for taxi prices.
Cabs for the day might be your better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing in Bagan as well as $28 for a few hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hr trip about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hr drive each means, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is costly in Myanmar as well as is a huge contributing factor to the cost.
Every person wants to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer during your sightseeing and tour trips. Do not hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own private transportation. After all, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, a few of the side trips can be fascinating as well as drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you went with their suggestions!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electrical motorbikes) outside the cities is much more affordable yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt one of the dustiest areas, and also nearly all visitors develop a dust cough. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– otherwise you’ll be among the several tourists walking toting head to foot road rash and also bandages.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres should provide you an idea. The time recommended for reaching the bus station (22km away 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 hr 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.
Get ready for the unexpected. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the very early hours of the morning, your only option to get to my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a haggling process to be had, yet considering that this is the primary form of traveler transport here it is only natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATM Machines 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 utilize dollars, they must be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased as well as more recent than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for flaws, discolouration and also creases at the currency exchange stands. You may likewise have trouble 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 costly since the USD exchange rate is informal– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is usually applied on the spot, probably relying on just how rich you look.
There are ATMs and they mainly function however make certain you have money prior to turning up at more remote places like the beach. Occasionally they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine charge of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of charges your bank could charge. And also you possibly won’t be able to withdraw greater than $150 each time.
ATMs dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places around, but primarily the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines as well as call for cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels ahead of time online this might save you taking extra cash money for lodging.
Credit cards are accepted mostly only in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and also Mandalay also take them, generally charging a tiny cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a whole lot more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being developed. That includes guesthouses and also restaurants. Companies are recouping their expenses.
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 visitor hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a run down, no-frills room.
For hotels, deluxe resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where high-end comes with a cost of $250 per night) with other great alternatives being available at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which costs 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 cost 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 typically obtain a complimentary breakfast with your accommodation.
Street food is most inexpensive– 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 cheap, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise economical at a number of dollars per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to spend for the privilege of being a foreigner and also making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the more touristy areas.
It’s possible to negotiate on prices of items like souvenirs however if you bargain too hard the locals lose interest and also leave.
Tipping is not usual method in Myanmar, and also it’s just foreigners who tip.
Taking in the sights in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise as well as out cold by 10pm! The heat is usually unbearable during the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it harder to get incredible pictures and walk around freely.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous area of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and the far, crime levels are extremely low.
Still, you ought to take the usual safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female visitors should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is gross as well as there isn’t always soap in restrooms 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 cycling around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, several travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nevertheless, as it’s often pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away as well as if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories alert against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually brought about the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the country stay closed to foreigners as a result of dispute between the government and different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mainly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the significant visitor destinations.
Accurate info on conflicts and closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government’s advice prior to travelling, and inquire about the situation once 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| as well as cover their shoulders as well as legs despite the heat, and you will make everybody much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged as well as commonly enforced for getting in the temples and also pagodas.
Every person uses 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 practical for taking in the sights so pick up a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are essential! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Dealing with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but in other places it’s much less common.
The local people are exceptionally genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, hot and sluggish yet bear in mind: you selected to check out Myanmar and that it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nevertheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by residents who intend to talk. Tourists are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Typically individuals are wonderful as well as more than happy to appear in pictures and also try and converse through minimal usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is normally best handled by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention and if you’re paying for a guide, ensure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s most likely popular| due to the fact that it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to six mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth as well as cab drivers often roll down the window in slow traffic to spew after eating 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 children. Why not? Read this great article 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 item in Myanmar and likewise functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the coffee shops and also dining establishments as citizens use the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to identify the place of the kissing sound so don’t be distressed!
Both essential phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it polite, but it is well received. Be ready for the majority of citizens to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and also is charged per item rather than kilo so try to turn up with your garments laundered and unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you really require washing as well as clean your smaller items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet paper or sanitary products– this is very common in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t handle anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual 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 numerous adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of airports when you land or in one of the stores in the road as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can find out more regarding your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘quick’ connection, do not expect to be downloading video clips at any time. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it completely free– and also the internet is currently spreading tomore remote locations. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power interruptions can make using the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also do not anticipate to Skype home very frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a suitcase. Travel suitcases aren’t ideal on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up several high staircases isn’t much better.
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