Top Myanmar Travel Tips – Best Places To Live In Myanmar
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was seen as a relic of the nation’s previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were likewise changed, which is why you will 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 as well as on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the concern: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly 3 seasons in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
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 but not stifling, as well as draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the minimal lodging alternatives difficult to secure and will imply attempting 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 climbs in Myanmar and upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of tourists that makes it easy to book lodging however it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You’ll be required to submit a passport photo and pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also you should get 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 day of issue as well as permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be less costly– if you intend to save some money, obtaining a visa by means of your local Myanmar consular office may be cheaper. For instance, the expense is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the USA, so do your research and don’t fail to remember to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the latest at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for tourists as the initial mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east as well as India and Bangladesh to its west– there are several for land access, although not all of them are encouraged because of security.
Regardless, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on-line application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a list of alternatives, where you will require to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (located 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 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 Area of northwestern Myanmar on the border 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).
In reality, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” yet it is best to stick to the one you initially stated when possible to prevent any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints because your exit point does not need to be mentioned up front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less costly as well as has much more links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport choices may be irritating yet the long distance propositions are far more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow as well as flying is affordable so it might be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in involves ticking people off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also grabbing your bag off a trolley by the aircraft and also flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing companies and also a range of deluxe levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so fantastic for rest. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to reach at weird times in the morning as well as will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ nap. Think about if it will be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to rest straight away.
Buses are very cold, the high-end buses will offer you a blanket but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every few hrs for a food and also toilet break– a little bit aggravating if you’re attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though 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 cheesy music videos up until the early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a vehicle driver about he time of arrival. As a result of 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 summons bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The result? You will not get a response.
You will primarily book buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will normally bill a cost however understand that the charge can vary dramatically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this truly does vary depending upon destination, mode of travel and company. Search for a company that does include pick-up as taxis are exorbitant.
Booking buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one convenient online reservation website and also the ones that do exist have a limited number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it doesn’t always indicate the bus is full. Try booking in other places.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without charges.
Buses are often faster than the trains, yet 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 visitors.
There are no international car-rental agencies, but a lot of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan– as well as guesthouses as well as hotels in other places– can organize cars and drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing and this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will be your main method of getting around especially for getting to and also from airport terminals and also within cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are established on the spot (after a quick ‘just how much can I get away with’ estimation) as well as you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Usually the taxi to and also from the airport/bus will be more than you spent for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi prices.
Cabs for the day may be your better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and also $28 for a couple of hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger factor than time in determining the price of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip about Yangon can cost 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 pricey in Myanmar and also is a big contributing element to the cost.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing and tour trips. Don’t hesitate to say no when you’re paying for your own personal transport. Besides, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, several of the side journeys can be interesting and also drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes as well as e-Bikes (electrical motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive yet beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far among the dustiest areas, as well as almost all visitors create a dust cough. 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 just one of the lots of travelers walking toting head to foot road rash and also plasters.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has a few of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres should provide you an idea. The time suggested for getting to the bus station (22km far from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so don’t count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hour trip 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 through horse and cart. There is still a haggling process to be had, yet since this is the primary form of vacationer transport here it is just all-natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can use 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use 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 as well as creases at the currency exchange kiosks. You might likewise have problems changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in United States bucks so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Using kyat is likely to be less costly because the USD exchange rate is informal– somewhere in between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, most likely depending upon just how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and also they mainly function yet make sure you have cash prior to showing up at more remote spots like the beach. Sometimes they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM machine charge of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any type of costs your financial institution might bill. And you most likely won’t be able to take out more than $150 at a time.
ATMs give kyat only. There are a lot of exchange places around, yet mainly the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational airport to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also call for cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels in advance online this may save you taking additional cash money for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mostly just in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, typically billing a little cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travelling in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more costly than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being built. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Businesses are recovering their expenses.
A dorm bed will certainly set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard personal room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In vacationer hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a dingy, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end hotels 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 cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package visitor’ destinations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there also). On the bonus side, you typically get a totally free morning meal with your lodging.
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 featuring something like pizza) will set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is inexpensive, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also low-cost at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the privilege of being a foreigner and making use of squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing shoes and also taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of items like souvenirs yet if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest and walk away.
Tipping is not common technique in Myanmar, as well as it’s only foreigners that tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and also fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is commonly intolerable during the peak sunlight hours and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it harder to get impressive photos as well as move easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous location of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State and also the far, crime levels are extremely reduced.
Still, you should take the typical preventative measures of utilizing hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female tourists should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the cash is filthy and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so use your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Also take care with your air conditioning– Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, several travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s commonly pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories alert against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually led to the mass displacement of thousands of people. A few other parts of the nation continue to be closed to foreigners as a result of conflict in between the government and also different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the major vacationer destinations.
Precise info on conflicts and also closed areas can be difficult to come by. Check your government’s guidance prior to taking a trip, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of news from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and often enforced for going into 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 men and women. Numerous travelers pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are practical for sightseeing so get an inexpensive one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear choice. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you’ll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will find people in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but somewhere else it’s less usual.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be irritating, hot and also slow yet remember: you selected to see Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents who wish to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are beautiful and also more than happy to appear in photographs as well as attempt as well as converse via limited usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a great deal which is usually best dealt with by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and if you’re paying for a guide, make sure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| because it delivers a hit that amounts to six mugs of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers often roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the kids. Why not? Read this fantastic short 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 item in Myanmar as well as likewise serves as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes as well as restaurants as locals make use of the kissing sound as a call for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to recognize the location of the kissing audio so don’t be distressed!
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 ready for many residents to giggle in response– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand as well as is billed per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothing washed as well as unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you really need washing and also wash your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very common in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t deal with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that weird 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 numerous adaptors for European and also North American 2-pin plugs in addition to 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 obtain one at the majority of airports when you land or in among the shops in the road as well as the store personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more about your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ connection, do not expect to be downloading videos any time. Online access has improved, with wi-fi becoming the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it for free– and the web is currently spreading tofarther areas. However tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power outages can use the internet an aggravating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, and also do not anticipate to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be better with a knapsack than a suitcase. aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up several steep stairs isn’t better.
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