Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Agents
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country formally referred to as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet 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 seen as a relic of the nation’s previous British colonial past, as well as 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 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This post breaks down the changes, what you ‘should’ say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are normally 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer period
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted accommodation alternatives difficult to secure and will indicate attempting to book ahead or deal with paying out for the a lot more expensive alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and also upcoming rainfalls are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers that makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation but it is unbelievably warm.
An e-Visa is offered to travellers from these 100 countries.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo as well as pay a fee 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 and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local consular office might be less expensive– if you wish to save some cash, making an application for a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. As an example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK however $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research as well as don’t neglect to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at three Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration web site for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual alternative for tourists as the first mode of entry, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar is located– bordered by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east and also India and also Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple for land access, although not every one of them are suggested due to safety.
No matter, you have to define a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will be provided a list of options, where you will require to pick one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing at Land Border Checkpoints:
- Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary 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 boundary of the Thai Peninsula and 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 border village of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
In reality, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stick to the one you initially mentioned if possible to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be stated up front. Furthermore, you may exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is more affordable and has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives may be frustrating however the cross country propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and flying is affordable so it may be your much better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days– check-in entails ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as grabbing your bag off a cart by the plane and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing firms as well as a variety of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel over night which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn’t so wonderful for sleep. Likewise, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the early morning as well as won’t have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hrs waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Consider if it will be more affordable to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the very same night to take a nap immediately.
Buses are extremely cold, the deluxe buses will give you a covering yet, 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 also toilet break– a bit irritating 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 more, some still play their funky local song CD’s as well as cheesy video up until the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State and Tenasserim area are normally off-limits to tourists unless you have actually applied for a government visa beforehand. In some locations you’ll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is hard– even within the ‘open’ parts, Myanmar’s developing infrastructure means that there are established routes you can travel and you’ll have a hard time to go differently. Trying to do otherwise may be very expensive.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat– Myanmar is well-known for its sunrises as well as sundowns, which likewise corresponds perfectly with staying inside (perhaps for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day heat.
Expect to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously unclean floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you’re discovering 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 thoughtful temple visitor, the majority of Myanmar’s temples are places of worship, not simply sights for vacationers. Respect ‘do not climb/do not enter’ signs and also keep your voice down– people will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an access cost for Bagan and also Inle Lake– this charge is charged to all foreigners and there’s no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan– $20; Inle Lake– $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening up, indicating you can sleep in cheaper accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are gradually getting better for solo visitors, though expenses are still much more of what you’ll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but enchanting. The holiday accommodation provides a feel for what a local house may be like, basic however beautifully decorated in teak wood) and also the morning meal was typically remarkable. And also, it’s nice to put cash right into the hands of the citizens, not some large brand chain.
The majority of hostels, hotels and also guesthouses supply a towel yet you might need to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels as well as guesthouses do too, however it can’t be counted on.
Be cautious about the curfew– some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book accommodation and transportation ahead of time during peak period. The tourist industry in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the infrastructure has actually failed to keep pace with. Many hotels are small as well as boutique like thus if there’s someplace certain you want to stay it’s vital to book in advance. It is particularly essential to book in advance during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small charge if there are no spaces available. But don’t depend on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best choice. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and an amazing selection of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an excellent choice.
Inform the staff if you do not consume something. If you like a little spice in your meals mention how much spice you like as the cooks often tend to go easy on visitors!
The fish is delicious and also a terrific, fresh option in many dining establishments.
There is rather a lot of sugar in the food as well as drinks. If you aren’t a fan of sugar there’s a choice to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), make sure you request for ‘no sugar’.
Salads feature heavily on food selections but do not expect a fresh crunch– most salads are marinated and also seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice as well as do not generally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and also you may get sick once.
Street food isn’t as prolific as various other areas in Southeast Asia but you can locate 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 complimentary water either in bottles in your area or through a big water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is very low-cost.
Alcohol is commonly offered with beer, rum and also whiskey being preferred choices.
Beer stations are simple to find and also fun locations to get a beverage with the locals if you do not wish to sit in a dining establishment.
Understand 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 nation where meditation at sunrise is much more preferred than late night drinking.
Large chains can not be located and also brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn’t a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond drink brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you’re going to be buying local brand names as well as consuming from local dining establishments.
Shops are little, family owned affairs– you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable ‘Grab ‘n’ Go’ stores populated around, however mainly you’re going to purchase snacks and drinks from little, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you’re intruding by strolling in. Do not fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a nation where cigarette smoking in public places has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe area– most of the populace is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you should take the typical preventative measures of making use of hotel storage lockers or safes for your valuables. Female visitors should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross and also there isn’t always soap in washrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be really dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when biking around. Likewise take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, several travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s often pre-cut, look for a seller that has actually kept the flies away and if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
The majority of government advisories caution against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually led to the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. A few other parts of the nation stay shut to foreigners as a result of dispute between the government and various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant tourist locations.
Precise details on conflicts as well as closed locations can be hard to find. Check your government’s guidance before travelling, and also ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great source of news from visitors 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 high temperatures, and you will make everyone more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tee shirts are the outfit of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as commonly enforced for getting in the temples and pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Lots of visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warmth as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so pick up an affordable one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are crucial! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the best footwear selection. Battling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out 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 individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet in other places it’s less typical.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, hot and also slow yet remember: you selected to go to Myanmar which it’s not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a great deal by locals who want to talk. Tourists are no longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Normally the people are beautiful and also more than happy to appear in pictures and also try as well as talk through limited common 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, listen hard as well as if you’re spending for a guide, make sure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| due to the fact that 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, most times onto the ground.
Great deals 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 youngsters in Myanmar and 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 girls. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as also functions as a sun block.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the cafes and also dining establishments as locals use the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s simpler for staff to identify the place of the kissing sound so don’t be surprised!
Both crucial phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be prepared for many citizens to giggle in reaction– 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 charged per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed as well as unless you intend to turn 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 but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is very usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t manage anything other than 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 numerous adaptors for European and also 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, purchase a local SIM. You can get one at most flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the road as well as the store staff will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can read more about your network selections right here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ connection, don’t anticipate to be downloading video clips any time. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses and coffee shops have it free of charge– and also the net is now spreading tomore remote locations. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power interruptions can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and also do not expect to Skype home very often, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You’ll be better with a backpack than a luggage. Luggage aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up many steep stairs isn’t much better.
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