Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel Itinerary
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t 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 former British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Other names were additionally changed, which is why you will 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 article breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say and the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to See Myanmar
There are commonly three periods in which you can go to Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather condition is warm yet not stifling, and draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the restricted accommodation options difficult to secure as well as will imply attempting to book in advance or face paying for the a lot more pricey choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar and impending rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of vacationers that makes it easy to book lodging but it is incredibly warm.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa site. You’ll be required to upload a passport photo and also pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply as well as you should obtain 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 is valid for 90- days from the day of issue and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local embassy may be less costly– if you wish to save some cash, looking for a visa using your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. As an example, the price is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and don’t forget to consider 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 at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration internet site for the current at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the typical choice for travellers as the very first mode of entry, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern and also India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are multiple avenues for land access, although not every one of them are suggested because of security.
No matter, you must specify a “Port of Entry” in your on the internet application which denotes how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a list of alternatives, where you will certainly need to choose 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 Yangon)
Going Across at Land Boundary 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 border to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the border of the Thai Peninsula and the collection 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 border of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stick to the one you originally specified if possible to prevent any type of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be stated up-front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less costly as well as has more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transport alternatives may be discouraging but the cross country propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is cost effective so it might be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the traditional way by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking people off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the airport and also getting your bag off a cart by the plane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are inexpensive with competing firms and a series of deluxe levels.
Many buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn’t so excellent for sleep. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at odd times in the early morning and also won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a great deal of hours awaiting a ‘top-up’ snooze. Think about if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the exact same evening to take a nap straight away.
Buses are very cold, the deluxe buses will certainly give you a covering however, use 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 little bit discouraging if you’re attempting to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, although 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 as well as cheesy video till the early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly request the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a driver about he time of arrival. Due to superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will get to a location conjures up bad spirits and also is taken seriously. The result? You will not obtain a response.
You will mainly book buses via your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will normally bill a fee however be aware that the cost can vary drastically.
Check whether pick-up is included in your ticket price – this truly does vary depending upon destination, mode of travel and also company. Search for a business that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Reserving buses online is more difficult– There isn’t one handy on-line reservation website and the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you’re informed they’re sold out, it does not always mean the bus is full. Attempt reservation somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook web page, message to book without costs.
Buses are often faster than the trains, yet bus rides are rough– you may take into consideration taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise an option for some paths; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular among travellers.
There are no international car-rental companies, however the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan– along with guesthouses and also hotels somewhere else– can organize cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly noticeable in the local transport.
With limited public transport, taxis will certainly be your primary way of getting around especially for getting to and also from airports and within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate– rates are established on the spot (after a fast ‘just how much can I get away with’ computation) as well as you’re going to have to negotiate hard. It’s not uncommon to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Usually the taxi to and from the airport/bus will be more than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate amount for taxi prices.
Taxi cabs for the day might be your better bet– it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan and $28 for a few hrs in Mandalay.
Distance is a much larger element than time in dictating the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hr journey around Yangon can cost USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each means, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar as well as is a big contributing factor to the cost.
Every person wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut producer during your sightseeing trips. Do not be afraid 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 flip side, several of the side trips can be fascinating and drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your schedule and you may be happy you chose their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more affordable however beware of the dust– Myanmar is without a doubt among the dustiest areas, and also nearly all tourists develop a dust cough. Pack sunglasses as well as something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can’t manage it– otherwise you’ll be just one of the lots of travelers walking around toting head to foot road rash and also plasters.
The big cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has some of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 km ought to give you an idea. The time advised for getting to the bus station (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hrs.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning as well as leather seats– that 1.5 hour trip in Yangon could all be done in 38 degree heat with 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 very early hours of the morning, your only option to reach my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a bargaining procedure to be had, yet since this is the main form of tourist transportation here it is just natural that they are waiting on new bus arrivals.
Money as well as ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can utilize 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars and also the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to make use of dollars, they must be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased and also more recent than 2006. Each specific note is reviewed for problems, discolouration and folds at the currency exchange booths. You might additionally have difficulty changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors insist on payments in United States dollars so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Using kyat is most likely to be more affordable due to the fact that the USD currency exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, most likely depending on just how rich you look.
There are ATMs as well as they mostly work yet see to it you have money before turning up at more remote spots like the coastline. Occasionally they may be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM fee of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any charges your financial institution could charge. As well as you probably will not have the ability to withdraw greater than $150 at once.
ATMs give kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places around, but mostly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport to change money back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and need cash payment. If you have reserved your hotels ahead of time online this may save you taking extra cash money for lodging.
Credit cards are accepted mostly only in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, normally charging a tiny cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a whole lot more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia– infrastructure is still being built. That includes guesthouses and restaurants. Businesses are recovering their costs.
Holiday accommodation costs
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 visitor hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 to US$40 for a run down, no-frills room.
For hotels, high-end resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a fine example where deluxe comes with a rate of $250 per night) with other great options coming in 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 vacationer’ destinations like Ngapali beach can set you back as much as $100 a night for a 2-star hotel (though there are a couple of hostels there as well). On the plus side, you generally obtain a cost-free breakfast with your lodging.
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 affordable, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is also cheap at a number of dollars per bottle.
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and also making use of squat toilets, getting in pagodas, storing footwear as well as taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are popular in the much more touristy areas.
It’s possible to bargain on prices of products like mementos but if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest as well as walk away.
Tipping is not usual practice in Myanmar, and it’s only foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing and tour in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for sunrise as well as fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is frequently intolerable throughout the peak sunshine hours and the arrival of the tourist buses make it harder to get amazing photos and also move easily.
Not everywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous location of Myanmar, along with the western Chin State as well as the far, criminal activity levels are extremely low.
Still, you should take the usual preventative measures of using hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Female travellers should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross and there isn’t always soap in restrooms so utilize 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 bring something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as warm. As a result, several tourists use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperature levels can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to find so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it’s typically pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, ensure it’s filtered water.
Many government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has caused the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the nation continue to be closed to foreigners due to dispute between the government and also various ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and also far from the significant traveler locations.
Accurate information on problems as well as closed locations can be difficult to find. Check your government’s recommendations before taking a trip, and also ask about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is a great resource of news from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders and also legs despite the high temperatures, as well as you will certainly make everybody much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tee shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and also often enforced for entering the temples and pagodas.
Everybody wears skirts– males and females alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm as well as tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so grab one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are necessary! Entering pagodas indicates going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear option. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwelcome distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after visiting a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and at the beach however somewhere else it’s less usual.
The local individuals are incredibly genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be frustrating, warm and also sluggish but remember: you selected to see Myanmar and that it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that intend to chat. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are lovely as well as more than happy to appear in photographs and try as well as speak with limited usual words or sign language.
You mayadditionally get stared at a lot which is typically best dealt with by providing a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and also if you’re spending for a guide, make sure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It’s possibly popular| due to the fact that it provides a hit that’s equivalent to six cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the by-product is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also taxi drivers often roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn’t give to the children. Why not? Read this brilliant write-up 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 additionally functions as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops as well as dining establishments as citizens utilize the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it’s much easier for staff to determine the place of the kissing noise so don’t be startled!
The two most important phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Not only is it respectful, however it is well received. Be ready for a lot of locals 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 and is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your garments laundered and unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly require washing and wash your smaller sized items on your own 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 tissue or sanitary products– this is really common in developing nations where the plumbing system can’t handle anything besides bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange 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 multiple adaptors for European and North American 2-pin connects along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of airports when you land or in one of the shops in the street and the shop personnel will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more concerning your network options here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a ‘rapid’ connection, do not expect to be downloading video clips at any time. On-line access has actually improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard– most hotels, guesthouses and also cafes have it for free– and the web is currently spreading tomore remote locations. However tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power outages can use the web an aggravating exercise.
Do your research in advance 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 backpack than a luggage. Suitcases aren’t perfect on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transportation and hefting it up numerous steep staircases isn’t better.
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