Top Myanmar Travelling Tips – Myanmar Travel State Gov
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially known as Burma acquired independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn’t up until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the nation’s name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was viewed as a relic of the country’s previous British colonial past, as well as Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the modifications, what you ‘should’ say as well as the question: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly 3 periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Damp, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, and also attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited accommodation options difficult to secure as well as will mean attempting to book in advance or deal with paying out for the a lot more pricey options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level rises in Myanmar as well as approaching rainfalls are due. There is a limited number of visitors which makes it easy to book lodging but it is exceptionally hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You’ll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a charge of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes 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 day of issue and also allows you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be less expensive– if you wish to save some cash, getting a visa using your local Myanmar consular office may be less expensive. For example, the cost is simply , 14 in the UK but $40 in the United States, so do your research and do not 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 at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the latest at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for tourists as the initial mode of access, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. But, taking into consideration where Myanmar lies– bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the eastern and India as well as Bangladesh to its west– there are numerous for land entrance, 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 certainly be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of choices, where you will certainly require to choose one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
- Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
- Yangon (situated in the south)
- Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Crossing 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 boundary to western Thailand)
- Kawthaung (in the most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Area on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and the cluster 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 truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated “Port of Entry” however it is best to stay with the one you initially specified if possible to avoid any hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can leave at any one of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not require to be specified up front. Additionally, you might leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is less costly as well as has extra connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar– Cross Country
Myanmar’s local transportation alternatives may be irritating yet the cross country propositions are far more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and flying is affordable so it may be your better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days– check-in includes ticking individuals off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also grabbing your bag off a trolley by the airplane and also flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also 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 affordable with competing businesses and a range of high-end levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is wonderful for not losing a day of sightseeing, yet isn’t so fantastic for rest. Additionally, you’ll have a tendency to arrive at odd times in the early morning and won’t be able to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That’s a lot of hours waiting for a ‘top-up’ snooze. Consider if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you’re going to book accommodation the same night to take a nap straight away.
Buses are extremely cold, the deluxe buses will certainly offer you a covering yet, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hrs for a food and 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 location around 3 or 4am. What’s even more, some still play their funky local music CD’s and cheesy video till the very early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, buy some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be switched off.
Never ask a driver about he time of arrival. Because of superstitious notions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will arrive at a destination summons bad spirits and is taken seriously. The outcome? You won’t get a response.
You will mostly book buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse– they will typically charge a fee yet be aware that the fee can differ considerably.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price – this truly does vary depending on destination, mode of traveling and company. Search for a company that does include pick-up as taxis are outrageously priced.
Booking buses online is harder– There isn’t one helpful online reservation portal and 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 web page, message to book without costs.
Buses are generally faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough– you could think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are likewise a choice for some routes; the Mandalay– Bagan service is popular amongst visitors.
There are no international car-rental firms, yet most travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay and also Bagan– as well as guesthouses and hotels in other places– can arrange cars and also drivers.
Myanmar’s Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly apparent in the local transport.
With minimal public transport, taxis will certainly be your main way of getting around particularly for getting to and from airports and also within cities like Yangon and also Mandalay.
Taxi prices are past extortionate– rates are set on the spot (after a fast ‘just how much can I get away with’ estimation) and also you’re going to need to negotiate hard. It’s not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Frequently the taxi to and also 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 fares.
Taxis for the day may be your better bet– it can be around $35 for a day of taking in the sights in Bagan and $28 for a few hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in dictating the cost of hiring a driver: a 12 hour trip about Yangon can set you back USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each way, can be estimated at USD 200. Gas is pricey in Myanmar and also is a significant contributing aspect to the price.
Everybody wants to take you to a craft store, a silk manufacturing facility or a nut producer throughout your sightseeing journeys. Do not be afraid to say no when you’re paying for your very own private transportation. Besides, that’s the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, a few of the side trips can be interesting and drivers may take you to some cool places that aren’t on your travel plan and you may be happy you went with their suggestions!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much more inexpensive but beware of the dust– Myanmar is by far among the dustiest locations, and almost all vacationers develop a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Don’t take an e-Bike if you can not manage it– or else you’ll be one of the lots of visitors walking around toting head to foot road rash and bandages.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker– Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hours to cover 15 kilometres should provide you an idea. The time advised for reaching the bus station (22km away from the centre) is 2.5 hours.
Car quality is hit and miss so do not count on air-conditioning and also leather seats– that 1.5 hour journey 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 unanticipated. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the extremely early hours of the morning, your only option to reach my hotel may be via horse and cart. There is still a haggling procedure to be had, but considering that this is the primary form of vacationer transportation here it is just natural that they are awaiting new bus arrivals.
Money and also ATM Machines in Myanmar
You can utilize 2 currencies in Myanmar– dollars as well as the local money, kyat (pronounced ‘chat’).
If you’re going to use dollars, they have to be pristine. What’s pristine/brand new– unfolded, uncreased as well as more recent than 2006. Each specific note is checked thoroughly for imperfections, discolouration and also creases at the money exchange booths. You could additionally have problems changing notes with the AB/CB identification numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in United States dollars so you can bring some US dollars to spend.
Utilizing kyat is most likely to be less expensive since the USD currency exchange rate is casual– somewhere between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the exchange rate is generally applied on the spot, possibly depending on exactly how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and they mostly function however see to it you have money before turning up at more remote spots like the coastline. Sometimes they might be out of service.
You’ll pay an ATM cost of about $4 for every withdrawal which is in addition to any type of fees your bank could charge. And you probably won’t be able to take out more than $150 at a time.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are plenty of exchange places around, but mainly the transactions are to change immaculate dollars into local money.
Wait for the large cities orinternational flight terminal to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also call for cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels in advance online this might save you taking additional money for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted mostly only in top-end hotels. Some travel agents in Yangon and Mandalay also take them, generally charging a tiny cost, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more pricey than the rest of Southeast Asia– facilities is still being constructed. That includes guesthouses and also dining establishments. Companies are recovering their costs.
Holiday accommodation 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 resorts can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where deluxe comes at a cost of $250 per night) with other great choices can be found at $100 to $150 (eg Zfreeti hotel in Bagan which sets you back around $120 a night). A modern hotel can cost USD 75-80 a night (the Smart Hotel in Mandalay).
Popular ‘package vacationer’ locations like Ngapali coastline can cost 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 generally obtain a totally free morning meal 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 dish. Anything remotely western (air-conditioning or including something like pizza) will cost $7-$12.
Bottled water is affordable, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is likewise economical at a couple of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour prices
The tourist dollar is king. Expect to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and utilizing squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing footwear and taking photos. ‘Foreigner payments’ are prominent in the much more touristy locations.
It’s possible to negotiate on costs of items like mementos however if you negotiate too hard the locals lose interest and also leave.
Tipping is not typical method in Myanmar, and it’s only foreigners who tip.
Sightseeing in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for dawn and also fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is commonly excruciating during the peak sunshine hours and the arrival of the vacationer buses make it more difficult to get incredible pictures as well as walk around easily.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far northern, mountainous location of Myanmar, alongside the western Chin State as well as the far, crime levels are exceptionally low.
Still, you should take the normal preventative measures of using hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female travellers should not experience any kind of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser– the money is gross as well as there isn’t always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser before 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 as well as nose when biking around. Additionally take care with your a/c– Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, several travellers use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you sick.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. Nonetheless, as it’s frequently pre-cut, look for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and also if it’s sluiced with water, make sure it’s filtered water.
Safety and security
A lot of government advisories advise against travel to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually resulted in the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation stay closed to foreigners because of conflict between the government and also different ethnic militaries gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, and far from the significant vacationer destinations.
Precise info on problems and also closed areas can be difficult to find. Check your government’s recommendations before travelling, and also ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent resource of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the high temperatures, and also you will certainly make everybody a lot more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the clothing of choice. These are highly encouraged and also commonly enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Everyone uses skirts– men and women alike– the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Several visitors pick one up as they’re breezy in the warm and also tick the ‘conservative wear’ box. They are convenient for sightseeing so pick up one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are crucial! Going into pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the most effective footwear choice. Battling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you’ll blend far better if you clothe conservatively (covering your knees and also shoulders). You will find people in shorts as well as strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach but somewhere else it’s less common.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travel can be aggravating, hot as well as slow-moving yet bear in mind: you picked to go to Myanmar which it’s not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. However, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by locals that wish to chat. Visitors are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are charming and are happy to appear in photos and attempt and speak with minimal common words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a whole lot which is typically best handled by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention as well as if you’re spending for a guide, make certain they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It’s probably popular| because it delivers a hit that’s equivalent to 6 cups of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spat out, a lot of times onto the ground.
Lots of locals have the tell tale red stained teeth and cab drivers commonly roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spew after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by youngsters in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the children. Why not? Read this brilliant post 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 product in Myanmar and likewise serves as a sunscreen.
It’s also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and restaurants as citizens utilize the kissing noise as an ask for service. Apparently it’s easier for staff to identify the location of the kissing sound so do not be alarmed!
The two essential expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it respectful, but it is well received. Be prepared for many locals to giggle in reaction– they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand as well as is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your clothing washed as well as unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you actually require washing as well as clean your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can’t flush toilet tissue or sanitary products– this is extremely usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can’t cope with anything apart from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time zone so it’s 6 and a half hrs ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have several 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 overcome it or, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at a lot of flight terminals when you land or in one of the shops in the street as well as the shop staff will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more regarding your network choices here. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a ‘fast’ link, don’t expect to be downloading video clips whenever. Online accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi coming to be the norm– most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it totally free– and the web is now spreading tofarther places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power blackouts can make using the internet a discouraging exercise.
Do your research beforehand or pack a guidebook, and do not expect to Skype home extremely frequently, it’s barely possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You’ll be much better with a knapsack than a travel suitcase. aren’t excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Getting in and also out of myriad forms of transport and also hefting it up many steep staircases isn’t much better.
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