Top Myanmar Travel TipsTop Myanmar Travel Tips
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been 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 viewed as a relic of the country's former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Various other names were also altered, 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 made use of interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This article breaks down the changes, what you 'should' say and also the question: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are usually 3 seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the climate is warm but not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging options challenging to secure and also will certainly mean attempting to book ahead or face paying out for the much more costly choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar and upcoming rains are due. There is a limited number of visitors which makes it very easy to book lodging but it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa website. You'll be required to upload a passport photo as well as 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 is valid 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 consular office may be cheaper-- if you wish to save some cash, applying for a visa through your local Myanmar consular office might be less expensive. For instance, the cost is simply ₤ 14 in the UK yet $40 in the United States, so do your research and also do not fail to remember to factor in mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; as well as at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Getting to Myanmar
Flights to Myanmar are the common alternative for travellers as the very first mode of access, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. However, thinking about where Myanmar lies-- bordered by China to the North and also northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India and Bangladesh to its west-- there are several methods for land access, although not every one of them are encouraged because of security.
Regardless, you need to define a "Port of Entry" in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be provided a listing of choices, from which you will certainly require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
Mandalay (located right in the center of Myanmar)
Yangon (located in the south)
Nay Pyi Taw (situated in between Mandalay and 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 border to western Thailand)
Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula as well as 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 boundary town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the border of Southeastern India).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated "Port of Entry" however it is best to adhere 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 also Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be stated up-front. In addition, you might leave at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less expensive and also has extra connections than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar-- Cross Country
Myanmar's local transport choices may be irritating yet the cross country propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is slow and also flying is inexpensive so it may be your far better choice.
You can still book flights the traditional way by wandering right 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, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport as well as getting your bag off a cart by the airplane as well as flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and also calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing companies and also a series of luxury levels.
Many buses travel over night which is fantastic for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn't so excellent for rest. Additionally, you'll tend to arrive at odd times in the morning and won't have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel up until 2 p.m. That's a lot of hours waiting for a 'top-up' nap. Take into consideration if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you're going to book accommodation the exact same night to rest immediately.
Buses are very chilly, the high-end buses will certainly offer you a covering yet, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so anticipate to stop every couple of hours for a food and toilet break-- a bit frustrating if you're attempting to rest 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 and cheesy video till the early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding he time of arrival. Because of superstitions based upon a belief system of nats (spirits) that existed before Buddhism came to the fore, asking when you will arrive at a location invokes bad spirits and is taken seriously. The outcome? You won't obtain an answer.
You will generally reserve buses through your hotel, hostel or guesthouse-- they will normally bill a fee however understand that the charge can differ dramatically.
Check whether pickup is included in your ticket price - this actually does vary depending upon destination, mode of travel as well as company. Look for a company that does include pickup as taxis are expensive.
Booking buses online is more difficult-- There isn't one useful online booking site as well as the ones that do exist have a restricted number of tickets. If you're told they're sold out, it does not always mean the bus is full. Attempt reservation somewhere else.
If the company has a Facebook page, message to book without fees.
Buses are usually faster than the trains, however bus rides are rough-- you could think about taking tablets for nausea. Boats are additionally an alternative for some routes; the Mandalay-- Bagan service is popular amongst tourists.
There are no international car-rental firms, but the majority of travel agencies in Yangon, Mandalay as well as Bagan-- in addition to guesthouses and hotels elsewhere-- can arrange cars and also drivers.
Myanmar's Local Transport
Myanmar is still developing as well as this is most frustratingly obvious in the local transport.
With minimal public transportation, taxis will certainly be your primary means of getting around especially for getting to and also from airport terminals and within cities like Yangon as well as Mandalay.
Taxi prices are beyond extortionate-- prices are set on the spot (after a fast 'just how much can I get away with' calculation) and also you're going to have to negotiate hard. It's not unusual to hear rates of $1-$2 per kilometre. Frequently the taxi to and from the airport/bus will certainly be greater than you paid for your flight or intercity bus.
1,000 Kyat per kilometre is a good approximate quantity for taxi prices.
Taxi cabs for the day may be your much better bet-- it can be about $35 for a day of sightseeing and tour in Bagan as well as $28 for a few hours in Mandalay.
Distance is a much bigger variable than time in determining the expense of hiring a driver: a 12 hr journey around Yangon can set you back USD 70 while taking a trip further afield to Golden Rock, a 2.5 hour drive each means, can be quoted at USD 200. Gas is expensive in Myanmar and also is a significant contributing aspect to the expense.
Everyone wishes to take you to a craft store, a silk factory or a nut manufacturer throughout your sightseeing journeys. Don't be afraid to say no when you're paying for your very own personal transportation. After all, that's the reason you are paying a premium. On the other hand, some of the side trips can be interesting as well as drivers may take you to some cool areas that aren’t on your plan and you may be happy you chose their recommendations!
Hiring bikes and also e-Bikes (electric motorcycles) outside the cities is much less expensive however beware of the dust-- Myanmar is without a doubt among the dustiest areas, and almost all vacationers develop a dust coughing. Pack sunglasses and something to cover your mouth.
Do not take an e-Bike if you can not handle it-- or else you'll be just one of the several visitors walking around toting head to foot road rash as well as bandages.
The huge cities are gridlocked so walking may be quicker-- Yangon has several of the worst traffic. 1.5 hrs to cover 15 km should provide you an idea. The time recommended for getting to 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 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.
Get ready for the unforeseen. When your night bus to Bagan arrives in the really early hrs of the early morning, your only choice to get to my hotel may be through horse and cart. There is still a haggling process to be had, but since this is the major form of tourist transportation here it is just natural that they are waiting for new bus arrivals.
Money and 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 have to be immaculate. What's pristine/brand new-- unfolded, uncreased and newer than 2006. Each individual note is checked thoroughly for defects, discolouration and also creases at the money exchange kiosks. You may also have problems changing notes with the AB/CB serial numbers.
Some vendors demand payments in US bucks so you can bring some United States dollars to spend.
Making use of kyat is most likely to be less costly due to the fact that the USD currency exchange rate is casual-- someplace between 1,300 to 1,400 kyat, the currency exchange rate is typically applied on the spot, possibly depending upon how rich you look.
There are ATM machines and they mostly work but ensure you have cash prior to showing up at more remote areas like the coastline. In some cases they may be out of service.
You'll pay an ATM machine fee of about $4 for each withdrawal which is in addition to any kind of fees your bank might charge. As well as you possibly will not have the ability to take out more than $150 each time.
ATM machines dispense kyat only. There are lots of exchange places about, however primarily the transactions are to change pristine dollars into local money.
Wait for the big cities orinternational airport to change cash back to dollars.
Some hotels do not have credit card machines and also require cash payment. If you have actually reserved your hotels beforehand online this might save you taking additional cash for accommodation.
Credit cards are accepted primarily just in top-end resorts. Some travel agents in Yangon as well as Mandalay also take them, normally charging a small fee, for purchasing flights.
Cost of travel in Myanmar
Myanmar is a great deal more expensive than the rest of Southeast Asia-- facilities is still being developed. That includes guesthouses as well as restaurants. Companies are recouping their costs.
A dorm bed will set you back around $20-$30 a night. You can get a standard private room with en-suite from around $35 for a single bed. In visitor hotspots like Bagan, you can pay US$35 myanmar asian tv channel to US$40 for a run down, no-frills room.
For hotels, luxury hotels can be priced at over USD 200 a night (the Inle Princess Resort being a good example where luxury comes at a price of $250 per night) with various other excellent options coming in 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 tourist' locations like Ngapali coastline can cost as much as $100 a night for a 2-star resort (though there are a number of hostels there too). On the plus side, you usually obtain a complimentary breakfast with your accommodation.
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 featuring something like pizza) will set you back $7-$12.
Bottled water is cheap, under 50 cents a litre. Beer is additionally low-cost at a number of bucks per bottle.
Sightseeing and tour expenses
The tourist dollar is king. Anticipate to pay for the benefit of being a foreigner and using squat toilets, going into pagodas, storing footwear and also taking photos. 'Foreigner payments' are prominent in the much more touristy locations.
It's possible to bargain on prices of products like souvenirs but if you haggle too hard the locals lose interest and walk away.
Tipping is not typical method in Myanmar, and also it's just foreigners that tip.
Taking in the sights in Myanmar
We were up and out most days for daybreak and also fast asleep by 10pm! The heat is often intolerable throughout the peak sunlight hrs and the arrival of the visitor buses make it harder to get outstanding photos as well as move freely.
Not anywhere on a map of Myanmar is open for exploration. The far north, mountainous location of Myanmar, along with the western Chin State and also the far, crime levels are remarkably low.
Still, you ought to take the common safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Women tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser-- the money is dirty and also there isn't always soap in bathrooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be extremely dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Additionally take care with your air conditioning-- Myanmar can be as warm. Consequently, numerous visitors use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperature levels can make you unwell.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, as it's usually pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it's sluiced with water, ensure it's filtered water.
The majority of government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities as well as the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has led to the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the country stay shut to foreigners as a result of dispute between the government as well as various ethnic armies gathered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and also far from the major vacationer locations.
Exact information on conflicts and also closed areas can be hard to come by. Check your government's advice before travelling, as well as ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travel forum is a good resource of information from visitors 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 heat, and also you will certainly make everyone a lot more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the attire of choice. These are highly encouraged and also commonly enforced for entering the temples and pagodas.
Everybody puts on skirts-- males and females alike-- the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Lots of tourists pick one up as they're breezy in the warm and also tick the 'traditional wear' box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so grab an affordable one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas indicates going barefoot and flip flops are the very best footwear option. Dealing with shoelaces in the scorching 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 better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach but elsewhere it's much less usual.
The local individuals are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be discouraging, warm as well as slow but remember: you picked to go to Myanmar and that it's not like being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens who want to talk. Travelers are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely and also are happy to appear in photographs as well as try and also speak via limited usual words or sign language.
You maylikewise get stared at a lot which is typically best dealt with by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hey there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, listen hard and also if you're paying for a guide, make certain they have good 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 covered in a betel leaf. It's possibly popular| because it provides a hit that amounts to 6 cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, the majority of times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers commonly roll down the window in slow-moving traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn't give to the kids. Why not? Read this great write-up by Uncornered Market.
It's common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese ladies. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty product in Myanmar as well as also works as a sun block.
It's also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and also dining establishments as citizens make use of the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it's less complicated for staff to recognize the area of the kissing audio so do not be startled!
The two essential phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, yet it is well received. Be ready for a lot of residents to giggle in response-- they are not mocking you; they are just not expecting it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand and also is charged per item rather than kilo so try to show 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 require washing and clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are very easy to find by however tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products-- this is really typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can not deal with anything besides 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 multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to overcome it or, better still, buy a local SIM. You can obtain one at many airports when you land or in one of the stores in the road as well as the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more regarding your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a 'rapid' connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos whenever. On-line accessibility has actually improved, with wi-fi the norm-- most hotels, guesthouses as well as coffee shops have it absolutely free-- and the internet is now spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can use the net 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 much better with a knapsack than a suitcase. Luggage aren't suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport as well as hefting it up numerous high stairs isn't better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar