Top Myanmar Travel TipsTop Myanmar Travelling Tips
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Modify Its Name?
The country officially known as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn't till 1989 that the ruling military junta changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was seen as a relic of the country's former British colonial past, and also Myanmar as more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. Other names were additionally changed, 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 as well as Myanmar are still made use of interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This article breaks down the modifications, what you 'should' say as well as the concern: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to Visit Myanmar
There are normally 3 periods in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather is warm yet not stifling, and attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the restricted accommodation options challenging to secure and also will certainly imply attempting to book in advance or deal with paying out for the much more pricey alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature level climbs in Myanmar and impending rains are due. There is a limited number of visitors which makes it easy to book accommodation but it is extremely warm.
An e-Visa is offered to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You'll need to upload a passport photo and also pay a fee of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and you should get authorization 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 permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office might be more affordable-- if you wish to save some cash, looking for a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy might be more affordable. For example, the price is just ₤ 14 in the UK yet $40 in the USA, so do your research and don't neglect to consider mailing costs.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and also at 3 Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and also Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Check the immigration website for the most recent at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual alternative for travellers as the very first mode of entrance, with normal scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar lies-- surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and also Laos to the east as well as India as well as Bangladesh to its west-- there are numerous avenues for land entrance, although not every one of them are recommended due to safety.
Regardless, you must define a "Port of Entry" in your online application which denotes exactly how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will certainly be given a listing of alternatives, from which you will need to select one of the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
Mandalay (situated right in the middle of Myanmar)
Yangon (located in the south)
Nay Pyi Taw (located 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 most southern part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the boundary 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 boundary town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary 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 initially stated ideally to prevent any type of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports as well as Land Border Checkpoints considering that your exit point does not need to be stated up-front. Additionally, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in as well as out of Yangon is less expensive and has extra connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar-- Cross Country
Myanmar's local transport options might be irritating yet the long distance propositions are much more attractive.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and also flying is cost effective so it may be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering right into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days-- check-in includes ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and grabbing your bag off a trolley 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 don't let it get you stressed.Buses are affordable with competing businesses and a variety of luxury levels.
The majority of buses travel overnight which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, but isn't so terrific for sleep. Likewise, you'll have a tendency to reach at strange times in the morning and also will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That's a great deal of hrs awaiting a 'top-up' nap. Think about if it will certainly be cheaper to fly if you're going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the high-end buses will certainly give you a covering but, use your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every couple of hours for a food and also toilet break-- a bit aggravating 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 music CD's and tacky music videos until the very early hours of the morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State as well as Tenasserim region are normally out-of-bounds to travelers unless you have gotten a government visa beforehand. In some locations you'll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off the beaten path is difficult-- 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 otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise may be very costly.
Work your sightseeing around the heat-- Myanmar is well-known for its dawns and sunsets, which additionally corresponds perfectly with remaining indoors (perhaps for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you're checking out Myanmar's temples. Socks aren't permitted either so you simply have to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a considerate temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar's temples are places of worship, not simply sights for visitors. Respect 'do not climb/do not enter' signs as well as keep your voice down-- people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an access fee for Bagan as well as Inle Lake-- this cost is charged to all foreigners and there's no getting around it. The charges are: Bagan-- $20; Inle Lake-- $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening up, indicating you can sleep in economical accommodation than you could a couple of years back. Things are slowly improving for solo visitors, though prices are still much more of what you'll pay in other places in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but captivating. The lodging offers a feeling for what a local house may be like, basic yet beautifully decorated in teak) as well as the morning meal was usually exceptional. And also, it's nice to place cash into the hands of the residents, not some large brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels and also guesthouses give a towel yet you might have to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will also supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, however it can not be relied on.
Beware 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 lodging as well as transport ahead of time during peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar seems to have actually experienced a boom which the facilities has fallen short to maintain pace with. The majority of resorts are little and boutique like thus if there's someplace certain you wish to stay it's important to book ahead of time. It is especially essential to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take tourists in for a small charge if there are no rooms readily available. However don't count on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the very best choice. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented here tea leaf salads in local restaurants and also an amazing variety of curries as well as salads
Use chopsticks: Many items of cutlery are wiped with a not so wonderful looking water supply and dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are an optimal option.
Tell the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals mention how much spice you like as the cooks tend to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is delicious and a wonderful, fresh option in the majority of restaurants.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food and also 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 'no sugar'.
Salads feature greatly on food selections however do not anticipate a fresh crunch-- most salads are marinated as well as seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice as well as do not usually feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are low in Myanmar and you may get sick once.
Street food isn't as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia yet you can locate it and also it's excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not drink the water however most hotels, hostels as well as guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or via a large water dispenser at reception. Otherwise, bottled water is very affordable.
Alcohol is extensively offered with beer, rum as well as scotch being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to discover as well as fun areas to get a beverage with the locals if you do not wish to being in a dining establishment.
Realize that there isn't a late night culture in Myanmar-- most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. as well as bars follow suit around 10-- 11 p.m. This is a nation where meditation at dawn is a lot more popular than late night drinking.
Big chains can't be found and brand names are in short supply. Myanmar isn't a nation 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 and also eating from local restaurants.
Shops are small, family owned affairs-- you will not find a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equal 'Grab 'n' Go' stores populated around, yet mostly you're going to get snacks and also drinks from little, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you're intruding by walking in. Do not worry, simply step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a country where smoking in public locations has actually long been banned.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe country-- the majority of the populace is Buddhist and with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are exceptionally reduced.
Still, you need to take the typical preventative measures of using hotel lockers or safes for your belongings. Women tourists should not experience any kind of 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 before you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Watch out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth as well as nose when cycling around. Likewise take care with your a/c-- Myanmar can be as warm. Subsequently, many travellers use the a/c in their room but sleeping in low temperatures can make you sick.
Fruit is easy to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it's commonly pre-cut, search for a vendor that has actually kept the flies away and also if it's sluiced with water, make certain it's filtered water.
Safety and security
The majority of government advisories advise 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 thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the country remain closed to foreigners due to problem between the government and different ethnic armies clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mainly in Kachin as well as Shan States, close to the frontiers with China and also Thailand, as well as far from the major visitor locations.
Accurate info on disputes and also closed areas can be difficult to come by. Check your government's advice before travelling, as well as ask about the situation once 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 as well as legs regardless of the high temperatures, and also you will make everybody more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and tee shirts are the clothing of choice. These are strongly encouraged as well as often enforced for going into the temples and also pagodas.
Every person wears skirts-- males and females alike-- the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Several travelers pick one up as they're breezy in the warmth and also tick the 'conservative wear' box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so grab a cheap one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are crucial! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot and flip flops are the best footwear option. Battling with laces in the scorching heat is an unwanted interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative country so you'll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet elsewhere it's much less typical.
The local people are exceptionally genteel and not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travel can be aggravating, warm and also slow-moving however remember: you picked to see Myanmar which it's not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the locals. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens who want to talk. Vacationers are no longer a novelty in a lot of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are wonderful and also are happy to appear in pictures and also attempt and chat with minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a whole lot which is typically best managed by offering a smile as well as a mingalabar (hi in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, listen hard as well as if you're spending for a guide, make sure they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels which contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped 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, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as cab drivers often roll down the window in slow traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn't give to the kids. Why not? Read this great article by Uncornered Market.
It's common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese girls. This is Thanaka, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as additionally serves as a sunscreen.
It's also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and restaurants as locals use the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it's less complicated for staff to recognize the area of the kissing audio so don't be startled!
The two most important phrases you need in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, however it is well received. Be prepared for many locals to giggle in response-- they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is usually done by hand and also is billed per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your garments washed and unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you really require washing as well as wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are simple 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 very usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not handle 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 connects as well as British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to overcome it or, better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in among the stores in the street as well as the store staff will have you set up in about 5 mins. You can read more regarding your network selections below. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a 'quick' link, don't expect to be downloading videos at any time. On-line access has improved, with wi-fi the norm-- most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it completely free-- and also the web is currently spreading tomore remote areas. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and power failures can make using the web an irritating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and don't expect 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 backpack than a luggage. Travel suitcases aren't excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transportation as well as hefting it up lots of steep staircases isn't much better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar