Top Myanmar Travel TipsTop Myanmar Travel Tips
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country officially referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, but it wasn't up until 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 nation's former British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the country. 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 and Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground and also on the world stage. This post breaks down the modifications, what you 'should' say and also the inquiry: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are typically 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime period
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the climate is warm yet not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the limited lodging choices challenging to secure as well as will certainly mean attempting to book ahead or deal with paying out for the more expensive options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature rises in Myanmar and approaching rains are due. There is a minimal number of visitors which makes it very easy to book holiday accommodation but it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is readily available to visitors from these 100 countries.
To obtain one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You'll need to upload a passport photo and pay a fee 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 as well as enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy might be less costly-- if you wish to save some money, making an application for a visa via your local Myanmar consular office might be cheaper. For instance, the cost is simply ₤ 14 in the UK yet $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and also don't neglect to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to enter 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) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration website for the most up to date at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for tourists as the initial mode of entry, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. However, thinking about where Myanmar is located-- surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India and Bangladesh to its west-- there are numerous methods for land access, although not every one of them are suggested because of security.
Regardless, you have to specify a "Port of Entry" in your on the internet application which denotes exactly how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a list of choices, where you will certainly require to pick among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
Mandalay (located right in the middle of Myanmar)
Yangon (located in the south)
Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border Checkpoints:
Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the boundary to north 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 also 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 boundary town of Khawmawi in the northwestern Chin State of Myanmar on the boundary of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can go into Myanmar at any designated "Port of Entry" yet it is best to stay with the one you initially specified ideally to prevent any kind of hold up in the processing of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and also Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be specified up-front. Additionally, you may exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although entrance from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper and has a lot more links than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar-- Cross Country
Myanmar's local transport alternatives may be frustrating however the long distance propositions are a lot more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is affordable so it may be your far better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a bit like flying in the older days-- check-in includes ticking individuals off a list of printed names, luggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal and getting your bag off a cart by the plane as well as flight announcements are made by an individual holding up a sign and calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It really is an experience. And a lot of fun if you do not let it get you stressed.Buses are budget-friendly with competing businesses as well as a range of high-end levels.
A lot of buses travel over night which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn't so fantastic for sleep. Likewise, you'll have a tendency to arrive at weird times in the early morning as well as won't be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That's a lot of hours waiting for a 'top-up' snooze. Consider if it will certainly be more affordable to fly if you're going to book accommodation the exact same night to rest straight away.
Buses are very chilly, the high-end buses will certainly offer you a covering however, 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 as well as toilet break-- a little bit discouraging if you're trying to rest through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though 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 very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver about reaches of the southerly Mon State and Tenasserim region are typically off-limits to visitors unless you have made an application for a government visa ahead of time. In some locations you'll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Getting off 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 struggle to go otherwise. Attempting to do otherwise could be extremely expensive.
Work your sightseeing around the heat-- Myanmar is famous for its sunrises and also sunsets, which also corresponds well with staying inside (possibly for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day warmth.
Expect to go barefoot a great deal 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 allowed either so you simply need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can clean off some after each visit.
Be a mindful temple visitor, a lot of Myanmar's temples are places of worship, not just views for vacationers. Respect 'do not climb/do not enter' indicators as well as keep your voice down-- people will certainly be praying.
Expect to pay an entrance charge for Bagan as well as Inle Lake-- this cost is charged to all foreigners and there's no getting around it. The costs are: Bagan-- $20; Inle Lake-- $10.
Accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are gradually opening up, meaning you can sleep in cheaper accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are slowly getting better for solo tourists, though costs are still a lot more of what you'll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic but captivating. The accommodation provides a feel for what a local house may be like, basic yet magnificently decorated in teak wood) and the breakfast was typically exceptional. And also, it's nice to place cash right into the hands of the locals, not some huge brand chain.
A lot of hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses give a towel yet you may have to provide a refundable $10 down payment on check-in. Hotels will certainly additionally supply some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do too, but it can not be counted on.
Beware the curfew-- some guesthouses might lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book lodging as well as transport in advance throughout peak period. The tourist sector in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has failed to maintain speed with. The majority of resorts are little as well as boutique like so if there's somewhere particular you wish to stay it's important to book in advance. It is specifically important to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take visitors in for a small fee if there are no areas available. Yet do not depend 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 tea leaf salads in local dining establishments as well as a fantastic range of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Several pieces of cutlery are cleaned with a not so terrific looking water supply and also dishcloth. Prepackaged chopsticks are an ideal choice.
Inform the staff if you don't eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state how much spice you like as the chefs have a tendency to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is delicious as well as a fantastic, fresh choice in the majority of restaurants.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food as well as beverages. If you aren't a fan of sugar there's an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, newly blended juices), see to it you ask for 'no sugar'.
Salads feature heavily on menus however do not anticipate a fresh crunch-- most salads are marinated and also seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and don't generally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and you might get sick once.
Street food isn't as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia but you can find it and it's good. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can not consume the water but most hotels, hostels and guesthouses supply free water either in bottles in your room or using a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is really economical.
Alcohol is commonly available with beer, rum and also whiskey being popular options.
Beer stations are very easy to discover and enjoyable locations to get a drink with the locals if you do not intend to sit in a restaurant.
Be aware that there isn't a late night culture in Myanmar-- most dining establishments close by 9 p.m. as well as bars do the same around 10-- 11 p.m. This is a country where meditation at daybreak is much more popular than late night alcohol consumption.
Big chains can not be discovered and brands remain in short supply. Myanmar isn't a country of fast-food chains and also beyond drink brands like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you're going to be buying local brand names as well as consuming from local dining establishments.
Shops are tiny, family owned affairs-- you won't locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of equal 'Grab 'n' Go' shops dotted about, but primarily you're going to purchase snacks and drinks from tiny, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you're intruding by walking in. Do not fret, just step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a country where smoking cigarettes in public places has 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, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you ought to take the common precautions of utilizing 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 cash is filthy as well as there isn't always soap in shower rooms 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 very dusty so do bring something to cover your mouth and also nose when cycling around. Also take care with your air conditioning-- Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, several tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperatures can make you sick.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it's typically pre-cut, search for a seller that has kept the flies away and if it's sluiced with water, ensure it's filtered water.
Most 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 actually led to the mass displacement of countless individuals. A few other parts of the country continue to be shut to foreigners because of conflict in between the government and also different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mainly in Kachin and Shan States, near to the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant vacationer destinations.
Exact info on conflicts and closed areas can be difficult to find. Check your government's guidance before travelling, and inquire 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| as well as cover their shoulders as well as legs despite the heat, and you will certainly make everybody much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and also typically enforced for getting in the temples and pagodas.
Everyone uses skirts-- males and females alike-- the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both males and females. Lots of travelers pick one up as they're breezy in the warmth and also tick the 'traditional wear' box. They are convenient for taking in the sights so grab a cheap one a the market if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are essential! Entering pagodas means 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 checking out a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you'll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will certainly find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however in other places it's much less typical.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners and your patience. Travelling can be frustrating, warm and also slow-moving however keep in mind: you chose to visit Myanmar and that it's not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nonetheless, bargain hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens that want to talk. Visitors are no myanmar capital city longer a novelty in most of Southeast Asia however Myanmar is different. Generally individuals are charming and are happy to appear in photos and attempt and chat with minimal typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a great deal which is typically best managed by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and if you're paying for a guide, make certain they have good clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It's probably popular| since it delivers a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. But, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the spin-off is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, most times onto the ground.
Lots of residents have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also cab drivers frequently roll down the window in slow traffic to spit 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 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 dining establishments as residents 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 essential phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it respectful, 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 anticipating it.
Various other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is normally done by hand and is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to turn up with your clothes washed as well as unless you want to turn over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly need washing and also wash your smaller sized items yourself as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products-- this is really 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 ahead of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin connects in addition to British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either need to get over it or, far better still, get a local SIM. You can get one at the majority of flight terminals when you land or in among the shops in the street and also the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more concerning your network choices below. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a 'rapid' connection, do not anticipate to be downloading videos whenever. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi the standard-- most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it totally free-- and the net is now spreading tomore remote places. However tightly squeezed bandwidth as well as power interruptions can use the net a frustrating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as do not anticipate 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 suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering as well as out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up many high stairs isn't better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar