Top Myanmar Travelling Tips
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The country officially called Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however 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 previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as much more inclusive of the numerous ethnic groups in the nation. Other names were also altered, 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 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 inquiry: does it even matter?
Ideal Times to See Myanmar
There are generally three periods in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summer season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm yet not stifling, and also draws in the greatest number of visitors. This, subsequently, makes the minimal accommodation alternatives tricky to secure and will imply trying to book ahead or face paying out for the a lot more costly alternatives left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar and upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of vacationers which makes it very easy to book lodging however it is unbelievably hot.
An e-Visa is offered to tourists from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa web site. You'll need to submit 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 arrive and you're in.
Your e-Visa letter is valid for 90- days from the date of issue and enables you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Obtaining a visa from your local embassy may be cheaper-- if you intend to save some money, applying for a visa by means of your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. For example, the expense is just ₤ 14 in the UK however $40 in the USA, so do your research and don't fail to remember to factor in mailing costs.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and also Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the current at the time you travel.
Flights to Myanmar are the common option for visitors as the very first mode of entrance, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, considering where Myanmar is located-- bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and also India and also Bangladesh to its west-- there are multiple avenues for land entrance, although not every one of them are recommended due to security.
No matter, you have to specify a "Port of Entry" in your on-line application which denotes how you will certainly be reaching Myanmar. You will be provided a listing of choices, where you will need to select among 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 also Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border Checkpoints:
Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border to northern Thailand)
Myawaddy (in the Kayin State of southeastern Myanmar on the boundary to western Thailand)
Kawthaung (in the southernmost part of Myanmar, in the Tanintharyi Region on the boundary of the Thai Peninsula and the collection of islands)
Tamu (in the Sagaing Region 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 boundary of Southeastern India).
In truth, you can enter Myanmar at any designated "Port of Entry" but it is best to stick to the one you initially mentioned if possible to avoid any hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and Land Border Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be specified up-front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is cheaper as well as has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar-- Long Distance
Myanmar's local transport options may be frustrating however the long distance propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving as well as flying is budget friendly so it may be your better choice.
You can still reserve flights the old-school way by wandering into a travel agent.
Flying within Myanmar is a little bit like flying in the older days-- check-in involves ticking individuals off a listing of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the airport terminal and also grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign and 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 inexpensive with competing businesses and also a range of luxury levels.
A lot of buses travel over night which is great for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, however isn't so terrific for sleep. Additionally, you'll tend to reach at weird times in the early morning and will not have the ability to check into your hostel or hotel till 2 p.m. That's a lot of hours awaiting a 'top-up' snooze. Consider if it will certainly be less costly to fly if you're going to book accommodation the same night to sleep immediately.
Buses are very cold, the deluxe buses will certainly offer you a covering however, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus does not have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food as well as toilet break-- a bit aggravating 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 destination around 3 or 4am. What's more, some still play their funky local music CD's and also tacky video until the early hrs of the morning. Pack your iPod, purchase some heavy-duty extreme ear plugs or kindly ask for the sound to be turned off.
Never ask a driver regarding reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim area are typically off-limits to tourists unless you have requested a government visa in advance. In some areas you'll require a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving the beaten path is tough-- even within the 'open' parts, Myanmar's developing infrastructure implies that there are set routes you can travel and you'll struggle to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise may be extremely costly.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat-- Myanmar is well-known for its sunrises and also sunsets, which additionally matches nicely with remaining indoors (perhaps for a snooze or pool dip if you have one) during the mid-day .
Anticipate to go barefoot a lot in temples on seriously unclean floorings. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys as well as dogs hangout, you can anticipate 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, the majority of Myanmar's temples are places of worship, not just sights for tourists. Respect 'do not climb/do not enter' indicators and also keep your voice down-- people will certainly be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entrance fee for Bagan and also Inle Lake-- this fee 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 gradually opening up, implying you can rest in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years earlier. Things are slowly getting better for solo tourists, though prices are still a lot more of what you'll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet lovely. The lodging offers a feel for what a local house may be like, basic however perfectly decorated in teak) and the breakfast was normally exceptional. Plus, it's nice to place money right into the hands of the locals, not some big brand chain.
Many hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses give a towel yet you could need to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will additionally provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and also guesthouses do also, however it can't be depended on.
Be careful about the curfew-- some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to access your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book holiday accommodation and also transportation in advance throughout peak season. The tourist sector in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the infrastructure has fallen short to keep speed with. The majority of resorts are little as well as boutique like so if there's somewhere certain you intend to stay it's vital to book ahead of time. It is particularly essential to book in advance during high season (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small cost if there are no areas offered. But do not 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 selection. There are noodles at night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments as well as an impressive variety of curries and salads
Use chopsticks: Several items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so wonderful looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a perfect option.
Inform the staff if you don't eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state just how much spice you like as the cooks have a tendency to go easy on visitors!
The fish is tasty and a great, fresh choice in most dining establishments.
There is quite a lot of sugar in the food and also beverages. If you aren't a fan of sugar there's an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), ensure you request 'no sugar'.
Salads feature heavily on menus but don't expect a fresh crunch-- most salads are marinaded and seasoned in oil, salt and also lime juice and also do not generally feature salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and you may get sick once.
Street food isn't as prolific as other locations in Southeast Asia but you can find it and also 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 yet most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply totally free water either in bottles in your area or via a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is really cheap.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum as well as scotch being popular options.
Beer stations are very easy to locate and also enjoyable locations 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 more prominent than late night alcohol consumption.
Huge chains can't be located as well as brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn't a nation of fast-food chains and beyond beverage brand names like Coke as well as Schwepps Tonic, you're going to be buying local brand names and consuming from local restaurants.
Shops are little, family owned affairs-- you will not discover a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable 'Grab 'n' Go' shops populated about, yet mostly you're going to purchase snacks and also drinks from little, local businesses. They can look a bit intimidating, like you're intruding by walking in. Do not worry, just step in, they want your business.
There are people smoking indoors- this can be a surprise if you come from a nation where smoking in public places has long been outlawed.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an unbelievably safe country-- most of the population is Buddhist and also with a belief in karma, crime levels are incredibly reduced.
Still, you should take the usual safety measures of making use of hotel lockers or safes for your valuables. Female visitors should not experience any type of harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser-- the cash is gross and there isn't always soap in restrooms so use 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 carry something to cover your mouth as well as nose when biking around. Also take care with your a/c-- Myanmar can be as hot. As a result, numerous visitors use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you unwell.
Fruit is easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients that way. However, as it's usually pre-cut, look for a vendor that has kept the flies away and if it's sluiced with water, make sure it's filtered water.
Safety and security
Many government advisories caution against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes between local authorities and the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has brought about the mass displacement of countless people. A few other parts of the nation remain shut to foreigners because of conflict in between the government as well as different ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin as well as Shan States, near the frontiers with China as well as Thailand, and far from the significant traveler destinations.
Precise information on disputes and also closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government's guidance before travelling, and inquire about the situation once you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of information from travellers on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
The majority of the locals dress conservatively| as well as cover their shoulders as well as legs in spite of the heat, and you will certainly make everyone more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also t-shirts are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and usually enforced for entering the temples and pagodas.
Everybody puts on skirts-- men and women alike-- the longyi, a long skirt, is the popular traditional dress in Myanmar for both men and women. Lots of visitors pick one up as they're breezy in the heat and 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 opportunity.
Flip flops are vital! Getting in pagodas means going barefoot and flip flops are the very best footwear option. Battling with shoelaces in the blistering heat is an unwanted distraction. Bring some cleansing wipes for your feet after going to a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you'll blend better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and also at the beach however somewhere else it's less common.
The local individuals are remarkably genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your good manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be irritating, warm as well as slow-moving however bear in mind: you selected to go to Myanmar which it's not like being at home is no read more good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nevertheless, bargain hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents that wish to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Typically the people are lovely and also are happy to appear in pictures as well as attempt as well as speak with limited typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a whole lot which is typically best managed by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hello in Burmese). Burmese English can be difficult to comprehend, be patient, pay attention as well as if you're spending for a guide, make sure they have excellent clear English before you book.
The red stained pavements are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, tiny parcels that contain tobacco, spices and areca nuts wrapped in a betel leaf. It's most likely popular| due to the fact that it supplies a hit that amounts to 6 mugs of coffee. Yet, 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.
Great deals of residents have the tell tale red stained teeth as well as cab drivers frequently roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after eating on the betel quids.
There is some begging by kids in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you should not give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this great 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 and likewise works as a sunscreen.
It's also common to hear a kissing noise in the cafes and restaurants as residents use the kissing noise as a call for service. Apparently it's much easier for staff to recognize the area of the kissing audio so do not be upset!
The two most important expressions you require in Myanmar are:
Hey there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Thank you: Jay-zu-de-bar-dee
Not only is it polite, but 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.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is generally done by hand as well as is billed per item instead of kilo so try to turn up with your garments laundered and unless you intend to turn over $20 for a load of washing, select the items you truly require washing as well as clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by but tampons are not so bring what you require with you.
You can not flush toilet tissue or sanitary products-- this is very usual in developing countries where the plumbing system can not deal with anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that unusual 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 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, much better still, acquire a local SIM. You can get one at a lot of airports when you land or in one of the stores in the road and the store personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more about your network options below. Still, with 1 mbps considered to be a 'quick' link, do not expect to be downloading videos whenever. Online accessibility has improved, with wi-fi becoming the standard-- most hotels, guesthouses and cafes have it free of charge-- as well as the web is currently spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and also 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 backpack than a suitcase. Luggage aren't suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroads. Entering and also 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