Top Myanmar Travel TipsTop Myanmar Travel Tips
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation officially referred to as Burma got independence in 1948 from occupying forces, however it had not been up until 1989 that the ruling military junta altered the country's name from Burma to Myanmar following a military coup.
Politically, the name Burma was viewed as a relic of the nation's previous British colonial past, and Myanmar as a lot more inclusive of the many ethnic groups in the country. Other names were also 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 and Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground as well as on the world stage. This write-up breaks down the changes, what you 'should' say and the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are commonly 3 seasons in which you can visit Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy period
The popular, high period is November to February when the weather is warm but not stifling, as well as brings in the greatest number of visitors. This, consequently, makes the minimal accommodation options tricky to secure and will mean attempting to book in advance or deal with paying for the more costly options left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature climbs in Myanmar and also upcoming rains are due. There is a minimal number of visitors which makes it very easy to book lodging however it is extremely hot.
An e-Visa is available to travellers from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the official e-Visa internet site. You'll be required to upload a passport photo and pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 minutes to apply and also 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 date of issue and permits you a 28 day stay in Myanmar
Getting a visa from your local consular office may be less expensive-- 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 expense is simply ₤ 14 in the UK but $40 in the United States, so do your research as well as don't forget to consider mailing expenses.
It is only possible to go into Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay as well as Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at 3 Thai-Myanmar land boundary crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) as well as Kawthoung (Kawthaung). Read the immigration site for the latest at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual option for visitors as the very first mode of access, with routine scheduled services from Bangkok. Yet, thinking about where Myanmar is located-- bordered by China to the North and northeast, Thailand and Laos to the eastern and India as well as Bangladesh to its west-- there are multiple methods for land entry, although not all of them are suggested because of safety.
No matter, you have to define a "Port of Entry" in your on-line application which denotes just how you will be reaching Myanmar. You will be given a list of options, from which you will require to select among the following:
Myanmar Designated International Airports:
Mandalay (situated right in the center of Myanmar)
Yangon (situated in the south)
Nay Pyi Taw (positioned in between Mandalay and Yangon)
Going Across at Land Border Checkpoints:
Tachileik (in the Shan State of eastern Myanmar on the border 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 border of the Thai Peninsula and the collection of islands)
Tamu (in the Sagaing Region 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).
Actually, you can enter Myanmar at any designated "Port of Entry" yet it is best to adhere to the one you originally specified when possible to avoid 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 because your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. In addition, you may leave at the Htikee Land Border Checkpoint, although access from here is not possible.
Flying in and out of Yangon is more affordable and has extra links than Mandalay.
Getting around Myanmar-- Cross Country
Myanmar's local transport alternatives may be frustrating however the cross country propositions are a lot more enticing.
Distances are far, road travel is sluggish and flying is economical so it might be your better choice.
You can still book 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 entails ticking individuals off a list of printed names, baggage claim can mean leaving the flight terminal as well as grabbing your bag off a cart by the aircraft and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It truly is an experience. And also a great deal of fun if you don't let it get you stressed.Buses are budget friendly with competing firms and also a range of deluxe levels.
Most buses travel overnight which is excellent for not losing a day of sightseeing, but isn't so terrific for rest. Also, you'll tend to arrive at strange times in the early morning and will not be able to check into your hostel or hotel until 2 p.m. That's a lot of hrs awaiting a 'top-up' snooze. Consider if it will certainly be less expensive to fly if you're going to book accommodation the same evening to sleep immediately.
Buses are extremely cold, the high-end buses will certainly provide you a blanket but, 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 and also toilet break-- a bit frustrating if you're attempting to sleep 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 even more, some still play their funky local song CD's and also cheesy music videos up until the very early hrs of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some durable extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver regarding reaches of the southerly Mon State and also 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 implies that there are set routes you can travel and you'll have a hard time to go any other way. Attempting to do otherwise could be extremely costly.
Work your sightseeing around the heat-- Myanmar is famous for its daybreaks as well as sunsets, which additionally corresponds perfectly with remaining indoors (probably for a nap or pool dip if you have one) throughout the mid-day heat.
Anticipate to go barefoot a whole lot in temples on seriously grubby floors. In temples where birds are nesting or monkeys and dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you're discovering 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 just views for vacationers. Respect 'do not climb/do not enter' indicators and keep your voice down-- individuals will be praying.
Anticipate to pay an entry cost for Bagan and 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, implying you can rest in low-cost accommodation than you could a couple of years ago. Things are slowly improving for solo visitors, though prices are still much more of what you'll pay somewhere else in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet lovely. The lodging provides a feel for what a local house could be like, basic however perfectly decorated in teak wood) and the breakfast was normally exceptional. Plus, it's nice to place cash right into the hands of the citizens, not some large brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels and guesthouses offer a towel however you may need 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 relied 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 accommodation and also transportation beforehand during peak season. The tourist industry in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the facilities has actually failed to keep speed with. Most resorts are little and also boutique like so if there's someplace particular you wish to stay it's essential to book in advance. It is particularly necessary to book ahead during high period (November to March). In some rural areas, monasteries will take travellers in for a small cost if there are no spaces available. However do not count on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food and Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is always the best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local dining establishments and a remarkable array of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous items of cutlery are cleaned with a not so excellent looking water supply as well as dishcloth. Packaged chopsticks are a perfect choice.
Inform the staff if you do not eat something. If you like a little spice in your meals state how much spice you like as the cooks have a tendency to go easy on tourists!
The fish is delicious and a fantastic, fresh choice in many dining establishments.
There is quite a great deal of sugar in the food as well as beverages. If you aren't a fan of sugar there's an alternative to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, freshly blended juices), make certain you request for 'no sugar'.
Salads feature heavily on menus however do not anticipate a fresh crunch-- most salads are seasoned as well as seasoned in oil, salt and lime juice as well as don't more info normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you could get ill once.
Street food isn't as prolific as other places in Southeast Asia however you can discover it as well as it's excellent. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a dish (under $2).
You can not consume the water however most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your room or via a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is really inexpensive.
Alcohol is extensively offered with beer, rum as well as whiskey being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to discover as well as fun areas to get a beverage with the locals if you don't want to being in a dining establishment.
Realize that there isn't a late night culture in Myanmar-- most restaurants close by 9 p.m. and also 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.
Huge chains can't be located as well as brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn't a nation of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brands like Coke and also Schwepps Tonic, you're going to be buying local brand names as well as consuming from local restaurants.
Shops are little, family owned affairs-- you won't locate a 7-Eleven. There are a couple of comparable 'Grab 'n' Go' shops dotted around, however primarily you're going to purchase treats and beverages from small, local businesses. They can look a little bit intimidating, like you're intruding by strolling in. Do not worry, just step in, they want your business.
There are individuals smoking indoors- this can be a shock if you come from a nation where smoking in public areas has actually long been prohibited.
Health and Safety in Myanmar
Myanmar is an incredibly safe country-- a lot of the population is Buddhist as well as with a belief in karma, criminal activity levels are exceptionally low.
Still, you ought to take the normal preventative measures of using hotel storage lockers or safes for your belongings. Women tourists should not experience any harassment or different treatment.
Do take hand sanitiser-- the money is gross as well as there isn't always soap in restrooms so utilize your sanitiser before you touch anything that will go near your mouth.
Keep an eye out for the dust- Myanmar can be very 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 warm. Consequently, lots of tourists use the a/c in their room yet sleeping in low temperature levels can make you sick.
Fruit is very easy to find so top up your body immune system with nutrients this way. However, as it's commonly pre-cut, search for a seller that has kept the flies away and if it's sluiced with water, make certain it's filtered water.
Safety and security
Most government advisories warn against traveling to parts of Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, where clashes in between local authorities and also the minority Muslim (Rohingya) communities has actually caused the mass displacement of thousands of people. A few other parts of the country remain shut to foreigners because of dispute in between the government as well as various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These locations are mostly in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, and also far from the major tourist locations.
Accurate details on disputes and closed locations can be challenging to find. Check your government's guidance before travelling, and ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of news from visitors on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
A lot of the locals dress conservatively| and cover their shoulders and legs in spite of the high temperatures, and you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you follow suit.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants and also tees are the outfit of choice. These are highly encouraged and 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. Numerous visitors pick one up as they're breezy in the warmth and also tick the 'traditional wear' box. They are convenient for sightseeing and tour so pick up one a the marketplace if you have the opportunity.
Flip flops are important! Going into pagodas implies going barefoot and also flip flops are the most effective footwear selection. Struggling with laces in the blistering heat is an unwanted 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 clothe conservatively (covering your knees as well as shoulders). You will find people in shorts and strappy tops in the cities and at the beach yet in other places it's much less typical.
The local people are extremely genteel as well as not used to confrontation so pack your best manners as well as your patience. Travelling can be aggravating, hot and also slow-moving however keep in mind: you chose to visit Myanmar which it's not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the residents. However, haggle hard with the cab drivers.
You may get stopped a lot by citizens who want to talk. Vacationers are no more a novelty in the majority of Southeast Asia but Myanmar is different. Usually the people are lovely as well as are happy to appear in photos and attempt as well as converse with limited typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a lot which is normally best dealt with by offering a smile and also a mingalabar (hi 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 pavements are a consequence of spewing red coloured saliva after chewing betel quids, little parcels which contain tobacco, spices and also areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It's probably popular| since it supplies a hit that amounts to six cups of coffee. However, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spat out, many times onto the ground.
Great deals of citizens have the tell tale red discolored teeth and also taxi 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 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, an aesthetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar as well as likewise works as a sun block.
It's also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and also dining establishments as citizens utilize 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 distressed!
Both essential phrases you require in Myanmar are:
Hello there: Ming-gu-la-bah
Not only is it courteous, but it is well received. Be prepared for most locals 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 also is charged per item rather than kilo so try to show up with your clothing laundered and also unless you wish to hand over $20 for a load of washing, pick the items you truly need washing and clean your smaller items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are simple to find by yet tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can not flush toilet paper or sanitary products-- this is very typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can't manage anything aside from bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that strange half-hour difference| to its time zone so it's 6 and a half hours in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple 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 have to get over it or, far better still, purchase a local SIM. You can obtain one at most airport terminals when you land or in one of the stores in the road and the shop staff will certainly have you set up in about 5 mins. You can learn more regarding your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps thought about to be a 'quick' link, don't expect to be downloading video clips at any time. Online access has improved, with wi-fi the norm-- most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it totally free-- and also the net is now spreading tomore remote places. Yet tightly squeezed bandwidth and also power outages can make using the internet an aggravating exercise.
Do your research ahead of time or pack a guidebook, as well as don't expect to Skype home very often, it's barely possible to get a messenger service to work at times!
You'll be much better with a knapsack than a travel suitcase. Suitcases aren't suitable on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Getting in as well as out of myriad forms of transport and hefting it up lots of high staircases isn't far better.
Thanks for reading this guide to Top Traveling Tips for Myanmar