Top Myanmar Travel TipsTop Myanmar Travelling Tips
Myanmar or Burma? Why Did it Change Its Name?
The nation formally referred to as Burma gained independence in 1948 from occupying forces, yet it had not been until 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. Other names were likewise 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 as well as Myanmar are still used interchangeably, on the ground and on the world stage. This short article breaks down the modifications, what you 'should' say and the question: does it even matter?
Best Times to Go To Myanmar
There are generally 3 seasons in which you can see Myanmar:
October to March: Dry, winter season
March to May: Hot, summertime season
May to October: Wet, rainy season
The popular, high season is November to February when the weather condition is warm yet not stifling, and also attracts the greatest number of visitors. This, in turn, makes the restricted lodging alternatives difficult to secure and also will mean trying to book ahead or deal with paying out for the more expensive choices left over.
March to May is the time when the temperature increases in Myanmar and approaching rains are due. There is a limited number of tourists that makes it easy to book lodging but it is incredibly hot.
An e-Visa is available to tourists from these 100 nations.
To get one, go to the main e-Visa internet site. You'll be required to submit a passport photo and also pay a cost of $50.
It takes under 10 mins to apply and you should obtain approval within 3 working days.
Print out your e-Visa letter, show it when you get here and you're in.
Your e-Visa letter stands 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 embassy might be cheaper-- if you want to save some cash, looking for a visa using your local Myanmar embassy might be less expensive. For example, the price is just ₤ 14 in the UK however $40 in the U.S.A., so do your research and do not neglect 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 website for the most recent at the time you take a trip.
Flights to Myanmar are the usual choice for tourists as the initial mode of entry, with regular scheduled services from Bangkok. But, considering where Myanmar is located-- surrounded by China to the North as well as northeast, Thailand and Laos to the east as well as India and also Bangladesh to its west-- there are several avenues for land entrance, although not all of them are suggested because of safety.
Regardless, you have to specify a "Port of Entry" in your on the internet application which denotes just how you will be getting to Myanmar. You will certainly 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 (situated in between Mandalay as well as Yangon)
Crossing 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 as well as 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).
Actually, you can go into Myanmar at any designated "Port of Entry" but it is best to stick to the one you originally mentioned if possible to avoid any kind of hold up in the handling of your visa upon arrival.
You can exit at any one of the International Airports and Land Boundary Checkpoints since your exit point does not require to be stated up-front. In addition, you might exit at the Htikee Land Boundary Checkpoint, although entry from here is not possible.
Flying in and also out of Yangon is less costly and also has a lot more connections than Mandalay.
Navigating Myanmar-- Cross Country
Myanmar's local transportation choices might be aggravating but the long distance propositions are far more appealing.
Distances are far, road travel is slow-moving and flying is affordable so it might be your far better option.
You can still reserve flights the old-school method by wandering right 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 grabbing your bag off a cart by the airplane and flight announcements are made by a person holding up a sign as well as calling your flight (in incomprehensible English). It actually is an experience. As well as a great deal of fun if you don't let it get you stressed.Buses are economical with competing companies as well as a variety of deluxe levels.
The majority of buses travel over night which is terrific for not losing a day of sightseeing and tour, yet isn't so terrific for rest. Additionally, you'll tend to reach at strange 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 great deal of hours waiting for a 'top-up' nap. Consider if it will be less costly to fly if you're going to book accommodation the exact same evening to take a nap immediately.
Buses are extremely chilly, the deluxe buses will give you a blanket but, wear your warm layers.
Even the VIP bus doesn't have a toilet onboard so expect to stop every few hrs for a food as well as toilet break-- a little bit frustrating if you're attempting to sleep through the night.
Night buses are not sleeper buses, even though these are the buses which bring you to your location around 3 or 4am. What's even more, some still play their funky local music CD's and cheesy video up until the very early hours of the early morning. Pack your iPod, invest in some sturdy extreme ear plugs or kindly request for the sound to be shut off.
Never ever ask a driver about reaches of the southern Mon State and Tenasserim region are typically off-limits to visitors unless you have gotten a government visa in advance. In some areas you'll need a guide to chaperone you. Check before you make plans.
Leaving 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 struggle to go otherwise. Trying to do otherwise could be really costly.
Work your sightseeing and tour around the heat-- Myanmar is well-known for its dawns and also sundowns, which also corresponds perfectly with remaining indoors (probably 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 and also dogs hangout, you can expect to step in a great deal of animal faeces while you're discovering Myanmar's temples. Socks aren't allowed either so you just need to get used to it. Have wipes for your feet so you can wipe some after each visit.
Be a thoughtful temple visitor, most of Myanmar's temples are places of worship, not simply sights for visitors. Respect 'do not climb/do not enter' signs and keep your voice down-- individuals will be praying.
Expect to pay an access fee for Bagan and also Inle Lake-- this charge is charged to all foreigners and there's no getting around it. The fees are: Bagan-- $20; Inle Lake-- $10.
Holiday accommodation in Myanmar
Hostels are slowly opening, meaning you can rest in affordable accommodation than you could a couple of years back. Things are gradually getting better for solo travellers, though expenses are still far more of what you'll pay elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
Guesthouses are rustic yet charming. The lodging offers a feeling for what a local house might be like, basic however wonderfully decorated in teak) as well as the morning meal was usually superior. And also, it's nice to place money into the hands of the locals, not some big brand chain.
Most hostels, hotels as well as guesthouses offer a towel but you might have to offer up a refundable $10 deposit on check-in. Hotels will also provide some form of toiletries. Some hostels and guesthouses do also, but it can't be depended on.
Beware the curfew-- some guesthouses may lock the door at night, leaving you unable to get to your bed. Check before you go out for the night.
Book holiday accommodation and transportation in advance throughout peak period. The tourist market in Myanmar appears to have experienced a boom which the facilities has failed to maintain pace with. A lot of hotels are small and boutique like thus if there's someplace specific you want to stay it's important 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 charge if there are no rooms readily available. Yet don't depend on the local monks being able to help you out.
Food as well as Drink in Myanmar
Order local dishes: it is constantly the very best selection. There are noodles during the night bus stops, fermented tea leaf salads in local restaurants and a remarkable array of curries and also salads
Use chopsticks: Numerous 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 cooks have a tendency to go easy on vacationers!
The fish is delicious as well as a terrific, fresh alternative in many restaurants.
There is rather a great deal of sugar in the food and also beverages. If you aren't a fan of sugar there's an option to skip the sugar (tea, coffee, fresh blended juices), see to it you request 'no sugar'.
Salads feature heavily on food selections yet do not expect a fresh crunch-- most salads are marinated and seasoned in oil, salt as well as lime juice as well as do not normally include salad leaves.
Hygiene standards are reduced in Myanmar and also you might get ill once.
Street food isn't as prolific as various other areas in Southeast Asia however you can locate it and also it's great. Street food will tend to be about 1,000-1,700 kyat a meal (under $2).
You can't drink the water however most hotels, hostels and also guesthouses supply cost-free water either in bottles in your area or by means of a huge water dispenser at reception. Or else, mineral water is really economical.
Alcohol is widely offered with beer, rum and also scotch being preferred alternatives.
Beer stations are very easy to discover as well as fun areas to get a drink with the locals if you don't want to being in a restaurant.
Understand that there isn't a late night culture in Myanmar-- most restaurants 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 preferred than late night drinking.
Large chains can not be located and also brands are in short supply. Myanmar isn't a country of fast-food chains as well as beyond beverage brand names 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 will not locate a 7-Eleven. There are a few equal 'Grab 'n' Go' shops populated around, yet mostly you're going to get snacks 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 surprise if you come from a nation 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 population is Buddhist and also with an idea in karma, crime levels are remarkably reduced.
Still, you should 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 filthy and there isn't always soap in shower rooms so utilize your sanitiser prior to you touch anything that will certainly go near your mouth.
Look out for the dust- Myanmar can be very dusty so do carry something to cover your mouth and nose when cycling around. Also take care with your a/c-- Myanmar can be as hot. Consequently, numerous visitors use the a/c in their room however sleeping in low temperatures can make you ill.
Fruit is simple to come by so top up your immune system with nutrients this way. Nevertheless, as it's commonly pre-cut, try to find a vendor that has actually kept the flies away as well as if it's sluiced with water, make certain 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 resulted in the mass displacement of thousands of individuals. Some other parts of the country stay closed to foreigners due to problem in between the government and various ethnic militaries clustered in eastern and northern Myanmar. These areas are primarily in Kachin and also Shan States, near to the frontiers with China and Thailand, as well as far from the major tourist locations.
Precise information on problems and closed locations can be hard to come by. Check your government's recommendations prior to travelling, and also ask about the situation when you are in Myanmar. Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree travel forum is an excellent source of news from tourists on the ground.
What to wear in Myanmar
Most of the locals dress conservatively| and also cover their shoulders and legs regardless of the high temperatures, as well as you will certainly make everyone much more comfortable if you do the same.
Knee length shorts, long skirts, elephant pants as well as tees are the attire website of choice. These are highly encouraged and also usually enforced for going into the temples and also 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 heat and tick the 'conservative wear' box. They are practical for sightseeing and tour so pick up an inexpensive one a the marketplace if you have the chance.
Flip flops are important! Entering pagodas means going barefoot as well as flip flops are the very best footwear option. Battling with laces in the scorching heat is an undesirable interruption. Bring some cleaning wipes for your feet after seeing a pagoda.
Myanmar is a conservative nation so you'll blend much better if you dress conservatively (covering your knees and shoulders). You will find individuals in shorts and also strappy tops in the cities as well as at the beach however somewhere else it's much less common.
The local individuals are exceptionally genteel and also not used to confrontation so pack your good manners and your patience. Travel can be frustrating, warm as well as sluggish but bear in mind: you selected to go to Myanmar and that it's not the same as being at home is no good reason to take it out on the citizens. Nonetheless, haggle hard with the taxi drivers.
You may get stopped a whole lot by residents that intend to chat. Tourists are no more a novelty in most of Southeast Asia yet Myanmar is different. Normally individuals are beautiful and more than happy to appear in photographs as well as try and also converse with limited typical words or sign language.
You mayalso get stared at a lot which is generally best dealt with by providing a smile and a mingalabar (hello there in Burmese). Burmese English can be hard to understand, be patient, pay attention and if you're spending for a guide, make certain they have great clear English before you book.
The red stained sidewalks are a consequence of spitting red coloured saliva after eating betel quids, small parcels which contain tobacco, spices as well as areca nuts covered in a betel leaf. It's probably popular| since it supplies a hit that's equivalent to six cups of coffee. Yet, as well as being dangerous when chewed long term, the byproduct is bright-red saliva which is spewed out, many times onto the ground.
Lots of citizens have the tell tale red stained teeth and also taxi drivers typically roll down the window in sluggish traffic to spit after chewing on the betel quids.
There is some begging by children in Myanmar and also as heartbreaking as it is, you shouldn't give to the youngsters. Why not? Read this fantastic write-up by Uncornered Market.
It's common to see yellow circles pasted on the faces of the Burmese women. This is Thanaka, a cosmetic paste made from ground bark, which is a beauty item in Myanmar and additionally acts as a sun block.
It's also common to hear a kissing sound in the coffee shops and also restaurants as residents utilize the kissing sound as an ask for service. Apparently it's less complicated for staff to determine the area of the kissing audio so don't be startled!
The two most important 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 the majority of residents to giggle in response-- they are not mocking you; they are just not anticipating it.
Other practical concerns in Myanmar
Laundry is typically done by hand and also is charged per item as opposed to kilo so try to show up with your garments washed and unless you intend to hand over $20 for a load of washing, choose the items you truly require washing and also wash your smaller sized items on your own as you go.
Toiletries are easy to find by but tampons are not so bring what you need with you.
You can't flush toilet tissue or sanitary products-- this is really typical in developing countries where the plumbing system can't manage anything other than bodily fluids.
Myanmar has that odd half-hour difference| to its time zone so it's 6 and a half hrs in advance of GMT.
Most of the plug sockets of Myanmar have multiple adaptors for European as well as North American 2-pin plugs along with British three-pin.
Wi-fi is bad in Myanmar so you either have to get over it or, far better still, acquire a local SIM. You can obtain one at the majority of airports when you land or in one of the shops in the road and also the shop personnel will have you set up in about 5 minutes. You can find out more about your network selections here. Still, with 1 mbps taken into consideration to be a 'quick' link, do not expect to be downloading video clips whenever. On-line accessibility has improved, with wi-fi the norm-- most hotels, guesthouses as well as cafes have it free of cost-- and the internet is now spreading tofarther areas. But tightly squeezed bandwidth and power outages can make using the web an irritating exercise.
Do your research in advance or pack a guidebook, and don't expect to Skype home very often, it's hardly possible to get a messenger service to operate at times!
You'll be better with a backpack than a suitcase. Luggage aren't excellent on dusty, sandy, unevenroadways. Entering and also 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