Being isolated from the world for decades, Myanmar (Burma) is still a new destination in Southeast Asia. Though this sleeping beauty just woke up, this country has become a must-go place when it comes to off-the-beaten-track travel. Visiting Myanmar, you can enjoy mesmerizing religious architecture, pristine jungles, spectacular waterfalls and vibrant ethnic villages. This idyllic country and its friendly people will help you relieve your stress and create unforgettable memories with your family and friends. Preparing for a new destination like this will cost a lot of time. Here are some tips for you to easily make a perfect trip to Myanmar.

1. Visa and passport        

It is required that your passport must be valid for 6 months from the date of entry to Myanmar and you must have at least one blank visa page.

Myanmar visa exemption:

  • Passport holders from these Southeast Asian countries can visit Myanmar without a visa for 2 weeks: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Passport holders from Singapore can visit Myanmar without a visa for 30 days

Tourist visa to Myanmar has a length of stay of 28 days from the date of arrival to this country. Passport holders from 100 countries can apply for tourist e-visa. Check here to see if your nationality is eligible for this policy or not. Don’t apply for your visa too early nor too late since it will take up to 2 weeks to process your application.

Passengers with e-visa can only enter Myanmar from three main ports: Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International Airport.

2. Money

Burmese Kyat
Burmese Kyat

Kyat (pronounces ‘chat’) is the official currency of Myanmar, abbreviated as K. US Dollar is also accepted for larger transactions for hotels, luxury restaurants or flight tickets. If you bring more than US $10,000, you should declare the amounts to Myanmar’s arrival immigration.

Before the government reforms, some black markets in Myanmar such as the famous Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) offered the better exchange rate. But this is no longer the case, now you can exchange foreign currency at some national banks of major cities (Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, etc.) or at the airport. Remember that your US Dollar notes must be of the intact condition; any dirty note will not be accepted.

The exchange rate is fluctuating; so bring US Dollar along with the local currency to get the best value for your purchase.

There are plenty of ATMs around major tourist destinations in this country. Though there is no international bank in Myanmar, the local bank accepts international cards and the withdrawal fee is around K5000. If you intend to visit some rural places, bring some spare Kyat.

3. Power Sockets, Phone & Internet

Several hotels and restaurants in Myanmar have wifi, but the internet speed is relatively slow. You can purchase a data package from Telenor and Ooredoo. Data packages are cheap in Myanmar (1.5GB for 7 days at K2,500). You can buy a SIM card at the airport or in some tourist destinations such as Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw.

When purchasing a SIM Card, you should provide photocopies of passport photo page and Myanmar visa page, and a passport photo as well.

In Myanmar, people use 230V, 50 Hz and 2 or 3-pin electricity sockets. You can bring your own adaptor or your hotel will provide multi-socket power strips.

4. Getting around Myanmar

Train to Hsipaw
Train to Hsipaw
  • Taxis are accessible in big cities and the price is reasonable (around K1,000 per kilometer). Renting a car in Myanmar is the most convenient way to travel around certain areas.
  • Train is a romantic way to travel around this country. The train condition on Yangon to Mandalay route is cleaner than trains in rural areas.
  • Long-distance bus tickets can be purchased online or at the bus station. For popular bus routes such as Yangon to Bagan and Yangon to Mandalay, we recommend booking tickets in advance.
  • Land transportations are sometimes slow, so if you are lack of time, consider a flight for core routes such as Yangon to Mandalay or Yangon to Bagan. Tickets will be sold out quickly before Thingyan Water Festival, so buy tickets in advance if you want to attend the festival.

5. Healthcare and Safety

  • Vaccination: Be careful, check your health record and make sure that you are inoculated against at least those diseases: Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis. Bear in mind that there is a possibility of malaria in a few rural areas of Myanmar. Ensure that you contact your hospitals and take medical advices for your children no less than two months before your trip.
  • Bring prescript medicines and essential medicines (antidiarrheal medication, medicine for pain or fever, etc.). Street foods are attractive, but they may not be clean. Spending a little extra money on a restaurant. You don’t want to get sick after the trip.
  • Generally speaking, it is safe to travel to some big cities in Myanmar. However, there is political turmoil in some areas such as Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin states, so carefully consider if you want to visit remoted areas.

6. Weather in Myanmar

Located in the monsoon region of Asia, Myanmar is hot and humid throughout the year. There are two seasons in Myanmar: the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season runs from October to May when the rainy season lasts from June to early October.

There is a variation in weather during the dry season in Myanmar. The period between November and March, which follows the end of rainy seasons, is cool and dry. It is the best time to visit outdoor attractions in Myanmar. While from March to May, the weather is sultry and visitors should avoid walking at noon.

7. Cultural Etiquette

Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda

Visiting a Buddhist temple will be a part of your trip to Myanmar. These are some rules to keep in mind when you enter any religious site:

  • Dress conservatively; cover up your shoulders, elbows and legs.
  • Don’t wear sleeveless nor see-through tops. Remove your hats.
  • Leave your shoes at the entrance of pagodas. There will be a guideline where you can place your shoes in every religious site.
  • Show utmost respect when entering a temple; don’t touch the monks.
  • Don’t point at any Buddha.
  • Lower your voice and avoid any inappropriate conversation. Be careful if you can take any picture inside a pagoda.

8. Language

As Myanmar is just recently opened to the world outside, most people cannot speak English in this country. Prepare a translation app and learn some basic Burmese sentences to communicate with local people.

9. Public holidays in Myanmar

There are many religious holidays and festivals in Myanmar and most of them are determined based on Burmese lunar calendar. The Thingyan Water Festival, which is the most popular festival in this country, is held to celebrate Burmese New Year. Similar to Songkran Festival in Thailand, local people sprinkle water over each other in order to wash away bad luck and wish the others good luck next year. This festival usually lasts four days.

Top events in Myanmar

  • Independence Day:4th January
  • Ananda Pahto Festival: January
  • Peasants’ Day: 2nd March
  • Thingyan: mid-April
  • Taungbyone Nat Pwe: August or early September
  • Tazaungdaing: October or November

10. Itineraries and Where to go

Bagan
Bagan

Myanmar is charmingly sublime with many attractions. It depends on your plan: if you only have 3 or 4 days, you can discover one big city such as Yangon or Mandalay. However, if you want to discover four to five destinations in Myanmar, you will need at least a week. Here are four most famous destinations in this country, you can customize your trip to Myanmar and visit some other lesser-known places as well:

  • Yangon: This bustling city is even more famous to tourists than Myanmar’s official capital city. Yangon is well-known for vibrant Buddhist pagodas, unique colonial architecture, delicious local specialties, and welcoming people.
  • Mandalay: Located in the north of Myanmar, Mandalay piques travelers’ curiosity with a solemn allure of a bygone era with many splendid pagodas, ancient architecture and scenic spots.
  • Bagan: Praised with the name ‘A Land of Pagodas’, Bagan is stunning with the system of 3000 pagodas. Riding a balloon will be your once-in-a-lifetime experience in this city.
  • Inle Lake: Leg-rowing fishermen in a mesmerizing sunset on the lake will be a perfect photography shot for your journey to Inle Lake.

Read more: Top 7 Family Destinations in Myanmar

Checklist before your trip

  • ID card, visa, passport and copies of those documents
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Credit/debit card and some US dollars
  • Flight tickets/ Boarding pass
  • A high-quality pair of shoes
  • Bug repellent
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Medicines and first-aid kit
  • Adaptor – 230V, 50Hz; 2 pin plugs

Short Tours to Myanmar

Interesting Tours for First-time Travelers to Myanmar

Start planning your tailor-made Vietnam tour by contacting one of our specialists…

A Hanoian lover of art, cuisine and culture, Chi Nguyen enjoys exploring all elegant aspects of this city as well as discovering off-the-beaten-track destinations in the beautiful S-shaped country.

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