This is a guest post.
Myanmar might be lagging in development in South East Asia, yet its short history of culture narrates its natural beauty. In the past several decades, the country has been in seclusion due to the leadership of the military junta. Now that it is opening up, tourists now have the urge to travel to the mysterious land.
Foreigners visiting the Burmese landscapes sharing their exploits on various social media platforms inspire others to join them and see the attractions for themselves. Are you planning on traveling to Myanmar? Here’s what you need to know.
Visa Entry Requirements
All foreign nationals must get an entry visa to Myanmar unless you are from one of the visa-exempt countries. Apply for a visa at Myanmar embassies or consulates. You can use the online platforms in your country as well. The E-visa is available for most tourists coming from Europe.
While in Myanmar, get your E-visa from the ministry of immigration website, which should take three days to process and is valid for 90 days. The E-visa allows entry into the country using three main airports, the Mandalay, Yangon, and NayPyi Taw. The E-visa will give a pass on three land border crossings through Kawthoung, Tachileik, and Myawaddy.
You can also apply for a Visa in Thailand or China in the respective embassies as long as you have proof of an airline ticket or travel itinerary.
The Best Time to Visit
The climate tends to be hot most of the year, so plan to visit during the cool season between October and February. Plan your trip to Myanmar early though because this is the busiest traveling time for tourists coming here.
Traveling in the hot season means getting more value for your money on transportation and accommodation due to lower prices. However, the events to look forward to are the Thingyan (New Year) in April, Shwedagon Pagoda Festival (April to Early May), and the Rice Donating Ceremony (September).
Budget Your Travel Money
Myanmar is now a premium destination due to a shortage of supplies. Therefore, it’s no longer the cheap destination it once was, and you’ll need to factor in an appropriate budget. You have a choice of using the local currency (kyat) or the US Dollars, although more and more they prefer the local currency. To be on the safe side, carry kyat, USD and credit cards (mostly only accepted in high end hotels) as a backup.
The increasing number of ATMs in towns and airports take international cards, saving you the need to carry all your travel money in cash. International cash transfer services are available. Before leaving your country of origin, inform your credit card companies of your travel plan.
In comparison to its Burmese neighbors, accommodation is on the higher side but still relatively affordable in comparison to western capitals. The rising cost of accommodation relates to its recent opening to the world as a tourist destination, which led to a surge in tourism in the last few years. Make early booking arrangements to avoid last-minute struggles.
Locals are still trying to understand the concept of visitors coming into their country. Please avoid Couch Surfing for the time being. However, border restrictions are easing, and more people are coming in, hoping that this will change their perception of visitors as people who appreciate their land.
Use air, train, boats, or bus to get around Myanmar. A bus ride can be bumpy, depending on your final destination. Traveling on land gives you an opportunity to survey the area and views that make up the country.
You can book a private tour guide, who will take you to your choice of accommodation and sightseeing, giving a better experience. A tour guide or company will help you integrate well with the community, which can be a problem for solo travelers. It would be best if you had a tour guide who can offer translation services and has adequate information on the area.
Food and Cuisine
The staple food in Myanmar is rice and noodles. Visit a local restaurant, and do not be surprised when you find no prices on the menu, but the food is affordable. After receiving the menu, the server will stay there until you give an order, unlike the “touristy” restaurants where the attendants give you a few minutes to make a decision.
When you get the bill, attendants wait until you pay, so you need to get the idea and adjust. Watch what you eat to avoid travelers’ diarrhea.
The Burmese people have an influential culture, one of them being the thanaka, a yellowish cream they use as a sunscreen and an antiperspirant. The locals do not use the handshake for greetings. They bow their heads or give a smile. Do not touch one’s head or use your feet to point at something or someone, the Buddha consider head a sacred part of the human body while the feet are seen as dirty.
Due to their conservative nature, try as much as possible to avoid a public show of affection. In regards to clothing, invest in a dress and lightweight pants—it is a show of respect to cover both the knees and shoulders for women. Men wear long traditional Burmese skirts when carrying out day-to-day activities. Always give and receive money or gifts using two hands.
When you are set to visit Myanmar, have a travel guide in your hands. These travel tips will help to make your next Myanmar visit easier.
Author Bio: Daniel Moore is an experienced content writer. He is associated with many renowned travel blogs as a guest author where he shares his valuable travel tips and experience with the audience.