ABOUT MYANMAR

Republic of the Union of Myanmar

 

Population: 55.2 million

Capital: Naypyidaw (Pop: 925,000)

Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%, Miscellaneous 5%

Language: Burmese

Currency: Kyat (MMK)

Time zones: GMT + 6:30 Hours

Indicative: +95

 

Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia
Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia

 

Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is located in Southeast Asia. Surrounded by India, Bangladesh, China, Thailand and Laos, it is a country with many cultural, religious and natural treasures. As Myanmar, when it was called Burma, was separated from the outside world, surrounded by an air of mystery and adventure. In recent years, the country has opened up to tourism and has grown rapidly. Many of its treasures such as the ruins of the ancient temples of Bagan, the colonial history of Yangon, the unique local lifestyle on floating houses in Inle Lake and the beautiful beaches of the Bay of Bengal are in the process of being re-discovered by travelers and holidaymakers who chose to discover Myanmar (Burma).

 

General information about Myanmar (Burma)

 

History

 

The Burmese inhabitants are truly friendly, the beautiful cultural and historical patrimonies of Burma are discovered and sought more and more by tourists. The country formerly known as the “Golden Country”, long closed by a military dictatorship, is now beginning to show its brilliance.

 

The first people to settle in what is now known as Myanmar are Mons. They brought Buddhism to the region, but it was not long before other peoples followed. Around the 9th century, the Bamar were the first to establish the Burmese empire. The wealth of natural resources has attracted many ethnic groups from all over the region and these have created what is today Myanmar, a country rich in culture and with great ethnic diversity.

 

This country has attracted attention not only on a regional scale, the British have been quick to move and colonize Myanmar, known at the time as Burma or “Burma” in English. The country fought for its independence from foreign domination and finally obtained it in 1948 under the leadership of revolutionary Aung San, father of Aung San Sun Kyu. This democratic people’s leader was later assassinated following an internal conflict and a military dictatorship was installed. After years of impoverishment and misery, Burma finally shows signs of positive development and opens up to the outside world by letting the first tourists enter it.

 

A visa is required for any nationality and would be better to be arranged before arrival in the country
A visa is required for any nationality and would be better to be arranged before arrival in the country

 

Passport and Visa in Myanmar

 

A passport with at least 6 months valid after the date of entry into the country is requested. We recommend that you take a photocopy of your passport and keep it with you separately, or you can scan your passport and save it by email to which you can access everywhere.

 

A visa is required for any nationality and would be better to be arranged before arrival in the country. A valid visa can be issued by Myanmar embassies throughout the world including the Myanmar Embassy in Paris. A tourist visa can take about 3 days and is valid for 28 days. Visa fees are between US $ 25 and US $ 40 depending on the urgency of the procedure (the most expensive day visa). A valid passport + a photocopy of the passport + the visa application form duly completed + 2 passport photos are requested. A photocopy of the travel documents could be requested.

 

Currency and exchange in Myanmar

 

The official currency is Kyat. However, the US dollar is widely accepted and, on some occasions, it allows prices to be slightly lower due to the exchange rate. It is recommended that you always carry liquid in small notes with you. These notes must be clean and free from tearing. The US dollar must be newly printed and in perfect condition. Dollar tickets with even just a fold may sometimes not be accepted.

 

Distributors accepting Visa and Mastercard are widely available in Yangon and Mandalay. They distribute Kyats. There are hardly any distributors outside the big cities, so be careful! Please note that many distributors do not work and it may take time to find one with money.

 

The official currency is Kyat
The official currency is Kyat

 

Post and Telecommunications Burmese

 

International postal services in Myanmar are mainly through Singapore, Bangkok and Seoul and provide services worldwide. DHL is also available for express deliveries.

 

The phone connection to the rest of the world is available but would be expensive. International roaming does not work in Burma. Local SIM cards are available but they are prohibitively expensive (official price: US $ 250).

 

Internet access is available in tourist areas such as hotels and restaurants. On the other hand, connections are relatively slow in comparison with Western standards and are unstable from time to time.

 

Transportation in Myanmar

 

Taxis are the main means of transport in major cities. The tariffs within the inner limits of the city range from 1000 to 4000 Kyats. There are no taxis with meters in Myanmar, so you have to negotiate the price agreed with the driver before getting on the taxi.

 

Taxis are the main means of transport in major cities
Taxis are the main means of transport in major cities

 

Motorcycle taxi

Traveling by motorcycle to Myanmar is not very safe and this is not recommended by Fareastour. Please note that travel by motorcycle is not often covered by insurance. Please check your travel insurance to be sure of your coverage before getting on a motorcycle!

 

Climate in Myanmar

Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate with 3 seasons: warm, rainy and cool. The coastal regions have an average temperature of 32 ° C and the northern region, considered to be the coolest, has an average temperature of 21 ° C. Central areas are the driest, while coastal areas receive the most rain during the monsoon season.

 

March – May – Hot season: hot, humid

June – Sep – Rainy season: cloudy, wet

Oct – Feb – Fresh season: less rain, mild

 

Note: Weather can be unpredictable and it is never too much to wear an umbrella or raincoat with you. You can buy cheap raincoats in supermarkets and general stores.

 

Health and well-being in Myanmar

 

The general level of health care in Myanmar is poor and deficient. Sanitary facilities are lacking and, in particular, medical facilities in rural areas. Pharmacies and hospitals will not always be available during your trip to Myanmar and we advise you to bring with you all medicines prescribed by your doctor that you must take before starting your holiday in Myanmar or during your trip in Burmese lands. It is also important not to undergo invasive treatments or interventions in Myanmar. For treatment of more serious injuries, you can be evacuated to Thailand for medical care comparable to that available in Europe. Each traveler is responsible for his / her own health. First, make sure that you have valid travel insurance for the duration of your stay in Myanmar. You should also consult your doctor or clinic in your country for the latest information and health advice for travelers departing for Myanmar prior to your departure.

 

Make sure that you have valid travel insurance for the duration of your stay in Myanmar
Make sure that you have valid travel insurance for the duration of your stay in Myanmar

 

Note: If you have a specific medical condition or allergy that requires special attention, be sure to have a doctor’s letter with you describing the nature of the illness and the treatment required. We also recommend taking a medical kit, including paracetamol and a cure for diarrhea, to your luggage.

There are many needed vaccines when you travel to this part of the world. It is important to make sure that you have adequate protection against the disease. Make an appointment with your doctor or clinic specializing in tropical diseases to prepare your trip to Myanmar no less than two months before your departure!

 

Travel insurance (mandatory)

 

Fareastour  makes every effort to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. However, travel wherever you go, inevitably involves some risk, which should be recognized by vacationers. Travel insurance is a cost-effective way to protect yourself and your equipment if problems arise such as canceled trips, delays, medical emergencies, loss of luggage or damage. It also gives you peace of mind. Please also make sure that your travel insurance covers all activities planned on your trip!

 

Culture & Traditions in Myanmar

 

Cultural differences

The discovery of a culture is one of the most beautiful parts of a trip. Knowing some Burmese traditions will make you enjoy your stay. The inhabitants of Myanmar are generally easy and forgiving when travelers are unfamiliar with their customs. Please pay attention to:

 

The discovery of a culture is one of the most beautiful parts of a trip.
The discovery of a culture is one of the most beautiful parts of a trip.

 

  • Do not show embarrassment or anger by shouting or becoming violent. It is considered extremely rude and it is unlikely to achieve a positive result. Try to be considerate of other people’s feelings before taking action!
  • Avoid touching the heads and feet of others. Also, do not point with your feet to elements or people. It is considered extremely rude.
  • Demonstrations of affection between friends of the same sex are not considered strange, but lovers do not usually show their affections in public.
  • It is customary to remove your shoes and socks before entering the houses of people, temples and other buildings. You usually find many shoes standing in front of the door.
  • Burmese often greet others by “where are you going?”, But the more formal “ming galabar” is widely used by foreigners and appreciated.

 

Visit the temples

 

Myanmar is a Buddhist country and foreigners are always welcome in temples and monasteries. However, it is important to respect a few simple rules:

 

  • Dress appropriately and act with the greatest respect when visiting the Zedi (pagodas) or monasteries.
  • Do not wear shorts or tank tops and make sure your shoulders and knees are covered.
  • Remove your hat and leave your shoes at the entrance of temples or monasteries.
  • If you sit in front of the platform (the platform on which the Buddha is placed), sit with your feet on the side rather than in the position of the lotus.
  • Never point your finger or the soles of your feet to a person or Buddha figure.
  • A woman may receive something from a monk, but must never touch a monk.
  • Be respectful and turn off the mobile phone, remove the headphones, lower your voice during a conversation.

 

National holidays and holidays

 

There are many public holidays, most of which are related to religious festivals. For each of the 12 months of the year, there is at least one observed festival. The biggest festival is Thingyan and precedes the Myanmar New Year. The 5-day celebration takes place in the middle of April according to the lunar calendar. Similarly to what is done in Thailand, the fact of spraying water and wetting its neighbors is a predominant activity during the first 4 days of the festival.

 

Useful tips for your trip to Myanmar

 

Burmese food is a mixture of Indian and Chinese cuisine
Burmese food is a mixture of Indian and Chinese cuisine

 

Beverages and food

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Myanmar. Bottled water is cheap and widely available.

Burmese food is a mixture of Indian and Chinese cuisine. Local curries and soups are also a staple food. Most meals are based on rice. The national dish is the Mohinga, composed of rice vermicelli in a fish broth with onion, garlic and lime and served with cakes and fish donuts.

 

Donations and gifts

Myanmar is a very poor country with few social services and you are likely to see poverty highlighted during your trip. Please read the following tips on gifts and gifts!

  • Do not give money to people begging, especially children. This reinforces the belief that begging is an acceptable means of earning a living. If children make money from begging, their parents are less likely to send them to school. Children who work on the streets are also vulnerable to abuse.
  • Giving money and property to beggars can accentuate an unequal relationship between residents and visitors, as tourists are seen as purely money-donors.
  • Avoid giving money to people who resemble monks, it is a practice disapproved of by most people in Myanmar and is considered to go against their Buddhist principles.
  • Do not feel compelled to give material things. Sometimes give your friendship, time and interest to the local people can be the best gift of all.

 

Tips for Myanmar

While tipping is a common practice in Asia, it is not something that is usually done in Myanmar. Servers, porters, drivers and guides will appreciate a tip for their work. Small gifts are also appreciated. According to Burmese customs, your gifts will usually be refused at first, it is only for politeness so do not offend yourself. In small restaurants and food stalls or with taxi drivers, tipping is never expected. Your driver and guide can expect a tip if the service is satisfactory. For information :

Guide 1 – 2 US $ (per person per day)

Driver 1 – 1.5 $ US (per person per day)

Forwarder 1.000 K

Restaurants / Bars 10% of the bill

 

While tipping is a common practice in Asia, it is not something that is usually done in Myanmar
While tipping is a common practice in Asia, it is not something that is usually done in Myanmar

 

Price Guide

 

  • Street food: from US $ 3
  • Western food: from US $ 7

 

Drinks

  • Soft: $ 1 US
  • Local beer: US $ 1
  • Bottle of water: 0.4 $ US
  • Fruit juice: US $ 1.50

 

Other purchases

  • SIM card: US $ 250
  • Mobile phone: US $ 25-30
  • Book: 10 – 15 $ US
  • DVD: $ 4 US

 

Useful websites

The Councils of the Department of Foreign Affairs of England to travel to Myanmar https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/burma

 

Official website of Myanmar Tourism:

http://www.myanmartourism.org/

 

Checklist before check-out

  • Travel insurance
  • Passport with at least 6 months valid after the date of entry into the country
  • Photocopy of the passport
  • Visa
  • Vaccinations
  • Foreign currency (US $) and / or ATM card
  • All travel tickets
  • Reconfirmed flights
  • Light clothing and slippers
  • Waterproof and / or umbrella
  • Long-sleeved shirts and pants (recommended for parties)
  • Power adapter 220 V, 50 Hz; two-pin plug
  • A small backpack for daily use and excursions
  • Suitable footwear for trekking, cycling and walking
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Solar cream
  • Medical kit

 

We love to share our passion for Myanmar and Southeast Asia
We love to share our passion for Myanmar and Southeast Asia

 

Note: the national airlines set the weight of the luggage at 20 kg, so try to travel light!

 

We love to share our passion for Myanmar and Southeast Asia! We are at your disposal to answer all your questions about this captivating country, do not hesitate a moment to ask us your questions about Myanmar (Burma), we would be delighted to answer it even if you do not have plan to book a trip with us!

 

We wish you an excellent journey.