|The size of the Burmese pagodas, which are much bigger than Thais', shows that the Burmese people are very serious Buddhists. They are very kind and their smiles cannot be seen anywhere else in South East Asia except for Laos.
The Buddhist City - Bagan
Old capital and cultural center: Mandalay
Area where time seems to stops: Inle lake
And many other pagodas which you cannot skip visiting.
|Myanmar has many political problems such as the fights between the minor politic groups and the central Government. The Aung San Suu Kyi–led National League for Democracy came to power in Myanmar during the historic general election of November 2015, and the country is embracing change. But this is a nation that has seen decades of harsh military rule – there’s a hopeful but cautious energy. Myanmar is undergoing a rapid transition. When you travel in Myanmar, the country so peaceful and all you will see is people's smiles.
Tourists are welcome to Burma provided they are "keen to promote the welfare of the common people and the conservation of the environment and to acquire an insight into the cultural, political and social life of the country while enjoying a happy and fulfilling holiday in Burma."
|National||Burmese and many other minority languages.|
|Foreign||Not many people speak English however staff in hotels and restaurants do. It will be very useful to learn Burmese number writing system.|
|Best season: Nov - Feb Dry and relatively cool|
|Hot & Dry: Mar - May
Very hot. During daytime, it reaches 35C easily. It’s hard to stay outside more than 1 hour.
|Hot & Wet: Jun - Oct
Rain is not so heavy in areas such as Bagan, but in mountain areas such as Inle Lake, rain can be very heavy. Travelling on mountain roads can be very difficult and take much longer.
|Budget (Min Daily cost/person)|
|Room $15/p||Internet $0.5/hr|
|Food $5/p||Tour guide (English speaking): $10/p|
|Water $7+/p||Tourist sites fee: $2 ~ $20/p|
|Local Transportation $5+/p||Beer $2/bottle|
|Intercity Transportation $22+/p||Cigarettes $2/pack|
|Souvenirs $23+/p||Mobile SIM card $1.5/card|
|Plane trip $50+/trip||Boat trip $10/trip|
Cash $1= 1170K, 1FEC=950k
The biggest expenses, flight, trains, most hotels must be paid with US$ or FEC's. The bus fare and restaurants can be paid with Kyats.
|Unit of currency kyats: 1,5,10,15,20,50,90,100,200,500,1000
Exchange: The official rate (the Central Bank of Myanmar) is US$1=1170kyats and it changes daily. The market rate is 1FEC=950K. The market rate is illegal but it is common way to change US$. You can change money on street, jewelry shops, travel agents, etc.
|Warning about FEC|
|If you write on FEC's, you cannot use them anymore. Also old style FECs cannot be used. Please check all FECs at airport.|
|Banks general opening hour M-F 10:00-14:00|
|Cash advance possible at 1 bank in Yangon and the Yangon airport|
|To help visitors to Myanmar save their time and money on getting a Myanmar visa, Myanmar Government and Myanmar Immigration Department put Myanmar Evisa into use since 2011 with modern digital system in special advantages:
+ Time for processing: Online application for evisa: 1-3 working days, Embassy application: 10-14 days
+ Requirement: Online application for evisa: 100% online, Embassy application: original passport required.
+ Time savings, no travelling for evisa, get visa stamped quickly and easily at the arrival airport in Myanmar
Thanks to Myanamr evisa, more and more clients enter Myanmar can get visa easily and quickly without sending their original passport to the Embassy.
You may start processing the Myanmar visa application at http://evisa-myanmar.net/step_1
|No Overland entry is allowed.
They are a few border points with Thailand and China.
From Thailand: Mae Sai, Mae Sot and Ranong, however it is not possible to travel Myanmar from those points. It is allowed to stay around the border for a day.
The visa for a day is $5 for Mae Sai, $10 for the others. You can get 30 day visa when you return to Thailand if you have had the exit stamp from Thai immigration office. (You may not be able to get the exit stamp at the border. Go to the immigration office near the border.)
It is possible to stay in Tachileik, the border town with Mae Sai, with extra fee.
From China: it is not possible to enter. You may be able to enter by unofficial buses to the Myanmar casino. But it is illegal for foreign travelers. Tour groups may enter from China with government approval.
|Airport: Airport Tax $10
In Yangon to town by taxi $5+/p
Many taxi agents at the airport
In Mandalay There is 2 flights/week operating to/from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
|Mail: One of the cheapest places to send airmail from. But only post cards and letters you can send with cheap cost. Parcels are no longer possible to be sent with cheap fare. (10kg costs $85)
They used to have a problem with reliability, but it seems to have improved.
|Post card/letters||35k||32k||33k||31k||31 k|
|Phone Country code 095 no collect calls possible.|
|Local phone use tokens 5k They can be purchased at tobacco kiosks or from GH's, usually 10k|
|Air, Train, Boat transport are controlled by the government so you have to pay with US$ or FEC. Very expensive since tourist prices are charged. Bus fares are cheap and payable in kyats.|
|Air||Payable only with FEC/US$. The most expensive. but you save time.ex.Yangon - Mandalay $90-113|
|Train||Payable only with FEC/US$.Not so comfortable, not so fast, not so cheap, not so convenient. ex Yangon - Mandalay $30-$38|
|Bus||will cost you around $7 to $30, depending on the length of your journey and what class of bus you use. Luxury ‘VIP’ buses, available on most popular routes, command a premium. Some buses have meal services, but don't expect gourmet level. ex. Yangon - Mandalay $7|
|Boat||prices from $10 to $70, depending on the distance you are travelling and the speed of your boat. Payable only with FEC/US$ even for local ferry which just cross a river. The most common route is between Mandalay and Bagan.|
|City Bus||Yangon, Mandalay have good bus systems but buses are always full. Each bus stop has a name, so you may ask MTT to write the English and Burmese name on paper. Overcharge is common.|
|Taxi||Should bargain.$3/hr in Yangon.
Very expensive in Bagan and Inle lake.
|(Saiker)||Cycle Rickshaw with seating on side of bicycle. Can accommodate 2 people.
|Rental Bicycle||Available in Mandalay, Bagan, Inle lake 1000k/day|
|Room charge: can start from US$8 to $25 per night for a basic guesthouse; from around $30 per night will provide you with something more spacious, which should include air conditioning and your own bathroom; and from over $70, you can buy yourself some luxury and style. Needless to say, prices go higher, and can reach up to $300 to $400 per night for the most prestigious hotels in Yangon.|
|Burmese food is often cooked with lots of oil and can be very greasy. Travelers frequently have some kind of stomach problem. The cause is not clear - oil may be 1 reason. Chinese Restaurants can be found in most cities. They are relatively expensive. Indian food is available in Yangon and Bagan. Good ice cream is available in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan.|
|Burmese food. Basically as much as you can eat. You order a few main dishes, they put out about 10 or more different small dishes. You pay as you eat, but you can ask for seconds at no extra charge.
Around Inle lake, you can eat Tofu based dishes.
|Drinking water: Most restaurants serve free Chinese tea. you don't need drinking water so much. Also drinking water ($0.3/bottle) is available everywhere.|
|Tea shops: It could be one of the highlights in Myanmar cuisine. You can find tea shops everywhere. When you sit and order tea/coffee, they will bring many different kinds of cakes. You may eat what you like. They charge according to what you eat.
Coffee/tea are both full of condensed milk and sugar. I personally could not tell the difference between tea and coffee.
|Souvenirs: Lacquer ware, jewelry, stones(rubies, sapphires, jade, etc.) Shan style shoulder bags. silverware, weaving, wood carvings, Myanmar cloth longi, etc.|
|Myanmar is very safe. People are kind and helpful. But there are a few reports of cheating tourists.|
|Warning. When you take a taxi from the airport to Yangon. You will be asked if you want to hire a taxi to tour around Myanmar. Do not hire from these men. If you want to hire transport, go to a travel agent. According to reports, not only do many of the taxi drivers overcharge, but they also rip you off every time you eat at a restaurant and stay at hotels.|
|Voltage, plug style: 220v. 50 cycle, many plugs have multi-style accepts USA/European, but not UK.|
|Photos/development: Cheap but very bad quality|
|PH : Public holiday Most of the holidays are based on the Burmese calendar. Many festivals are held on full moon days|
|Jan 4||PH||New Year's Day|
|Jan 4||PH||Independence Day|
|Jan 14*||Karenese? New Year's Day|
|Jan 18-30?||Bagan: Aananda Pagoda Festival|
|Feb 2||PH||Union Day|
|Feb 19?||Mandalay: Mahamuni Pagoda Festival|
|Mar 2?||Peasant's Day|
|Mar 27-28||Burmese calendar, Tabaung month full moon|
|Mar 19?||Yangon: Shwedagon Pagoda Festival|
|Mar 27?||PH||Military Day|
|Apr 15-17||PH||Thingyan, Burmese New Year
They throw water over everyone. You get completely soaked. It lasts a few days.
|May 1||PH||May Day|
|May 17||Burmese calendar, Kasan month full moon, the celebration for Buddha's enlightenment|
|June 16?||PH||Martyrs's Day full moon|
|July 24||Burmese calendar Waso month, full moon|
|Aug 6-8||Bagan: ? Pagoda Festival|
|Aug 9-14||Nat Festival|
|Aug 13-14||Bagan: ?Pagoda Festival|
|Sep 11-12||Bagan: ?Pagoda Festival|
|Sep 28-Oct 12||Inle Lake: Phaung Daw U Temple festival|
|Oct||Burmese calendar Thadingyut month fullmoon, Light festival|
|Oct 11||Elephant Festival, near Mandalay|
|Oct 10-17||Bagan: Shwezigon Pagoda Festival|
|Oct 12||Mandalay: Kuthodaw Pagoda Festival|
|Oct 12||Mandalay: Kyauktawgyi Pagoda Festival|
|Oct 12||Fire Festival in Taunggy|
|Nov 8||Burmese calender Tazaungmone month full moon|
|Nov 9||Mandalay: Mahamuni Pagoda Festival
|Nov 29||PH||National People's Day|
|Dec 25||PH||Christmas day|
|Dec 23||Burmese month Kayinny's full moon festival|