For the first time to visit Myanmar, here are some of the important tips for a traveler.
GMT + 6 ½ hours
TRAVEL INSURANCE FOR MYANMAR
Travel insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems is a wise idea. There is a wide variety of policies and your travel agent will have recommendations.
HOW TO GET TO MYANMAR?
Yangon International Airport (IATA: RGN, ICAO: VYYY), located in Mingaladon, at 15 km north of downtown Yangon, is the primary international airport of Myanmar and the second largest airport in the country.
The airport’s old terminal is used exclusively for domestic flights, and the new terminal, in operation since May 2007, handles international flights. The airport, which can handle 2.7 million passengers a year, handled 800,000 international passengers and 1.2 million domestic passengers in 2006. All four Burmese carriers and about 15 international airlines operate out of Yangon International.
Mandalay International Airport is located 35 km south of Mandalay in Tada-U, is one of only two international airports in Burma. Completed in 1999, the airport is the largest and most modern airport in the country, complete with a 14,000-foot (4267-m) runway.
Annual Capacity to handle up to 3 million passengers a year, 36 check-in desks, 8 gates, 6 air-bridges, 3 baggage claim belts, 11 short term parking spaces, 6 long term parking spaces, Post Office, Bank, Bureau de Change, Restaurants, VIP Lounge, Duty Free Shop, Newsagent/Tobacconist, Travel Agent, Tourist Help Desk, Car Rental are available for passenger services.
Mandalay International Airport opened and started operating on September 17th, 2000. Passenger handling is 1000 arrivals and 1000 departures per hour. Mandalay International Airport becomes a hub for flights to other major Asian cities, in particular Beijing, Hanoi, Bangkok, Calcutta and Dhaka.
INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES TO MYANMAR
Thai Airways International (Yangon – Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi Airport)
TG-303/ 305 (arrival) TG-304/306 (departure)
Bangkok Airways (Yangon – Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi Airport)
Air Asia (Yangon – Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi Airport) FD-3770 (arrival) FD-3771 (departure)
Myanmar Airways Internationa
(Yangon – Bangkok – Suvarnabhumi Airport, Yangon – Kuala Lumpur) 8M-
Silk Air (Yangon – Singapore) MI-515
Jet star Asia (Yangon – Singapore) FD-
Air China (Beijing, Kunming)
China Southern Airlines (Guangzhou)
Mandarin Airlines (Taipei – Taiwan Taoyuan)
Hong Kong Express Airways (Hong Kong)
Malaysia Airlines (Yangon – Kuala Lumpur)
Air India (Yangon – Kolkata)
TRAN Cargo Airlines (Moscow)
Air Bagan (Chiang Mai)
Air Mandalay (Chiang Mai)
DOMESTIC AIRLINES IN MYANMAR
Asia Wing Airways
Golden Myanmar Airlines
Air tickets to Myanmar
We recommend purchasing the air tickets from the country which is your starting point in order to get the best airfare. No agent in Myanmar, or in another country, can offer you a better deal. It is true and an attempt of International Airline regulation to prevent air-ticketing monopoly in one single region, so that world-wide local ticket agents can exist.
Border Passing to Myanmar
Overland entry with a Border Pass is permitted at the following Border Check Points: Tachileik and Kawthaung on the Myanmar-Thai border and Muse on the Myanmar-Yunnan (China) border.
Airport Security in Myanmar
The X-Ray baggage inspection machines at Yangon International airport are all deemed film-safe. At other airports around the country the X-ray machines are considerably more dubious and we suggest you have all film hand-inspected.
VISA & EMBASSIES
Myanmar requires a valid passport of minimum 6 months and a Myanmar visa for all foreigners visiting the country. Tourist visas are issued for duration of 28 days starting from the day you enter the country, three months from the date of issue. You can obtain a visa at all Myanmar Embassies or Consulates with three photos and your passport. The international points of entry and exit in Myanmar are Yangon International Airport and Mandalay International Airport.
VISA ON ARRIVAL
We are also able to apply for visa on arrival, for travelers arriving at Yangon International Airport and Mandalay International Airport.
To apply for visa on arrival we need:
→ full names
→ fathers name
→ date of birth
→ passport number
→ date of issue
→ arrival and departure day/time
→ 1 passport picture (you can scan the picture and send to us)
It can take up to 3 weeks to get the approval, as all applications have to be send to NAYPYIDAW (the new capital). As soon as we have the approval we will send you a copy. You have to show the copy at the check-in counter for your flight to Yangon and also upon arrival at Yangon International Airport. Please bring also 2 passport pictures each with you. The Immigration at Yangon International Airport will issue the visa for you and our guide will be also there to assist you.
MONEY/CREDIT CARDS USAGE IN MYANMAR
The official Myanmar currency is Kyat (pronounced “Chat”). There are several authorized moneychangers in Yangon who will exchange US$ into Kyat also in black market. We recommend visitors to bring US Dollar in cash only – larger notes receiving a better rate in exchange. Exchange of other foreign currencies such as Euros, Yen and Pounds Sterling are time consuming and difficult. Authorized money changer throughout Myanmar will usually only accept US Dollars. Credit Cards are only accepted at a very few major hotels, airlines and some international shops and restaurants. We suggest bringing a sufficient amount of cash for personal expenses. The exchange of traveler cheques as well is very difficult and time consuming. Banks are closed on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
Master Card & Visa Card by using ATM machine where can only be used to draw only Kyats with exchange rate.
WHAT TO BRING TO MYANMAR
Remember that anything western that is difficult to find in small city but in big city will have high value. Sun hat, sun glasses, sun protection for your face and body, prescription medicines, insect repellent and an umbrella April to October (rain or shine). An antibiotic cream for minor cuts and scratches, extra pair of prescription glasses, a small flashlight and extra passport photos. WHAT TO WEAR: Shorts, short skirts or revealing clothing are not appropriate especially when visiting temples or any religious site. Myanmar is a conservative Buddhist culture and improper dress can be offensive. Please dress with respect for the local culture. Lightweight, easy to care clothes of cotton and cool fabrics are ideal all year round. A winter sweater or jacket and socks may be needed in the cool season when visiting up country especially around Inle Lake and Kalaw when the weather can drop to near freezing during the night. Wear sensible walking shoes which can be easily removed when required. Shoes and socks must be removed at pagodas and monasteries so it is advisable to bring a pair of slippers.
It’s a good idea to keep photocopies of all vital documents-passport data page, credit card numbers, airline tickets, travelers’ cheque serial numbers and so on – in a separate place from the originals. In case you lose the originals, replacement will be much easier to arrange if you can provide issuing agencies with copies. You might consider leaving extra copies of these documents with someone at home or in a safer place in Yangon or another point of entry. Your travel agency will give you a helping hand.
Electricity in Myanmar
When you plan to bring some electronic devices, make sure that these work with our domestic power A.C 220 – 250V 50Hz.The Power Line is 440V.
ACCOMMODATION IN MYANMAR
Improved a lot since 1996. Yangon offers a wide choice of accommodation including boutique hotels and international 5 star properties for a reasonable price. You can get a superior room including breakfast at a 4 star hotel already for US$ 60 per room/ per night. In Mandalay you have to pay for the same standard US$ 20 more per room/per night. The new Mandalay City Hotel (2-3 star), situated in the city center offers superior rooms and deluxe rooms for a reasonable price.
In Bagan and Inle Lake you have a choice of charming, traditional accommodation from 1-2 stars to 4 star hotels. Hotel developments continue around Inle Lake with the newly opened Inle Resort on the eastern shore of the lake. The Myanmar Treasure Resort now offers 18 junior suites and 10 superior rooms and is recommended as the best quality accommodation built on stilts. The renovated deluxe rooms at the Thazin Garden are some of the best in Bagan and the Kaday Aung Hotel is our recommendation for our superior class category.
Major developments of boutique style hotels take place at Ngapali Beach, but we have to check them first, before we are going to offer them to our clients. Till then we recommend the Amata Resort & Spa and the Sandoway Resort at Ngapali Beach. The Sandoway Resort has now also a swimming pool as well as air-condition in all rooms.
The Silver Beach Hotel is our recommendation for the standard category. For people who just want the beach atmosphere it is the perfect little Bungalow Hotel. The rooms are simple, but have air-con and the food is excellent. Meanwhile the Silver Beach has also 8 Deluxe Bungalows with sea view… Bungalows are 3 star accommodations. For all other places in Myanmar accommodation can be simple and basic.
FOOD & DRINKS IN MYANMAR
Myanmar cuisine uses rice or noodles as staple dishes, usually served with a variety of side dishes: curries with meat or fish, vegetables, salads, soup, condiments etc. Myanmar curries tend to be less chili-hot than those served in Thailand, In order to give travelers a true feeling for the Burma, Restaurant and food are carefully selected for hygiene as well as gastronomic considerations. Meals & drinks at International Hotels are considerably expensive. There are many good local restaurants with almost the same quality of food and hygiene as hotels but at 7reasonable prices.
Most of the restaurants in the major cities serve various dishes of Chinese, European, Thai and Indian cuisine. Myanmar dishes are oily, sour, salty and spicy. There are also a wide variety of local snacks and delicacies. Mouk-hin-kha (thin rice noodles served with fish gravy) and Ohn-noh-khauk-swe (noodles served with chicken chunks and coconut gravy) are the most popular in Myanmar. Shan food and delicacies also are available. Shan style of cooking belongs neither to Myanmar nor Chinese nor Thai cuisine but they taste really good in their own way. Click here for a list of recommended restaurants.
DRINKING WATER IN MYANMAR
Popular brand in Myanmar is Alpine purified drinking water; you can get everywhere. Dagon, Oasis, and other bottled water are readily available and some hotels provide complimentary. Please fetch at least a bottle of water with you throughout the day.
Medical Treatment in Myanmar
If any tourist gets sick in spite of all the precautions, many hospitals can cater for foreigners medical needs. Some are as follows:
• SOS Assistance
Inya Lake Hotel, 37 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Mayangone Township, Yangon.
Tel : (95-1) 66787, 667879
• Kandawgyi Clinic
Tel : (95-1) 530083
• Pacific Medical Centre & Dental Surgery
81, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road
Tel : (95-1) 548022
• Pun Hlaing International Hospital
Pun Hlaing Golf Estate, Hlaing Tharyar Township
Tel : (951) 684323, Fax : (951) 684324
BUSINESS HOURS & HOLIDAYS IN MYANMA
Government offices open from 9:30 am to 16:30 pm on weekdays. Banking hours are from 10:00 am to 14:00 pm. Private companies work daily except Sunday and gazette holidays. Shopping centers and super markets open daily. The most famous Bogyoke (Scott) market is open daily from 10:00 am to 16:00 pm except on Monday and gazette holidays. Note: The markets from Mandalay City closed in accordance with full moon day and Sabbath day of Myanmar Lunar calendar.
Public Holidays (2013)
JAN 4 Independence Day
FEB 12 Union Day
MAR 2 Peasant’s Day
MAR 26 Full moon day of Tabaung
MAR 27 Armed Forces Day
APR 13-16 Thingyan Festival (Water Festival)
APR 17 Myanmar New Year Day
MAY 1 May Day (Workers’ Day)
MAY 24 Full moon day of Kason
JUL 19 Martyrs’ Day
JUL 22 Full moon day of Waso
OCT 19 Thadingyut Festival of Lights
NOV 17 Tazaungdaing Festival of Lights
NOV 27 National Day
DEC 25 Christmas Day
POST & TELECOMMUNICATION IN MYANMAR
The postal service in Myanmar is definitely cheap. Of course, letters and postcards take quite some time to reach their destinations but usually most of them will arrive. Parcels may be sent and delivered in Myanmar but again it is rather time-consuming, especially if you want to pick up a parcel at the Foreign Post Office – bring along a lot of time and patience! Private services like DHL come at a price but are doing a good job. If you should wish to send bulky and heavy items home it can be done either by airfreight or by sea. In this case our guides will be willing to give you the necessary help and assistance. International calls can be made from major hotels and the Central Telegraph Office in Major cities. Whenever making phone calls from Myanmar it is important to ask for the price first – at some hotels the tariff might be double the official rate. The service is improving but connections are poor and international calls are expensive. Internet is available at several locations throughout the country, however, travelers have to be aware that their e-mail websites might not be available due to government restrictions (e.g. Yahoo, Hotmail and many other e-mail websites cannot be accessed) and connection speed is slower than you expected sometimes. You can bring your own laptop with you and also your cellular phone, but please remember that the local mobile telephone net is practically useless for tourists. But you can use internet phone P-fingo talk to other countries. Please check the price first!
ONE TIME GSM PREPAID CARD IN MYANMAR
Local calls are charged with US$ (0.3) per minute, international calls with US$ (1.5) per minute (for all countries) and incoming calls with US$ (0.05) per minute. To send SMS messages to foreign countries (for example Germany) is not possible. The GSM prepaid cards are available in each mobile shop and also at the City Mart.
Yadanarpon teleport opens a shop at Yangon international airport renting mobile phone handsets and SIM cards to foreign visitors. The shop will offer GSM, CDMA-450, and CDMA-800 SIM cards as well as various handsets. Both require a deposit of US$ 100.00. SIM cards and handsets rental charges will be US$ 2.00 per day. Smartphone handsets will also be available for US$ 4.00 per day. CDMA-800 SIM cards could be used to access the internet. The rental does not include call charges. Those renting a SIM card would need to purchase a “top up card”, which cost from Kyats 5,000.00 to Kyats 30,000.00
BEST TIME TO VISIT TO MYANMAR
You can visit Myanmar all the year round but the best time to come is between October and February as the weather during this period is neither too hot nor wet.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE MYANMAR
Make sure that you check your air ticket confirmation with respective airlines before you leave. Domestic, International and Offline air ticket centers are available in Yangon and can be communicated very easily. You can also check with your respective travel agents, so that they can arrange for your holiday in Myanmar as well as check up on your flight schedules. For further information you can view in the Airline Offices.
Gems and jewelry purchased from authorized dealers (with vouchers) are allowed to be taken out. But antiques are not allowed to be taken out of the country.
The following items are illegal to take out of the country:
• Prehistoric implements and artifacts
• Old coins
• Inscribed stones
• Historical documents
AIRPORT TAX IN MYANMAR
The airport tax is US$ 10 for international passengers, payable in FEC (Foreign Exchange Certificates). There is 1000ks airport tax for domestic flights. Keep the cleanest and crispest US$/FECs for your departure tax.