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Myanmar travel tips

There are useful information for traveller to Myanmar.


This page is here to help you answer all the questions you have before jumping in the plane to visit our country.
Other than the page on the weather, the visa formalities and the food that are on our website, we have also chosen some subjects that our clients often ask about.

 

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Buddhism in Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the most devout Buddhist populations in today’s world, and there are literally hundreds of temples, pagodas and monasteries scattered throughout this deeply religious country. When one enters a religious house of any description, you should always remove your shoes.
It is also a requirement to wear appropriate clothing, (i.e. no skimpy attire). It is a good idea for women to travel with a scarfe shawl to enable them to cover their shoulders before entering a religious site. If you are going to sit down in front of a Buddha at any time make sure your feet are pointing away from the religious icon, as to do otherwise is considered an insult to Buddha. It is also rude to touch a child on the top of their head, again because it is considered bad behavior and an insult to the child.

 


Currency
The local currency of Myanmar is the Kyat. It is not redeemable outside of the country, so be wary of the amount you have when it is time for you to leave. The only other negotiable money for goods and services accepted in Myanmar is the US Dollar, and only notes in pristine condition will be accepted. It is therefore necessary to have your cash reserves with you when you arrive, and to make sure you have plenty of small denomination notes with you as the average Burmese person is poor and you will draw looks of bewilderment if you produce large notes in most establishments. The Kyat is a floating currency and the best rates of exchange will be found at the Bogyoke Aung San Market, try not to change money at the airport as the rates there are miniscule by comparison.



myanmar peopleCredit cards
Few places in Myanmar recognise international credit cards or travelers cheques, a situation that may change, hopefully, with the democratisation of the country. The few ATM’s there are in the country are the same, and don’t recognise international credit cards, although several 5 star hotels do, but there is a12% surcharge for their service. This situation may change quickly as the new government hurtles towards greater democracy and allows more and more international businesses to enter the country.

 

Tipping ,Donations and Bribes
Tipping is not customary in Myanmar, but undoubtedly appreciated. Of course if you receive exceptional service it is up to you whether you do or don’t. However, the general public in Myanmar is poor, and often a small “donation” in exchange of a service is required, or a little “tea money” is asked for to expedite a matter. It is therefore a good idea to have some small Kyat notes with you, (K50, K100 or K200) when traveling as a small fee may be required to enter some places, or you may like to leave a small donation when leaving.

 


Prices
Price tags are rare so it is recommended that you approximately know the prices so that you don't pay more than it's worth. When purchasing items from shops or markets try to get 2 or 3 quotes first, from different shops or stalls, so you are not blatantly ripped off. Always remember that a good deal requires the seller, as well as the buyer, to be happy with the price paid.

 


Electricity and Electrical outlets
Voltage is the same as in Europe (220V), but outages occur regularly, even in Yangon, although many hotels and guest houses have generators to fill the gaps now Make sure you bring a multiple plug adaptor so that you can charge your electronic devices, and a torch, just in case you need it.

 


Yangoon1Hotels and Guesthouses

In Myanmar accommodation varies greatly, from elegant 5 star hotels to small privately owned guesthouses, of between 4 and 8 rooms. Many of the larger establishments are government controlled, and our advice is to try to spread your money around and where ever possible choose to stay in a privately run establishment to ensure the greatest number of people benefit from your tourist dollars.

 


Room standards
Usually standard, or deluxe, unless you are staying in a 5 star hotel or resort. By Standard room, it usually means that there's a small window, and deluxe may mean it has a refrigerator, but of no use to you unless the establishment has a generator. in case of power failures. Most rooms in hotels and guesthouses are equipped with the basic necessities, including beds, wardrobes, bathroom and television, but as in most places when traveling, ask to see a room before committing to take it.

 


Laundry
There's a laundry service in almost every hotel that has at least 2 stars, If not there are many laundry services available in the major cities and centers. You should have no difficulties finding one, however if you do ask for assistance to find one close to place you are staying, most times if you get your clothes in early in the day there is same day service. Ironing: you have to ask for it and you may have to pay extra charges.

 


Staying with the inhabitants

As it is now, it is basically impossible to stay outside of government approved places, but many private guesthouses are run as family concerns. These guesthouses are not as opulent as some of the more expensive hotels, but the experience of staying with a family is rewarding in itself. One hopes that as democracy takes a firm hold in Myanmar restrictions will be relaxed.

 


Photography requirements
You will find that most photographic needs are available in Myanmar. They may not be as prevalent as other countries of the region, but you will find them fairly easily. If you need assistance just ask the nearest “friendly face”.


monk in myanmarNew Year Festival
Myanmar celebrates their New Year (Thingyan) in April, with a water festival. The weather at this time of the year is quite warm so the festival can be lots of fun, but remember that most locals are on the move during this holiday period so if you are in country during this time make sure your accommodation is booked well in advance.

 

 

Shopping

There are bargains in many markets in Myanmar, heaps of beautiful handicrafts, clothing, jewelry genuine antiques and other items. Always get several quotes to avoid paying too much and barter with the seller as it is expected. Keep a smile on your face, don’t raise your voice, and you will find most purchases come at reasonable prices.

 


Restricted Areas

There remains restricted areas in Myanmar today. Some areas have had restrictions removed as the government seeks peace with the many ethnic tribal people and regions that make up this diverse country. Be aware that restrictions and movement can be curtailed at any time, although the government seems at last to be making genuine efforts to cease this practice.

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