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Friday, 20 October 2017

Travel Information

travelinform

I hope you have enjoyed reading our website. By now you may have decided where and when you wish to go and where you wish to stay once you arrive. I hope this section of our website will answer any questions that you may have. As there is a lot of information here we have divided things up into four categories.


About Myanmar

This section tells you a little about the country and its people, the landscape and seasons. This is also where you can find out when businesses and embassies are open, and when the holidays fall.

Planning Your Trip

This section explains how to find an embassy and apply for a visa, how to get to Myanmar, what money to bring, what to pack and how to get around once you are here.

 

In Myanmar

Here you will find information on customs rules, etiquette, food, shopping ... even tips on tipping!

After Your Trip

Lastly, this short section tells you how to give us feedback on your trip, and donate to charity in Myanmar.

 


History

The earliest civilisations in the area that is now Myanmar were established before the Christian era. The Rakhaing Kingdom of the Bay of Bengal coast is thought to have been established in the 4th Century BC and was known to the ancient Greeks. The Pyu, forerunners of the Bamar, established Kingdoms on the Ayeyarwady plains in the 3rd Century BC. The land that became Myanmar was a key trade link between China, India and beyond.

Bamar (Burmese) history really begins with the founding of the great city of Bagan in 849AD. The first Burmese empire, the golden period of Bamar history started in 1044 when King Anawrahta came to the throne. He was converted to Theravada Buddhism by a monk from the Mon Kingdom, which had colonised the southern lands around present day Yangon. In 1057 the Bamar defeated the Mon and Bagan went on to become the wealthy and influential capital of most of present-day Myanmar.

After the fall of Bagan, the country was split into 3 main kingdoms. The Rakhaing still controlled their lands in the west. The Mon re-established themselves and founded a Kingdom at present day Bago and in 1364, the Shan established the Kingdom of Inwa, near present-day Mandalay. In 1550, King Bayinnanung came to the throne, reunified the country and defeated the Siamese (Thai) at Ayuthaya. This period is known as the second Myanmar Empire.

The third Myanmar Empire, or Konbaung Dynasty began in 1752 under King Alaungpaya. During the years that followed the Rakhaing Kingdom was brought under Bamar control and the Siamese were again defeated. In 1824 the British Empire took control of Rakhaing and the far south of Myanmar, and in 1853 took Yangon, which they renamed Rangoon. In 1885 the British defeated the last King, Thibaw, and all Burma became part of the British Empire.

Burma gained its independence on the 4th January, 1948. For many years the country was all-but closed to outsiders, a situation that continued until the early 1990s. During the 1990s the government changed many of the countries place names back to their pre-colonial names, and in 2005 a new capital was established at Nay Pyi Taw (‘Royal Capital’).

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People

The government of Myanmar recognises more than 100 ‘national races’, the term used to describe the different ethnic groups, tribes and cultures that make up the population. The most numerous group is the Bamar (Burmese), who comprise around 65% of the population. The largest minority group are the Shan, who make up around 9% of the population and are related to, and speak a similar language to the Thai. Other large minorities include the Kachin, Chin, Kayah, Kayin (Karen), Mon and Rakhaing. The culturally-rich people of Myanmar are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality – The people themselves are the highlight of a visit to Myanmar.

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Religion

Some 89% of Myanmar citizens practise Theravada Buddhism. About 4% of the population are Christian and a further 4% are Muslim. Most Christians and Muslims are either of ethnic Indian descent, or from the Kayin, Kachin and Chin national races. The remaining 3% of the population are mainly Hindu or Animist.

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Language

There are some 107 languages and dialects spoken in Myanmar. The national language is Myanmar (Bamar), which belongs to the Tibeto-Burman language group and is spoken or understood by about 90% of the population. English is not widely spoken except in areas frequented by foreign tourists and businesspeople such as airports, hotels and tourist sites. Mr Myanmar Travel can provide professional English-speaking guides, and guides fluent in other languages on request. We can also provide English-speaking drivers for driving tours of Myanmar.

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Public Holidays

Government offices, embassies, and many shops will close on the following dates. Note that the dates of Buddhist holidays (set by the lunar calendar) vary from year to year. Please refer to the ‘Festivals’ page of our website for scheduled dates in the coming year.

  • 4th January - Independence Day.

  • 12th February - Union Day.

  • Full Moon Day of Tabaung. (February / March)

  • 2nd March - Peasant's Day.

  • 27th March - Armed Force Day.

  • Thingyan – The Water Festival. (April)

  • Myanmar New Year. (April)

  • Full Moon Day of Kason. (April / May)

  • 1st May – Worker’s Day.

  • Full Moon Day of Waso. (June / July)

  • 19th July – Martyr’s Day.

  • Full Moon Day of Thadingyut. (October / November)

  • National Day. (November / December)

  • Full Moon Day of Tazaungmon. (November / December)

  • 25th December - Christmas Day.

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Business Hours

Government offices and Post Offices open Monday to Friday, 09:30 until 16:30. Private business offices may open for slightly longer hours and open on Saturday mornings. Small shops and supermarkets often open 7 days a week from 09.00 or 10.00 until as late as 21.00. Shops in quiet small towns may keep shorter hours and larger businesses are usually closed on weekends.

Teashops and restaurants keep highly variable hours. Many teashops open at dawn for commuters and market shoppers, and close in the afternoon or early evening. Other teashops may only open in the shade of late afternoon and may stay open as late as midnight. Local restaurants serving breakfasts such as Mohinga open early but many restaurants specialise in serving lunch. These open later and are typically closed by 19.00 or 20.00. Restaurants aimed at the tourist trade may close later, at around 21.00. Bars and ‘Beer Stations’ are usually closed by 22.30.

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Time

Myanmar Standard Time (MST) is GMT/UTC + 6.30.
Therefore 12.00 noon in Yangon is 05.30 in London, 11.00 in India and 12.30 in Bangkok.

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Safety and Security.

Myanmar is an extremely safe country for foreign visitors. There is almost no street crime and there are no ‘no go’ areas to be aware of. Pavements (sidewalks) are often in poor condition so mind your step when out walking. It is a good idea to carry a torch (flashlight) at night as there may be inadequate street lighting. Theft from hotels is very rare but it is a wise precaution to use room, or hotel safes where provided. Please ensure you have an adequate travel insurance policy to cover your trip.

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Passport and Visa

Visitors must have a valid passport and visa to enter Myanmar. Your passport must be valid for at least six months after your planned departure from Myanmar. Visas cannot be arranged on arrival in Myanmar, they must be arranged in advance of travel. There are two ways of obtaining a visa.

  • From a Myanmar embassy or consulate overseas. We generally advise that you obtain your visa from the Myanmar embassy in your home country where possible.

  • Mr Myanmar Travel may be able to arrange a VOA (Visa on Arrival) for you in conjunction with booked travel arrangements. Please note that we need to start the application process at least 3 weeks before your planned arrival date in Myanmar. If you are interested in this service please ask us for further details.

Your visa is your permission to enter Myanmar and the validity period may range from one to three months. This means that you must enter Myanmar within this timeframe. Upon arrival your passport will be endorsed with an entry stamp giving you permission to remain in Myanmar for a period of four weeks (tourist visa) or ten weeks (business visa). Visas are not extendable but immigration at Yangon airport will allow an over-stay of up to 14 days on a tourist visa. If you overstay your visa you should present your passport at the immigration office at Yangon airport before the passport check and pay a fee of US$3 per day of your overstay plus a US$3 administration fee.
Tourist visa applications are generally straightforward though the procedure may vary from embassy to embassy. We would advise you to always contact the embassy concerned in advance of application to check the current requirements. Applicants for business visas need to show a letter of invitation from a registered Myanmar company.

 

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Embassies Abroad

Following is a list of Myanmar embassies overseas. This information was supplied by the Myanmar Hotel and Tourism Directory, 2009 edition.

Australia.
22, Arkana Street,
Yarralumla,
Canberra. A.C.T. 2600.
Tel: (61-2) 62733811, 62733751.
Fax: (61-2) 62734357.

Bangladesh.
No. 3, Block-Ne (L), Road NO.84,
Gulshan-2, Dhaka.
Tel: (88-02) 9888903.
Fax: (88-02) 8823740.

Belgium.
29, Boulevard de Regent,
1000 Brussels.
Tel: (32-2) 25134175.
Fax: (32-2) 25131475.

Brazil.
Shis QI .07 Conjunto 14, Casa 05,
Lago Sul,
CEP 71615.340 Brasilia-DF.
Tel: (55-61) 2483747, 3643145.
Fax: (55-61) 3642747.

Brunei Darussalam.
No. 14, Lot 2185, 46292,
Simpang 212,
Jalan Kampong Rimba Gadong 3385,
Post Code BE-3119,
P.O. Box 1309,
Post Office Gadong 3113.
Tel: (673-2) 450506, 450507.
Fax: (673-2) 451008.

Cambodia.
181, Preah Norodom Boulevard,
Boeung Kang 1,
Khan Chamcarmon, Phnom Penh.
Tel: (855-23) 213663, 213664.
Fax: (855-23) 213665.

Canada.
The Sandringham Building,
85, Range Road, Suite 902 – 903,
Ottawa, Ontario, KIN 8J6.
Tel: (011) (1-613) 2326434.
Fax: (011) (1-613) 2326435.

China.
No.6, Dong Zhi Men Wai Street,
Chao Yang District, Beijing, 100660.
Tel: (86-10) 6532 1584, 6532 1425, 6532 1488.
Fax: (86-10) 6532 1344.

(Consulate-General)
Bldg-3, 3rd Floor, Camelia Hotel,
No.96, Dong Feng Road,
Kunming.
Tel: (086) (871) 3176609.
Fax: (086) (871) 3176309.
(Consulate-General)
Room 2401 – 2405 and 2436 – 2440, Sun Hung Kai Center,
30, Harbour Road, Wanchai,
Hong Kong.
Tel: (001) (85-2) 28277929, 28279843.
Fax: (001) (85-2) 28276597.

Egypt.
No.24, Mohamed Mazhar Street,
Zamalek,
Cairo, 11211.
Tel: (20-2) 7362644, 7354176.
Fax: (20-2) 7366793.

France.
No.60, Rue de Courcelles,
7500 Paris.
Tel: (33-1) 42255695.
Fax: (33-1) 42564941.

Germany.
Zimmer STR 56,
10117, Berlin Mitte.
Tel: (49-30) 20615710.
Fax: (49-30) 20615720.

Greece.
10, Skouze Street,
Piraeus, GR 18536.
Tel: (30-21) 4526026, 45206068.
Fax: (30-21) 4524920.

India.
3/50-F Nyaya Marg,
Chanakyapuri,
New Delhi – 110021.
Tel: (91-11) 6889007, 6889008.
Fax: (91-11) 6877 942.

(Consulate-General)
119, Mother Theresa Sarani (Park Street),
White House, Block-D, 4th Floor,
Kolkata, 700016. West Bengal.
Tel: (91-33) 22275522, 22275525.
Fax: (91-33) 22275523.

Indonesia.
No. 109, Jl. Haji Agus Salim, Menteng,
Jakarta Pusat.
Tel: (008) (62-21) 327684, 3140440.
Fax: (008) (62-21) 327204.

Israel.
No.26, Hayarkon Street,
Tel Aviv 68011.
Tel: (014) (972-3) 5170760, 5170761.
Fax: (014) (972-3) 5171440.

Italy.
Via Della Camill Uccia 551,
00135 Rome.
Tel: (39-06) 36303753, 36304056.
Fax: (39-06) 36298566.

Japan.
8-26, 4-Chome, Kita-Shinagawa,
Shinagawa-Ku,
Tokyo, 140-0001.
Tel: (0041 010) (81-03) 34419291, 34419292, 34419029.
Fax: (0041 010) (81-03) 34477394.

Korea.
723-1 / 724-1, Hannam-Dong,
Yongsamn-Ku,
Seoul 140-210.
Tel: (002) (82-2) 7923341, 7969858, 7967814.
Fax: (002) (82-2) 7965570.

Lao PDR.
Ban Thong Kang, Sok Palaung,
P.O Box No. 11. Vientiane.
Tel: (856-21) 314910, 314911.
Fax: (856-21) 314913.

Malaysia.
10, Jalan Mengkuang,
Off Jalang Ru,
Kuala Lumpur 55000.
Tel: (603) 42560280, 42570680.
Fax: (603) 42568320.

Nepal.
Krishna – Galli, Patan Gate,
Lalitpur, GPO Box 2437,
Kathmandu.
Tel: (97-71) 5521788, 5534766, 5534778.
Fax: (97-71) 5523402.

Netherlands.
Baronielann 59 48 18 PC Breda.
Tel: (31-76) 5654870.
Fax: (31-76) 5317327.

Pakistan.
No. 201, Street No.10,
Sector E-7, Islamabad.
Tel: (92-51) 2822460, 2828828.
Fax: ((92-51) 2828819.

Philippines.
4th Floor, Xanland Centre,
152, Amorsolo Street,
Lagaspi Village, Makati City,
Metro Manila.
Tel: (63-2) 8172373, 8129587.
Fax: (63-2) 8175895.

Russia.
41, UL Bolshaya Nikitskaya,
Moscow.
Tel: (810) (7-095) 2910534.
Fax: (810) (7-095) 9563186.

Serbia.
Kneza Miloza 72,
Belgrade 11000.
Tel: (381-11) 645128, 645420.
Fax: (381-11) 3614968.

Singapore.
15 St. Martin's Drive,
Singapore 257996.
Tel: (001-65) 67350209.
Fax: (001-65) 67356236.

South Africa.
319 Murray Street,
Brooklyn, Pretoria,
P.O Box 12121,
Queenswood 0121.
Tel: (09) (27-12) 4606544, 4604333.
Fax: (09) (27-12) 3460746.

Sri Lanka.
No. 108, Barnes Place,
Colombo 7.
Tel: (94-11) 681197, 672197.
Fax: (94-11) 681196.

Switzerland.
47, Avenue Blanc,
1202 Geneva.
Tel: (41-22) 7317540, 7317549, 7384882.

Thailand.
132, Sathorn Nua Road,
Bangkok 10500.
Tel : (001) (662) 2332237, 2344698, 2337250.
Fax: (001) (662) 236-6898.

Turkey.
Cetin Emec Bul Vari,
7 Cadde 55/4,
Ankara.
Tel: (90-312) 4725078.
Fax: (90-312) 4725016.

United Kingdom.
19a, Charles Street,
London, W1J 5DX.
Tel: (44-207) 76296966, 74998841, 76294486.
Fax: (44-207) 76294169.

United States of America.
2300, S Street,
N.W. Washington D.C. 20008.
Tel: (011) (1-202) 3329044, 3329045, 3329049.
Fax: (011) (1-202) 35329046.

10, East 77th Street,
New York. N.Y. 10021.
Tel: (011) (1-212) 5351310, 5351311.
Fax: (011) (1-212) 7372421.

Vietnam.
Building No. A-3 (101-104),
Van Phuc Diplomatic Quarters,
Kim Ma Street, Hanoi.
Tel: (84-4) 8453369, 8232056.
Fax: (84-4) 8452404.

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Travel Insurance

Mr Myanmar Travel requires as a condition of booking that you arrange comprehensive travel insurance to cover you during your stay in Myanmar. Mr Myanmar Travel does not organise travel insurance for you. Whilst Mr Myanmar Travel and its agents and suppliers will try and assist you in the event of an emergency, we cannot take the place of a travel insurance company, offer similar services or pay any bills on your behalf.

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Vaccinations

For the most up-to-date information available for recommended vaccinations and prophylaxis for Myanmar, please refer to:

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Currency and Exchange

The official currency in Myanmar is Kyat (pronounced ‘chat’). Banknotes are produced in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 500, 1,000, 5,000 and 10,000 Kyat. The value of the Kyat changes daily but at the time of writing (June 2017) the currency was trading at a rate of around 1,350 Kyat to one US Dollar. Currency may be exchanged at local banks and with licensed bureau de change desks. Rates of exchange at the airport on arrival are competitive. You will obtain the best rate of exchange using US$100 bills. Smaller US Dollar bills can also be exchanged at a slightly inferior rate. Acceptance of other currencies, such as Euro and Singapore Dollars may be limited to certain outlets. Myanmar also has a growing network of ATM machines. We would recommend that you check with your card-issuer, prior to arrival in Myanmar, that your card will work in local ATM machines. Cash withdrawls from a Myanmar ATM will incur a fee averaging 5,000 Kyat per transaction. We recommend against changing money with street moneychangers as short-changing is common. 

Most cash transactions in Myanmar may be completed in local currency (Kyat) but occasionally US Dollars will be requested. We would recommend carrying some smaller denomination US Dollar banknotes for these occasions. Credit and Debit cards are of limited use in Myanmar and most vendors do not accept them. Please do not rely on being able to use Credit and Debit cards to make purchases or settle bills in Myanmar and note that where card payments are accepted, an additional handling fee may be payable. Travellers Cheques are not accepted in Myanmar.   


VERY IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING CURRENCY EXCHANGE IN MYANMAR.

Myanmar has a basic banking system and most International banks do not have a representative office in the country. Myanmar is still predominantly a 'cash economy' so we recommend travelling with cash US Dollars.


When acquiring your cash US Dollars for your trip to Myanmar it is essential that you follow the following guidelines:

• Banknotes should be in pristine, mint condition. There should be no deep folds or creases, marks, writing, ink-stamps, stains, tears or other blemishes on the bills.
• Check the serial numbers. Banknotes starting with the codes ‘CB’ or ‘AB’ are not exchangeable.
• Banknotes should be post-1996 issues featuring large president’s heads.

Most vendors, hotels, banks and exchange desks in Myanmar will not accept US Dollar banknotes that do not meet the above criteria. A leading reason for assistance to travellers given by Embassies in Myanmar, regards travellers running out of money due to reliance on credit cards, travellers cheques or having poor quality banknotes refused by local banks and vendors.

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Ports of Entry

Yangon International Airport is the major port of entry into Myanmar. Direct flights are available from Bangkok (Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways and Air Asia), Singapore (Silkair and Jetstar), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia Airlines), Taipei, Kunming, Guangzhou, Kolkata and Gaya (Indian Airlines). Direct international flights also link Mandalay to Kunming.

It is also possible to enter and exit the country via three border crossings; Muse (to / from China), Kawthoung and Tachileik (to / from Thailand). Mr Myanmar Travel can arrange the permit necessary to cross a Myanmar land border in conjunction with booked travel arrangements. Obtaining this permit can take up to 3 or 4 weeks so if you plan to cross a land border, please make your booking with us far enough in advance to allow us to complete the process.

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Transportation

Myanmar is the largest country in mainland South East Asia and has a generally slow, poor standard land transport infrastructure. Mr Myanmar Travel recommends travelling by air, riverboat or private car. We arrange flights only with the country’s three privately-owned domestic airlines; the luggage allowance on internal flights is 20kg. Mr Myanmar Travel uses the best quality air-conditioned cars available to us for day tours, airport transfers and long-distance travel. Minivans, 4WD vehicles, coaches and non air-conditioned cars are available on request. Mr Myanmar Travel can also arrange travel by both ferry and cruise ship and can arrange boat charters for our guests.

Within cities such as Yangon unmetered taxis and ‘saiq-ka’ (cycle-rickshaws) are available for hire. Fares should be negotiated in advance and start at about 1,200 Kyat for a short taxi ride and 500 Kyat for a saiq-ka. Taxis hired from a hotel of shopping centre will generally cost more. Bicycles can be rented in some locations around Myanmar, notably Bagan.

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Electricity and sockets

The electricity supply in Myanmar is erratic; power cuts and ‘surges’ are common. Electricity is supplied at 220 – 240 volts. Most hotels and many restaurants and shops are equipped with generators to provide power during blackouts. The power supplied by generators may sometimes not be sufficient to run an air conditioner. There are many different kinds of sockets in use in Myanmar. We recommend that visitors bring a universal adaptor for their electrical appliances as well as a surge protector.

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Packing List

Everybody has their own ideas about what to pack for a holiday. Here are a few hints, based on questions we have been asked before, regarding packing for a trip to Myanmar.

Myanmar is a hot, tropical country so we recommend that you wear cool, light-coloured cotton clothing. During your trip you will doubtless be visiting pagodas and monasteries. When visiting such places, you should wear long trousers (or skirt or dress), and a shirt (or T-shirt, blouse, top or dress) that covers the shoulders. You will also be required to go barefoot within such places, as well as in any local homes you are invited to. We recommend that you bring sandals or slip-on shoes for these occasions. If you are trekking, we suggest that you bring some strong walking shoes that support the ankles. If you are travelling in the hills in the cooler winter season (Inle Lake, Kalaw, Kengtung etc.) you will need some warmer clothing such as a jacket or thick fleece for cold evenings.

You will probably need to take precautions against the hot sun. We suggest bringing high-factor sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and maybe an umbrella (portable shade!). That umbrella is, of course, a good idea if you are visiting during the green season. To protect yourself against mosquitoes and biting insects, bring some insect repellent along with you.
If you have any favourite brands of toiletries, you should bring them with you as they may not be available locally. You should also bring any prescription medication from home as well, along with the prescription itself or a note from your doctor. We suggest that you bring a small medical kit containing such items as oral rehydration mixture, diarrhoea tablets and perhaps a general antibiotic. If you are travelling to an area where malaria is present you should obtain your prophylaxis in your home country and begin your course of tablets before you arrive. Sanitary pads are available from supermarkets in Myanmar but you should bring tampons with you.

Lastly, remember to bring any cables, memory cards, batteries or other accessories that you may need for your camera, iPod, laptop or any other electronic device as there is a very limited choice of such items available in Myanmar. Bring a strong, waterproof bag to carry your valuable items in and a universal adapter and surge protector so that you can recharge your equipment safely. We also suggest that you bring a quality torch (flashlight) for exploring caves and ancient pagodas, as well as for finding your way home at night!

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Customs and Immigration

You will be given a standard customs declaration form to fill out on arrival in Myanmar. Regulations state that you should declare foreign currency in excess of US$2000. You should also declare any valuable items such as jewellery. Laptop computers, cameras, mobile phones and iPods can be taken into the country for personal use though you may be asked to declare them. Myanmar currency cannot be imported or exported. The duty free allowance is as follows:

  • Two bottles of liquor.

  • Two cartons of cigarettes or 100 cigars.

  • 1.5 lbs of tobacco.

  • One pint of perfume or Eau de cologne.

Export Restrictions
The export of the following items is prohibited:

  • Archaeologically valuable items.

  • Antiques.

  • Gems and Jewellery (Unless bought from a certified shop and accompanied by a sales voucher / export permit voucher).

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Do's and Don'ts

Every country has its own traditions, customs and etiquette, and Myanmar is no exception. We thought we would mention a few points here so that you can impress the local people with your understanding and appreciation of their culture, and avoid unknowingly causing offence.

A key concept amongst Myanmar Buddhists is ‘Cetana’. There is no exact translation but it generally means to have good intentions and benevolence. It is the act of helping others, feeding guests, showing kindness – without expecting anything in return. Most visitors to Myanmar fall in love with the country and its people; the ‘cetana’ they experience may be part of the reason why.

Myanmar people are taught from an early age to respect others, and particularly respect monks, religious leaders and their elders. The following are tips on respectful and appropriate behaviour:

  • Take off your shoes at the entrance to a private home. Mats and carpets are meant to be sat on, so do not step on and soil them.

  • As a Buddha image is as revered as the Buddha himself, shoes should also be removed at the entrance of any Buddhist shrine, pagoda or monastery.

  • Your feet are the lowest part of your body so do not put your feet on a table, step over anyone or point your feet towards another person or a Buddha image. Your head is the highest part of your body, so do not touch anyone on the head, even a child.

  • Do not touch a Myanmar woman. Men should not offer to shake hands with a woman; if a woman wishes to shake hands she will offer her hand first.

  • Monks and nuns should not be touched. When handing an offering to a monk or nun, use both hands and place the offering in their bowl or on a table within their reach.

  • Do not sit on a chair at an equal height to, or higher than a monk or nun. Women should not sit above men, for instance on the roof of a boat or bus.

  • When handing a gift or business card to another person, use your right hand whilst touching your right elbow with your left hand. When handing a gift to an elder, use both hands.

  • Myanmar people dress conservatively. Please avoid wearing revealing clothing except on a recognised resort beach. In pagodas and monasteries you should keep your legs and shoulders covered.

  • Couples should avoid public displays of affection.

  • Do not lose your temper in public. This will cause all present to lose face and will only complicate matters.

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Food and Drink

One of the great delights of travelling in Myanmar is sampling the local cuisine. A typical meal as served in a local home or rice shop would consist of a plate of T’amin (rice), the basis of most meals along with a curry or two (usually not spicy), soup (often sour) accompanied by a plate of raw and / or blanched vegetables and various condiments. One of our favourite restaurants in Bagan boasts a table of more than 20 different curries and condiments from which to choose. Some of our favourite dishes include:

Shan Noodles – often topped with chicken.
Butterfish Curry – made with a local freshwater fish.
Lahpet – Pickled tealeaves served with fried nuts and beans.
Kachin Fish – steamed in herbs.
And Mr Myanmar’s personal favourite, Mohinga, which I would happily eat three times a day!

Chinese and Indian cuisine is also easy to find in Myanmar and quality western food can be obtained in most main towns and resorts. There are also high quality Korean and Japanese restaurants in Yangon. Vegetarian dishes appear on most menus so keeping to a meat-free diet should not present any problems. Food is generally cheap when bought from local restaurants - a full meal would cost only 1,500 – 4,000 kyats.

Teashops are a Myanmar institution; they seem to be everywhere! Tea is served milky, hot and sweet and chased with glasses of Chinese-style weak green tea. Teashops are also a great place to snack and meet local people. In Yangon, bakeries are the latest craze. Our favourite chain, Ice Berry makes some of the tastiest doughnuts we’ve tried anywhere – for only 300 Kyat. Some bakeries double as restaurants, even bars and are the standard place for young Myanmar men to take their girlfriends on a date.

Locally produced Myanmar Beer has won 13 international gold medals in recent years and is acclaimed as one of the best beers in Asia. A glass of draught beer in a local bar costs only around 500 Kyat. Myanmar produces its own wine from vineyards in Shan State and the Strawberry wine is also worth seeking out. High quality coffee is now available in Myanmar though teashops generally serve instant. Brand name soft drinks such as Coca Cola are available in main towns and locally produced carbonated drinks are cheap and available everywhere

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Health

Mr Myanmar Travel recommends that travellers follow the usual health precautions common to all tropical countries. Drink, and brush your teeth with bottled water. Ice available from higher standard hotels is usually made with boiled water and is safe but we recommend avoiding the ice supplied by some street side restaurants. Avoid eating raw vegetables and fruit that you cannot cut or peel yourself.

Take precautions against the strong tropical sun. We recommend using a high factor sunscreen and perhaps wearing a hat. We recommend that you bring sunscreen with you as high quality products may not be available locally. Many local women carry an umbrella to provide shade from the midday sun. Guard against insect bites by covering your legs in the evening and using insect repellent.

If you are taking prescription medication you should bring an adequate supply with you to last your trip as you may not be able to buy the same medication locally. If you are travelling to a malarial area you should commence your course of anti-malarial tablets before you arrive. A yellow certificate will only be requested if you arriving from an infected country.

Should you fall ill in Myanmar we recommend that you contact your travel insurance company immediately for assistance. The most recommended health clinic in Myanmar is the International SOS Clinic at the Inya Lake Hotel, Yangon; telephone number: (01) 667 879.

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Post and Communications

The postal service in Myanmar can be unreliable, so we do not recommend posting anything of value. If you wish to buy an item in Myanmar that requires shipping to your home country, we would suggest that you make your purchase with a well-known and reliable company and ask them to arrange shipping for you. The telephone service in Myanmar is not of a high standard. Whilst local calls are reasonably priced, international calls can be expensive. International calls can be made from IDD phones at hotels and telephone offices and payment will be requested in US Dollars. International roaming is not possible in Myanmar. Pre-paid SIM cards are available to purchase in some hotels and supermarkets (starting from US$20) but may not work in foreign-registered mobile phones. To call Myanmar from overseas, the international country code is (95).

Internet cafes are common in Yangon and are becoming increasingly common elsewhere, and prices are very reasonable. Internet services are also commonly available at hotels. The internet connection is usually slower than in most developed countries. Gmail is the most commonly used email service; Gaining access to Hotmail, Yahoo and Facebook accounts can sometimes be difficult. Most internet cafes can help you make overseas phone calls via services such as Skype, Gtalk and Pfingo at reasonable prices.

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Tipping and Donations

Tipping is not customary in Myanmar however tourism has introduced this concept to the country. Airport porters will expect a tip and in hotels, staff such as bellboys and waiters may be used to being tipped by foreign visitors. Your tour guide and driver may also be accustomed to receiving a tip when they bid you farewell. Myanmar does however, have a concept known as ‘tea money’. If somebody offers, for instance, to guide you through a market, or find the key-holder at a remote temple, they may be hoping for a little tea money for their service. Mr Myanmar Travel suggests that you keep some small denomination Kyat notes (K200, K500) to offer in these situations.

Donations may be requested at some Pagodas and other sites. It is your choice to make a donation or not. Local Myanmar people tend to be as generous as their finances allow when making donations to Pagodas and Monasteries.

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Photography

Myanmar is a wonderfully photogenic country. Dawn is one of the best times of day to take pictures, before the bright sun is high in the sky. This is also a country of beautiful sunsets; the pagodas of Bagan, U Bein Bridge at Amarapura, the breathtaking Shwedagon and all the West-facing beaches boast gorgeous sunset views. Mr Myanmar Travel ends its day-tours, where possible at sunset-view locations.

The people of Myanmar are usually very happy to be photographed but we suggest that you ask for permission first. You should avoid photographing military installations, soldiers and bridges. Colour print film is available in the country but there may be limited choice. We suggest that you bring your own memory cards with you. Internet cafes can burn photos onto a CD for a very reasonable charge. Tourism is an established industry in Myanmar so there should be no problems taking a camera with you into the country. If you have a large amount of photography equipment with you on arrival you may be asked to declare it and you may be asked questions regarding the purpose of your visit.

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Entrance Fees

Many famous, and some not so famous pagodas, museums, attractions and historical sites levy a reasonable entrance fee. Ticket prices may be listed and payable in either Myanmar Kyat or US Dollars and should be paid on arrival. As change is sometimes not available we would recommend you bring small denomination bills with you in order to be able to pay the exact charge. Children under 11 or 12 years of age may have the fee waived in some locations. In a few locations a small camera fee may also be payable. To ensure the flexibility of excursions, Mr Myanmar Travel will not usually include the cost of entrance fees in quoted tour prices. Where entrance of zone fees are included, these will be be clearly itemised on your itinerary. As far as we are aware the fees listed here are correct but they are of course subject to change without notice.

  • Yangon.

  • Shwedagon Pagoda $10

  • Sule Pagoda $2

  • Botataung Pagoda $2

  • Ngahtatgyi Pagoda $2

  • National Races Village $3

  • Gems Museum $5

  • National Museum $5

  • Yangon Zoo $5

  • Thaketa Crocodile Farm $2

  • People’s Square and People’s Park $3

  • Kyauktan.

  • Yele Pagoda $2

  • Thanlyin.

  • Kyaik-khauk Pagoda $1Bago Area.

  • Bago Zone Fee $10

  • Moeyungyi Wetlands $2

  • Kyaiktiyo.

  • Golden Rock $6

  • Bagan Area.

  • Bagan Zone Fee $25

  • Bagan Archaeological Museum $5

  • Pakhangyi Monastery $8

  • Salay $3

  • Mandalay Area.

  • Mandalay Zone Fee (Mandalay, Inwa and Amarapura) $ 10

  • Gem Market $1

  • Sagaing & Mingun $3

  • Pyin Oo Lwin.

  • National Kandawgyi Gardens $5

  • Monywa.

  • Thanboddhay Pagaoda $3

  • Hpo Win Daung Caves $2

  • Shan State.

  • Inle Lake $13

  • Sagar $6

  • Pindaya Cave $5

  • Kakku $3

  • Rakhine State.

  • Mrauk U Zone Fee $10

  • Sittwe Museum $3

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Shopping

Myanmar is not a country of huge shopping malls and designer outlets. It is, however, an excellent place to shop for high-quality handicrafts. Lacquer ware is probably the most popular purchase; the highest quality products are made in Bagan and near Monywa. The best quality items take months to make and may have 7 to 15 layers of lacquer and several colours.
The greatest variety of tapestries can be found in Mandalay where they are made. Items with overlapping lines of sequins are a sign of quality. Another very popular purchase is traditional puppets. Myanmar puppets are very beautiful and distinctive – an authentic reminder of your visit. Other popular purchases include colourful parasols, paintings and longyis – the skirt-like garments worn by most Myanmar people. Another very authentic reminder of your visit is Thanakha, the facial paste worn by Myanmar women. It’s good for the skin and can be bought pre-prepared in small tubs.

Many visitors also buy gems and jewellery made from locally-mined precious stones, and antiques. We recommend that you purchase such items from well-known outlets and obtain the receipt and export permit required to take them out of the country. A good one-stop-shop for souvenirs is Bogyoke Aung San Market (Also known as Scott Market) in Yangon. Remember to bargain!

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Embassies in Myanmar

All of the following embassies are located in Yangon unless otherwise stated. Should you wish to obtain a visa for onward travel from any of these embassies, we recommend calling them in advance of your arrival in Myanmar in order to ensure that they can provide the necessary service. The international country code for Myanmar is (95) and the telephone code for Yangon is (01). The following information was supplied by the Myanmar Hotel and Tourism Directory, 2009 edition.

  1. Australia. 88, Strand Rd. Kyauktada. Tel: 251797, 251798.
  2. Bangladesh. 11-B, Than Lwin Street. Bahan. Tel: 515275, 526144.
  3. Consulate. 56, Main Road, South Lanmadaw Quarters, Sittwe. Tel: 043 22241.
  4. Brunei. 317 / 319, U Wizara Road. Sanchaung. Tel: 526985, 524285.
  5. Cambodia. 25 (3B / 4B), New University Avenue Road. Bahan. Tel: 549609, 540964.
  6. China. 1, Pyi Htaung Su Yeiktha Street. Dagon. Tel: 221280, 221281, 224097.
  7. Consulate. Corner of 22nd street and 63rd Street, Mandalay. Tel: 02 34457, 34458.
  8. Egypt. 81, Pyi Htaung Su Yeiktha Street. Dagon. Tel: 222886, 222887.
  9. France. 102, Pyi Htaung Su Yeiktha Street. Dagon. Tel: 212523, 212532.
  10. Germany. 9, Bogyoke Aung San Museum Street. Bahan. Tel: 548951, 548952.
  11. India. 545 / 547, Merchant St. Kyauktada. Tel: 391219, 388412.
  12. Consulate. T (1 / 25), 65th Street, Corner of Ngu War Street, Mandalay. Tel: 02 80335, 81037.
  13. Indonesia. 100, Pyi Htaung Su Yeiktha Street. Dagon. Tel: 254465, 254469.
  14. Israel. 15, Kha Paung Street. Hlaing. Tel: 515115, 515116.
  15. Italy. 3, Inya Myaing Road. Bahan. Tel: 527100, 527101.
  16. Japan. 100, Nat Mauk Street. Bahan. Tel: 549644, 549645.
  17. Korea. 97, University Avenue Road. Bahan. Tel: 527142, 527143.
  18. Laos. A1, Diplomatic Quarter, Taw Win Street. Dagon. Tel: 222482.
  19. Malaysia. 82, Pyi Htaung Su Yeiktha Street. Dagon. Tel: 220248, 220249.
  20. Nepal. 16, Nat Mauk Yeikthar Street. Tamwe. Tel: 545880, 557168.
  21. Pakistan. A4, Diplomatic Quarter, Pyay Road. Dagon. Tel: 222881.
  22. Philippines. 50, Saya San Road. Bahan. Tel: 558149, 558150.
  23. Russia. 38, Saga Wah Street. Dagon. Tel: 241955, 254161.
  24. Saudi Arabia. 1-A, WSB Centre, 14, Pyay Road, 5 ½ Mile. Hlaing. Tel: 536837, 514401.
  25. Serbia. 114 / A, Inya Road. Bahan. Tel: 515282, 515283.
  26. Singapore. 238, Dhama Zedi Road. Bahan. Tel: 559001.
  27. Sri Lanka. 34, Taw Win Street. Dagon. Tel: 222812.
  28. Sweden. 21-A, Pyi Thu Street, 7 Mile. Mayangon. Tel: 650346, 703083.
  29. Switzerland. 63, Shwe Taung Gyar Street. Bahan. Tel: 524982.
  30. Thailand. 94, Pyay Rd. Dagon. Tel: 226721, 226728.
  31. UK. 80, Strand Rd. Kyauktada. Tel: 370863, 370864.
  32. USA. 110, University Avenue. Kamayut. Tel: 536509, 535756.
  33. Vietnam. 72, Than Lwin Road. Bahan. Tel: 511305.

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Depature Tax

The departure tax for international flights is US$10 per person. Only perfect condition $10 bills are accepted. Departure tax is not included in the cost of a Mr Myanmar Travel tour or your international airline ticket.

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Feedback and Suggestions

We hope you will have a wonderful time on holiday in Myanmar, and we will do our utmost to help you enjoy your trip. If you were pleased with our service to you and enjoyed your trip to Myanmar, please tell others about us, so that we can have the pleasure of helping more people get acquainted with this wonderful country. Should you have any ideas or suggestions that would help us or our future customers, we would very much appreciate hearing them – just send us an email. If you have any negative feedback please also let us know, so that we can rectify any problems and make sure they are not repeated.

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Charity

Mr Myanmar Travel donates a percentage of its income directly to poor families to help buy school uniforms and school equipment for their children. In the future, we also hope to be able to help poor families fund the cost of vaccinating their children against common diseases. Mr Myanmar Travel will not ask you to make a donation of any kind. Should you wish to make a cash donation please let us know and we will ensure that your generosity is well spent. If you wish to donate non-cash items, please let us know in advance of your arrival and we can inform you what items could be of practical use.

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