Last updated on March 6th, 2020 at 10:56 am
Our recent trip to Myanmar was amazing! We learnt many new things, we saw amazing Myanmar tourist spots. Now it’s time to write about all the things to know before visiting Myanmar. From the essentials about Visa, Currency and Wifi connection to the best destinations that you can’t miss in Myanmar, in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar is becoming little by little more touristic and as sooner you can go there better will be your experience!
Best time to visit Myanmar
Myanmar has a monsoon climate with three main seasons. The best time to visit most of Myanmar is from November to February, when temperatures are relatively manageable. From March to May, the country becomes very hot, particularly the dry zone of the central plains where Bagan and Mandalay often see temperatures in excess of 40°C. However, it can get crowded over the winter season so also consider the rainy season for the best time to visit, especially if you’re intending to visit areas in and around Mandalay and Bagan.
Travel Tip: Click here to know prices and schedule to book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
Things to know before Visiting Myanmar General Info
1. You need E Visa
Myanmar launched the eVisa system on 1 September 2014. eVisas are issued online for tourism and business purposes only. An eVisa is issued within 3 working days, is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and allows a stay for up to 28 days (for tourists) or 70 days (for business travelers). The fee for a business eVisa is $70 USD while a tourist eVisa costs $50 USD. However,if you’re a normal holder of passport from chosen countries like Brunei, Singapore, Philippines and others do not require a visa to enter Myanmar for tourism and business visits for up to 14 days unless otherwise noted.
2. Cash ATM in Myanmar
Myanmar’s currency is Burmese Kyat. If you’ll convert it to US dollar, $1 is equivalent to 1,593.12 MMK (Burmese kyat). You will find ATM in touristic places everywhere isn’t like a few years ago. And there are places to exchange money but USD are accepted in touristic places too. Myanmar is more developed than a few years ago. Click here to know the exact rate!
3. Myanmar is a Buddhist Country
One of the things to know before visiting Myanmar about religion 88% of the population are Buddhist. There are also Christianity, Island and Hinduism. But you will see many pagodas around the country and we really loved it them. They are so beautiful!
4. Languages spoken
More than 100 languages are spoken in Myanmar. Being Burmese the official and most spoken language. Not many people speak English in Myanmar. In the touristic places you will find people speaking English but outside them. You will have to use sign language or practice your Burmese language.
5. Travel adapters for the Electricity in Myanmar
You will need a power adapter for the electricity. They use the same system than United Kingdom, different to Europe and United States. So as we always recommend getting a multi adapter that you can plug everywhere in the world. So you will not be worried about this.
6. Sim Cards and Wifi Connection in Myanmar
We found Wifi connection strong in Yangon. Plus data was working in 4 GB most of the time. In hotels and coffee shops connection works great inside the city. But in other touristic areas wifi connection wasn’t so strong. But it was still good enough for work and it improved a lot comparing with a few years ago.
These are the plans that you can get with Telenor $1 USD is 1500 Kyats so you can get 6 GB for $4 USD and you will have load in calls 500 Kyats and messages. The connection in Myanmar will almost reach 4 GB following touristic places like Inle Lake, Yangon, Bagan and on the way to Thailand Bago, Golden RocK and Pha An. We got surprised that internet in Myanmar works better than in the Philippines. But not so good as Digital Nomads hubs like Thailand and Bali.
7. There are 3 International Airports in Myanmar
There are 3 International Airports in Myanmar. The biggest airport is in Mandalay, second biggest is Yangon International Airport and last one in the capital Nay Pyi Taw. There are flighst connected with most of the countries in Asia being the most popular routes SIngapore, Kuala Lumpur and Thailand.
More Things to Know Before Visiting Myanmar About Culture
8. Betel Nut
When walking around Myanmar you will notice that Burmese people are chewing something. Yeah! This is betel nut. You need to chew and it tastes bitter. Be careful! Your teeth will become red. The areca nut is wrapped in betel leaves and mixed with calcium hydroxide. They can include more spices to get extra flavor. Betel nut is also eaten in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The effect is stimulant. Bus drivers, truck driver and taxi drivers are usually eating betel because of the stimulant effect.
9. Wearing Longyi in Myanmar
Burmese people wear a long skirt! It’s called longyi. It’s a sheet cloth that Burmese people are wearing. They wear around their waist. It’s also common wearing longyi in other countries like Sri Lanka and India in the SOuth part of the country.
10. Free Water Station
You can find free water station in Myanmar in markets, shops and walking around. There is a glass holded from a string. You need to get the glass and fill up water from the vasin and when you are done, put it back. If you want to act like a local, follow them in the water stations.
11. Tea Culture in Myanmar
Burmese people love drinking tea. This is the best chance to interact with local people. There are short chairs in the street around the table. It’s perfect to get close to them and try to have a conversation with them. You will make new friends! By the way I love Burmese tea and eating sweets while drinking.
12. Wearing Thanaka
It’s a yellow paste that Burmese people spread in their faces and arms. Children and woman are using thanaka. It’s used as cosmetic beauty in their face. It’s believed that helps to get smooth skin. And also it’s used to protect against the sunburn. You can see in the markets how do they put thanaka and they will offer to you in places like Bagan.
Chiloneball is the most famous sport in Myanmar. They play in a circle, a team of 6 people. They pass the ball with their feet, knees and heads between them. One player going to the center and he is dancing while kicking the ball. That’s the game they pass the ball until the ball touches the ground. So, the game is starting again. This game is also played in different countries in South East Asia as Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines.
14. It takes time traveling around Myanmar
Distances are big in Myanmar and you will spend long time in transportation by bus or train. Internal flights between the touristic destinations can be a great option if you don’t have so much time for traveling around Myanmar.
15. Night Buses
The best way to move around are night buses especially if you go on a budget you will save your accommodation. There are VIP buses that they include dinner. One of the things to know before visiting Myanmar make sure you book the bus tickets in advance online, in your hotel or with a tour operator in Myanmar.
16. No taximeter in the taxi
There is no taximeter in the taxis. So you will have to agree a price before your ride. Taxis aren’t expensive and they are quite useful especially in big cities. There are also alternative to taxis with apps like Grab in Myanmar.
17. Go Barefoot inside the Pagodas
Make sure that you remove your shoes before going to a Pagoda before locals remind you about this. You will see before the entrance that there are shoes everywhere just put yours over there.
18. Dress properly for temples
Apart from going barefoot inside the pagoda. Remember to dress properly. For girls you have to cover your shoulders and knees when dressing. For guys you also have to cover your shoulders when going inside the pagodas.
19. Never point with your feet or aim them at a Buddha
You can’t point to Buddha with your feet. For behaving in the pagodas is great to pay attention what locals do and what they are wearing to understand better about this. One of the important things to know before visiting Myanmar!
20. It Can be cold in the mountains be ready with a jacket
We know in Southeast Asia the weather is really nice and warm. But be careful during the months of December to February can get cold in Myanmar. Just bring a jacket to be ready if the temperature goes down.
21. There are No Mcdonalds and Starbucks in Myanmar
Little by little we can see more international companies in Myanmar. One of the most popular like Mcdonalds and Starbucks aren’t operating in Myanmar.
22. Entrance Fees in Myanmar
The most populaar places in Myanmar require entrance fee like Inle Lake and Bagan. If you are trekking you will have to organize the activity with a guide. And most of the populars pagodas and tourist attractions have entrance can be from $1-2 in small pagodas to $15 USD entrance in places like Bagan and Inle Lake.
Places That You Can’t Miss When Visiting Myanmar
23. Visit Bagan
The most beautiful place in Myanmar. There are more than 2 000 Buddhist temples around Bagan. Don’t miss the sunrise for starting your day. Go around with a bicycle during the day around their temples. Try to meet locals while you are cycling around the temples, having tea with them. They will be happy to talk to you. Enjoy a great Burmese meal. At the end of the day, you should go for the sunset.
Read here how to get to Bagan!
24. Visit Kyaiktiyo
You can pilgrim to The Rock Gold. It’s 3 hours walking to get The Golden Rock. The way is full op Burmese people pilgrim to the Rock. On the top, you can see the pagoda and The Golden Rock. There are hundred of Burmese people praying in the Pagoda. You need to pay $6 for the entrance. The ticket is valid for two days.
25. Visit Hpa-An
It’s a small city and very quiet. It’s perfect place to have contact with Myanmar. My favorite place in Hpa An was the local market. It was first and my last destination in Myanmar. As I did overland getting by Myawaddy was the enter and exit point for Myanmar.Best plan is renting a motorbike and getting lost around the area. Visit local markets and trying local delicacies.
26. Visit Bago
Between Kyatkyo and Yangoon. It’s a small city, little bit busy. The best plan in Bago is renting a bicycle and going around visiting the pagodas and the Sleeping Budha which is a huge one.
27. Visit Yangon
It’s the largest city in Myanmar. You can get cheap accommodation near Sule Pagoda. Too much traffic! My favorite place in Yangon was street markets. You can find markets during the day and at night. You can visit a few pagodas. Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist Pagoda in Myanmar.
Read here how to get to Yangon!
28. Visit Inle Lake
Inle Lake is an amazing place for relaxing. You can do a day trip around the lake to see how locals do for living from silver to silk. Also taking pictures of the fishermen in Inle Lake extending their fishing net!
Read here how to get to Inle Lake!
Food That You Can’t Miss in Myanmar
Noodle fish soup served usually for breakfast with chicken peas, crisp fried fritters, garlic, onions, fish paste, ginger, fish paste, fish sauce, and catfish in a rich broth
30. Shan Noodles
Dry Noodles mixing with chili, peanuts is served for breakfast and lunch. Our favorite street food in Myanmar. Prices are so affordable and you can find them for $1-2 USD.
31. Ohn No Khauk Swe
Burmese dish consisting of wheat noodles in a curried chicken and coconut milk broth. It’s usually served with onions, chillies, crisp noodles, boiled egg, and and fish sauce.
Now we have finished our list let us know which one is your favorite things to know before visiting Myanmar! We’d love to hear them.
If you have friends who are visiting Myanmar soon, please feel free to share this with them.
Travel Tip: Click here to know prices and schedule to book your bus/boat tickets online with 12Go Asia.
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