MYANMAR : A BASIC TRAVEL INFO Print
 

Area                                                    677,000 square kilometers

Comparing to the size of U.S.states         Slightly smaller than the size of Texas

Borders with                                          Thailand, Bangladesh, China, India and Laos

Population                                            53 million

 Time Zone                                          GMT+ 6:30

Religions                                             Theravada Buddhist, Islam, Christianity

Government Type                                 Constitutional Republic with a president

 Capital                                                Naypydaw

Language                                            Burmese      

Passport & Visa Formalities

You must have a valid passport and visa to enter Myanmar. You have to obtain the visa from Embassy of Myanmar before you leave U.S. or you can apply online from Sept. 01, 2014. 

The visa fee is US$ 50  per person for single entry. The process takes 5 working days. The validity of visa is 3 months. The maximum permitted stay is 28 days.  The official website where you can now apply for a visa to Myanmar is:    http://evisa.moip.gov.mm

Please contact Embassy of Myanmar for the lastest information about the visa.

Embassy of Myanmar.
2300 S Street NW, Washington,
DC 20008,

Telephone 202-332-4350

Website : http://www.mewashingtondc.com


Weather & Clothing

Myanmar has three quite distinct seasons, although the effects of the monsoon vary in different parts of the country.  The ‘cool winter’ season from November to February. At this time of year the weather is very pleasant - not too hot in the day and not too cool at night. In the hills, it can get quite chilly in the evenings. During March, April and May the temperature rises and will often topping 100°F and it can be unpleasantly hot. The rainy season starts in May with almost daily monsoon rainfalls, mainly in the afternoons and evenings, until the rain tapers off in October.

However, if you do not mind rain and avoid the tourist season, then August is another great time to visit Myanmar.

Myanmar enjoys a tropical climate with three distinct seasons:
Hot Season : March - May
Rainy Season : June - October
Cool Season : November - February. The mountainous northern region can be cool to sometimes near freezing. Be sure to bring along appropriate clothing when traveling to this region.

Health & Immunization

As always when traveling, it is essential to have good health insurance and consult your doctor about necessary health precautions, such as vaccinations or pills. Below are some general health guidelines for Myanmar, but they are no substitute for a personal consultation with a medical expert.

Vaccinations

Officially, there are no vaccinations required for a visit to Myanmar. But a vaccination for cholera is essential for travel through the country. Please consult with your doctor with recommended vaccinations.

Malaria
The best protection against malaria is to avoid being bitten in the first place: make sure to bring along mosquito repellent. Check with your physician about taking a course of anti-malarial. If it is considered necessary given your itinerary, you might need to begin before your trip and continue for a time after you return. The greatest risk of contracting malaria is between May and December at altitudes below 3,000 feet/ 1,000 meters.

Dengue fever, which is also transmitted by mosquitoes, is often mistaken for malaria. Its symptoms are severe pain in the joints, high fever, and extreme headache. Aside from avoiding being bitten altogether (this mosquito is active in daytime and is often a striped variety), there is no prevention available. Hospital treatment is urgently required.

Food & Water
Standards of hygiene in many parts of Myanmar can be quite low, so the threat of amoebic dysentery is present. Make sure you peel all fruit yourself and avoid eating raw vegetables. However, dehydration can be a problem, so you should drink plenty of bottled liquids along with a mixture of rehydration salts. Avoid all water that hasn't been thoroughly boiled or sterilized. Drink only bottled water and soft drinks that haven't been opened yet.

The Centers for Disease Control provides an International Traveler’s Hotline offering recorded messages or faxes on current health risks. Call 877 394 8747 or visit cdc.gov/travel for suggested immunizations and food/ water precautions For other health-related inquiries, call 404 639 3534 (8 a.m. 4:30 pm EST)

Customs & Declarations

No Myanmar currency may be imported nor exported. All visitors need to complete a customs declaration form declaring all foreign currencies (in excess of US$2,000), travelers check, jewelry, cameras, or other electronic equipment.

A re-check may be carried out at your departure. Buddha images, antiques (or fragments thereof) and gems are not allowed to be taken out of Myanmar without the official dealer's receipt. 

You can bring cell phones, laptops into the country for personal use. This was restricted until a few years ago.

Money, Credit Cards & ATM

The local currency is the kyats. Since this fluctuates rapidly, please check the exchange rate before traveling, as they are subject to change. The denominations are: 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 45, 50, 90, 100, 200, 500 and 1000. You can exchange the currency in the banks or official money exchange counters only. 

It is advisable to carry new US dollars bills, as old bills may be not accepted everywhere.

Credit credits are accepted in hotels, tourist restaurants and big stores only.

ATM machines are available only in big cities like Yangon and Mandalay.

Culture & Etiquette

The culture of Myanmar is dominated by the omnipresent Theravada Buddhism. The history of Buddhism in Myanmar began in 638 AD, when the Mahayana creed started spreading there. During the 11th century, the people of Bagan turned to the Theravada Buddhist School. Today, about 88 percent of the population call themselves Theravadas, the remaining 12 percent of the Burmese are Christians (7 percent), Muslims (3 percent) and Hindus (0.5 percent). Over 100,000 Buddhist monks live in monasteries throughout the country.

Courtesy and respect for tradition and religion are expected. You should always take your shoes off when entering a pagoda or temple and when you visit private houses, and you should wear appropriate clothing. For men and women it is advisable to cover your shoulders and wear knee-long skirts or trousers. Wearing bathing suits or trunks should be limited to the beach or hotel pool. The head is regarded as a particularly holy part of the body. You should never touch anybody's head intentionally, and offer an excuse if you do so by chance.

Accordingly, the feet are literally the lowest part of the body - do not point your feet at anybody. 

Most tourists find that Myanmar is an exceptionally friendly and safe country to explore. However, there have been conflicts between two religious communities in the countryside in the past few years. Watch and be alert what's happening around you.

Miscellaneous

When you arrive at the airport

When you arrive in Yangon, someone from our local supplier will meet you at the airport who will be displaying your name. You will be then transferred to your to hotel.  In case,  because of earlier or delayed flight, if you do not  see anybody to pick you up, then give a call to the local tour operator listed on the “Local Operator’s Contact Detail” which is in the information package you have received from us before you left U.S.

Telephone, Email, Wifi

International direct dialing is available in major cities. The country code for Myanmar is +95. If you have roaming service, your phone may work in some parts of Myanmar. You can also buy local sim car at the airport. But your have to have GSM system phone.

Wifi is avaialble in most of the hotels in Myanmar. However, the speed could be slow.

Electricity

Electricity: 220/230V, 50 Hz
The electricity supply can be erratic, especially outside of major cities.

Shopping

If you are thinking of purchasing any products, which you cannot carry with you, then think twice before you purchase it. The salesman or guide may tell you that they would pay the shipping charges to your address.  However, besides the shipping charge, you must understand that there are other charges involved at your end, which they may not be aware of, such as destination charges, custom clearance fees, warehouse fees and other fees. By the time, the product reaches your home; the chance is high that you will also receive a bill for all the other charges, which might be higher than the cost of product itself. So, unless you are very sure about these charges, shipping anything home is not suggested. 

Tipping

The same rules apply about tipping as elsewhere. Roughly 10% of bills at restaurants.

Your driver and guide also expect a tip at the end of the tour.  Below is a general idea on tipping in the group size beween 2-5 people.  If there are more than 5 people in the group, a little more would be expectd. The mentioend tipping is to be divided by the number of people in the group.  The tips can be more or less depending on the services you get from them.

Tour Guide :  US$ 10 a day

Driver  :         US$  8 a day