Myanmar Travel Guide

Myanmar is the last country open to tourists with golden Buddhist statues, temples and palaces.Here are the updated information and tips about Myanmar, including tourists attractions, food, drinks, shopping, visa, hotels, climate and etc. which are collected by our travel experts. Just feel free to check it out.

MYANMAR SNAPSHOT

Myanmar (previously known as Burma) is a perfect destination for travelers looking for a unique get-away to a beautiful and exotic locale. This tropical country offers travelers an amazing landscape and a rich cultural heritage, influenced by Southeast Asia’s traditions. However, as a country that has only just recently opened its doors to tourism, Burma still retains an air of mystery, making it all the more intriguing.

With nearly 2,000 miles of coastline and a handful of mountain ranges, Myanmar has more than its share in natural beauty. Trek through the rolling green hills, discover Sagar to the south of Inle Lake, cycle to markets and ruins, boat around floating villages, sample well-spiced Burmese cuisine, and visit mysterious temples. You will get to not only discover, but also really live in this unique cultural atmosphere.

In exploring Myanmar, you will also enjoy the perfect combination of luxury and adventure. Contact your travel specialist at Indochina Pioneer right now and get ready to unveil the varied topography of this nation, its breathtaking scenery and the cultures that have influenced its 65+ million inhabitants.

Most popular sites of Myanmar

  • Breathtaking Bagan bags a well-deserved top spot on this list of the best places to visit in Myanmar. Seeing Bagan by balloon is becoming increasingly popular, and offers a truly unique view over this 26-square-mile land of temples.
  • The Shwedagon Pagoda, also known as the Golden Pagoda, is a gilded stupa located in Yangon, Myanmar. The 99-metre-tall (325 ft) pagoda is situated on Singuttara Hill, to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, and dominates the Yangon skyline.
  • Inle Lake – for an excellent view of the verdant, bucolic side of Myanmar.
  • U Bein Bridge – the longest and oldest teak wood bridge in the world
  • Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock ), a small pagoda built on the top of a granite boulder covered with gold leaves pasted on by its male devotees.
  • Shwenandaw Monastery is a historic Buddhist monastery located near Mandalay Hill, Mandalay Region, Myanmar.
  • National Kandawgyi Gardens – home to over 500 different flower species
  • Bagaya Kyaung – a 200-year-old Buddhist monastery

• Population: 65.5 million
• Capital: Naypyidaw
• Currency: Kyat (K/MMK)
• Language: Burmese
• Religion: Theravada Buddhism

MYANMAR PRETRIP INFORMATION

Passion Indochina Travel facilitates your holiday by arranging all the services making up your trip. However, be sure to pack all that you will need before leaving your home!

Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 

Essentials

  • Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)

  • Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)

  • Day pack for your personal needs during the day

  • Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
  •  
  • Cell phone and cell phone charger
  •  
  • Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
  •  
  • Travel plug/international adapter
  •  
  • Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
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  • Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution

Best to bring along

  • First aid kit

  • Toiletries

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect repellent
  • Refillable water bottle with filter

Wardrobe

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling

  • Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)

  • Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella

  • Hat & sunglasses

  • Bathing suit

 

Optional comforts

  • Ear plugs & eye mask

  • Sleep sheet for home stays / trains

  • Lightweight travel towel

  • Local language phrasebook

Preparation

Here are some considerations to ensure that your adventure sets off with a great start:

  • Please read our guidelines on responsible tourism so that your trip is beneficial both for you and the communities you visit.
  • What interests you? eg. weavings, archaeology, religious art, jewelry, mountain biking, kayaking, etc. Let us know so we can steer you in the right direction.
  • Read up a bit about Myanmar before you leave. You guide will give you a general understanding of the places you visit, but feel free to ask for specifics.
  • Learn a little Burmese before your trip. The more you know, the more fun you will have.
  • Ask your cellphone provider for an international data plan if you will need coverage whilst travelling.
  • No data? No problem! Bring a book, journal, postcards, or playing cards with you to occupy yourself when waiting.
  • “Take only photos, leave only footprints”, but nonetheless try to be sensitive with the photos and footprints.
  • Try to support locally owned businesses, hotels, restaurants and traditional artisans.
  • Let us know at once if you encounter any problems. Don’t wait until the trip is over. Our drivers, operators, guides and hotel staff are there to help you.
  • Most of all, relax, be patient, and keep an open mind. Bring your sense of humor and adventure and discover the magic of Myanmar.
GETTING AROUND IN MYANMAR

Although traveling around Burma was challenging in the past, in recent years, the Burmese government has implemented many actions to develop the country’s infrastructure. Many roads are becoming quite modern, and several highways (mostly toll) and bridges have been built, making more destinations accessible. However, be aware that there are certain prohibited regions where the government conflicts with ethnic minority groups. Check the list of the areas to avoid on the Ministry of Tourism website at www.myanmartourism.org.

Plane
Burmese roads have improved, but it still takes long time to travel, and the railways are in a very bad shape. This makes flying by far the most comfortable option for travelling long distances. Please note that many airlines engage in the unfortunate practice of dual pricing, with foreigners paying significantly more than Burmese nationals do.

State owned and appallingly run Myanmar National Airlines “UB” (not to be confused with Myanmar Airways International “MAI”) is known for its poor safety record. Even locals prefer to avoid it whenever possible. However, UB has a number of convenient flights, such as late evening flights from Bagan to Mandalay, and is known to fly even when there are only a few passengers. There are also private-owned airlines serving main domestic routes in Myanmar such as Air Bagan “W9”, Asian Wings and Air Mandalay “6T”.

Train
Myanmar has an extensive but ancient rail network. Trains are slow, noisy, often delayed, have frequent electrical blackouts, and toilets are in abysmal sanitary condition; many are simply holes in the floor that empty out directly onto the ground beneath the train. Fewer still have toilet seats. Never assume that air-conditioners, fans, or the electrical supply itself will be operational, even if the train authorities promise so.

Still, a journey on a train is a great way to see the country and meet people. The rail journey from Mandalay, up switchbacks and hairpin bends to Pyin U Lwin, and then across the mountains and the famous bridge at Gokteik, is one of the greatest railway journeys of the world. Trains in lower Myanmar (Yangon – Pathein and Yangon – Mawlymaing) are little communities of their own with hawkers selling everything imaginable. Sleepers are available on many overnight express trains, although, in the high season, you may want to reserve a few days in advance.

Bus
Buses of all types, from small to big, atrocious to luxurious, run the roads of Myanmar. Since the ban on importing vehicles was lifted in 2012, the quality of coach transport has improved drastically. High quality Swedish Scania coaches regularly run the Mandalay-Yangon route while less impressive vehicles corner the other routes. Burmese movies and music are usually played all night throughout the journey, so bring earplugs if you want to sleep. Economy seats in Scania coaches are adequately comfortable, but upgrading to upper class is recommended.

Pickup
Old Toyota pickup trucks run everywhere in Myanmar, inexpensively transporting the Burmese population from one place to another. The rear of the truck is converted into a canvas covered sitting area with three benches, one on each side and one running along the center of the truck (some smaller trucks have only two rows), and the running board is lowered and fixed into place, providing room for six or more people to stand on (standing occupants will have to hold on to the truck frame). Pickups are ubiquitous in Myanmar and every town has a hub. Tourists who go off the beaten track will find them indispensable because they are often the only alternative to an expensive taxi or private car.

Car / Taxi
You can hire a private car and driver at reasonable rates to tour independently. The licensed guides at Schwedagon Paya in Yangon can arrange to have a driver with a car meet you at your hotel. All taxis (and by extension, all vehicles for transport of people and goods) have red/white license plates, while private vehicles have a black/white one. Tourist agency owned cars have a blue/white license plate.

Motorbike and Bicycle
In Yangon, riding motorcycles and bicycles is illegal. Mandalay’s streets, on the other hand, are filled with both.

Boat
Myanmar has a large river ferry network, both largely run by the government, although there are now some private ferry services. The trip from Mandalay to Bagan takes the better part of a day, and several days from Bagan to Yangon. Ferry services from Mandalay to Bagan are shut down, except for the slow ferry (available only on certain days in the week), during the months of April, May and June when the water level in the river is too low.

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