TRAVEL TIPS FOR MYANMAR

ARRIVAL

All visitors are required to have a Myanmar Visa and to complete an arrival/departure card, which is usually distributed during their flight into Yangon. The completed card should be submitted with passport to the immigration officials on arrival at Yangon airport. The departure portion will be torn off and returned to the visitor - it should be retained for presentation upon departure.

CLIMATE & WEATHER

Myanmar has three seasons. *Cool Season - October through February with average temperatures 20-24 C *Hot Season - March through May with average temperatures 30-35 C *Wet Season - June through September with average temperatures 25-30 C The ideal time to visit Myanmar is during the cool season. However, even during the wet season, Yangon normally receives morning and afternoon showers while rainfall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low. The weather around Inle Lake and in Shan State is quite pleasant all year round but cold at night from December to February.

WHAT TO WEAR

We recommend bringing light-loose fitting cotton clothes with pale colors as they tend to be cooler. Myanmar still has very traditional customs and it is not appropriate to wear shorts, Bermudas or miniskirts. Since shoes and socks have to be removed for all visits to pagodas and temples, we recommend wearing sandals or other slip-on shoes which are easy to put on and take off. When visiting temples or other religious monuments, visitors should be modestly dressed - it is very important that knees and shoulders are covered and ladies should not wear shorts or bra-less T-shirts in such places. Hats and sunglasses are strongly recommended. Formal style clothes i.e. jacket and tie are not required. A sarong with its multi uses is a very useful item to bring. If travelling to Inle Lake, the Shan Hills, Rakhine State and Putao particularly during the winter season the nights can be chilly due to altitude hence it is advisable to bring a warm layer for the evenings.

CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE

The Myanmar currency is Kyats (pronounced "chats"). The following notes are in circulation 10000, 5000, 1000, 500, 200, 100. The lower notes under 100 are not widely in circulation any more.
The current rate of exchange is approximately Kyats 970 - 980 to USD 1 (as of February 2016). You can exchange foreign currency at the international airport in Yangon or at some money changer counters in the down town area. Please note that only currency in perfect condition will be accepted throughout Myanmar. Notes with torn off corners, rips or scrawls are not accepted.

CHEQUE & CREDIT CARDS

Currently travelers’ cheques are not accepted. Although generally credit cards are not yet accepted in Myanmar, some hotels have recently started accepting major cards (only Visa and Master Card) with a surcharge.
We therefore recommend you to bring enough cash in USD currency to cover your personal expenses during your trip. Only bank notes in perfect condition are accepted.

ATM

There are some banks that are now starting the ATM machine which are now available at the Yangon International Airport and Mandalay. However the cash you can withdraw is our local currency Kyats and not US Dollars. Here are some tips about the banks which we checked currently with them:
KBZ Bank - Can use Visa Card only (Master card currently not available)
Can withdraw Kyats 300,000 per time and the transaction fee is Kyats 5000 per time.
CB Bank - Can use Visa or Master Cards
Can withdraw Kyats 200,000 per time and can allow up to 10, 00,000 per day.
The transaction fee is not less than 6%.

AIRLINES OFFICES

International
There are several international airline offices in Yangon. It is advisable to reconfirm your return flight. Your tour guide will assist you to contact the respective airline.
Domestic
Domestic airlines may change their flight schedules at the very last minute. In such cases, we are forced to adjust the sightseeing program around these changes. We try utmost to keep you updated as we get the changes in.

DRINKING WATER

Only drink purified bottle water. Bottled water is readily available and some hotels provide complimentary. Carry a bottle with you throughout the day.

DUTY FREE ALLOWANCE

Two bottles of liquor, two cartons of cigarettes or 100 cigars and half litre of perfume are allowed per person. Yangon Airport arrival hall has a selection of duty free shops with a full range of items at a good price.

ENTRANCE FEES IN MYANMAR

Ks = Kyat
USD = United State Dollar

YANGON

Shwedagon Pagoda               -    8000Ks
Sule Pagoda                         -     2 USD
Botataung                            -    3 USD
National Races Village          -    5 USD
Gerns Museum                     -     5 USD
National Museum                 -     5 USD

PYIN OO LWIN (Maymyo)

Kandawgyi Natonal Park       -    5 USD

PINDAYA

Pindaya Cave                      -    5 USD

SYRIAM

Kyauktanyale Pagoda            -    2 USD
Kyaikkhauk Pagoda               -    1 USD

BAGO & KYAIKHTIYO

Bago Zone Fees                      -    10 USD
Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda                  -    6000 Ks

MONYWA

Monywa (Hpowintaung)           -    2 USD
Thanbodedey                           -    3 USD

TAUNGGYI

Kakku                                     -    5 USD

BAGAN

Bagan Zone Fees            -    20 USD
Pakhangyi 8 Salay           -    5 USD

MANDALAY

Mandalay Zone Fees        -    10000 Ks
Sagaing & Mingun          -    5000 Ks

INLE LAKE

Inle Lake                        -    10 USD
Sagar                             -    5 USD

RAKHINE STATE

Mrauk-U Zone Fees          -    10 USD
Sittwe Museum                 -    5 USD

FESTIVALS

Myanmar abounds with local festivals. Most festivals have religious backgrounds and dates are fixed according to the lunar calendar. Exact dates for some festivals are often determined only a few weeks before the event. Oriental Season Travel tries to include local festivals in client itineraries whenever possible.

GRATUITIES & TIPPING

Myanmar are genuinely happy to help foreign visitors and don't expect anything in return. But if your guide or any other person during your trip was especially kind or helpful a gratuity would be a generous gesture and greatly appreciated.

HEALTH

No inoculations or vaccinations are required unless coming from or passing through an infected area. Clients should bring sufficient medication with them if required and should check for updated health recommendations before your departure to Myanmar regarding hepatitis, malaria, typhoid, etc. If carrying a lot of medicines, it is advisable to have a doctor's letter stating that medicines are required for personal use.

IMMIGRATION & CUSTOMS FORMALITIES

Your valuables (jewelry, cameras, electronic equipment, etc.) should be declared on your customs declaration form upon arrival. Receipt of purchase and an export permit voucher for locally bought goods such as gems and jewelry may be required upon departure.

INSURANCE

We recommend all clients to obtain the necessary personal baggage, medical and accident insurance before arrival. SOS Worldwide has a local representative office in Yangon with a 24 hour on call service for emergency evacuation and medical assistance.

HAND PHONE

Telephone and fax facilities are now available in most of the hotels. Oversea phone calls remain expansive, between USD 5 and USD 8 per minute. Nowadays, you can buy local SIM Cards, MPT, GSM, and CDMA. It charges only 1500 Ks (Kyat).

Local GSM

Network is not accessible with hand phones from other countries in Myanmar. It is now possible to rent mobile phones and SIM cards at Yangon International airport. Connection is normally good in Yangon and Mandalay but not consistent in the rest of the country. Standard size SIM cards can be purchased at Yangon International Airport for US$ 20 and US$ 50 cards and are also available at some shops. Please check with hotel reception or your tour guide for assistance. These SIM cards can be used for both International and domestic calls, one month validity and can be refilled. However you need to check if your hand set will be compatible to the card. You might need to rent a local hand set (available at Yangon International Airport). WIFI is available in certain hotels and restaurants.

MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE

Throughout most Asian countries including Myanmar MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) - known locally as 'AJINOMOTO' - is still used in food preparation in some restaurants. Some travellers who may experience swollen feet, hands or headaches will more than likely have had a good amount of MSG in the food. It is always best to inform your guide when ordering if you do not wish it to be added to your food.

ELECTRICITY / VOLTAGE

Voltage in the country is 220-230 volts AC. The 2 and 3 pin sockets can be found in Myanmar but given the different possible configurations, it is advised to bring a multiple adapter. Please be also aware that the voltage is not consistent and it could result severe damage to your electrical goods as cameras, computers. Despite recent improvement, Myanmar still suffers from power shortage and electricity cuts. Most of the hotels are equipped with generators and provide 24 hours electricity. It is recommended to bring a torch light when staying in some remote areas.

RELIGION

The great majority of Burmese are Theravada Buddhists. Buddhism still has great influence on the daily lives of Myanmar. Close family ties, respect for elders, reverence for Buddhism and simple native dress are common values practiced by most. 89% of the populations are Buddhists, Christians (5%), Muslims (3%), Hindus (1%), Animists and other (2%). Myanmar accepts full freedom of worship for followers of other religion.

PASSPORT & VISAS

Travellers are required to obtain a visa in their home country prior to entering Myanmar. Specific advice on up-to-date requirements should be obtained from the consulate offices in your country. For general guidance, please note the following:

  • Passport must have at least 6 months remaining validity at time of travel. Foreigners must always carry their passport whilst travelling.
  • Visa processing time is between 5 and 10 working days at most Myanmar Consulates or Embassies.
  • Tourist visas are valid for 28 days.
  • Some Embassies require a 'confirmation letter' which Oriental Season Travel can provide.
  • E-visa service are available in Myanmar. You can apply online visa on http://evisa.moip.gov.mm. This process take within 2 weeks.

WHAT TO BRING

Sun hat, sun glasses, sun protection for your face and body, prescription medicines, insect repellent and an umbrella April to October (rain or shine). An antibiotic cream for minor cuts and scratches, extra pair of prescription glasses, a small flashlight, extra passport photos, decaffeinated coffee (if you require). WHAT TO WEAR Shorts, short skirts or revealing clothing are not appropriate especially when visiting temples or any religious site. Myanmar is a conservative Buddhist culture and improper dress can be offensive. Please dress with respect for the local culture. Lightweight, easy to care clothes of cotton and cool fabrics are ideal all year round. A winter sweater or jacket and socks may be needed in the cool season when visiting up country especially around Inle Lake and Kalaw when the weather can drop to near freezing during the night. Wear sensible walking shoes which can be easily removed when required. Sandals, thongs or flip-flops (available locally) are very convenient footwear.