Often described as a ‘golden land’ Myanmar is situated at the crossroads of the great civilisations of India and China and looks out onto the vast Indian Ocean next to Thailand.
Although it has only recently emerged as South East Asia’s most enticing destination to visit, it is one of the region’s largest and most culturally diverse countries. From the sparkling islands of the Andaman Sea in the south, right up into the Eastern Himalayan mountain range, Myanmar covers a mesmerising spectrum of geographic and cultural settings. A trip to Myanmar won’t disappoint.
No wonder Rudyard Kipling once described it as ‘quite unlike any land you will ever know.’
As this ancient nation undergoes a much longed for social, political and economic transformation, its many mysteries can once again be re-discovered and enjoyed. Rich in archaeological sites, glittering pagodas, colourful festivals and breath-taking art work, Myanmar is also blessed with an awe-inspiring range of lush fertile plains, vast virgin jungles, majestic snow-capped mountains, pristine beaches alongside crystal clear waters, fresh, fragrant pine trees and sunflowers twisting with joy in the abundant sunshine.
Despite these riches however, as the country opens up to the world it is its wonderfully gracious and hospitable people that often leave the most lasting impression.
During this unique stage in its history, it is hard to think of another country in the world that merits a visit quite as much as golden Myanmar.
Click any city on the map to view city’s information and attraction highlights
The capital city of Myanmar is Naypyidaw.
Inland area: 678,500 Km2
Myanmar is the largest country in South-East Asia.
Myanmar is located in the Gulf Of Bengal, bordered by Thailand to the west, Laos and China to the northeast and India and Bangladesh to the northwest.
The southern part of the country is flat, fed by many rivers including the largest one – the Irrawaddy – which rises in the Himalayas, flows through spectacular gorges, tropical jungles and terraced paddy fields and finally to the Ocean.
The Irrawaddy is the heartbeat of Myanmar and is the most viable means of access to many of the country’s attractions.
Myanmar has 48 million inhabitants with an average density of 70,7 inhabitants/km2. 68% of the population is Burmese, 9% Shan, 7% Karen, 4% Rakhine, 3% Chinese, 2% Mon and 2% Indian. Ethnic minorities make up the rest of the population of Myanmar.
There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Myanmar, all with their own language or dialect, tradition and culture. The majority of the population speak Burmese/Myanmar, the official language. English is widely spoken. However, communication and the understanding of local traditions can be a challenge beyond the major cities. The presence of a guide able to speak several languages is therefore highly recommended.
The official currency is the Kyat (MMK) but US dollars are accepted everywhere. Current notes are: ks 1000, 5000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 bank notes.
At the time of writing the exchange rate is US$ 1 = 1290 Kyat (September 2015, please note that this can change significantly on a daily basis).
Please be aware that our team will be able to help you to change your money at a proper rate.
Due to financial sanctions, credit cards and Travellers cheques are not accepted.
We therefore recommend all tourists visiting Myanmar to bring cash in US dollars as it is currently the only accepted foreign currency. Bank notes must be new, not folded and with no
The best time of year to visit Myanmar is from mid-October to the beginning of March. At this time, the climate is mild and dry. Temperatures can however be very low at high altitude and especially at night. This is the case around Inle Lake for example.
The hottest time of year is from March to mid-May and the rainy season lasts from mid-May to the beginning of October. We would suggest you avoid the months of May and June, which are hot and humid. In July, August and September, the humidity is generally high in Yangon. It is less so in the northern regions (Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake).
Myanmar is 6 hours 30 minutes ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time.
In Myanmar the «standard» electrical current is 220V, but sockets are not always standard. It is highly recommended that you take an international adapter with you.
Due to its limited power supply, the country suffers from frequent power cuts – and voltage surges, but most hotels and restaurants in the major cities have their own generators.
As in many countries, it is not advisable to drink water from the tap unless it has been boiled beforehand.
International phone call charges from Myanmar are very expensive (from 5 to 10 USD per minute). If you need to call from a hotel, it is advisable to have the price confirmed before making the call to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Mobile phones do not always work in Myanmar.
Access to the internet/e-mail is limited.
HEALTH & MEDICAL FACILITIES
No vaccination is required, but visitors are advised to receive inoculations against hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tetanus.
Burmese hospitals are currently very basic. For serious injuries or medical situations it is therefore advisable to be evacuated to Bangkok or Singapore. In the main cities you can find private clinics staffed with foreign medical personnel but prices are very expensive. We therefore strongly recommend medical travel insurance.
There are two international airports in Myanmar:
– The International airport of Yangon is located in Mingaladon, 20 minutes from the town centre.
– The International airport of Mandalay is 45 km (1h transfer) from the center of the town.
The road network has improved but still undeveloped in some areas. To cover a distance, it is reasonable to count an average speed of 50 km / hour.
In Myanmar, vehicles drive on the right.
Apart from citizens of Myanmar, only foreigners with a business visa or those with an International Driving licence are authorised to drive in Myanmar. We strongly recommend to only call upon the services of drivers recommended by your hotel or tour operator and to agree on a price before you get in the car.
It is possible to hire a motorbike with an International Driving licence.
Traditional Burmese cuisine varies from Mohinga or On-no-Khaukswe, assorted delicacies fried or baked in the oven to a wide range of curries. Chinese and Indian dishes are also widely available in the major towns and cities.
Artisan craft is rich and varied: lacquer ware, embroidered cottons, silks, wood carvings, as well as precious stones and many other manufactured products.
Prices displayed are usually fixed, but bargaining remains and is frequently used in villages and markets.
Most shops are open from 9h to 18h from Monday to Saturday but this can vary according by region.
Small local shops are usually open every day. It is easy to pay for your purchases in US dollars.
Tips, although appreciated, are by no means mandatory.
Please find below a list of carriers offering services into Myanmar:
– Air China
Please note that travellers coming from Europe or America will have to transit via Bangkok and Singapore in most cases.
VISA AND PASSPORT
A visa is compulsory to enter Myanmar. To obtain a visa, you must first ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date.
There are currently only 2 options for obtaining a visa to Myanmar:
– Visas can be acquired directly at the Myanmar Embassies and Consulates abroad.
– If you do not have Myanmar Embassy at your home country or you are not able to apply Myanmar visa in advance, you can obtain a pre-arranged visa on arrival at the Yangon and Mandalay International airports on your arrival. We need detailed information one month prior to arrival.
Please note that tourist visas are currently valid for 28 days.
If you are travelling in the northern areas from November to February, warm clothes are recommended.
Likewise in the Inle Lake area nights can be cold (10 to 15 °C) all year round.
In most other areas, light clothing is perfectly suitable.
Please note that: shorts, miniskirts, revealing outfits (shoulders have to be covered) ripped jeans, sheer tops… are prohibited when visiting places of worship. If you do wear shorts for your excursions, take a pair of trousers or a dress to change into for a visit to a pagoda. Everywhere else, relaxed but respectful attire is acceptable.
Take care when preparing footwear for your trip: you will need to take off your shoes when visiting pagodas, temples and monasteries so they should be easy to remove and put on again. Beware also of blisters, which can ruin a days a walking.
As a general rule, keep in mind that Myanmar remains steeped in tradition in many ways. It is recommended you adopt a respectful attitude towards traditions and the ancestral culture of this country.
Please pack mosquito repellent, a cap or a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a raincoat and a travel first aid kit (containing antiseptic cream, aspirin or paracetamol, bandages).
Travel in Myanmar presents little risk, but it would be best to leave your valuables at home.
VISUALTRAVELING – MYANMAR
3 MINS OF MYANMAR. DOES IT INSPIRE YOU ENOUGH?
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