The best time to visit Myanmar is from November to March when temperatures are relatively low (average 15 – 30 degrees centigrade) and when there is practically no rain. Note that in December and January the temperature can drop to near freezing at night in the highlands of the Kalaw, Pindaya, and Taunggyi and Inle Lake. In April and May which is the hottest season the temperature often tops 40 degrees centigrade in Yangon, and in Mandalay and Bagan it can get even hotter. The monsoon starts between mid-May and mid-June bringing frequent rains particularly in the southern as well as western region of Myanmar which last until September.
All travellers to Myanmar require a valid passport with minimum 6 months remaining and a Myanmar visa. Apply for a tourist visa at any Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. Tourist visas are issued for duration of 28 days at all Myanmar Embassies or Consulates and can be extended in Myanmar up to a maximum stay of 90 days. Any tourist whether travelling on a package tour or individually will receive the same type of tourist visa.
No vaccinations are officially required for a visit to Myanmar. Travellers should check with their doctor or a travel immunization clinic regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis as well as Malaria Prophylaxis. It is wise to use an insect repellent against mosquitoes, especially in forested areas. The sun can be remarkably hot, and a hat and high-factor block cream is advisable. Take along any prescription medication with sufficient supplies. Myanmar hospitals are not considered to be of international standard; however there are few private medical emergency clinics in Yangon with acceptable facilities.
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.
All items of jewellery, cameras and foreign currency in excess of US$ 10,000 must be declared upon arrival. No Myanmar currency may be imported or exported. 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.
Since 2011 many private sector banks and money changers have emerged. These money changers can be found at domestic airports. US Dollars, Euro and Singapore Dollars are accepted in cash. Bills must be in perfect condition without any creases or markings, otherwise they may be declined. Most of the official money changers are extremely picky about the condition of notes whereas traditional black market money changers offer slightly lower rates but are more flexible with notes condition. For the time being credit cards are only accepted by a few hotels which mostly charge high commissions on credit card payments (between 4-8%). It is recommended to carry US dollars in cash. The current exchange rate is 950-1,000 Kyats per US dollar.
The official language is ‘Myanmar/Burmese’ with numerous regional and minority languages and dialects. English is spoken at all major hotels. Basic English is also spoken widely throughout the country, and travellers will almost always find someone who will at least understand and speak a few words of English.
Myanmar cuisine embraces Indian style curries with meat or fish as well as vegetables and regional salads and soups. Chilli is popular in Myanmar and is often used in spicy dishes such as curries, though Myanmar food in general is not as hot as the Thai cuisine. There is a broad range of Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants sprinkled around the major cities, and also Western food as well as many other types of food can be found in Yangon, Mandalay and some other tourist resorts.
The current electricity voltage at 220-230 Volts, 50 hertz AC.
Shopping is plentiful in most areas of Myanmar with colorful markets and stalls adorning most streets. Most popular buys include antiques, embroidery, gems, lacquer ware, mother-of-pearl, hand-woven silk longyi, traditional woodcarvings, customary puppets and tribal crafts. Jewellery should be purchased through an authorized dealer who will issue a receipt so that the items can be exported. Bargaining is an elemental part of Myanmar life in small shops and markets.
The postal service in Myanmar is unreliable and letters sometimes take months to arrive at their destination. The country code for international calls to Myanmar is (95). Myanmar telephone lines are old and in poor condition in general. We can provide Telenor SIM cards upon arrival. The guest will need to pay for the prepaid top-up cards (each top-up cards cost 10,000 Kyats equivalent US$10). All GSM handsets will be compatible with the SIM cards. Each voice call cost 25 Kyats/minute.
Tipping is common in Myanmar and much appreciated. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should encourage to good and satisfactory service. Major hotels and restaurants usually add 10 % service charge to bills. Where it is not included a tip of 5-10 % of the bill would be appropriate if the service is satisfactory. Tipping for porters, local guides and drivers left to your discretion.
International and domestic flights departure taxes have been included in the airfares.
|Republic of the Union of Myanmar
|U Win Myint.
|Yangon around 7 million
|676 552 sq km (261 218 sq miles)
|Mt Hkakaborazi 5881m
|Burmese, English and ethnic languages
|Buddhist 89%, Christian 4%, Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
|Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese3%, Indian2%, Mon 2%