Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for traveling in Myanmar. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat and umbrella are a good idea in the rainy season and the umbrella can also offer useful shade from the sun.
Evenings in the hill stations and on Inle Lake can be quite chilly so bring a sweater or other warm clothing if visiting these areas. This applies especially for the winter months NovemberFebruary for treks and the Inle lake area where early morning boat rides can be quite cold. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting pagodas and monasteries.
Shoes (and socks!) must be removed before entering any religious building or private home. It is therefore useful to wear shoes without too many laces and which can easily be taken off.
There is not much in the way of western style entertainment in Myanmar but Yangon has a few bars and nightclubs. In the rest of the country, entertainment is mostly confined to the hotels and touristorientated restaurants. For those seeking a taste of the local culture in the evenings, head to tea shop, beer hall or night market where the locals gather to relax and socialize.
Myanmar is bordered by 5 countries: Thailand and Laos to the east, India and Bangladesh to the west and China to the north east. There are four international land borders open for travelers: Tachilek (located near the Thai border town of Mae Sai), Kawthaung (located in the south near the Thai town of Ranong, 5 hours from Phuket), Mywaddy (located in Central Thailand at Mae Sot) and Muse (connecting to China’s Yunnan province). Travelers can now travel freely between borders without requiring any special permission. International flights fly into Yangon (RGN), Mandalay (MDL) and Nay Pyi Taw (NPT).
The staples of Burmese cuisine are rice, rice noodles, and curries. The main ingredient of the meal is usually rice and the curries tend to be not as spicy as those from India or Thailand. A clear soup called hingyo accompanies most meals and a fermented fish sauce or paste called ngapiye is usually served to add to the flavor. Chinese, Indian and European food is served in restaurants at most tourist places.
No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in Myanmar and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track. Please consult with your usual doctor or a doctor specialized in tropical countries before traveling.
Medical facilities are rather limited in Myanmar (Yangon has the best facilities) and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling. Such an insurance should cover the cost of an evacuation flight out of Myanmar (most of the time to Bangkok) which are sometimes necessary.
The national language of Myanmar is Burmese, of which there are over 80 different dialects spoken. The
written language uses an amazing looking script based on ancient Indian characters. In the cities many of
the older generation still speak very good English and it is also becoming popular again with the younger
The currency in Myanmar is the kyat (pronounced 'chat') and comes in notes of 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5,000 and 10,000 kyat. As in many countries of the area, the US Dollar is the most useful currency to carry but we recommend for travelers to exchange some money into kyat. In many local restaurants and shops, kyat is the only method of payment allowed.
US Dollars are the best currency for exchanging and the Euro is becoming more popular, especially in Yangon. The exchange rate in Yangon is generally better than upcountry and the larger the bill, the better the rate (ie 100 USD notes receive 2% more kyat compared to 50 USD notes). Notes should be in very good condition and not torn, dirty or washed as these will not be accepted in Myanmar, even in many hotels!
The most convenient place to change money is upon arrival at the airport – these exchanges are operated by domestic banks, selling kyat at the daily exchange rate. Outside of the airports your guide can assist to direct you to any of these places there are several in Scott Market and in the downtown vicinity which are open daily from 09.30 – 20.00. All locations accept US Dollars, Euros and Singapore Dollars.
Many restaurants, hotels and shops do accept credit cards (surcharge of 38%), but it is not recommended to rely on this service as the Internet often shuts down during the day making payment by card impossible.
Travelers Checks currently CANNOT BE USED or exchanged in Myanmar.
Buddhism is the dominant religion in Myanmar and over 85% of the population practice it. The monastery is the traditional focal point of village life in Myanmar and monks rely on villagers for donations of both money and food. Every boy in Myanmar is expected to spend some time as a monk. The remainder of the population are Christians, Muslims and animists.
Myanmar is 6h 30 min ahead of GMT in winter and 5h 30min in summer: 1500H GMT = 2130H in Myanmar (winter). Myanmar is 30 minutes behind Bangkok (Thailand) time: 1500H in Bangkok = 1430H in Myanmar.
There are many fantastic local products in Myanmar that make excellent souvenirs and memories from your trip. Traditional crafts include lacquerware, especially in Bagan, woodcarvings, stone carvings, bronze work, rattan, silver jewellery, silk longyis and handwoven textiles.
A visa is COMPULSORY to enter Myanmar. A 28 day tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors.
The current regulations for entering Myanmar are as following:
1. Individual visa
This visa is issued by a Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. An invitation letter is not mandatory, and it usually takes 35 working days to issue this visa.
2. Package Tour visa
This visa is issued by a Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. It usually takes 35 days to issue the visa.
3. E - Visa
Myanmar’s evisa online system is now available.
- Arrival allowed at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports
- Cost: USD $50 nonrefundable paid during application submission. Visa and MasterCard
- Valid for 28 days in country, singleentry. Travelers must arrive in Myanmar within 90 days of
- Approval letter will be sent within five working days. This letter needs to be printed to allow
boarding of your international flight. Upon arrival, please go straight to the immigration
counter. No passport photo needed.
- Children under age of 7 holding their own passports are require to apply eVisa separately and
pay USD 50 for the eVisa. If your child is under 7 and is listed in parent/guardian passport and
accompanying the trip, please fill up the minor information included in eVisa application form.
- Applications can be submitted at http://www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm/. Please contact your
travel consultant for additional information.