Myanmar Travel Hints
You should bring a money-belt to safely carry your travel documents and cash. Bring photo-copies of your passport and visa, plus some extra passport-sized photos if you’re applying for on-arrival visas. When flying into or within the region, you will probably be given baggage claim tags (they will be stuck in to the back of your ticket or on the cover of your passport). Keep these, as you will need to show them when check out the airport.
CLOTHING & LAUNDRY
Light casual wear preferably cotton is suitable for all year round. You would need a cardigan or light sweater for the cool season especially when visiting Northern Myanmar in the cool season. An umbrella will be useful during the rainy season. If possible dress modestly at all times. Sandals or slippers are convenient, as all footwear must be removed before entering temples and pagodas. Visitors are required to dress decently on the precincts of religious buildings. Ladies should not wear shorts, briefs or bra-less T-Shirt in such places. Laundry service is available in all the hotels/guesthouses with decent price.
Though purveyors of beauty products are already putting their foots in major cities, you would be wise to pack travel camaraderie’s like sunscreen, contact lens solution, tampons and mosquito repellent, as well as prescribed medication. Many kinds of medicines start to be available in Yangon or Mandalay without prescriptions, easy to reach but they might not be as of that good quality like home. If you travel with a companion or with family, should it be a nice idea to cross-pack, i.e., pack half of your belongings in to other’s suitcase and vice versa. Just in case any baggage delayed might happen.
Visitors to Myanmar must hold a valid passport, which should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure date from Myanmar. For the vast majority of travelers to Myanmar, the easiest visa to obtain is a tourist visa. A tourist visa can be applied directly through a travel/visa agency in your home country or directly at the Myanmar embassy. A tourist visa officially costs between US$20 but runs up to €30 in some Western Europe countries.
Regarding visa on arrival (VOA), you will get your visa stamped in your passport and pay 30 USD per passport in cash at the airport. Our guide will be also there to assist you. For detail about needed document to submit, feel free to ask our advisor team who has the most up to date information
Most of local Myanmar Airlines offer a 20kg (44 pounds) regulation which is applied in all domestic flights and for the Economy class. Carry-on bags should weights less than fifteen pounds and have a size limit of 9 X 14 X 22 inches. Many a case, travelers were lucky with help and flexibility of check-in staffs at the airport, a stretching 7 to 10 more pounds of weight free of surcharges. Just give them a warm smile when you check in the counter.
When you take the flights out or within Myanmar, locking your suitcases or the duffel bags is legal and advisable.
As one of the least developed nations in Southeast Asia, it is advisable to consult your doctor or local health department to discuss which shots you need from the below immunization:
– Diphtheria and tetanus: Combined vaccinations for these two diseases are usually given in childhood and should be boosted every ten years.
– Hepatitis A: Vaccination provides immunity for up to ten years and involves an initial injection followed by another six months to one year later.
– Typhoid: Vaccination takes the form of an injection or capsules.
-Meningococcal Meningitis: This vaccine is only recommended for travellers making extended visits to rural, northern Vietnam. Protection lasts for three years.
– Rabies: People making longer trips to remote areas should consider rabies vaccination, which involves three injections over a period of three to four weeks.
– Japanese B Encephalitis: People on trips of a month or more to areas suffering from recent outbreaks should consider getting this vaccine, which involves three shots over one month.
Myanmar Currency is Kyat (MMK) and abbreviated K. It has a variety of notes ranging from K1, K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500 and K1000. The US dollars is used and accepted whereas the Euro is only accepted in big cities. Therefore, it is best to exchange Euros for US dollars before you enter the country because as ATMs are still very hard to come by and major kinds of credit cards are hardly accepted. US dollars can be changed at Yangon airport, banks (which give the best exchange rates) and some hotels.
Most of the electrical current in Vietnam is 220V, 50Hz. Round, two-plug pins are more common although some places use flat pins or three-pronged pins. Luxurious hotels provide multi sockets adaptor in room. Anyway, cheap adaptors are sold in local markets or can be requested at the hotel’s desk
MOBILE & INTERNET
Iphone and other up-to-date handhelds are very popular and convenient for connecting the internet as wifi is available everywhere. At the airport or phone shop, you can easily get a sim and data package for your stay in Myanmar. A good package for two weeks will be ranging just from US$10 – US$15.
SHOPPING & SHIPPING
Bargaining is an art long-practiced in Asian countries including Myanmar. Myanmar arts and crafts, mostly pure handmade, are best souvenirs and prices are very reasonable. Lacquer-ware, wood and ivory carvings, tapestries, silverware, brassware, silk and cotton fabric and shoulder bags are some of the favorite items. Finest Myanmar ruby, sapphire, jade and pearl are available at Myanmar gems shops.
Despite our numerous years of experience in this industry, it is quite a sensitive and special matter all the time. It is not our job to give out figures that frame the practice of tipping. Each country, even each individual has different point of view about and the tip also depends on client’s satisfaction. There is a guideline we always suggest client when it comes to tip that a guide is $7-10/per day and a driver is $3-5. Chamber-maid or bell-captain is $1 per room. Be sure that you only tip when all the services are of your satisfaction
With around six million inhabitants, the small, land locked country has the lowest population density in Asia, largely due to its rugged terrain geography. Over 70% of the country is occupied by mountains that make up the name ‘country of million elephants’. Life is simple with Buddhism’s influence, making its people a bit laid-back and less business-minded. Daily life always seems to start late and end early. The Mekong river is the country’s heart and home to most of Laos people by its banks.
Laos has two seasons distinctively. The rainy season runs from May through October and the dry season from November to April. Most rain falls in the south. For the most part, Laos is hot, although there is a good deal of climate fluctuation between summer and winter temperatures at higher elevation areas. The capital, Vientiane, ranges from the mid-30s Celsius (mid-80s Fahrenheit) in April to the upper-20s Celsius (mid-70s Fahrenheit) in January. In the mountains, however, temperature can plummet to a near freezing point in December and January.
Laos has less than six million people, about half of them is Lao ethnicity. The Lao are concentrated in the Mekong river valley while people of Thai ethnicity live in upland river valleys. Other ethnic groups, including the H’mong and Mien, settle down in higher elevations.
Theravada Buddhism is the prevalent religion among lowland Laos, although many Laotians also practice Phi (animism) worship. Outside the Mekong river valley, the Phi worship is stronger still.
Laos’ rugged terrain made the establishment of large kingdoms impractical. In the 14th century a Lao warlord, Fa Ngum, founded the Kingdom of Lan Xang around what is now Luang Prabang. This kingdom split into three warring states in the 17th century, which had their capitals in Luang Prabang, Champasak and Vientiane today.
In the 1820s all three kingdoms came under Thailand control, but in 1839 the French signed a treaty with Siam and added Laos to their colonial empire.
Laos achieved independence from French rule in 1953. Peace was short lived, however, as the Americans began bombing Eastern Laos in 1964 in an attempt to target a section of the Ho Chi Minh Trail that passed through Lao territory. Fighting between the communist Pathet Lao and royalist government in Vientiane broke out, ending with a ceasefire in 1973.
In December 1975 the Pathet Lao took control in Vientiane, constructing the Lao People’s Democratic Republic nowadays.
In Laos, revealing clothing is unacceptable at all. Shorts are generally fine, as long as they aren’t mini short. People tend to dress as well as they can afford to, Laotian people are often astonished and laugh at the dirty and tattered clothing worn by some travelers.
When coming in pagodas, temples in Vientiane and Luangparbang, shorts and tank-tops are not recommended. Your knees and shoulders must be covered. Footwear and socks must be removed in some pagodas. Shoes are usually removed upon entering private accommodation too.
In terms of behaviour, public displays of affection between men and women are considered a bit shocking. On the other hand, it’s perfectly normal for a pair of men or a pair of women to link arms or hold hands, which does not imply any signal of lesbian or gay relations. Upon meeting someone new, people may simply nod to each other or may shake hands. Using both hands to shake someone’s hand with the word ” sabaidee ” is a warm gesture of respect.
Beckoning someone by crooking your finger is very rude. The correct way to call someone over is to wave at them or call their name. Never mind if the locals sometime look at you and laugh or giggle, they simply curious about your ages and why you travel if you are a senior traveler. To ask for the bill in a restaurant or shop, pretend to write on your palm with the other hand as if you are signing for the bill.
Taking picture for a close up one should be asked, especially when talking with the monks in Buddist temples, other than that, don’t aks if you like other photo opps. People are normally a bit shy when a foreigners turn to them and ask something with a camera in hand and they simply turn away. That is why the trick is not to ask if it’s not a personal close up picture. Be aware… never shoot your camera at a funeral.
In general, Laos is very safe and the Laotians are the most friendly people. Violent attacks are none, although theft might sometime be a problem. When possible, secure your valuables in the hotel safe. Remember to record your traveler’s cheque numbers and credit card information, just in case.
Do not leave your wallet or cell phone in the back pocket of your pants or anywhere else that’s easily reached (like an outer zip-up part on a backpack). Be always vigilant in markets and other crowded places like ports and train stations.
Pick-pocketing and purse-snatching are rare in Laos but you never know what might happen in the crowded market or any public gatherings . Wearing valuable jewellery especially necklaces that can be easily grabbed is also not advisable.
Use common sense and don’t walk alone after dark, both for visionary and safety problems. If you are not lucky to be confronted by a mugger, do not resist. Though the tuk-tuk (a kind of public taxis) is cheap and good for local economy, you are better not to use at night, ask your hotel or restaurant to call a reputable taxi firm which is always metered taxi.
Traffic is not of chaos, especially in Vientiane but Luangprabang is a bit crowded to walk in the evening. If you choose to ride a motorcycle or bike, make sure you understand the local driving culture quite a bit. When crossing the street on foot, move at a slow and steady pace with eyes contact, there you go.
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