Myanmar (also called Burma) is an uprising destination in South East Asia with thousands of ancient temples in Bagan, monasteries in Mandalay, leg-rowers in Inle Lake or the famous Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Yet, not like other touristy and crowded places in the world, the internet is still limited in some regions. For best preparation, here below are some helpful tips for your Myanmar tours.
Myanmar Time Zone
GMT + 6 hours 30 minutes. When we crossed the time zone, our smartphones automatically updated the time, just make sure that your location is on – so handy.
Electric Power Supply
In Myanmar, 230 V is the standard voltage and the frequency is 50 Hz. Normally, your electric appliances are able to be used in Myanmar, if the standard voltage in your country is something in between 220 – 240 V
Most of all foreign citizens need a visa to visit Myanmar. If you have your valid passport and Myanmar visa, you can stay in the country for up to 28 days, an extra 14 days is extendable. You can apply for the visa at Myanmar Embassies or Consulates. The country has recently allowed visa on arrival, yet applicable for business purposes and at Yangon international airport only
The Internet is now available widely in big cities including Yangon and Mandalay or even in Inle Lake. Still, you can hardly find a strong internet connection in Bagan. If you do not have urgent works while traveling, wifi at hotels and restaurants seem ok to connect your family and friends or sharing your experiences on social media. For those who need to use the internet regularly, buying a local sim card at the airport upon arrival is a good idea. I have paid for 5,000 kyats (1 USD = 1,530 kyat) for a 4G sim of My Tel at Yangon airport. By the way, it is also good to keep in mind the international dialing code for Burma which is +95.
Myanmar local currency is the Kyat (MMK). Their biggest note is 10,000 then smaller notes are 5,000-1,000-500-200-100-50. Exchange rate updated in August 2018: 1 USD = 1,530 Kyats. You can easily change money at Yangon airport. If it is possible, you better ask for big notes as some banks offer a bit higher exchange rate but will give you all the small denominations. On your last day in Myanmar, if you do not spend all the Kyats that you have – you can change the remaining to USD at the airport. After 8 days in Myanmar, we changed 1,533 Kyats for 1 USD. By the way, ATM can be found at major cities along the country too.
Myanmar divided into three seasons including the raining season (lasts from May until October), the cool season (4 months November, December, January and February) and the hot season from March to May. The average temperature ranges from approximately 32-degree Celcius in central and lower areas to 20 degrees Celcius the in mountainous regions.
Winter season (from November to February) is considered the best time to visit Myanmar. Bagan Hot Air Balloon is not a cheap activity, yet definitely a lifetime experience. This can only be done from October to early April. You may expect many touristy during the high season so rainy season is also a not bad time to visit Myanmar, especially if you are keen on visiting areas in and around Bagan or Mandalay.
You may also consider what to wear in Myanmar? During the hot season, light & cotton clothing is recommended. If you visit the Northern Highland during the cool season, a warm jacket should be packed also. Traveling in Myanmar in the rainy season, an umbrella will be helpful if you do not want to get wet. For temples, pagodas and monasteries – you are required to wear clothes that cover your knees (you can wear your short and cover it with a longyi). Kindly note that no footwear is allowed for temples and pagodas visits then a sandal or slip-on shoes without socks will be convenient.
Please use discretion when photographing people. For close-up shots, you should always ask for permission first. At some pagodas, requesting monks to pose for photographs is prohibited.
Myanmar is changing rapidly then if it possible – come when the local people still wear longyi, use Thanaka for skin care before massive tourists make it too crowded.