With a land area of 677,000 sq km, Myanmar is the largest country in southeast Asia. It shares borders with Bangladesh, India, China, Laos and Thailand.
Climate : Tropical generally hot and humid. Cooler in mountain areas. There are three seasons : the hot season (March to May ), the rainy season ( June to October) and the cool season ( November to February ). The weather can differ considerably in various parts of the country. From November to February is the most pleasant season for travelers, because the climate resembles a fair summer. But in some mountainous areas ( like Shan State ) the temperatures can drop to zero centigrade. At the time, a jacket, pullover, socks, warm pajamas are needed! During the rainy season an umbrella and a light raincoat is necessary. Hot season starts in March and lasts until May. During this season temperatures easily exceed 40 degree centigrade, even in Yangon.
Population : With a population of some 52 millions, Myanmar is a union of 135 ethnic groups, each with its own language and traditions. About 68% of the population are Burma, with other major groups including Karens, Chins, Kachins, Kayins, Kayars, Mons, Shans and Rakhines. Over 85% of the people are Buddhist and deeply devout.
Rivers: please visit Rivers page for more detailed information
Passport and visa : Entry Visa is compulsory. It is required a passport validity of 6 months from date of arrival, and at least 1 blank page in the passport to apply the visa. Myanmar embassies abroad issue f.i.t.tourist visa, usually 3 months validity time from the day of request to enter Myanmar and 28 days validity from arrival day to stay in the Country. Visa on arrival: if necessary or for tourist coming from Countries where there is no Myanmar Embassy. we can arrange Visa on arrival. ( it takes about 15 days and we need all personal details and photos. For those declaring journalistic profession: a special visa is required, difficult to obtain
Arrival / Departure declarations : All visitors must fill up during the arrival flight the immigration and custom declaration forms, and submit them upon arrival, as well as on departure. In the custom declaration they have to declare the foreign currency (if exceeding US$ 2.000), traveler’s cheques, and all the jewelry in possession. Jewelry / silverware purchased in Myanmar must be declared on departure.
What to wear : Shorts, transparent or sleeveless dresses are not allowed inside pagodas and temples. Visitors also must walk bare-foot (without socks or stockings) in the precinct of most temples and pagodas. Very often this rule results in displeasure, but every Country has it's own rules and way of behaving, try to understand! Bring casual summer clothes; it is convenient to wear a pair of slippers to go around, as the local people do.
Currency : Myanmar uses two currencies: Kyat and F.E.C. The F.E.C. = foreign exchange certificates, is equivalent to dollar but valid only in Myanmar.( of course you need to change US$ in Kyats and not in F.E.C.). Bring along US$ banknotes (must be new, not old nor damaged), any other currency is useless. Traveler’s cheques/credit cards are not accepted. Package tour travelers need to change only the sufficient money to cover personal expenses such as drinks, souvenirs, tips, etc. It is difficult and never convenient to reconvert Kyats or F.E.C. in US$ on departure.
International airport tax : US$ 10 per person on departure.
Custom & shopping : Export of antiques is prohibited. To avoid any possible confiscation of particular goods not purchased in Myanmar, visitors must be sure they appear on their customs declaration form on arrival. To export lose gemstones, jewels and silverware, visitors must have a certificate from the shop. Extra care must be taken in buying jewels and gems since there is no guarantee on the quality even when a certificate is issued from authorized shops.
Health : The dreaded tropical diseases usually do not constitute a threat to tourists because they are mainly the result of unsanitary conditions due to poverty and similar factors. Malaria, however, should never be underestimated. Actually should not be found in areas visited by tourists. We advise also to stay away from the stray dogs as well as from cats. Minor indispositions may be handled by local doctors and some local pharmacies stock a fairly extensive spectrum of drugs, mostly sold under their English trade names. We recommend bringing along all regularly required drugs in sufficient numbers. In the case of aggravating health problems your place of treatment should be Bangkok or Singapore where you will find plenty of very good hospitals. The most common health problems, however, are flue and diarrhea: choose clean and proper food and avoid to stay in too cold air-conditioned rooms.
Telephone / e-mail : It is difficult to get the telephone line for international call, can take long time.. A telephone call is expensive: US$ 3 to 5 for 1 minute, 3 minutes minimum charge. If you call directly from the hotel room the telephone call will be charged even if there is no answer. So it is better to call through operator (from your room dialing "0" or at the hotel business Centre). E-mail : some hotels have e-mail service. Check at the business centre or at reception.
Various : It is important you keep a copy of your passport and airline ticket. It is useful a torch to visit Bagan's temples. Enough videotape for your video camera, memory card, batteries, etc. In Myanmar there are no films for slides and it is difficult to find other modern items. Luggage should be not too heavy nor too big, since the aircrafts are small ( ATR 42 / 72 ). Bring anti-mosquito cream, universal adaptor for small electrical devices, swimming suite, sunglasses, hat, sunscreen a (even on the lake you can get sunburn).
Please also note :
Visits / sightseeing tours can be cancelled / changed; the flights can be delayed or cancelled, for different local reasons out of our will, therefore out of our responsibility.
The local restaurants we have selected are the best available local restaurants; some of them will look very simple and basic. They offer local Myanmar food / Chinese food. There is no other choice. Bread is not common in Myanmar. Sandwich bread can be found only if ordered and paid extra and only in some local restaurant.
Last but not least,
Please don't forget you travel in an under-developed country.
Places visited often lack in quality and safety services.
Travel by rail is generally unreliable and by road generally not comfortable
Some hotel & service standards may not approach international standard
Myanmar Language : One might wonder to know that 52 million people speak 111 languages in Myanmar. Majority of Myanmars speak Myanmar language.