Myanmar General information
2020 Before covid - (after covid…..to be updated!!)
Surely by now, that we are in the 21st century, half of the world will have been renamed. Old countries with new names appear all over Africa and Asia. Since 1989, Burma has become Myanmar and its capital, Rangoon, has become Yangon, Pegu has become Bago, Maymyo has become Pyin-Oo-Lwin, and so on. Myanmar, also known as the Golden Land, not only for its golden pagodas but also for the wealth of its agriculture and its precious minerals is - with its total area of 676,577 sq.km - about the size of the United Kingdom and France combined. It lays in South East Asia, with parts of India and Bangladesh to the west, China to the north and Laos and Thailand to the east. Its southern borders are formed by the sea; by the Bay of Bengal to the southwest and the Andaman Sea to the southeast. However, whatever you call it, Myanmar or Burma, as Somerset Maugham once wrote: "You try to guard yourself by saying it is not real... it is a beauty that batters you and stuns you and leaves you breathless..."Arrival
Disembarkation card and custom declaration are not necessary anymore. Nothing to fill on board/arrival. There is no more restrictions to import cell phones video cameras nor personal computers. Controls are minimal and similar to most countries. The arrival hall is a large room with many counters to present your entry visa documents, next you can go to collect your baggage. There are a number of lines to queue for your passport control, the one reserved to Burmese ( Myanmar nationality) the central for foreigners, and last for diplomats. It could be useful to change some money at the Bank while you wait there while proceeding to the exit where all the Guides are waiting bearing customer's name or you can get a Taxi for downtown. There are also additional counters where you can change your cash and the counters of the telephone where they sell Myanmar SIM CARD ( about 1.00 usd each + top up card about 10.000 kyats. We advise to carry a hand baggage with overnight items in case your luggage has momentarily not arrived.
Visa is mandatory and your passport must be valid for 6 months for the date of your arrival in the Country and to have at least one free page for the visa stamp.
The visa is obtainable at the Myanmar embassy in your country of residence or it can be obtained online for a fee of us$ 50 payable by credit card. http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/
Local time in Myanmar GMT+ 6.30 ( +5.30 Daylight saving time)
Casual spring-summer. From December to February early morning and sundown the temperature fall considerably even at the seaside. Please bring a warm jacket + sweater also to use in air conditioned car/bus, restaurants and hotels if you are not accustomed. Myanmar is a very traditional Country, shorts are not well accepted. Whilst visiting Temples and Pagodas it is compulsory to take your shoes and socks off, and be properly attired ( no shorts, vests, miniskirts or excessive low neck) Useful to bring a pair of flip flops. Be very careful to the temperature difference between air condition ambience and the outside temperature often responsible to flue bronchitis and intestinal upset. It's useful to bring a hat and sunglasses. Suncream ( careful to the water reflection at Inle lake) and a swimming costume. Spare spectacles and contact lenses for the one that use them. In Winter (dec/feb.) the Shan region (Inle,Pindaya etc) during morning and evening hours the temperature can be just few degrees above zero ( C) and in most Hotel there is not central heating available. Bring a light anorak for the lake trip and a heavy pajama for the night. As soon as the sun rises the temperature become pleasant like spring /summer.
Bring US$ or Euros (euro you must convert into local currency Kyats). Kyats exchange rate is now more stable and is regulated by the country’s Central Bank. Please don’t change more than $100 at the time since it will be difficult to buy $ on departure.You can now use ATM machines ( max 300.000 Kyats) and CB bank in Yangon for your cash with a fee of 5000Kyats. Credit cards accepted are Mastercard, Visa,Visa electron,Maestro, Cirrus.This service is now available all over the country. More and more hotels now accept credit cards with fees of 3-4%
Nevertheless using CC can be problematic in some places ,therefore you need to take dollars or euros in cash. ( best exchange rate you get with 50-100 notes) Notes must be new ( not before or dated 2006) and unmarked dirty or spoiled note are not accepted.
You can find them in the major tourist centers Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle.The official exchange rate is applied, No more black market exchange rate.
Custom on goods
Antiquities cannot be legally exported. Beware of purchasing jewels and precious stones in local markets.( Scott market Yangon) since fakes and excellent imitations are abundant. Please do not encourage the purchase from very young street vendors that follows group of tourists. We are reminding you that we cannot be considered responsible for your personal purchasing,
We are advising to limit the weight of your bags ( 20 kg pp) particularly your hand baggage ( 7 kg max) do to the reduced dimension of the aircraft for your domestic flights ( ATR). You can eventually leave part of your not essential luggage at your hotel in Yangon before departing for your tour.Many tourists are discovering the expensive add on to pay on departure due to the extra items purchased that will be added to the weight of the original bag.
In certain temples you have to pay a fee to use your Video camera. Is still prohibited to take pictures of airports, stations, ports and the military.
It will be useful to bring a torch for occasional blackout ,not well lighten hotels areas, and to visit Bagan temples. The voltage is 220/230V. For the use of small appliances you need an adaptor. You need an insect repellent.A broad spectrum antibiotic, particularly for intestinal problems and any other common medicinal you might require. In case of need common medicine can be purchased in Yangon although sold under different make. Every Hotel has a contact with a local doctor.
Please bring a photocopy of your passport and your airline ticket in case of necessity or loss.
The dreaded tropical diseases usually do not constitute a threat to tourists because they are mainly the result of unsanitary conditions, lack of medical care due to poverty and similar factors. Malaria/dengue, however, should never be underestimated, even if should not be found in areas visited by tourists. So bring mosquito repellent. We advise also to stay away from the stray dogs as well as from cats. Minor indispositions may be handled usually very well 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, and an extra pair of glasses/contact lenses if you wear them.. In the case of aggravating health problems your place of treatment should be either Bangkok or Singapore where you will find plenty of very good hospitals. The most common health problems, however, are flue (with bronchitis, sore throat) and diarrhea: even though you may not be able to prevent them entirely you can limit them by choosing clean and proper food and only drinking sterilized bottled water (with the cap taken off in front of you). Avoid staying in too cold air-conditioned rooms/cars.
International Calls, Emails Cell phone.
In Myanmar is certainly allowed to bring your own mobile phone but up to now there isn’t a real roaming service even if recently do to some modernization someone have been able to call abroad with their owned sim card. The cost of a call abroad using a local Sim card approx us $ 1 per minute. Most tourists use the hotel’s WiFI and don’t need sim card because they take advantage of the use Skype, whatsapp and Viber, etc.
International calls from a fixed line in Hotel cost approx. us $15 ( 3 minutes min. charge) starting from when you have the line If you call from your room even if no one have answered your call !
If you call the hotel’s operator dial 0 and give your instruction in english.
In most hotels you can use free WiFi in the lobby. Please note in the Shan state ( PINDAYA-KALAW- INLE) and Ngwe Saung and Ngapali area the connection is very slow sometimes inexistent.
Generosity in Asia is considered a virtue, and for the Buddhists is an occasion to gain merits for your reincarnation life. Burmese have a strong spirit of hospitality and love to help without expecting anything in return, it's part of their culture. To give an offer to monasteries, tips to drivers, guides, waiters ect. is nevertheless consider a normal rule of behavior and therefore expected. Porterage at airports ( 1 suitcase each) is included in the cost of your tour and will be dealt by your guide. Tips in the Hotels, restaurants, or to your Guide and drivers are usually not included in the cost of the tour.
In the era of facebook and Instagram very few buy/send postcards. Anyhow…Postcards and stamps are available in every tourist spot. A stamp for Europe is Kyats 35.
We advise to post from a post office in Yangon and not from your hotel Please be aware that cards might take months to its destination... if arriving at all. In no case we can take responsibility if our Guide has been charged with posting cards which were never received.
Not only we are in Asia but we are in a part of the world that has conserved intact most of its tradition. For the local culture every display of negative or positive emotion is considered extremely vulgar and unmannered. In case of a problem try not to get upset but resolve the issue with calm. Smile and kindness will go a long way. It is an offensive behavior to touch people’s head, use your feet to indicate people, houses, and temples. Women cannot touch monks, or seat beside them or in a higher position than a monk. Now you can ask and discuss freely about politic but still you must be careful since you are not the one who will stay here and in case bear the eventual consequences. Every country has its own customs and tradition, and for as much as they could appear incomprehensible they must be respected. These are an interesting stimulus to look at our life in a different way. Let’s remember that here we are guests.Security
In Myanmar petty criminality is rear. Hold up and bag snatches to foreigners is a rare occurrence. Temptation can occasionally induce to such crimes and we advise to use common sense particularly in crowded places like airports, and stations. In the hotel use the room safe or the reception’s.
There is a conspicuous increase in traffic do to better standard of living in Asia and low cost airline linking Yangon with Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Malaysia
Yangon Airways/ AIRTHANLWYIN
Founded in october 1966 as a domestic carrier being a joint venture between the state owned Myanmar Airways and Krong-Sombat Co. Thailand. In october 1997 MHE-Myflower Co. has purchased the shares of Krong- Sombats in Yangon Airways and from this moment this airline has been involved in regular domestic and charter flights from Yangon to 13 main tourist and commercial destinations in Myanmar. the company has 3 turboprop ATR72
Under the guidance of Myanmar Investment Commision Air Kanbawza known as Air KBZ was founded in june 2012. This company started to operate in january 2013 with two Airbus A320 and expect to add a new aircraft every six month.
Present fleet of Airbus A320-200 - 2
Mann Yadanarpon Airlines
Mann Yadanarpon Airlines with head office in Mandalay has started to operate in January 2014
with 2 Airbus A320-200
Entry fees to monuments and most popular spots payable in local currency
Yangon- Shwedagon Us$ 8 pp
Bagan Archeological site us $ 25 pp
Mandalay all included us $ 13 pp
Kyaiktyio Golden rock us $ 10 pp
Bago all included us $ 6 pp
Pindaya caves us $ 10 pp
Inle Lake us $ 10 pp
Elephant Coach www.asiaelephantcoach.com
A new start and improved fleet of Elephant Coach with 3 deluxe coaches modified from authentic old Chevrolet buses,using tek to remodel the interior and with on board service with drink included. Real treat for Vip guests honeymooners or an unforgettable surprise.Operate in Yangon but can be repositioned anywhere in the country with 6-12-8 seats and a capacity of 20.
1 ) Visits could be cancelled and flights could be delayed or cancelled for reasons out of our control and hence our responsibility.
2 ) In spite of the local restaurants looking somehow modest some of them are still the best available in the different localities of your tour. The menu is Burmese/chinese.
3 ) Local Guides : Doe to the long period of isolation of this country the fluency of a foreign language of some of the Guides can be limited. We beg you to be patient and to base your judgement on the best goodwill of the person to accomplished his incombence in the best possible way.
4 ) We emphasise again that the Country is antiquated and underdeveloped and due to the many years of heavy international sanctions it hasn’t been able to modernize like many other Asian countries. The infrastructures ( airlines, transports, hotels and restaurants) like roads local boats and means of transport in general are not at international standard. Thanks to the tourist boom in recent years there is severe lack of qualified English speaking personnel.
Thanks to its history Burma is an underdeveloped country and presents many areas of extreme poverty. We would like to give you a small opportunity to help even with a little effort. We invite everyone to help by contributing with medicines, t- shirt old clothes school items toys for the poors. You can personally distribute them yourself during your trip ( your guide will help you) or give them to us on arrival and we will distribute them on your behalf. You can also leave behind anything you will not longer need.
Many children will be approaching you during your visits. You will find it difficult not to give them anything, but if you do, you will only encourage the exploitations of the minors and make them eventually professional beggars.
Anyone going to Burma will return with the impression of having seen a country unspoiled from any influence from the rest of the world, a small fascinating corner of old Asia; a country where men still wear the Longyi a local long skirt and not trousers and where even women smoke the cheerot, strong green cigars hand made and not marlboro a country where buddhism is still practised faith. Tiziano Terzani
Enjoy your holiday !!Perhaps you don't know that.....
in Myanmar there are 8 days in a week The 8th day is resulting by dividing wednesday morning and afternoon. Pagodas according buddhist tradition Theravada have a base of 8 corners as many as the days of the week and in every corner there is a small altar marked by the astrological sign of the day. To discover the day of the week when you were born you can consult special calendars.
Astrological daysgaruda bird sunday
elephant without tusks wednesday morning
elephant with tusks wednesday evening
guinea pig friday
The Zartar is a very important birth document that include date, hour, name of parents and name given by the astrologist. The astrological map is use for many events, weddings, constructions and is not only limited to people. Is written in a banana leaf or many other materials included gold. According to Burmese the numbers tied to your birth have great influence on your destiny and your personality included your wedding, to the extent that they have assigned specific names to emphasise the date of your birth.