Traveling to Myanmar is a complete adventure. It is rich in history, culture and tradition. I enjoyed every second of this trip. If you’re planning a trip to this wonderful country, in my opinion these are 5 things you should know before traveling to Myanmar:
1- Myanmar Visa: Everyone requires a visa to enter Myanmar. The single-entry tourist visa lasts 28 days. To make your trip easier, the Government of Myanmar introduced the eVisa in 2011.
E-Visa: The eVisa is an electronic visa you may obtain online without having to send your passport to the Myanmar Embassy. The eVisa is fast and simple. To apply for an eVisa go to the following link: https://www.myanmarvisaservice.com. All you have to do is follow 3 simple steps: Online Application:
2- Crisp American Dollars: I know it sounds crazy but dollars have to be crisp and perfect. They cannot have any stains or be printed before the year 2006. Bills that are not perfect may be rejected. More expensive things such as hotels, flights, archaeological sites and ferries are paid for in US dollars. Cheaper items such as meals, bus tickets, taxi rides and market items are paid for in the country’s currency, kyat (pronounced “chat”).
3-Cultural Tips: -Remove footwear before entering pagodas and religious places. -Never point your feet or aim them at Buddha (bad form). -Don’t eat or pass things with your left hand. -Betel Nut: when walking around Myanmar, you may see red stains on the street of people who spit this chewing tobacco that stains red. -Bumese: is the written and spoken language -Cash only: use dollars for large purchases and kyat for smaller local transactions. There are ATM’s but very few of them. I recommend you bring enough cash for the trip. -Photography: we usually take pictures of anything we like. In Myanmar, locals don’t like it when you take pictures of them. In fact, locals may even charge you if you take a picture of them.
Traveling Alone? In my case, I traveled alone and felt safe. Like anywhere in the world, when traveling alone try to do all the sightseeing during the day and stay in your hotel at night. In Myanmar, crime is low but always take the necessary precautions. Dress conservative, nothing revealing. Wear sleeved shirts and nothing inappropriate. I recommend you do the necessary research before arriving so you know which places are friendlier and which could be less friendly for foreigners.
4- Top 10 Sites:
- Shwedagon Paya (Yangon)
- Inle Lake
- Pin Oo Lwin
- Mrauk U
- Myeik Archipelago
- Mt Kyaiktiyo (Golden Rock)
5- Important Facts: -Best time to travel? Between mid November to mid February -Internet is very slow, be patient. -Voltage: 220-230 volts Ac. Some places may experience power cuts and voltage fluctuation so please travel with protection for your electrical equipment. -When you see caged birds, don’t think sellers are running a pet store. Birds are bought by worshippers and then set free. The ritual is said to earn good merit or good karma.