Chaotic and charming, discovering the fascinating cities in Myanmar can be a complicated but enriching experience.The little and outdated infrastructure in the country turns short distance trips between different city areas into tediously long journeys.
Travelling through the country is also hindered by the numerous areas that are not accessible for visitors due to conflicts between the state government and the local ethnic minorities. Such bordered areas are located all over the country and change frequently, making it difficult to plan a route in advance. You can consult the current state of inaccessible areas at the Myanmar government website.
Local transport in is formed by an eclectic mixture of public buses, taxis, pick up trucks and rickshaws. The largest cities, such as Yangon and Mandalay have their own bus transport network, which offers very cheap prices and a great range of connections. Pick up trucks also cover fix routes within towns and major cities and offer different prices depending the part of the truck you want to travel on. The most comfortable seats, located in the cabin are slightly more expensive, while the roof is left for the cheapest fares on busy days.
Taxis are also available in bigger towns and cities, and they are more affordable than in other Southeast Asian countries. Haggling the price of your ride is not always an option, so visitors should expect to pay fares between K1000 and K1500 for a 20 minute ride. Although often outdated, taxis offer an affordable, safe and comfortable alternative for most western travelers. Taxis are highly recommendable when traveling to nearby airports. Due to the complicated road system and the many enclosed areas of Myanmar, hiring a private car, even to move around the city is not an option for tourist. The country often uses English vehicles, which have the steering wheel on the right hand of the car, although the roads are right side driving. This makes it very dangerous and complicated for foreigners to drive. However, it is possible to arrange a car and driver from around US $40 a day through local travel agencies and hotels.
To visit Myanmar, you are required to have a visa and a valid passport with a minimum of six months validity from the time you enter the land. The visa for Myanmar requires an application fee of US$50 and it can be obtained online via Myanmar’s ministry of Immigration and Population website: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm. Once your application is processed and accepted, you will receive an approval letter attached to an official email, which will allow you into the country. The single entry tourist Myanmar visa has a duration of 28 days from arrival, and it is valid for three months.
Unlike in other countries of this area, there is no requirement to purchase an onward ticket out of the country in order to enter Myanmar. If you are travelling to South East Asia in the coming weeks and you did not apply for a valid visa on time, it is possible to obtain a short notice visa to Myanmar for US citizens in the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok.www.myanmarembassybkk.com.For further information, tips and practicalities about Myanmar, you are always welcome to visit the different embassies and consulates around the world.