Things to know before you go Myanmar.
As a traveller, you might want to learn about the city or country before you put in your bucket list or remove it. Everyone has their own criteria to decide if a place is worth visiting depending on their needs and wants. So, I won’t recommend that Myanmar is a great place to visit. But I will mention some facts why you should go and why you shouldn’t go.
Is Myanmar safe? Is it expensive?
For the first question, it is completely safe as long as you don’t go to the restricted areas. If you go to Myanmar with the help of travel agents or licensed local guide, you don’t even need to worry about it. Because they have full information about which regions are safe to travel around.
But if you are one of the Free Independent Traveller, you must know which areas are restricted and the areas you need to ask permission before you travel. Especially in Kachin and Shan there are some areas where permission is required to visit. If you want to know detailed information about restricted areas, you can read this article.
For the second question, I would say it is not expensive. Myanmar is already in the top 7 countries where you can visit with the lowest price. If you are a budget traveller, it is easy to find your accommodation with the price around $15. And you can have your lunch or dinner with just $1 or $2. But some local shops or restaurants will ask you high price if you are a foreigner.
For the city transportation, you can use public transportation or just hire a taxi in the crowded city like Yangon and Mandalay. But in the remote cities, there is no public transportation and it won’t be easy to get a taxi. In this situation, I would recommend to contact a reliable travel agent or request hotels for your transportation. It will be a better choice than getting on a random taxi.
If you want to know more about transportation in Myanmar, you can learn here.
How to get to Myanmar?
Flight is the best option to go Myanmar and there are direct flights from neighboring countries like Singapore, Thailand and India. Visa for Myanmar can be obtained from official Government E-Visa Website that will cost around $50.
To travel by bus, there are land border checkpoints
Muse – Northern Shan State of Myanmar and Yunnan Province, China
Tachileik – Eastern Shan State of Myanmar and Thailand
Myawaddy – Kayin State and Thailand
Tamu – Sagaing Region and India
But I won’t recommend these for your safety.
Climate & Weather
- October to March: Winter
- March to May: Summer
- May to October: The Rainy Season
The average temperature of Myanmar ranges from 22 degree Celsius to 30 degree Celsius but the temperature is different depending on the regions. If you like pleasant weather, I would suggest the mountain regions like Pyin Oo Lwin, Kalaw, Taunggyi and Inle because the weather will get colder in the northern part of Myanmar. In the middle regions, the temperature sometimes rise up to 40 degree Celsius so if you have plan to go Myanmar in the hot season, sun cream, hat and umbrella would be your essential needs.
You will be surprise to see this!
No Crosswalk; don’t be surprise if you don’t see a crosswalk when you need to cross the road. You will probably see them when you are in downtown area, but it is very rare.
Longyi; May be you have already known that it is not a skirt if you have learned about Myanmar. Local people wear Longyi whether man or woman but in different style.
Thanaka; when you arrive Yangon, you will probably see Myanmar people wearing traditional make-up called Thanaka. Most of them are girls for their beauty and even men sometimes put on Thanaka to protect their skin from the sun.
Religion; Most of them are Buddhism and no religions are prohibited. When you go visit the pagoda, you are not allowed to wear shoes and shorts on the pagoda. And there are some places where women are not allowed to visit.
What you should try in Myanmar?
Myanmar is blessed with natural environment like beaches, mountains and even ancient buildings like Bagan, one of the UNESCO world’s wonders. There’s no doubt that it became a popular destination for tourists. As there are a lot of activities like Hiking & Trekking, Pilgrimage, City Tour and meditation, you need to decide what type of travelers before going Myanmar. That will make you easy to choose the destinations you want.
Popular Activities; Bagan Pilgrimage, Trekking in Kalaw, Ngapali Beaches, Meditation at Pha-auk, Sea Activities at Myeik archipaelago. If you want to know more about the destinations and activities, you can visit here.
Street Food; If you are a food lover, you will love Yangon, Mandalay and Shan State. You will see various types of street food in Yangon, but you need to careful of it hygiene.
Train Experience; in Myanmar, Train is not the best way for your transportation. But, if you have time and want to live as a local, hopping on the train is the best for you. You can meet vendors and also see the local people from rural areas when the train passes through the villages.
What is Bad about Myanmar?
Pollution and traffic; in the major cities like Yangon, you can’t rely too much on Google Map to calculate your travel time because the heavy traffic is unpredictable. As a consequence, this become one of the factors affecting pollution problem.
Expensive Deals; Not all the properties are expensive but some shops will ask too much beyond selling price if you are a foreigner.
Internet Connection; in Myanmar, you cannot expect a good internet connection from a public wifi connection. If you have something to do with internet, do it at hotel or choose a good café that provides wifi.
Electricity; it rarely happens in Downtown area, but if you go to the suburb area, you will see some streets are dark sometimes.
Stray Dog; Even if you love dogs, you won’t want to see nearly 15 dogs are barking when you are walking alone at night. This can happen in some wards in Myanmar. So let me suggest you not to go alone to the places you don’t know.
Rubbish bin; if you have been to Myanmar, maybe there are some times that you are holding a plastic and don’t know where to put it away. There are not enough bins and scattered trashes on the ground may be the result.