Vol.1

No.4

July - September 2002

Contents | A Letter to Our Reader | Once upon a time in Bago | Nine-Gems Ring | Khaung Cawi, to honour wives | Sea Gypsies | It's Good to Know | Cheroots | Traditional Chin House | Bandoola Boat | Events Calendar

It's Good To Know

CULTURE TIPS


Myanmar is a country deeply respectful of their religious and cultural traditions. Visitors will not cause offense if they note a few things:

Remove shoes and socks before entering religious buildings and compounds. Some monasteries allow footwear in the compound ,but not inside the buildings, starting with the lowest step! Better make sure first. It is also polite to remove shoes before entering a private home but socks may be left on.

When handing someone money or a gift use the right hand or both hands, with the exception of paying the bill in a teashop or restaurant. Then it is a more casual transaction. Women should not ride on the roof of buses or boats; it is offensive to the men or elderly sitting underneath. Women should not touch a monk's robes or body of monk or nun. In most pagodas women are not allowed to go up higher levels.

When you wear Myanmar dress, which is sold ready-to-wear, make sure you do not wear it carelessly such as with knees showing or unbuttoned or, in the case of women, without underwear. Going bra-less is definitely not done in Myanmar. Make sure not to be wearing shorts or skimpy tops when you visit pagodas. Even in the streets skimpy clothing would be considered insulting to the public.

TRAVEL TIPS

Visa:

All foreigners entering Myanmar must have a valid visa issued by the Myanmar Embassies and Consulates abroad. There are two kinds of visas applicable to tourists; (1) package tour visas and (2)FIT visas. Package tour visas can be obtained for persons arranging tours through registered local tour operators or their agents abroad. FIT visas are for persons not making any arrangements for sightseeing etc with local tour operator but prefer to explore the country on their own. All tourist visas are valid for 28 days with an option for extension.

Airport Tax:

Airport tax is US$10 plus additional US$ 2 as insurance per person on international departure.

Currency:

Myanmar currency is called Kyat, and comes in notes of 1000, 500,200, 100,90,50,45, 20,10,5 and 1 kyat.  

Credit cards and Travellers' Cheques:

Only major hotels will accept credit cards or travellers' cheques. Most commercial transactions are done in cash, so bring cash to avoid any disappointments. Also United States dollars are easier to exchange than other currencies. Cash can be withdrawn from credit card accounts of Visa or American Express, but this service is available only in Yangon.

Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC):

All FIT visa holders are required to change USD 200 into equivalent Foreign Exchange Certificates(FEC) on arrival. However, package tour visa holders are exempted from this rule.

Climate:

Cool and comfortable during the months of November to February allover the country. Warm to hot from March to May in the Dry Zone but moderate in the Chin, Shan and Kachin States. It is monsoon season from June to October in Yangon and the coastal regions, so plan to go to Bagan and Mandalay during this time.

Clothing:

Light cotton clothing, slip-on shoes or sandals, a sun hat, maybe a light jacket for cooler evenings of hilly regions.

Comfort and Care:

Mosquito repellent and sunscreen are a must. Try to avoid going out in the midday sun when it's very hot. Don't forget to bring medication you would normally use in emergencies, such as antibiotics etc. Most medicines are available but maybe not the brand you normally use.

Drink only pre-boiled water such as green tea or bottled water of reputable brands. Better to avoid ice cubes in the street stalls.

Avoid eating shellfish in hot weather, if you are not actually on the beach.
 

Shopping:

You cannot post parcels home, although some shops will do the shipping for you. Ask first before you buy anything bulky. You cannot take back antiques. Better to avoid buying old-Iooking Buddha images even if they were made a week ago, as the Custom Officers may not allow its export. Buy jewelry only from authorised dealers and be sure to get a receipt which must be shown at Customs.
 

Emergency Medical Care

Yangon International Clinic offers 24 hour international standard medical assistance with emergency evacuations, medically supervised repatriations, dispatch of doctors or specialists. Located at the Summit Park View Hotel.
24hours Emergency Service: 525641 (Dr.Daw Su Su Thein).

Miscellaneous:

Crime rate is low, so you are safer than in most countries but prudence is never wrong.

Electricity:

230V; 50Hz.

Myanmar Standard Time:

Myanmar is 6.30 hours ahead of G.M.T
October-December 2002

Contents | A Letter to Our Reader | Once upon a time in Bago | Nine-Gems Ring | Khaung Cawi, to honour wives | Sea Gypsies | It's Good to Know | Cheroots | Traditional Chin House | Bandoola Boat | Events Calendar

Vol.1

No.4

July - September 2002