A Guide to Tourism Destinations and Beyond

Vol.3  No.4   
July-September 2004

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Itís Good To Know....

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 braless 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.

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. On line visas are now available at : www.visa.gov.mm. Visa on arrival can be arranged prior to your arrival by your travel agent but only for package tours. 

Airport Tax: 
Airport tax is US$10 per person on international departure. 

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: 
Currently credit cards and travellers cheques cannot be used in Myanmar. So please make sure you bring enough United States dollars in cash for your intended purchases and avoid disappointments. 

Temperate and cool during the months of November to February and the best time to come visiting. Warm to scorching from March to May in the Dry Zone but moderate on the 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.

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. Donít 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.

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-looking Buddha images even if they were made a week ago, as the Custom Officers may not allow its export. Buy jewelry only from authorized dealers and be sure to get a receipt which must be shown at Customs.

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

230V; 50Hz. 

Myanmar Standard Time:
Myanmar is 6.30 hours ahead of G.M.T