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Burma travel guide - Know Before You Go
Burma is unlike any other Southeast Asian state. After opening up to the tourist industry in recent years, there may be a lack of facilities and traveling can be a challenge, but this won't be the first Myanmar blogs to tell you that it's definitely a good idea to visit Myanmar. If you are spending your time in Southeast Asia, you will meet a number of old-school travelers who like to tell you that Southeast Asia is no longer what it used to be.
Burma is often referred to as "what once was Southeast Asia", and now you have a glimpse of what backpacking tourists were experiencing on the former" Banana Path. You take one thing out of that Myanmar leader, it's time to go. You need a visa....and it's easy to get on-line - Myanmar may be behind on your itinerary, but on your passport it's ahead.
Their e-visas are issued 90 nights from the date of issuance and allow you a 28-day residence in Myanmar. Obtaining a visas from your nearest Myanmar consulate can be less expensive - if you want to economize some of your expenses, it may be less expensive to apply for a visas through your suit.
They have six points of entrance into Myanmar - that's what they are: To fly from Southeast Asia to Myanmar is very cheap - I found Bangkok for only $30 and Southeast Asia to Myanmar usually cost under $50 (if you don't reserve the previous day). I fly to and from Yangon is less expensive and has more links than Mandalay - I have flown from Bangkok to and from Yangon and made a round trip around Myanmar.
Myanmar's public transportation choices may be disappointing (more below), but the long-haul offerings are much more attractive. Driving is long hauls, traffic is low and air traffic is cheap, so maybe it's the better option - I only realized towards the end of my journey that you can usually cover a route for less than $50.
I can still make bookings the old way by going to a tourist agency (although I still used Skyscanner to make bookings for all my flights). I have many Myanmar carriers (here is a list) and although I haven't seen any of them, none of them did kill me. Fly inside Myanmar is a little like flyin' in the'70s (I think check-in means checking off peoples from a print label lists, luggage collection can mean you leave the airfield and take your bags with the airplane from a cart and the air messages are made by a guy who holds up a billboard and calls his airplane (in unintelligible English).
More information on the subject of coach trips can be found here. This is ideal not to lose a whole afternoon of sight-seeing, but not so good for sleeping. There is no toilets on board even the V ip shuttle, so you' re expecting to stop for a meal and rest every few hour - a little disappointing when you try to get a good night's rest.
Use a second locals to verify your tickets - the coach and boot can be very similar to the unexercised locals ears and if I hadn't verified it, I would have been on a daily coach instead of cruising up the Mandalay on the way to the city. Make sure that the pick-up is in your fare - it really does differ according to your location, type of trip and business.
Burma is still in development and this is most frustrating in urban traffic. Tough. All-inclusive travelers don't help with the prizes - on a brief two-week vacation, many all-inclusive travelers don't think twice about giving $10 for a 5-minute trip and raising the basicfare for all.
Renting bicycles and e-bikes outside the city is much cheaper, but be careful of the dusty weather - Myanmar is by far one of the most dusty places I have ever been to. After a while almost all visitors get a duskie. They can use 2 Myanmar currency - the dollar and the currency, Kyoto (pronounced "chat").
When you use bucks, they must be original - despite the fact that the locale looks (and feels) like it was taken out of an ass (sorry for the footage), you can't use anything other than new bucks. Luckily, the companies had enough confidence to cut the tab.
While there are many bureaux de exchange, most of the time the purpose of these operations is to convert untouched US dollar into cash. Waiting for the big towns or the big multinational airports to convert the cash back into US dollar - I tried to convert $100 from KYATA into US dollar at Heho airfield. Poor information - Myanmar is much more costly than the remainder of Southeast Asia - the country's facilities are still under construction.
These include pensions and restaurans. Nutrition is the most affordableest-road nutrition - around $1-$2 for a slab of something fundamental. Restaurant fees are around $2-$4 per lunch. For a few bucks a gallon, beer's cheaper too. In general, Myanmar rates are rising (with the exceptions of those inns that have reduced the price of single travelers' accommodation), so you prefer to leave earlier rather than later if you want to travel on a fixed price.
Tips are not usual in Myanmar, and it is only a foreigner who tips.... usually North Americans. There are still parts of Myanmar that are "closed", i.e. visitors cannot go there; and other places where you need a leader to accompany you.
It' s hard to leave the well-trodden paths - even within the "open" parts of Myanmar, the evolving infrastructures mean that there are fixed trails you can take and you will have a hard time going any other way. Working in the hot - Myanmar is known for its sunrise and sunset, which is also good for a stay in the house (maybe for a snooze or a swim in the swimmingpool if you' ve got one) during the midday heats.
Wrap some'temple clothes' - at a minimal you will have knees and shoulders (and not just a scarf) for visits to Myanmar's numerous shrines. When you visit Myanmar's sanctuaries in places where animals such as nests or apes and hounds roam, you can look forward to entering many faecal animals.
Being a respectful visitors to Myanmar's sanctuaries, most of them are places of cult, not just tourist attractions. Don't count on walking on the sidewalk in Myanmar - they're reserved for storing motorcycles or palettes of supplies. Now that we are talking about streets, we have to traverse ourselves by entering a flow of people, because offical intersections are not really one thing in Myanmar.
Or as I once said in a guidebook - look both ways and run like hell. Ime is your best travelling companion - an application for iPhone, Android and other Maps. Me has revolutionized the way you shop - free, browsable, fully off-line and with GPS (even offline) integration, you now have the whole mapping system of the globe in your pockets.
However, if you have a fixed Wi-Fi network, i.e. before arriving in Myanmar, please make sure you have it. In 2011, when I went to Myanmar, the price was just too high. There were no shelters and my RTW trip money just wasn't enough up to +$50 per city. For single travelers it is getting better, although the cost is still far above what you would otherwise be paying in Southeast Asia.
Inns are country-style but enchanting - I have loved my Inns more than any hostel or hotel in Myanmar. Lodging gave a sense of what a typical home could be like (simple but nicely furnished in teak) and usually the breakfasts were better. Nutrition absorbs (IMO). I' ve never met any travelers who fancied Myanmar eating.
Like the Philippines, to whom I credited the poorest meal in the world....until I went to Myanmar. Most of the flavor ing is flavored with fats, salts, sugar and a little more. While I will not stop to complain about eating in Myanmar (as this contributor suggests), here are some hints to improve your nutritional opportunities in Myanmar.
There' so much sugars in your eating and drinking, you have to be safe from your toothache. In Myanmar, I don't want to cause inappropriate anxiety, but the hygienic standard is low and almost everyone I've talked to has gotten ill at least once. The road meal is not as fertile as in other places in Southeast Asia, but it is found and it is good.
Road meals will typically be 1,000-1,700 kyats per meals (under $2). Understand that Myanmar has no such thing as nightlife - most places near 9 pm and pubs are around 10 pm - 11 pm This is a land where sunset contemplation is more common than noctober.
Burma is not a land of junkie chain (I saw a KFC at Yangon International Airfield - that's it) and beyond beverage labels like Coke and Schwepps Tonic you will buy a few tokens and eat from there. You can find some equivalent'Grab'n' Go' shops, but most of the time you will buy refreshments and refreshments from small, regional companies.
I have been to a Cheeroot plant where even some of the paste was made from raw wool and it is very organically, in comparison to what you would find elsewhere. You will also find smokers inside - this can be a big shock if you come from a land where it has long been forbidden to smoke indoors.
Burma is an unbelievably secure shire - most of the country's inhabitants are Buddhists and with a faith in qigong the criminality rate is extraordinarily low. Talking of single travelers, there are many of them in Myanmar, so you need to see other travelers if you want to feel Ionely.
I have already referred to the nutritional risks in Myanmar. Wish I had a few hints to avoid gastric problems, but it is so hard to determine exactly what makes you ill - both time I got ill, the meals and dining were looking good. Usually I'm not a big fans of straw (I've got a built-in system for drink - named lips), but I've made an exemption in Myanmar when I drink cans that usually have a bunch of grime on the edge.
I have already said how musty Myanmar is, and I have seen many travelers who have created a broadcrust. Also, pay attention to your A/C - Myanmar can be as hellish as hell (not that I was in hell, but folks tell me it's not warm).
In Myanmar, a good diet can be tough - with so much food in the kitchen (even in salads) with so much olive oils, salts and sugars that it can be difficult to do well. When you get desiccated, you' re drinking a topical re-hydration beverage like 100 Plus or Pocari Sweat and no, I didn't make that last name up.
It is unlikely that you will need to take birth control tablets in Myanmar, but look at the list here because there is a potential hazard in the northern and southern parts. Burma is more like India than the remainder of Southeast Asia without the security worries that some women travelling alone might have.... but also without the great foods you can get in India.
Natives are extraordinarily distinguished and not used to confronting, so grab your best courtesies and your endurance. Travelling can be a frustration, it can be dangerous, it can be dangerous, but remember: you have decided to come to Myanmar and the fact that it is not the same as being at home is not a good excuse to take it out on the natives.
Tough. Most Southeast Asian countries are no longer new to tourism, but Myanmar is different. Myanmar English can be difficult to comprehend, be tolerant, pay for a leader, make sure they have good, clear English before you do. Burma or Myanmar? Everybody is wearing dresses - men and woman equally - the long coat, the long one, is the favourite Myanmar tradition for men and woman.
Burma is a conservation state, so you will adapt better if you wear conservation clothing (cover your knee and shoulders). I have to say that this is mainly a piece of counsel for the ladies, but when they are in Myanmar, they do it like the people. Burma has freshened my vision. It is a typical walnut wound into a sheet, flavored with aromas such as limes and then masticated.
In Myanmar, kids beg, and as heart-rending as it is, you shouldn't give anything to the kids. Burma has this strange half-hour gap to its timezone, so it's 6.5 GMTs. Myanmar outlets should be the golden norm - most outlets have several adapters for 2 pole connectors in Europe and the United Kingdom as well as my own 3 pole one.
I' m traveling with the Apple World Traveller Adapterpack, which makes things even simpler. The Wi-fi vacuum in Myanmar, so you either have to get over it or, even better, buy a locally available iMac. With a rucksack you will be better than with a case - thanks to an ACL repairs operation I traveled through Myanmar with a case that was not perfect on powdery, sand and rough-road.
My report on the best baggage can be found here. They may have come to the end of this guideline and think that this emerging, gritty, hot land of poor eating and frustrated travelling is a lot of heavy, costly work. In Myanmar, things are not the same as in the West - or the remainder of Southeast Asia.
Myanmar is yesterday's Asia (I'm not old enough to have traveled in the 1960s), but with the right amount of perseverance, positivity and adventurousness, I can tell you that you will be exploring a completely different side to Southeast Asia. That' s all you need to know before you go, my travel guidebook to Myanmar.
Were you in Myanmar? Will it be safer for a woman to go alone?