Burma Travel GuideMyanmar travel guide
Best 20 Burma Travel Tips
Ampersand Head of Marketin, Sacha Smith-Laing, and Ellie Boulstridge, our selling advisor, recently explored Burma for two and a half week. Note that your cell phones (SIM) do not work in Burma. Amphersand provides you with a landline cell telephone on demand. Wi-Fi is available in most establishments, even in more secluded areas, and it is usually free if you are a visitor to the establishment - with a few exemptions.
Connectivity and speed varies and some hostels do not have Wi-Fi in the rooms, only in common areas such as the lounge or cafe. Plug-socket outlets differ from room to room. Is it Burma or Myanmar you should call it? Either is okay, but you will find that 95% of the natives say Myanmar.
The natives, however, don't seem worried when you call it Burma, which most Britons do. You' ll also find that virtually everyone uses the new name for the city: the new name: Rangoon for Yangon and Pyin Oo Lwin for MayMyo. With regard to Tip #5, note that balloon riding over Bagan's sanctuaries is only possible in the high seasons from October to February, so if you can't stand it (we don't hold it against you!), try to come the first 2 week in December, after the November crash and before the Christmas tour.
If you are looking for a funny and hectic place to eat, try the Feel Myanmar Restuarant in Yangon - ask your tour leader if he can help you order a little circuit where many folks choose their food from a huge variety of delicious daily cuisine. Eventually the end product is like a Myanmar thai with a shimmering choice of regional delicacies in distinct cucumber and spice side cuisines.
Enjoy a meal at Sharky's artisan foodiestaurant - a funny and refreshing Yangon school. It is a westernized but Myanmar delicatessen and ristorante with an avid owner, Sharky, who is often there to talk about his premium products. It' s made in Europe, but it' s made local - Burmesian cheeses, home-made yoghurt and icecream, sausage, salami and the slice of ham, Sharky's Fois Gras Burgers (perfectly served with a cool Sauvignon Blanc Malborough glass).
At Yangon, for a charming colorful feel full of Myanmar characters, make a reservation at the governor's residence (do it well in advance as the governor's residence is Burma's most coveted hotel). Taste the typical burmesian breakfasts, mohinga, a sometimes vegetable, sometimes seafood flavoured pasta with eggs, chili cereals, spices and crunchy shallot as your delicacy.
On our first day in Burma, we tried the Governor's residence and ordered it for the remainder of our journey for ours! If you want a tasty snack or an exuberant last dinner in Burma, reserve a dinner at La Planteur, Yangon's sumptuous gourmet food court in an elegant old chalet with traditional flavours and France.
One of Yangon?s most legendary beaches and one of our favourites. It is a wonderful place for your last rest in Burma, as you will end up on a high, historic mountain. The Grill is a great place to have dinner: observe and enjoy the stylish environment of the foyer and have a cocktail at the Strand Bar (a great place for a Friday evening cocktail) before eating at The Grill with its domed roof, burmesian varnish detailing and neoclassical columns.
Burma's most popular place of worship, the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, is no less magic for its glory and appeal. It is recommended to visit in the evening to see many locals. Other than in the Western world, Burma is a place to share moments with your loved ones, to unwind, dine, socialize and prayer.
Paukan has already 3 ships in Burma (Paukan ship fleet 2012, 2007 and 1947) and will build 3 more in 2014 with bath. When you' re not so much on cruises but want to take a boat trip on the rivers, we suggest a basic dusk and dawn trip along the Bagan Plain.
A lot of travellers don't know that on some of the long trips the places of interest along the riverbank are not very different. However, the route down stream of the Shwezigon Pagoda is dotted with sanctuaries that provide a stunning and dramatic nighttime romance - especially with Bagan's hundred silhouettes outlined at sundown.....
It was a wonderful two-hour adventure, passing innumerable churches, which we could admire for ourselves without any other tourists in the area. Actually, we drove all the way back to our motel at sundown. The cozy and nicely groomed Amara in the cold mountain colony of Kalaw was one of our favorite Burmese resorts.
Green Hill Valley in Kalaw, Shan State, is a wildlife protection program designed to protect the environment, elephant populations and their own customs. Dependent on your route you would probably already have reached Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay, so that you are a bit "stamped out" and come out into this area.
It' a nice example of a typical stilt hut and a true Shang-ri La for about 50 pristine Burma kittens - they even have their own "playground island" with cat-sized cabins for their sleeping comforts. If, like Ellie, you are less attracted to kittens, there is a replica of a historic building up in the shrine with stylish furnishings, an arts centre and an adjoining dining room.
On the Inle See, ask your boatman to drive you through the fishermen town Pauk Per - you'll see beautifully shaky stilt buildings and how women wash their hairdos in the water and splash around with children; it only takes a few mins to cross it by ferry, and it's not on the footpath.
N.B. Even if you think it's ridiculous, ask your tour leader to take an sunshade with you on long expeditions and don't ignore bringing sunscreen on expeditions on the sea - boating is treacherously chilly because of the winds, so you can often overlook applying again and burning the suntan.