Myanmar where to go

Burma, where to go

Myanmar: Is now a good moment to leave? On Monday, US President Barack Obama's visit to Myanmar brings the once-retired country, which has initiated a range of reform measures over the past two years after centuries of oppressive army domination, more into the public eye. This includes the suspension of penalties, the liberation of Burma's detainees and the introduction of the Myanmar single exchange rate, which is currently traded at around 850 kyat (pronounced "chat") against the US dollars.

Obama's attendance will give further impulses to the interest in Myanmar. It is encouraging them to enter the markets, businesses in Myanmar will find it easy to do businesses, and any ethical or security concerns foreigners may have about coming to Myanmar have vanished. Over the past 12 moth-go-now period, Myanmar, like the forces of the earth, has been at the top of the must-go-now list as a traveller before the state overruns.

On 16 December 2012 MTV EXIT has declared that it will hold the first major Open Aerial Concerts of an internationally acclaimed musician. Undoubtedly, the Algerian authorities are doing everything they can to promote the tourist industry. Myanmar Tourist Federation (MTF) has established an overseas department to expand the country's reach and increase tourist and corporate travel, The Myanmar Times states.

Myanmar's Civil Aviation Division also plans to improve Yangon Airport from its present total of 2. 7 million passengers a year to 3. 7 million in 2013 and 5 million in 2015, when the improvement will be implemented to accommodate the growth of the number of interna -tional travellers. The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism launches its e-visa website on 1 April to allow users to obtain an online visitor ID within five working day.

"At the moment we are planning to make the e-visa available for the first time for persons in Southeast Asia - Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia - and then make it available to everyone," says Tin Nwe Wynt, Market Development Director at the Myanmar Market Committee. By then, visitors will have three formal ways to get the 28-day Myanmar travel-permit.

One is to go to the Myanmar Ambassador in a specific destination and submit your application before your itinerary. Guangzhou or Cambodia travellers arriving on Myanmar Airways usually receive a formal residence permit upon arriving at Yangon International Terminal. Certain agents require telegraphic transfer; other agents require transfer of the money to an agency that waits in the Yangon International airport departures hall on your flight.

Where' re you gonna stay? The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism registered a grand overall attendance of 391,176 in 2011. By 2012, this number is set to increase to 500,000, and travellers in the tourism sector fear that the country's infrastructures will no longer be sufficient, especially in the top November to March season.

Out of the 25,358 rooms in Yangon, 8,152 are distributed among the 193 Yangon guesthouses and B&B. The number of rooms in Yangon has risen to 25,358. Only 2076 and 937 rooms are listed in the beloved Bagan and Nyaung Shwe resorts, the home of Inle Lake. With 47,475 foreign tourists entering the state in December 2011 alone, 43,800 of them in Yangon, the big issue is: Where does everyone go to school?

"While we saw visitors arrive in Yangon without lodging, travel agents had to make sure they flew to Bagan or Mandalay, where rooms were available. The new Centrepoint in Yangon is scheduled to open in 2013 and will be extended by 200 to 300 rooms, with a further "four or five" properties to be built in the next few years.

And of course a full price structure for supplies and demands is fully effective, with travel agents claiming that their contractually agreed rates have been increased three, four and five notches. "Burma is already 30 per cent more costly than Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam in hotel, inland, restaurant and so on," says Anne Cruickshanks, exotic travel Myanmar's flagship travel and adventures executive.

Travellers overwhelmed by Myanmar's palm-fringed beach, green mountains, magnificent monuments and welcoming travellers are already a little uncomfortable. "I was disappointed at my Summit Park View in Yangon," says Stephen Bures, an US businessman from Vietnam, about his October trip. The Myanmar Times reported that the Myanmar administration imposed a $150 ceiling on Myanmar's hotels on 25 June in reaction to over-pricing after it lobbied tour operators and feared that exploding rates would harm the sector's global reputation.

Although overseas ownership is adhering to it, the reports say that some local ownership still raised rates three to four fold over a year ago. Burma, Myanmar. On the ground there is the fear that an open e-visa system and a corresponding rise in the number of visitors could lead to an rise in unwanted forms of tourist travel with adverse effects on the local population, economy, cultural life and population.

"In 1996, the Bagan people idolized Bagan as an antique town, but instead of redecorating it, they drew it without regard for its conservation and threw the locals out in immediate breach of theirs. There is no long-term vision for the administration and not enough information about sustainable development in this area.

" To inform visitors about Myanmar's cultural heritage, an independent non-governmental organisation, Tourist Transparency, which promotes an open and responsible tourist sector in Myanmar, has issued a caricature book entitled "Dos and Don'ts for tourists". "Where do you want to go? The one thing the law enforcement has firmly under control is who goes where.

Travellers can now fully enjoy the major commercials such as Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Irrawaddy, but must request a visa for some of them. This usually lasts five to seven working day. Others open and shut down regularly, and some areas are still taboo, allegedly because of conflict between armed and minority groups, but also because some are covered with poppies supposedly belonging to the army (Myanmar is said to be the world's second biggest source of opium).

To keep up to date with the availability of Myanmar's many tourist attractions, the best way to do this is to contact a tourist agency or a local ambassador or go to the website of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism. The operator say there are enough proper cars and riders in the main locations to keep the traffic for now, but they will probably be captured shortly in theut.

Traveling aboard Myanmar's new, gleaming fleet can be tiring. There are many new establishments that have difficulty in recruiting skilled personnel, and incumbent establishments may find it hard to maintain their staffing levels when large companies such as Oberoi, Marriot and Anantara - all allegedly looking for possibilities in Yangon - come onto the scene in the oncoming years.

Most of Myanmar's visitor numbers are from China, but there are only 125 recorded leaders who know the language. In 2011, the 15th edition of the event was represented by the number of most common foreigners. Out of 3,161 Myanmar's travel agents, only 125 are listed as native speakers of Mandarin. English speakers are relatively well provided for - 1,931 travel books are the native language of Myanmar's former colonies - but in the next few years other nations may have to make do with their travel books while tourist colleges are catching up.

However, travelling in Myanmar is still a fairly simple task, provided you book your rooms in time, allow short-term changes to your travel route and have unforeseen problems. Monies are entering, industries are evolving and the whole nation is filled with a noticeable feeling of confidence for the oncoming years.

"We have seen many indications that the hotel sector is recovering - the hotel sector has become better and a stars evaluation system has been implemented, touristic transport has been better and the level of services and touristic training has improved," says Khin Than Win. And, while the rest of the globe is preparing for Myanmar and the administration is trying to cope with the newly gained appeal of the land, the land is still a border resort, relatively unspoilt by tourists and with a seductive mystic and romanticism.

The majority of our guests find their experiences overpowering. Myanmar is probably not for you if you don't like them. More than a decade of airlines currently operate flights to Myanmar from more than 15 Asian destinations. Myanmar's telecom system is, as expected, behind that of its neighbours. In Yangon, some local wireless providers have a long range, but little to nothing inland.

There is no possibility of mobile phone use, but guests can hire a mobile phone at Yangon IM at Yangon IM for a $50 and $2 per night security fee. Whilst urban ATM machines have become an everyday feature, they only offer direct banking in Myanmar. Travellers cannot make foreign withdrawal or payment by plastic cards in Myanmar, so keep your money in the latest US currency, euros and Singapore Dollars for the entire journey.

The United Overseas Bank has a representation in Myanmar, as well as 15 other foreign bankers from Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Japan, Thailand and Singapore. Recent accounts show that more global financial institutions are also considering opening Myanmar branch and Ayeyarwady Bank has already begun to install the use of WiFi transfer schemes to promote dialog with global financial institutions.

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