Myanmar is a land rich in tradition and natural wonders, offering a travel experience not found anywhere else in the world. Urban explorers will love the bustle of cities like Yangon while those looking to relax will be spoilt by pristine beaches located along the western coastline. For adventurers and nature lovers, snow-capped mountains, lush virgin forests and picturesque rivers await. When planning your trip, be sure to also check out the numerous festivals that are held throughout the year.
Myanmar’s temperature is generally moderate, and has three seasons. November to February brings dry, cool weather and the peak tourist season, while March through May sees temperatures going up to 35°C. The rainy season begins in May and lasts until the end of September, so come prepared for wet weather.
Travel Tips: If you’re planning to hit the beach, October to March is the best time. For mountain explorers, the winter months see freezing temperatures so be sure to dress accordingly. In the highlands areas Inle Lake and Pyin U Lwin, winter temperatures can fall below 10°C at night, while daytime temperatures are usually very pleasant. Even in the summer, temperatures rarely exceed 32°C.
Myanmar’s vibrant 2,000 year old culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism and neighbours India, China, Lao, Bangladesh and Thailand. Elements of this multiculturalism can be seen in the local architecture, cuisine, arts, traditional clothing and celebrated festivals. One of the most popular events to take place throughout the year is Thingyan, a five-day event which celebrates the coming lunar New Year.
Kyat (pronounced ‘chat’). US dollars are also accepted in cities.
Travel Tips: Cash is King in Myanmar as there are very few ATMs and credit cards are not widely accepted. US dollars are also accepted in the cities but be sure to bring new bills if possible as torn or dirty notes will not be accepted. Travelers cheques cannot be used or exchanged in Myanmar.
Of the more than 130 different ethnic groups in Myanmar, the largest is the Bamar, from which the name Burma was derived. As each ethnic group has its own distinct culture and dialect, your travel experience will vary depending on which part of the country you visit. One thing that is consistent wherever you go though, is the warm and genuine hospitality you’ll receive from the Burmese people, who are extremely friendly and helpful to visitors.
Few people know that Myanmar is actually the 2nd largest country in Southeast Asia (after Indonesia) and with its population of over 60 million people, is the world’s 24th most populous country.
85% of the population is Buddhist, followed by Muslims, Christians, and Animists among others. Many local traditions, celebrations and aspects of everyday life are heavily influenced by Buddhism.
Travel Tip: Be respectful of religious places and persons, ask for permission before touching anything or taking photos.
Myanmar is generally safe with a low crime rate, but as in any country, do take precautions when out in public.
Travel Tip: Ensure your valuables are not left unattended and do not place mobile phones or money containers on tables.
Buses, trains and taxis are an inexpensive way of getting around. Although for the uninitiated, the local transportation system can be tricky to navigate since many signs are not in English.
Travel Tip: If you’re planning to visit several places in a day, a safe and convenient option is to hire a car and driver, which can be arranged for with most travel agencies and hotels. Do note that prices will vary quite widely depending on whether you hire an official tourist car, taxi or private car.
GMT + 6:30
All visitors need a visa to enter Myanmar.
Travel Tips: Although visitors from several countries can apply for a Visa on Arrival, it’s recommended to obtain your visa from the Myanmar embassy in your country before travelling to ensure no complications when you arrive.
Tap water is not potable, so only drink bottled water.
Travel Tips: If you’re eating at street stalls and restaurants, avoid ice cubes and ask if fresh juices have water added. Pick safe options like can or bottled drinks.
Travel Tip: Power outages are pretty common in Myanmar, so we highly recommend bringing along a small torchlight wherever you go.
Roaming is not widely available so check with your Telco before your trip.
Travel Tip: Those flying into Yangon Airport can pick up a local SIM card or rent a mobile phone at the airport.
Generally there is no practice of tipping but is appreciated.
Travel Tip: Be sure to tip tour guides and drivers, which is customary.