1, Is it safe to travel in Myanmar?
A: Myanmar became the darling of the tourism world a few years ago when it began to emerge from a half-century of isolation and oppressive government policies. Formerly known as Burma, the least visited country in South-East Asia was named one of 2016’s hottest new destinations. It became the place to see “before it changed”.
Recently, Myanmar has hit the news headlines for more somber reasons. A series of violent clashes between government forces and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State is tantamount to ethnic cleansing, according to the United Nations. Some are saying it’s time for tourists to again boycott the destination. Does travelling to a destination condone the policies of that country’s government? It could be argued boycotts hurt the people who most need tourism. Locals who work as tour guides and souvenir sellers see their incomes evaporate when tourists go elsewhere.
However, Myanmar is a safe place to travel. As a Buddhist country, the people are honest and very friendly. However, you still should not bring along anything valuable as you go shopping or sightseeing on the street, especially, in big cities.
It is dispensable to give aims to beggars and to buy souvenirs from street vendors.
Travel to almost all parts of Myanmar is safe, visitors to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake should use normal safety precautions. Anyone thinking about visiting Rakhine State should reconsider their need for travel. The overall rating for the country is “high degree of caution”. It’s worth noting that’s the same advice given for Thailand and Bali.
Myanmar is one of the most complicated, and most captivating, destinations you’ll ever visit.
2, Do I need a visa for Myanmar?
A: Before 01 Sept 2014, travelers who wanted to visit Myanmar needed to do the visa at the embassy (send the documents to the Embassy and wait for 10 days – 3 weeks for the approval). For the quicker process, you could have a travel agency to do the visa on arrival, however, you had to buy a package tour if you would like to get a visa.
From 01 Sept 2014, tourists can do the e-visa by themselves, it will take 24 hours for the form to be submitted and 3 working days to get the result. As a result, you can somehow self-organize your trip easier and more flexible.
Visa Exemption List:
– For less than 14 days staying in Myanmar, these countries are visa-exempt: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam.
– All other countries need to have a valid visa (28 days, single entry) before entering Myanmar.
For all who want to find out more about the e-visa, can check out the information at:
3, What is the maximum weight for check-in luggage with domestic flights?
All passengers get a free checked baggage allowance; Economy Class (20kg), Premium Economy (25kg), and Business Class (30kg), and a piece of free carry-on luggage with less than 7kg for domestic flights.
4, How should I dress for the tour with you?
A: Outfits in Southeast Asia tend to be quite casual because of the warm, humid, tropical climate. For women, casual cotton pants and skirts are most acceptable for daytime wear, but bare sundresses and short shorts are frowned upon, especially in pagodas & temples.
In Myanmar, when entering a religious site, you are required to wear a dress/trouser (BELOW the knees) and walk on barefoot (no shoes, no socks).
A sweater, sweatshirt, light jacket, or fleece pullover is a good idea when visiting the northern areas in the winter (from November to March); and, because the climate is tropical, it is useful to have a windbreaker or rain poncho as protection against the unexpected rain showers that tend to occur.
5, Advices for the Time zone, telephone charges, communication methods.
A: Time zone: Myanmar Time (MMT) is 6:30 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). This time zone is in use during standard time in Asia. Myanmar Time is a half-hour time zone. Its local time differs by 30 minutes instead of the normal whole hour.
– Telephone charges: It is cheap and easy to buy a sim card in Myanmar from $2 – $5 since August 2014, the common one is OOREDOO and MTP. A guide could help to buy or you can buy it yourself with the passport and visa provided for the shop owner.
With an OOREDOO SIM, it is better for using the internet with its network, however, you cannot use it at Bagan and remote areas. Normally, local people will buy MTP sim cards which can be used in most areas in Myanmar although that sim card does not provide a fast internet connection.
Long-distance calls should be made at post offices, hotels or telephone booths (phone cards are available at post offices). Normally, hotels will get 15-20% service charge of the bill.
– Communication methods: During your stay in Myanmar you are certain to want to contact friends and family at home. Or you may need to contact a tour operator or someone you know in Myanmar. We provide you with some information on communications in Myanmar such as Telephone, Internet (Yahoo and Hotmail addresses are unusable in Myanmar) Postal, Freight and Cargo Services, Mass Media.
If you have any questions that not covered on the above answers, please kindly do let us know by email. We are more than happy to clear your concerns as soon as possible. For fully detailed travel tips in Asia, please click the Travel guide on our website.
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