MYANMAR

See our selected itineraries in Myanmar

GENERAL INFORMATION 

CAPITAL CITY

The capital city of Myanmar is Naypyidaw.

SIZE

Inland area: 678,500 Km2

Myanmar is the largest country of South-East Asia.

GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION

Myanmar is located on the Bengal Gulf, bordered by Thailand on the west, by Laos and China on the north-east and India and Bangladesh on the north-west.

The southern part of the country is flat, fed by many rivers; the largest one, the Irrawaddy, which rises in the counter forts of the Himalayas, flows through spectacular gorges, tropical jungles and terraced paddy fields to the Bay of Bengal.

The Irrawaddy is the heartbeat of Myanmar and is the most viable means of access to many of the country’s attractions.

POPULATION

Myanmar has 54 million inhabitants with an average density of 84 inhabitants/km2. 68% of the population is Burmese, 9% Shan, 7% Karen, 4% Rakhine, 3% Chinese, 2% Mon and 2% Indian. Ethnic minorities make up the rest of the population of Myanmar.

RELIGION

The principal religion of Myanmar is Buddhism (89 %), but it is a curious amalgam of several beliefs and practices containing elements of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. As in many countries, be careful when discussing religion, especially in the presence of people with a good command of your language.

POLITICS

As for religion, it is advisable to refrain from discussing politics except in very broad terms. However people are increasingly open to discussion, although preferably in privacy.

LANGUAGE

There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Myanmar, all with their own language or dialect, tradition and culture. The majority of the population speak Burmese, the official language. English is widely spoken.  However, communication and the understanding of local traditions can be a problem beyond the major cities. The presence of a guide able to speak several languages is highly recommended.

CURRENCY

The official currency is the Kyat (MMK) but US dollars are accepted everywhere. Current notes are: ks 1000, 5000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 bank notes.

At the time of writing the exchange rates are US$ 1 = 1350 Kyat and 1 EURO = 1430 Kyat (January 2017, please note that this can change significantly on a daily basis)

Please be aware that our team will be able to help you to change your money at a proper rate.

Due to financial sanctions, credit cards and Travellers cheques are not accepted.

We therefore recommend all tourists visiting Myanmar to bring cash in USD as it is currently the only accepted foreign currency.

Please note that some hotels may need an imprint of your credit card as a deposit during your stay, which is a normal procedure.  However, this deposit can be made in cash and will be refunded upon check-out

CLIMATE

The best time of year to visit Myanmar is from mid-October to the beginning of March. At this time, the climate is mild and dry. Temperatures can however be very low at high altitude and especially at night. This is the case for Inle Lake.

The hottest time of year is from March to mid-May and the rainy season lasts from mid-May to the beginning of October. We would suggest you avoid the months of May and June, which are hot and humid. In July, August and September, the humidity is generally high in Yangon.  It is less so in the northern regions (Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake).

Mandalay

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Min °C

13

15

20

25

27

27

27

26

25

24

20

15

Max °C

28

31

36

38

37

34

34

33

32

31

30

28

Rain mm

5

10

12

43

162

165

83

106

147

132

62

19

Yangon

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Min °C

18

19

21

24

25

25

24

24

24

25

22

19

Max °C

31

34

36

37

33

30

29

29

30

31

31

31

Rain mm

4

10

21

45

296

469

540

517

358

183

56

18

LOCAL TIME

Myanmar is 6 hours 30 minutes ahead of the Greenwich Mean Time.

ELECTRICITY

In Myanmar the «standard» electrical current is 220V, but sockets are not always standard. It is highly recommended that you take an international adapter with you.

Due to its limited power supply, the country suffers from frequent power cuts - and over voltage, but most hotels and restaurants in the major cities have their own generators.

WATER

As in many countries, it is not advisable to drink water from the tap unless it has been boiled beforehand. 

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

International phone call charges from Myanmar are very expensive (from 5 to 10 USD per minute). If you need to call from a hotel, it is advisable to check and have confirmed the price before making the call (“surprises” can be very costly!).

Mobile phones still do not work in Myanmar.

Email does work to a certain extent in the major cities but its use remains limited.

HEALTH & MEDICAL FACILITIES

No vaccination is required, but visitors are advised to receive inoculations against hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tetanus.

Burmese hospitals are currently very basic. For life threatening injury it is advisable to be evacuated to Bangkok or Singapore. In the main cities you can however find private clinics staffed with foreign medical personnel but prices are very expensive. We therefore strongly recommend you to acquire medical travel insurance.

TRANSPORTATION

There are two international airports in Myanmar:

-          The International airport of Yangon is located in Mingaladon, 20 minutes from the town centre 

-          The International airport of Mandalay is 45 km (1h transfer) from the center of the town.

The road network has improved but still needs to be upgraded in some areas. To cover a distance, it is reasonable to count an average speed of 50 km / hour.

DRIVING

In Myanmar, they drive on the right.

Apart from citizens of Myanmar, only foreigners with a business visa or those with an International Driving licence are authorised to drive in Myanmar.  We strongly recommend to only call upon the services of drivers recommended by your hotel or tour operator and to agree on a price before you get in the car!

It is possible to hire a motorbike with an International Driving licence.

CUISINE

Traditional Burmese cuisine varies from Mohinga or  On-no-Khaukswe, assorted delicacies which are fried or baked in the oven to a variety of Burmese curries. Chinese and Indian foods are also widely available in major towns and cities.

SHOPPING

Artisan craft is rich and varied: you will therefore discover lacquer ware, embroidered cottons, silks, wood carvings as well as precious stones and many manufactured products.

Prices displayed are usually fixed, but bargaining remains and is frequently used in villages and markets.

Most shops are open from 9h to 18h from Monday to Saturday but can vary according to region.

Small local shops are usually open every day. It is easy to pay for your purchases in US dollars.

TIPPING

Tips, although appreciated, are by no means mandatory.

Avoid giving money to the beggars; it would be perceived as encouragement, which would only increase the phenomenon. If you wish to give something, it would be helpful to give them something to eat or to provide a basic need (shoes, clothes, pens, exercise books, etc).  Inside the temples and monasteries, the offering could be given in cash.

VISA AND PASSPORT

A visa is compulsory to enter Myanmar. To obtain a visa, you must first ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after your return date.

The easiest way to get a visa is to make an online request on the Ministry of Immigration’s official website: www.evisa.moip.gov.mm. You will then receive an invitation letter within 5 days which will allow you to pick-up your visa upon arrival in Myanmar, in the airport. As of this day, the visa online service is available in Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw and Mandalay international airports.

Visas can also be acquired directly at the Myanmar Embassies and Consulates abroad.

Please note that visas are currently valid for 28 days.

BEFORE YOUR DEPARTURE

If you are travelling in the northern areas from November to February, warm clothes are recommended.

You should plan appropriate cloths all year long in Inle Lake where nights can be very cold (10 to 15 °C).

In most other areas, light clothing is perfectly suitable.

Please note that:  shorts, miniskirts, revealing outfits (shoulders have to be covered) ripped jeans, sheer tops, ... are prohibited when visiting places of worship.

If you do wear shorts for your excursions, take a pair of trousers or a dress to change into for a visit to a pagoda.

Everywhere else, relaxed but respectful attire is acceptable. Especially be careful in choosing your shoes: you will indeed take off your shoes when visiting pagoda, temple and monastery, you will do so often and laced shoes are not suitable. Instead, take the shoes "vessel" in which you are comfortable. Beware of blisters which ruin the days of walking. The Burmese shoe flip flops, you'll find for 1000k, but the sizes are generally too small for our European standards.

As a general rule, keep in mind that Myanmar remains steeped in tradition in many ways. It is recommended you adopt a respectful attitude towards traditions and the ancestral culture of this country.

Please pack mosquito repellent and a cap or a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, a raincoat and a travel first aid kit (containing an antiseptic cream, aspirin or paracetamol, bandages).

Travel in Myanmar presents little risk, but it would be best to leave your valuables at home.

For safety reasons, we advise travelers not to leave valuables in vehicles during their journey.

ASIA HOLIDAYS WISHES YOU A PLEASANT TRIP