Myanmar Travel Tips and Useful Info
Do I need a visa to visit Myanmar?
It’s far easier these days to obtain a visa for Myanmar via the new online e-visa system. It takes about 3 business days to process your visa, after the payment is made. Your eVisa will be emailed to you. You just have to print it and show it at immigration.
Over 100 countries are eligible for an e-visa, to view a full list of e-visa countries via this official link – https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/.
E-visa for Myanmar costs US $50, and are valid for 28 days.
From 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020, Australian passport holders are eligible to apply for tourist Visa on arrival. Fee for Visa on Arrival (Tourist) is US$ 50 in cash and the duration of stay in Myanmar is 30 days. You will also need to bring two recent colored passport size photos taken within the past 6 months. More information for the Visa on Arrival can be found via this link – https://tourism.gov.mm/visa-requirements/visa-on-arrival/.
Alternatively, you can apply for this visa via Myanmar e-visa Official Government Website, https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/, with $50 USD per person. Please Note: approval time can take up to 3 business days.
Do I need any vaccinations before visiting Myanmar?
No vaccines are required in order to enter Myanmar but some are recommended for protection against disease. You should seek medical advice from your local health practitioner before travelling to Myanmar and make sure to schedule vaccinations 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective.
Can I drink the tap water in Myanmar?
As drinking tap water isn’t safe in Myanmar, only drink bottled mineral water, which is readily available in hotels, shops and restaurants. You can help the environment and try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle with filtered water. Your tour guides and your hotels can tell you where to find filtered water at hotels. Remember to avoid drinks with ice and peel fruit before eating it.
What is currency in Myanmar?
KYAT is the Myanmar currency. While in the country, you’ll use a mix of US dollars and Myanmar kyat. Most hotels and domestic airfares, travel companies, tour guides, some entrance fees will be in USD, while everything else (food, souvenirs, uses etc) will be in Kyat.
Along with USD, it is easy to exchange Australian Dollars, Euro, British Pounds at the banks and the registered money changers. Please note, the money changers at the airports may not accept Australian dollars or British pounds to change. You will visit the money changers in towns to exchange them.
It is essential that bills are in first class, good condition, with no folds, rips or writing. New is best and keep them flat, maybe between two pieces of card. 100’s and 50’s will get the best exchange rate.
When you leave the country, you can exchange your kyat at the airport or banks before you take off. Keep in mind that no where outside of Myanmar will be interested in exchanging your extra Kyat, make sure you get rid of your extra before you leave.
ATM’s: There are now over 2000 ATM’s in Myanmar with a choice at major airports and widespread availability at downtown Banks. 24 hours ATM are in all major tourist destinations such as Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and InLe Lake. They only dispense kyat. Do note that there is a fixed charge of 5000 kyat, plus your own Bank’s charge and a maximum withdrawal of 300,000 kyat, up to three times daily.
Many smaller villages and small towns have yet to get an ATM but those that have a Bank branch in town will either have one or get one soon.
There have been reports that Banks in some countries still follow the outdated US embargo so do check with your Bank that your card will be accepted.
Credit cards: Credit cards are accepted by some hotels, restaurants and shops, but Myanmar is largely a cash economy. It’s best to carry cash for purchases.
As always, it’s best to call your credit card company and bank in advance to let them know you’ll be traveling, so the chance of your card being blocked is reduced.
What do foods and drinks cost in Myanmar?
Most travelers will find that a budget of USD $8 per lunch or per dinner for food is more than enough, especially if daily breakfast at hotel is included on your tour. Bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant is 2000-2500 MMK.
What’s the food like in Myanmar?
Myanmar cuisine shares many similarities with neighbouring southeast Asian countries. Rice is the cornerstone of most meals and curries are common, though typically more oily and less spicy. Pickled vegetables and tea leaves feature prominently in Myanmar dishes, as well as fish and seafood from the country’s numerous lakes and extensive coastline.
Is tipping customary in Myanmar?
Tipping isn’t mandatory or expected in Myanmar, however if you would like to offer a tip to show your gratitude for the service, you can do so.
What’re the toilets like in Myanmar?
Although Western-style flushable toilets can be found in your hotels and tourist areas, squat toilets are most common in Myanmar. Please ensure that you carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as they are usually not provided.
Is WiFi widely available in Myanmar?
Internet can be accessed at most hotels, but be aware, the speed may be slower than what you are used to, particularly in rural areas.
Can I use my mobile phone while in Myanmar?
International roaming in Myanmar is now possible with a growing number of mobile network providers. Check with your service provider before leaving home. Local SIM cards can be purchased for about USD $2. Pre-paid cell service included data service is affordable with decent coverage throughout the country.
Is it not appropriate for me to wear shorts in Myanmar?
Knee-length shorts are fine, however trustees at some pagodas will ban short trousers and skirts showing knees from the pagodas’ platforms. Longyi, a long fabric piece running down to the feet and worn by wrapping and knotting around the waist, can be borrowed with a few costs at the pagoda’s entrance.
What sort of sockets are used in Myanmar and what is the voltage?
Standard voltage is 220 – 240 volts. Primary sockets generally require 2 flat prong plugs, 2 round pin plugs, and 3 fat round pin plugs. We recommend that you pack a universal travel adaptor.
Most of the international hotels have their own generators. Other places may experience power cuts and voltage fluctuation so it’s best to pack a voltage regulator or stabilizer to protect electrical items.
Like much of South-East Asia, Myanmar’s dry season runs from October through to May, and the wet season from May/June through to early October, when the south-west monsoon starts to blow. Within each season, there are variations in temperature; April and May are usually being the hottest of the year (temperatures can reach over 40ºC).
The colder months follow the end of the rains, from October to December/January. The driest regions of the country, avoiding much of the annual rain, are the plains surrounding Bagan and Mandalay, which remain relatively dry aside from the odd heavy downpour, all the way through to August.
Temperatures throughout the country are greatly affected by altitude, and therefore the hill stations, lakes and Himalayan foothills are far cooler than the southern lowland and coastal regions.
The very best months to visit Myanmar are from November to February.