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Myanmar Travel Guide

Overview
Myanmar (formally Burma) was once a secretive and closed country that didn’t permit outside visitors. But since the travel boycott was ended, this country has started to become one of the must-visit Asian countries. Myanmar has plenty of mesmerizing tourist sights, such as the legions of monks, peaceful beach resorts, unexplored jungles, fascinating hill tribes, ancient ruins and golden stupas.

The Myanmar travel packages make it possible to explore this Southeast Asian country that is relatively undisturbed and has many places that are still like the tourists had never arrived. Even though this country is open to travel there are still certain restrictions in place that are enforced by the government, so expert some control on what you can see and where you can go on a Myanmar holiday.

Discover more about the positives of exploring this country by reading out Myanmar travel guide.

myanmar tour packages

Culture
Any visitor to Myanmar will notice the locals are very friendly with a fascinating culture that is starting to push forward from tradition and modernity. The lifestyle in this country is based on Buddhist rituals and the monasteries are an important part of the Burmese society. One of the most popular places for worship is the stunning Shwedagon Pay in the major city of Yangon.

The Myanmar people expect respect and courtesy when it comes to religion. So, for any tourist entering a religions building it is necessary to remove their socks and shoes. The dress code is expected to be modest for both sexes with shorts an item of clothing that should be avoided. Also, any revealing or tight items of clothes shouldn’t be worn.

The religion in Myanmar is mostly Theravada Buddhist (nearly 89%), with minorities in other religions like animist, Christian, Muslim and Hindu.

Weather & climate
Myanmar travel has a varied climate with three main seasons and a monsoon climate. The country has its highest temperature from February to May when there is hardly any rainfall and the temperature has the potential to reach up to 40° C. The period of rain can run from May to October and drier, more comfortable weather is available from October to February. The mountainous and coastal regions get the highest concentration of rain compared to the arid plains in the center of the country, such as Bagan and Mandalay. Travel difficulties are certain to be noticed throughout the rainy season, especially on the roads that aren’t maintained.

myanmar travel guide

Best time to visit
The preferred time to experience Myanmar travel is from November to February when the weather is dry and a lot more comfortable to travel. While the weather during this time frame is better, it is generally the busiest time of the season, which means a lot more people are about and river water levels can be low, so boat transport is more cautious and slower to avoid issues with hitting a sandbank.

Similar to most of the Asian countries, the preferred clothing is light cottons (long-sleeved) and an umbrella or raincoat for extra precautions when it is rainy. Certain trips like exploring Inle Lake or visiting the more hilly areas can benefit from extra layer to stay warm.

Geography
The country of Myanmar is shaped much like a diamond with a southeastern tail that is approximately 2100 km in length going north to south and 925 km going east to west. Myanmar is bordered in the west and south by the Indian Ocean, in the north by India and Bangladesh and in the east by Thailand, Laos and China. The country is split by the Irrawaddy River, which has established a delta on the southern coastline. The city of Yangon is very close to one of the many mouths.

The center of Myanmar is popular for irrigation farming with plenty of crops grown, including citrus, vegetables and fruit. A high percentage of the local land is rich and unspoiled subtropical forest, although in recent years logging has become a common sight with teak being the preferred tree for the woodcutters.

Myanmar visa
Visas are required for all nationals from Australia, Britain, Canada, other EU and the USA (any other country should check with the embassy). The visa is easy to apply online using the eVisa service, but this only applies when entering the country at the major airports in Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw and Yangon. The actual cost of the visa can vary from $14 to $70; this relates to the type of visa and method used to obtain the visa. The typical tourist visa lasts for a period of 28 days and the Myanmar travel must take place within 3 months of applying for the documents.

myanmar visa

Where to stay
The places to stay in Myanmar are limited because the foreign tourist is only permitted to stay in officially licensed hotels or guest houses. This can have a severe impact on the available choices with some of the less well travel cities or towns only having one or two places to stay. With the speed in which this country is attracting tourists, it is now becoming very difficult to find suitable accommodation during the busy season (November to March). Early booking is advised for travels to popular tourist destinations like Bagan, Mandalay, Nyaung U (for Bagan) and Nyaungshwe (for Inle Lake).

The process of applying for a license can be expensive and time-consuming, so the availability of accommodation other than the hotels is quite limited. There are a few guest houses available for the tourist for the most cost-effective budget and can vary significantly in relation to facilities with some rooms not including air-conditioning. Apart from the licensed hotels and guest houses there aren’t really any other choices. Also, it is illegal to go camping in this country.

Shopping and nightlife
The shopping experience in the major Myanmar cities cannot be compared to Singapore or Bangkok, but there are still plenty of gifts and Souvenirs to buy. Some of the most popular items include the tapestries, Buddha figurines, handicrafts and jewelry made from jade or petrified wood. Other options include the widely available Laquerware with the price and quality varying with the different regions, as well as the handmade parasols.

Yangon has the ability to offer plenty of choice with large shopping centers and busy markets. The Bogyoke Aung San Market is a great place to visit for consumer goods, clothing, food, handicrafts and even luxury items. The modern style of the shopping centers gives access to extra features like a rooftop swimming pool and a cinema. This country is still in the process of modernizing so there is limited access to international brand products.

Western-style nightlife is limited in this country with only a few nightclubs and bars available for the tourist, but these are mainly attached to the high-end hotels. Outside the major cities, there are plenty of beer stations that are much like a restaurant, but more emphasis is put on drinking. The clientele in these bars is mostly male, while food serving includes Chinese dishes or barbeque.

myanmar trave packages

Food and Drink
The Burmese cuisine appears to be closely related to Southeast Asian and Indian, but still has its own subtle difference. While the dishes include plenty of spices, there is more of an emphasis on salty, bitter and sour flavors, and less in regards to chili compared to Indian and Thai meals.  The local dishes in Myanmar that are popular include tofu (using yellow split peas), salads and noodle soups. Plus, there are many dishes that get a rich topping of oil to help protect the food from bugs. Other favorites in the country include Indian and Chinese food. The major specialties in Myanmar include Lethok son, Oh-no khauk swe, Lahpet, Htanyet, Peh-hin-ye and Biryani.

Getting around
The local air travel is a relatively cheap and effective way to get around the country. Air flight is the preferred form of transport because the train and bus journeys aren’t that comfortable, especially when traveling longer distances between the popular tourist sites. The major service at Myanmar National Airlines is the best for covering all routes to the popular and less travelled destinations. In addition to the main airlines, there are also several private airlines around the country, including Air Bagan, Golden Myanmar Airlines, Asian Wings Airways, Air KBZ and Air Mandalay. The internal air travel flights aren’t long with a flight from Yangon to a popular site like Nyaung U (for Bagan) can take 75 minutes.

For the budget traveller the preferred form of transport is by road. But, the route should be planned before setting off because there are still areas that are restricted to foreigners, especially in the sensitive border regions. Also, the roads are not given much attention and difficult to use from May to October when the rainy season starts. Hiring a personal car is difficult with a lot bureaucracy involved and the need to have a local in the car during the journey. Taxis are an easy way to get around and widely available in Mandalay, Yangon, or other destinations popular with tourists.

Rail transport can be very unreliable and slow. Instead, the long-distance buses offer a faster and cheaper service that includes stops at the popular tourist sites.

National Parks
The Myanmar travel guide is rich in sprawling national parks and protected sites that include the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in the world.

myanmar travel

Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park
The Alaungdaw Kathapa National Park is situated in the Mingin Township, which is nearly 1500 km northwest of Yangon. This park is well known for the 200+ Asian elephants that use the wide open spaces for roaming. Other wildlife to watch include the giant monitor lizards, sun bear, Himalayan brown bear and other species of bears, the rare Burmese brow-antlered deer and jungle cats like the civets and elusive clouded leopard.

Nat Ma Taung (Mount Victoria) National Park
The Nat Ma Taung (Mount Victoria) National Park was first established in 1994 and spans a total area of 720 km2. This part of Myanmar is thick with mixed deciduous and evergreen forests and home to the Myanmar orchids that are very rare. There is a lot of wildlife to spot including 100’s of species of birds, gibbons, wild boar, tigers and leopards.

Hlawga National Park
The Hlawaga National Park is about 35 km from Yangon and based in the Mingaldon Township. The park is a highly commercialized center for wildlife and activities. It spans about 623-hectare and includes activities like rock climbing, boating, trekking and elephant rides. This park also includes a mini-zoo with spacious aviaries, crocodiles, leopards and tigers.

Things to see and do

Explore the wonders of Bagan
A visit to the wonderful archaeological site of Bagan makes it possible to admire this ancient city and witness the remains from the 11th century, including 1000’s of stupas, pagodas and temples. A great way to fully appreciate the surroundings is a hot air balloon, but other choices are possible like on foot, by bicycle or on horse and cart.

Journey into the Pindaya caves
A visit to the town of Pindaya gives access to lush-green farmland that is some of the finest in the entire country. But, the most popular attraction in the local area is seen below the ground. The natural cave complex at Shwe Oo Min is packed to bursting with Buddha images that have been placed there over 100’s of years.  

Slowly cruise the Irrawaddy River
The Irrawaddy River stretches virtually the entire length of Myanmar and gives fascinating river cruises that past between major areas like Bagan and Mandalay. The long-distance tourist boats are quite sizeable with space to sleep overnight on the longer trips.

Travel Tips
Take along a WiFi-enabled device when visiting the country. Getting access to a computer for internet access is pretty difficult, but finding free WiFi is quite straightforward.

If the organized Myanmar travel package includes traveling for a long distance on a bus or coach make sure to wrap up because the air-conditioning is often overused.

While it is possible to use ATM machines in the regions that attract the most tourists, there are some cards that aren’t accepted, so it benefits to check with your card issuer before leaving home. Also, credit cards are rarely accepted in store, so having access to cash at all times is needed.

Ways to Enter Myanmar
Ways to Enter Myanmar

There are two main ways to enter Myanmar: land and air.  

Flying into Myanmar
Flying into Myanmar

The typical port of entry for international flights is Yangon.The...

Applying for Myanmar Visa in Bangkok
Applying for Myanmar Visa in Bangkok

To simplify flights and see two interesting countries, many travelers...

The Myanmar Visa Application
The Myanmar Visa Application

While applying for a Myanmar visa is slightly more involved than that...

The Myanmar Visa
The Myanmar Visa

The Myanmar visa allows you 28 days of travel inside of Myanmar after...

How to get a Visa for Myanmar
How to get a Visa for Myanmar

Travelers to Myanmar have some options: apply for a Myanmar Visa in...

Taxi
Taxi

Taxi in Myanmar is the easiest way to get around individual...

Bus
Bus

For more adventurous travelers, going by bus is a suitable choice. The...

Railways
Railways

Another interesting means of travel is Myanmar Railways. These trains...

Boat
Boat

First is traveling by boat. This is a great way to see another side of...

Public transport
Public transport

It can be said that traveling can be unpredictable and uncomfortable....

Airport
Airport

In order to travel to Myanmar, the most suitable mean of transport is...

Transportation
Transportation

For many travelers, poor system of transportation in Myanmar sometimes...

Shopping in Myanmar
Shopping in Myanmar

Almost the trips cannot be completed without buying some souvenirs for...

Phone and Internet
Phone and Internet

Because Myanmar is still very backward, the phone and internet is a...

Money
Money

If you travel to Myanmar, you should know some travel tips of Money in...

Embassy
Embassy

Following is the list of Foreign Embassy in Myanmar and Myanmar Embassy...

Do and Don't in Myanmar
Do and Don't in Myanmar

Myanmar is a Buddhism country and it is famous as the Golden Land....

The best time to visit Myanmar
The best time to visit Myanmar

The best time of year to visit Myanmar is during the cool season. There...

Gourd Soup
Gourd Soup

There are two types of Myanmar gourd soups: hot and sour gourd soup,...

Bamboo Soup
Bamboo Soup

If you travel to Myanmar, you should try bamboo soup (young bamboo...

Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup is also very popular in Myanmar. Here are ingredients of...

KYARZANCHET
KYARZANCHET

Myanamr Kyarzanchet includes vermicelli and dried mushrooms soup.  

Akyaw
Akyaw

Myanmar Akyaw is a variety of fried vegetables.  

Athot
Athot

Myanmar Athot is a variety of noodles salad.  

Noodle with corn starch
Noodle with corn starch

Noodle with corn starch is one of Myanmar special foods.  

Mandalay Myee Shay
Mandalay Myee Shay

One of the delicious traditional dishes of Myanmar, Mandalay Myee Shay...

Mohingar
Mohingar

Pundits say that the world is at the dawn of a New Golden Age of...

Rakhine Mone-Ti
Rakhine Mone-Ti

Rakhine nationals on the Bay of Bengal coast have a special way of...

Shan soaked noodle
Shan soaked noodle

Myanmar offers a variety of noodle dishes: friend noodles, noodles in...

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