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  • Cho45's Profile Photo

    This is Burma, quite unlike any other land

    by Cho45 Updated Aug 21, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: After reading through this forum I feel that I need to write my thoughts concerning tourism in Myanmar/Burma. I was born in Yangon/Rangoon and spent half of my life there before leaving the country. I still try go there on visits as often as I can. In fact, I am planning to visit again sometime next year.
    Myanmar is unique in the sense that it has kept its culture and traditions intact, unlike neighboring countries where just about everything is geared for the tourist trade. For one thing, the government does not really encourage tourism, so it is the least visited among all the countries in the region. Which can be an advantage for the traveler who wants to experience a place where people are genuinely friendly and hospitable to foreigners. However, this is rapidly changing as Myanmar is becoming a hot spot on the international tourist map. Visitor arrivals have increased by leaps and bounds since the country opened up a few years ago. I just hope it doesn't get spoiled like some neighboring nations.
    Although there are four and five star luxury hotels in the big cities, do not expect to find hi-tech modern conveniences there. For me this adds to the charm of this magical and mysterious land. Having been to over 40 different countries, (and lived in several) I have grown tired of all the tourist traps which are abound everywhere around the world.
    In short, if you are the adventurous type and want to go back in time to the good old days, travel on the road to Mandalay in magnificent Myanmar!
    PS. You can apply for a tourist visa anywhere where there is a Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. If you go in person it usually takes 1-3 working days.

    Fondest memory: Being a native of Burma, first and foremost I miss my old friends and relatives of course. My best memories are of travels around the country, the beautiful scenery in the rural areas, the unspoilt beaches and the genuine warmth of the people. Last but not least, the great Shwedagon pagoda in my hometown of Rangoon/Yangon which is the city's spectacular landmark, and which should be listed as the 8th wonder of the world. I am still mesmerized by this centuries old pagoda every time I see it!

    Shwedagon pagoda from across Kandawgyi Lake Yangon
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Arts and Culture
    • Archeology

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    THE OLD FLAG

    by davidjo Written Jul 15, 2014

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: This flag was the usual flag that i saw when i visited such places as Mae Sod, Mae Sai on the Burmese border. The flag was introduced by the old socialist government of Ne Win in 1974 and had a small blue rectangle on the upper left corner against the red background. It is actually a cogwheel encircled by 14 stars which represent the seven states and seven regions of the country.
    The old flag was lowered for the final time in 2010.

    cogwheel and stars

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  • davidjo's Profile Photo

    THE NEW FLAG

    by davidjo Written Jul 15, 2014

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: A new state flag was unveiled on 21st October 2010 which replaced the old flag which was in use since 1974. The new one is certainly more colorful then the old one, and the yellow, green, and red stripes signify solidarity, peace, courage, decisiveness and tranquility, while the white star signifies the union of the country.

    peace, tranquility- let us hope so!

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  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    How Much Money?

    by JohnniOmani Written Feb 22, 2013

    Favorite thing: The million dollar question before entering Burma is how much money should I take into the country. Well I know for a fact that the country is more expensive than the latest guidebooks and based on low mid range guesthouses, occasional luxury with a domestic flight you can get by on around 40 to 60$ US dollars per person. The sky is the limit in Burma now and your biggest cost will be your bed with prices ranging from $8 (although you get what you pay for) to over $500 US. Overall, I would say as of February 2013, a average traveller going for two weeks will likely spend about $1000 to $1200 total based on the above statements.

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  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo

    Changing Money

    by JohnniOmani Written Feb 22, 2013

    Favorite thing: Everyone tells you that you must enter the country with sharp, crisp US dollar bills that post date 2006. It is 100% true but one thing that has definitely changed in the country is that Mastercard is now in the country (Yangon airport) along with ATMS in city centers. They are not everywhere but they are there and your best bet at getting local currency is the airport in Yangon. All guide books say don't change money at the airport but things change monthly in Burma and the exchange rate at the airport is as competitive as any change place in the country.

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  • Cho45's Profile Photo

    Welcome to magical Myanmar

    by Cho45 Updated Jan 20, 2013

    Favorite thing: I would first take you to the great Shwedagon pagoda which is the landmark of Yangon. Then the reclining Buddha in both Yangon and Bago which is the largest in the world. Then to Bagan where one can get lost in time among all the 2,000 plus pagodas spread out in the plains. Next, to Inle Lake where you can feel the peace and tranquility of the lake with its one legged rowers.

    I should also mention a town called Maymyo which is now known as Pyin Oo Lwin where I lived for one year during my younger days. It has a cool climate the whole year round as the city is situated 1070 meters or 3510 feet above sea level. It is about two hours drive from Mandalay, and as you travel up through the zig zag roads you can gradually feel the coolness. The town was a favorite summer retreat for the British during their colonial days, and one can still see many Tudor style mansions around the town. One mode of transportation that is still used today is the horse drawn carriage.

    There is a village called Mingun on the banks of the Irrawaddy River near Mandalay. In that village you can see the Mingun Bell which is the largest ringing bell in the world. I will try and write another tip about this bell in another section and add some photos.

    In 1966 I was on a Naval gunboat on the Irrawaddy River. We started in Rangoon and one week later reached Mandalay which was our destination. I will never forget the sights of the towns, villages and life of the people along the river. The most spectacular view was the scenic array of pagodas dotting the hillside in Sagaing. I would like to make that voyage again in the form of a cruise and would be happy to have someone accompany me, so I can have the opportunity of showing the beauty of my homeland and its wonderful people.

    Fondest memory: I grew up in Burma and spent half of my life there (33 years). I left the country in 1978 but have been back numerous times to visit old friends and relatives. I miss the food and surroundings there, but most of all I miss the companionship of my childhood friends.

    Karaweik floating restaurant, Yangon The majestic Shwedagon pagoda at night View of the Shwedagon pagoda from Kandawgyi Lake Pyin Oo Lwin city center Horse drawn carriage used as a taxi
    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

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  • Green paddy field and Blue Mountain

    by moepwint Written Jan 6, 2013

    Favorite thing: If you want to travel to the nay pyi taw,it most interesting place are( Oak Pa Ta Than Ti - Zay Ti Taw , Nay Pyi Taw zoological garden,Water Fountain Garden,Myo Ma Bazzar,Myanmar Jade Garden,Yay Sin Bazzar,Pyin Ma Nar township).There you can hire motor byke and Taxi car.The bus in there are take a large time.
    Yangon to NPT-by train,By Bus,By Air.

    Fondest memory: heavenly place

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  • Best time to visit Myanmar Burma

    by slowburmatravel Written Sep 14, 2012

    Favorite thing: With the nation of Myanmar (formerly Burma) moving towards democracy and opening up for tourist, now is a good time to visit. Cut off from the rest of the world for several decades, the time-locked South-East Asian country is rated as one of the hot new destinations for 2012/13.

    So when is the best time to visit? Unless you can only take your holidays in July and August, the best time to visit Myanmar is the cool season – Northern Hemisphere winter. When is that? From November through to late February.

    Up to October it is the rainy season, and travel is difficult, if not uncomfortable during the monsoon. From March to the end of May, the hot season means your energy will be sapped by the hot and humid conditions.

    The only problem with travel in the cool season – November to March – is that it gets very busy in Myanmar, particularly from December to February. Many hotels and other tourist services such as river cruises and balloon flights get totally booked out.

    So if you want to visit the Golden Land, you need to plan everything and book in advance. Small, gentle-footprint operators like Slow Burma Travel run trips to the main attractions and off-the-beaten-track, as well as customizing trips for visitors.

    Fondest memory: Hot, hot days.

    balloons
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Adventure Travel
    • Hot Air Ballooning

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  • 12 tips about travel to Myanmar Burma

    by slowburmatravel Written Sep 14, 2012

    Favorite thing: 1. Now is a good time to go to the nation surrounded by Thailand, India and China. Recent reforms moving towards full democracy and the opening up for tourism means you can be one of the trailblazers.
    2. Next tip is when to go. Not in the monsoon season, or in the heat wave before the summer rains. Plan on going between November and March, when the temperatures are cooler and there is no or little rain.
    3. Figure on spending around 10 days to two weeks in Myanmar to make the Big Four destinations – Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan. Transport apart from internal flights is slow, roads are rough, train tracks warped, boats take all day.
    4. Get your visa in advance, as there is no visa-on-arrival except for business travelers into Yangon. Myanmar tourist visas are issued at embassies and consulates around the world, or in Bangkok at the Myanmar consulate (two days service).
    5. How to get there. Currently you must fly in to Myanmar. Most visitors get flights in from Bangkok, Singapore or Kualar Lumpur. It is possible to go overland from China's Yunnan province, but you need permits and it is expensive.
    6. Leave behind your mobile phone and laptop. Your cellphone won't work in Myanmar, and few places have wifi. While there are internet cafes with slow connections, enjoy being 'out of contact' for a short time. Write a journal instead, or talk to fellow travelers or locals.
    7. Bring all your funds in US dollars. Make sure all your notes are recently minted, unmarked, uncreased – basically in perfect condition as if they were printed yesterday. Half you need for hotels and transport, the other half you convert into local currency.
    8. With no ATMs and nowhere to cash traveler's cheques, head to the new government currency exchange in Yangon where half a dozen banks will exchange your US dollar (or Euros or Singapore dollars) for the local kyat. Currently 1US$ = 815 kyats.
    9. With bricks of local currency and some US dollars, make sure you don't miss Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, the one-legged boat paddlers on Inle lake, the temples of Bagan, and the ancient towns around Mandalay.
    10. Book in advance, particularly if you visit in the winter, the busy season, where some accommodation and activities are totally booked out in advance. Use a travel agency like Slow Burma Travel or phone when you arrive to secure rooms. Also be aware that prices have increased up to 50% in the last year, so don't rely on Lonely Planet prices.
    11. Support local communities by staying in family-run guesthouses, eating where locals eat and staying away from the bigger tourism operators who have links to the former military regime.
    12. Respect locals and their culture. Pay particular attention when visiting pagodas and temples – dress modesty (no shorts, no skimpy clothing). And before you snap people's photo, ask first, or at least engage with the subject. Myanmar is not a zoo.

    Fondest memory: Trust me on the US dollars.

    Statue at a temple
    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • Budget Travel

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  • albaaust's Profile Photo

    Wine in Burma

    by albaaust Updated Jun 24, 2012

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Ok I can answer this question. If you like your wine and we DO!! what we did is wrap 2 bottles each in the bubble wrap and packed it in our luggage(not hand luggage). There is plenty of beer and spirits available but we found wine not so much...the only place where we were able to get a reasonable glass of wine was in the Sedona hotel in Mandalay. Perhaps the same applies to the Sedona in Yangon which we did not stay in. Maybe Sandra can answer this one. Would strongly recommend you also go to the Strand on a Friday night..see my tips. Hopefully, they still have Happy Hour on a Friday night.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Arts and Culture
    • Photography

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    New Airlines in Burma

    by cochinjew Written Jan 9, 2012

    Favorite thing: Mingalarbar and have a great time in Burma..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines_of_Burma
    Two airlines are flying since 2010.. Asian Wings with their two ATRs and Air KBZ which I think is related to a bank of similar name..
    I have always wondered why none of the private airlines fly to Mawlamayne, whereas they all duplicate the same other routes. Myanma Airways (take your chance) flies to Mawlamayne but I would take the train instead.
    I was supposed to fly to Rangoon on 19th, Paris to Bangkok on Thai continuing on to Rangoon. U Kyaw advised that it would be better to come in April as the hotel situation is less than optimal and things may be difficult. Definitely the prices of hotels have gone up from my visit a few months ago.
    Please find U Kyaw, he is definitely worth knowing and is extremely helpful. More like a friend than a travel consultant.

    so I thought to myself, If I cant have Rangoon, I will try and visit Salalah!

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  • wizemen2's Profile Photo

    2011-2012 Burma visa requirements.

    by wizemen2 Updated Dec 11, 2011

    Favorite thing: Here ya go:
    From the Burma Embasy site ,Canberra:
    TOURIST VISA
    Tourist visa application requirements

    All Myanmar tourist visa are issued for a stay of up to 28 days and are valid for entry into the country within three months from the date of issue. Applicants can apply as independent travelers or be on booked package tours.

    PAYMENT OF VISA FEES MAY BE MADE BY CASH, MONEY ORDER, BANK CHEQUE OR COMPANY CHEQUE (PAYABLE TO EMBASSY OF MYANMAR). NO PERSONAL CHEQUES WILL BE ACCEPTED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. ALL PAYMENTS MUST BE IN AUSTRALIAN DOLLARS. IF MORE THAN ONE APPLICANT, PAYMENT CAN BE COMBINED IN ONE CHEQUE/MONEY ORDER.

    REQUIREMENTS OT BE SENT TO EMBASSY(Per applicant)

    1.Passport with at least six months validity and blank page for visa
    2.ONE tourist visa application form
    3.TWO recent passport size colour photographs
    4.Departure date from Australia(or home country if not resident in Australia)
    5.Dates of entry into and departure from Myanmar
    6.Visa fee A$ 35.00 per person
    7.Business hours contact phone number (in Australia or home country)

    8.Self-addressed pre-paid envelope or courier satchel large enough to hold all passport, for safe return, i.e. Registered Post, Platinum Express (ordinary postage is not acceptable)

    9.Confirmation of pre-paid package tour (if applicable)
    Visas must be obtained prior to arrival in Myanmar. Sufficient time must be given for the issuance of visas and it is advised that applications should be sent at least four weeks prior to departure from Australia. If instructions are not followed in full, visa issuance will be delayed.

    It is recommended that you take US dollars or Euros to cover expanses in Myanmar. Credit cards are not usually accepted at this time.

    Or go here for more embassy info:
    http://myanmarembassycanberra.info/?page_id=93

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    visa on arrival

    by cochinjew Written May 26, 2011

    Favorite thing: Mingalarbar. First of all you would need the help of a travel agent based in Yangon to get you visa on arrival at Yangon airport.
    Visa on arrival was instituted and then rescinded. but Visa available on arrival organized by travel agent MAY still be available. I am hoping that Mr Kyaw who is a regular at these forums sees this post and gives you an answer.
    Less than one month ago I flew on MAI from Siem Reap to Yangon and it was visa on arrival but ONLY for that flight!
    Tell your friends that currently any USD note with any mark or blemish will get a much lower rate of exchange. crisp notes with no central folding is what is preferred.
    The visa situation in Burma /Myanmar is always fluid and only someone based in Yangon can give you the latest information.
    good Luck and thank you for inviting all your friends to visit Myanmar, the friendliest people in all of Asia

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  • traceyspacey's Profile Photo

    Getting a visa in Thailand

    by traceyspacey Written Apr 17, 2011

    Favorite thing: As for getting a visa it is really easy. We applied for ours in Bangkok, Thailand. We got to the Embassy before it opened. You can get a from down the road (look out for the yellow sign that says fax and photocopy). Do not use the forms that are available online as they are incomplete. You will need a photocopy of your passport, your passport, two passport photos and 810B. We collected our passport and visa a few days later. What isn't clear is how the visa works when you apply, but we know how it works now. Depending on where you apply, you will either get one month or up to 3 months in which you have to enter the country. The date is from when you applied. Once you enter the country you get 28 days in Myanmar.

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  • cochinjew's Profile Photo

    visa on arrival suspended for now sept 2010

    by cochinjew Updated Sep 11, 2010

    Favorite thing: The website you gave has conflicting information but they are trying to be upto date but not up to date enough.
    Visa on arrival has been suspended for the moment. so it is better to get visa in the UK before you leave. I get my Burmese visas in Paris and it is a straight forward affair. you can get burmese visas from eny embassy of Myanmar but Bangkok seems to be the easiest place to get.
    there is a departure tax of 10 usd when leaving. there are plenty of information on this site about Burma. for latest information you may wish to email kkym who is a vt member living in Yangon.
    all the best. I was just there and may be able to answer any queries you may have

    Kyaw is very helpful with local arrangements

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