MAKE SURE THAT YOUR FINANCES ARE COVERED
When travelling to and within Myanmar..it is extremely IMPORTANT that you currency is US Dollars as this is the only currencey that The Myanmar Government will accept for Arrival and Departure Taxes when entering and leaving ALL diferent regions..
Make sure that ALL your notes are in crisp new condition otherwise they WILL NOT be accepted..I saw the problems that this can cause..Keep some bills on small denominations $5's $ 10"s and $20's as this way you will not be left with worthlesss Burmese KYAT currency. When paying government taxes I always paid with the correct amount in $'US to avoid receiving change in Burmese KYIAT at a really bad exchange rate.
This is particularly important when leaving the country as the money is useless , unless you are going to return..
There are NO ATM's ..Banks give extremely low rates of exchange and Travellers cheques are not accepeted anywhere...best rates of exchange are at your hotel. Avoid changing money in the street or in public as it is against the law...
- Budget Travel
ALWAYS CARRY PLENTY OF FRESH WATER
DONT FORGET TO CARRY WATER
I found travelling through Myanmar (Burma) the weather to be extremely hot and here in the tropics the humidity and heat can have a dire effect unless you drink a lot of water to avoid dehydration,especially when walking/hiking a lot. When setting off for the day I always carried a couple of bottles of fresh water with me that I had put in the Hostel/Hotel refridgerator the previous night..cheap to buy at the supermarket also the safest ....as they wont be refills..(always check the caps)..
Also don't forget to carry and use the Mosquito repellant..
- Budget Travel
Sightseeing on foot? Think twice
Once you see Mandalay in your guide book, you think that it is a very easy place to navigate and probably sightsee on foot. But once you get there you soon realise that it is impossible to do so. Distances between blocks are long, even the Royal Palace's surrounding walls look very far from one end to the other. Besides there are not any pavements and you find yourself walking next to thousands of trishaws, cars and motorbikes. Besides during midday it can become hot, not to mention the air pollution's smog.
So go for a trishaw or car to move around. The best option is to hire one for the day.
Mandalay Hill has 1729 stairs and it becomes quite steep as you get closer to the top. Might not be a good thing if don't like stairs or heights. If stairs aren't your thing, you can break the journey along the way with a meal or take regular photo stops.
You can also take the elevator instead, but you might have to wait a while for it.
Uneven Footpaths and Holes.....
You do need to watch where you tread in Mandalay, similar to observations in Yangon. There were rather large, litter and putrid liquid filled holes in the footpaths, which would, no doubt, result in a rather nasty injury in the dark or for less safe footed pedestrians. There are fairly shallow drains beneath the footpath.
Another experience we had, which is almost nauseating when I recall it, was seeing small children emerge from some of the larger "holes" or absent footpath slabs above these drains to where?
Beware Approaching Cute Children with large bags!
This little petal made her way to me when I was taking a photograph of a particularly unattractive part of the uneven, trashy footpath. I was half hip to what her intentions were. The cheesy smile told me that she was used to the lenses!!! Then, she asked for the money -after some loud instructions were issued by her mother from several metres away!!
Its all completely harmless, although some do have firm views about whether to give these kids money.
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