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Be a little cautious when changing money. Only change a small amount the first time - sometimes - you can be short changed. Make sure you recount your money before you leave. I returned to Burma last year and changed money in the same place. When I said I had met him before - he quickly changed the rate and provided me with a lowerone!! Go figure!!
Updated Apr 19, 2012
Internet access is really restricted here
Both hotels I stayed at did not have internet access available to the guests, and the Internet cafe's had only limited access - ie no hotmail, no gmail, and I could not connect to VT properly, the pages would not load correctly.
Apparently there are some local fixes for these problems, but you have to be lucky enough to find somewhere that will do it for you, but it apparently does happen, not for me though :(
Written Feb 26, 2012
If you have not got a guide book, try and get yourself maps of the places you are going to visit.
Most hotels and hostels do not have maps avaliable apart from some very localised ones showing the hotel area.
Written Feb 25, 2012
For currency in Myanmar, you need CRISP BRAND NEW US $. Nothing else will be accepted.
Some people on this site have said they ironed their US currency. I can believe it. I had some old $1 nots that I ironed and had no trouble with them.
When I went to the Sule Pagoda in Yangon, as soon as they had taken my entrance fee in $us, they ironed the notes.
For exchange purposes, have a variety of denominations
$100 get the best exchange rate, going down to the $1 note
Have some $100 notes to exchange for local currency, and a mixture of
$5 & $1 notes for entrance fees, camera fees etc.
Works a treat
Remember though, that you do not want to be left with Kyat when you leave, they are worthless outside the country.
Updated Feb 18, 2012
When flying into airports in Burma ALWAYS try and share with other travellers. I found on my arrival due to good organisation I had a pickup from the airport included in my accomodation..
ALWAYS ASK if they do pick ups or transfers when doing your bookings.! .
Unique Suggestions: TAXIS
Burmese authorities have organised all flights to use their military airports which are usually located many miles out of town. Consequently taxi rides to the cities can be over 50 miles (80 kilometers). This I found in Mandalay ,Bagan, and HEHO the costs quoted were exorbitant...although it is a long way..The best method I used was one I was advised to use and that was. Talk to as many foreign travellers on your flight (they are easy to pick out) and ask them if they would care to share the taxi costs with you (and a couple of others if possible). This will be a big saving for youand them also if you do this. Also going back to the Airport talk to Hotel residents and see who's going to the airport and when.!!
I found that Taxis at airports way out will NOT negotiate the price as they know there is no alternative for you!!
Written Dec 12, 2011
While visiting the Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay, we were befriended by a monk who told us about the temple, showed us how to pour water over a statue and took me up onto the Mahamuni Buddha to see the local men plcing their gold leaf on it. We have met touts at other temples and thought he was genuine as there was no request for money to show us around. However, once we were in an isolated spot he demanded US$40 for the ten minutes of his time. He looked genuine and is most photogenic but we should have known by the slightly different colour of his robes and his beetlenut stained teeth.
Unique Suggestions: If approach ask upfront if he wants any money. The US$40 was too much but if he accepts up to $5 it could be worth his help
Written May 10, 2011
Long ride to Mytkyina! man in seat sixty one has all the info..
as of may 1, 2010 there is visa on arrival at Yangon and Mandalay. No need to go through a travel agent. for example when you google visa on arrival all the websites that come up are commercial ones.. the first one is myanmarvisaon arrival so you hope it is an official website.. no it is the website of mogadotravel or something similar... and they charge 30 additional dollars. the visa on arrival is 30 usd.
I was at the Myanmar embassy in Paris today. They informed me that flights out of bangkok singapour and kl would have the appropriate forms and they are supposed to give you the forms and you fill them, two photos and 30 dollars in cash, a name of hotel where you are going to stay and viola.. special booth with VOA .. and your visa is stamped. business visa 40 and renewable. social visit visa 60 and renewable, i think it is 60.. so dont have to go through a travel agent.
I flew to Mytkyina. it is a quiet little town by the river but be aware of the smoke, and if you have any respiratory allergies it would be a problem...
Unique Suggestions: apply directly as you enter the airport. you dont need any ones help to help you through the customs which is usually very easy anyway. you can tell the name of a hotel and i dont think they will check.
Written Jul 28, 2010
We had organised our visas to Myanmar from the embassy in Australia - and requested, and were granted, permission to cross the border from Myanmar to Thailand, across the bridge from Tachileik.
After we had flown to the town, and stayed overnight in the worst bed I have ever slept in, we fronted up to the bridge crossing to Thailand, and were turned away. No amount of arguing, cajoling, begging or foot stamping would change the situation impasse with the gatekeeper. We then could not fly out - as flights are cancelled frequently, and are therefore quite full every day they actually depart. We then had to fly back to Yangon, our entry point, the following day. We then had to fly back to Bangkok - and up to Chiang Mai - where we cooled our heels for a few days. Because of the arrangement we had from Thailand to get a once a week boat to Laos, we were then unavoidably a week behind schedule. It also cost us well over US$1000.
We subsequently met a French couple who had exactly the same experience trying to get our of Myanmar.
Best advice we now have, is that, at the present time, you can only arrive and exit Myanmar through Yangon. Different conditions can apply to people on escorted tours.
By the way, this with OUR fault, for failing to do our research well enough.
Fun Alternatives: Don't assume that the embassy in your own country will have accurate or up to date information.
Updated Jun 20, 2007
A few people have come to Burma thinking that they could buy cheap gemstones and make a fortune by selling them at home. Or even to have a few nice high quality stones for themselves. Anyway, according to specialists Burma has the best quality stones in the world. They also know this and will charge accordingly. Then, as everywhere else in the world, if you don't know your stones your quite likely sold a cheap synthetic one for a real one. Especially in places like Bagan, don't buy stones! Most or maybe even all of them are fakes. Bagan isn't a gemstone place and the only people that buy stones here are unsuspecting tourists
Updated Feb 5, 2007
Think twice if you need to phone home. Hotels tended to charge anything from 5-7$ per minute and there was a warning that even if the call might not be answered, you could have been charged. Search around in the market areas for cheaper options. Still it was a hefty 5$ per minute for calls in Europe.
Even making local phonecalls when painful and expensive
Written Jan 11, 2007
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