Burma Tourist Traps

    by DennyP
    by DennyP
    by DennyP

Burma Tourist Traps

  • Airport Taxis

    Rangoon Tourist Traps

    Its easy to feel a bit dazed when you get through customs in a busy airport, especially when you are assailed by hopeful porters and taxi drivers. We accepted the services of a man, only to find that the deal included the driver and a potential "guide" - and the fare was US$12, rather than the advertised US$8 - we were in the car, with luggage...

  • Money Changing

    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!!

  • Internet Access

    Internet access is really restricted hereBoth 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...

  • Maps

    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.

  • Changing Money from US $

    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...


    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.! . TAXIS Burmese authorities have organised all flights to use their military airports...

  • Mahamuni Pagoda, Mandalay

    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...

  • Travel Agents adding on Fees for Visa on...

    Long ride to Mytkyina! man in seat sixty one has all the info..http://www.seat61.com/Burma.htm#Train%20Timesas 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...

  • Do your research well

    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...

  • Gemstones

    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...

  • Phone home?? A rip off

    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...

  • $1 worth of cuteness

    If you see a girl dressed like this (see picture), you're about to be relieved of $1. It works like this....A young girl approaches and pins a butterfly pin on your shirt (handmade with paper)...you then are weakened with sweetness....then the girl asks for $1. Of course you can refuse and give back the pin. If you can do this, you're stronger than...

  • Departure Tax

    Unfortunately, you cannot get away with paying this wherever you visit. Not sure if they would have accepted kyats. We tried to spend all our kyats beforehand in the airport lounge (see shopping tips) so we used US dollars.Cost US$10

  • Avoid the hassle and distress

    This is something I discovered was necessary while travelling in Myanmar but also felt was needed in Vietnam as well. Some might argue that you need to do this where- ever you go. If you have read my tip about porters you will understand that eventually I realised one way to avoid too much drama when arriving at a destination was to organise for a...

  • Porters!

    When you arrive at each airport or destination you will be met by various men wanting to carry your cases and luggage for you to your taxi or look after your luggage until you get on the plane.It can be worrying especially if you arrive at the domestic airport and there is a huge crush of people and it seems a struggle among the "porters" as to who...

  • travel agents in yangon

    there seems to be a mushrooming of travel agents in yangon. everyone thinks that if they have an access to a taxi, a couple of computers, and then set up themselves as a travel agent or a tour guide. in front of the Myanmar Tourist agency near sule pagoda you would see a bunch of them. by the way mtt is moving to pyimina. ther are major players...

  • crazy exchange rates

    dunno if it is politically correct to say this, but try not to change your usd to kyat at the airport.. the exchange rates are crazy!! they only give k450 for usd1.. when we were there, we got k1000 for usd1 in town!! in asia global travels & tours company in yangon chinatown to be exact.. ;) try to carry some small us dollar notes.. they are...

  • Locals who try to exchange kyat with...

    Well, Kyat is the currency in Myanmar and every traveller will probably need some kyatts during theirstay in Myanmar. Most of us will be approached by some locals on the street especially near AugSa Bogyoke Market and they said they could offer you a good exchange rate of kyat.Don't believe them as they're just a middle men who try to earn some...

  • Gems

    When walking trough the temples in Bagan sometimes guys will come up to You asking You to change money (count carefully) or to buy gems. Do not anything, they only have to sell glas. It not worth one Dollar. If You wanna buy gems do it in Rangoon in a official shop. Just leave them alone. About one hour from Lake Inle there is the town Tangooi...

  • The Nice is not nice

    When doing a boat tour on the Lake Inle You will have to eat something. One of the restaurants You will be brought to is the "Nice". It is terrible expensive, rude stuff, meals are the worsest we had in 17 days. Tell You boat driver You won't go there. There are other restaurants on the lake, also on the markets You can get great food for less.

  • Other currencies.

    There are hotels that will accept other currencies other than USD. However, it will be at an unfavourable exchange rate from USD to the currency that you want to use. For our case, I paid part of the hotel charges in Singapore dollars, since we have run out of USD. The exchange rate at the hotel was 1USD to S$1.9!!! It's a ripped off! This is...

  • Money Changing from USD to Kyat.

    At the airport, the government runs several money changers. The rate was 1USD to 450 kyat. Just outside the arrival hall, there are tour agents who can change money for 1USD to 850 kyat. In the black market in downtown Yangon, near the market, you can get 1USD to 900 - 950 kyat. These rates are what I got when I visit in Mar05. The requirement for...

  • Entrance fee or "Forced Donation".

    There are entrance fees to many popular pagodas where many tourists visit. It is quite intimidating at some places where the counters were manned by uniformed army personnel to collect the entrance fees or donations. There are many pagodas elsewhere that are similar to those that need entrance fees. We were lucky to have a knowledgeable and well...

  • Getting your visa.......

    Not really a tourist trap as most people will need a visa in order to enter the country. You will need to get this in advance before arriving. Bangkok has a consulate as do many other major cities around the world. You can check this page for the nearest consulate for you http://myanmarvisa.com/embassies.html The Visa Fee is US$20 for the standard...

  • Should I Shelter beneath a Coconut Tree?

    We've all see those beautiful Tropical Coconut Tree Groves. Furthermore if we are from the Temperate lattitudes, we will be attracted to them like a House Fly to Poo Poo.Well, I think that these pretty wee Groves are a tourist trap. First we are lured to the grove by its shear beauty. We then relax beneath it, in search of shelter from the Tropical...

  • Entrance fees in Bago and Mandalay

    In Bago you have to pay 10$ entrance fee to visit the several sights in town. This is ridiculous, considering that most of them are mildly interesting at best, esp. if you have seen other parts of the country. Even if you only want to visit one of the monuments you still have to pay 10$.To visit all the sights in and around Mandalay you will have...

  • Guilty as above....

    I'm leaving on a jetplane..... don't know when I'll be back againnnnnnnnnnnnn..... sighhhh...guilty! guilty! guilty! Get married to a local sweetie? Become a nun / monk? Latest - Apr 2K3: There's a meditation visa!!!

  • Leaving on a jetplane, don't know when...

    OHHHHHH yesssssssss we're the great PREEEETENDERS.....Ahhhhh.... we leave Myanmar with a HEAVY heart...... NO CURE Hang on to the FEC exchange counter at Mingaladon Airport & refuse to let go?

  • DON'T CHANGE $200 into F.E.C.'s at the...

    (I wasn't exactly sure what category to put this tip in ???? )When arriving at Yangon International Airport you will have to change U.S. Dollars into F.E.C.'s. You will be asked to change $200 but you need only change $100 if you offer a $5 present.I Personally think that it is VERY IMPORTANT to change as few F.E.C.'s as possible as this money ALL...

  • You must change $200 at the airport!...

    Part of the Governments Scheme to get the $$$ out of you is to make you change $200 per person right at the airport into FEC's (Foreign Exchange Certificates). If you are going to be there for a while or are a higher end traveller that is not going to be a real problem spending those FEC's. But for those of you that are only going to be there for a...

  • Want to see the "Long-necked" women?

    The Insight guide says that if you go to Kaungdaing (on the perimeter of Inle Lake) you might see some women from the Padaung tribe, famous for their long necks. The truth is, you can see them, IF you pay $3 per person at the Hupin Hotel to be admitted to a sort of human zoo. The Padaung themselves reportedly don’t see any of this money.

  • Inle Lake Boat Tours

    Be aware that if you arrange a boat tour on Inle lake that your driver gets only a small percentage of the fee you pay (the boat owner gets the rest). By bringing you to the many factories/stores that have sprung up on the lake, he can earn an additional 100 Kyat even if you don’t buy anything. If you don’t want to face the hard sell at every...

  • The Truth About Burmese Touts

    Some of the tuk tuk drivers you encounter or hire may end up steering you down a street swarming with vendors selling tourist quality trinkets.....that means most of it is crap. If you don't like what is being shoved in your face then just don't buy it. At times you'll become frustrated but instead of getting mad I just joke with touts and...

  • Train to Mandalay

    Dont take train to Mandalay, its expensive 35$ US and it takes 15 hours, its better to pay bit more and go by plain, or find at list some other way to pay less allthough it can take you hours. Goverment makes money out of it..

  • Mount Popa. Possibly the most...

    Mount Popa. Possibly the most horrible tourist destination i have ever come across. Please don't bother - it is full of bad vibes. Can't explain it except I hated every second i was near the place. I'd be interested to know if anyone else felt the same way.

  • Should you really visit this...

    Should you really visit this country? I am glad you asked :) Some people I talked to raised the issue of …should we really visit Burma. The point is that by visiting in a way we may support the military rulers of Burma. I am not sure what the answer is but I know that there is a question. I think awareness is a key. Until I visited I knew almost...

  • For ASEAN travellers, please...

    For ASEAN travellers, please note that you need to apply for visa to enter Burma although no visa is required for travelling to the other ASEAN countries. If I didn't remember wrongly, Thais don't need to apply for visa. My local guide told me that once, a Japanese who had lived in Thailand for very long and speak very fluent Thai, tried to enter...

  • Money Matters:US bills in...

    Money Matters:US bills in pristine condition are most useful.Also, when you receive kyats, either by exchanging them for FECs or dollars, or as change, make sure that they don't have any tears or disfigurements, as most places will not take them. We got stuck with some crummy bills, and had to go to a bank in Yangon to exchange them. This took...

  • One tourist trap that is...

    One tourist trap that is virtually unavoidable is that each traveller must, upon entry in Rangoon International Airport, exchange US dollars for FECs (Federal Exchange Certificate). At the time that I visited (6/00) $300 per person had to be exchanged; in August 2000 this amount has been decreased to $200.You will always read schemes about how to...

  • There is two tipe of corrency...

    There is two tipe of corrency in burma...one the local corrency, use only on temples and to give to the local people, another the official governament money to use in hotels and high class restaurants...watch carefully becouse will become a mess...

  • In Bagan, you must steel...

    In Bagan, you must steel yourself against the very aggressive hawkers and (occasionally) beggars around each of the stupas and pagodas. Not true of other parts of Myanmar, Bagan's hawkers are into physical contact and literal 'in your face' tactics. Simply ignore them and NEVER give anything to a beggar.

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Burma Tourist Traps

Reviews and photos of Burma tourist traps posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Burma sightseeing.
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