Favorite thing: Best exchangerates are for US $ in Yangoon
Only use US $ witch look freshly printed, no stains, no wrinkles etc.!!!
THIS MIGHT BE CHANGING SOON
Myanmar is a quite safe and very cheap country. If you prefer to stay in expensive Hotels, you should be able to use you creditcard there, and probably also for booking planes.
Hotels (some Hotels can be payed also with Kyat, sometimes correct exchange rate, somtimes with a small loss), Trains, some Boats and entrancefees for monasteries etc. have to be payed in $, the rest in Kyat, witch you change best in Yangon at the market (in a shop, not in the street!! new crisp $100 bills for best rates)
For security have some money (~$50-100 brings you back to yangon and some day´s to get things sorted out) hidden in you luggage, and some money ($, not Kyat) in a moneybelt.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Budget Travel
Visa in Bangkok
Favorite thing: At the moment you can get a tourist visa at the Embassy of Myanmar in 2 working days for 810 Baht, express visa on the same day for 200 more.
You need 2 pictures with white background ! and a copy of your passport.
Entrance for visa is at Thanon Pan near Sathon Nuea.
There is a copy and picture shop (a bit more expensive) a 50 meter towards Silom oad.
Get there with bus nr. 15 from Khao San, or with skytrain from Sukhumvit.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: It looks easy:
fill out the form
upload a passport picture, wait 5 (working) day´s for the answer, print it out and arrive at the border with it....
So far (9.5.2012) this new e-visa service is not properly working (hopefully soon).
Visa fees are not mentioned!
Update (October 2014):
There seems to be a new approach for a e-Visa, hopefully it works this time.
It might be also possible to enter at land borders from Thailand, for Mae Sot / Myawaddy / Hpa An for instance is no permit necessary.
Fondest memory: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
HOTELS, TRAVEL AGENCIES SPONSOR USEFUL SIGNS
Favorite thing: All over Myanmar you will see these small red adhesive signs----in hotels, monasteries, vehicles, restaurants and attractions. The signs are in Burmese and inform people not to drop there trash, not to spit, not to smoke and i guess the first one is something like "don't push in the queue" or similar. The script is all in Burmese and the signs are paid for by travel agencies, hotels and other businesses. As a tourist you will have many opportunities to pick one up free. I took two home after asking them from a monk at the monastery.Add to your Trip Planner
BURMA OR MYANMAR
Favorite thing: This country has two names, three if you count the official name since 1989 which is The Republic of the Unuin of Myanmar, but most people refer to it as Burma or Myanmar. I often referred to it as Burma as that is what it was called when i was young, but sometimes i used Burma. The ruling junta changed the name to Myanmar in 1989 as Burma was a name derived from the majority of the Burmese population and they wanted a name which was more inclusive of the minorities. So the name Myanmar was reborn, as it had been used in the 13th century (Myanma), predating the name Burma. Many locals refer to their country as Myanmar but those in opposition end to prefer the name Burma.
HERE ARE A LIST OF SOME OF THE MORE POPULAR PLACES THAT HAD A NAME CHANGE IN 1989
NEW NAME OLD NAME
Pyin Oo Lwin Maymyo
and of course Yangon and RangoonAdd to your Trip Planner
FREE DRINKING WATER
Favorite thing: Dotted throughout the streets of the towns and especially at temples you will see some small stands with clay bowls containing water for passer-bys to help themselves. Locals will often come along with a container of purified water and fill the pots up now and again. I did not take any water from these pots to be on the safe side.Add to your Trip Planner
THE BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN
Favorite thing: No matter where you are in Myanmar you will meet lots of very happy children from all walks of life who will love to have their photograph taken. Best try to catch them when they are unaware of your presence. I was never asked for money from any child for taking their picture !Add to your Trip Planner
DON'T FORGET TO PHOTOGRAPH THE MONKS
Favorite thing: Early morning was the time for monks to walk along the streets and collect alms in their bowls. Normally two guys (pretty sure that they were locals from the neighbourhood, would announce that the monks were nearby by ringing a large gong which was supported by a pole with the metal gong hanging from it. The gong was in the shape of a pagoda and on hearing the gong the locals would appear from their house to make their donations to the monks.Add to your Trip Planner
A FOND FAREWELL THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
Favorite thing: Wherever we stayed in Myanmar the staff at the guest houses were always on hand to wish us luck on our journey, and were genuinely happy to pose for photographs, also with their own camera. It would be wonderful if the staff at all the guest houses in Asia treated us so well. We always found the staff so polite and nothing was too much trouble for themAdd to your Trip Planner
THE PINK LADIES
Favorite thing: Many nuns enroll in the nunnery schools to escape poverty and they can be anything between 4 to 90 years old. At the nunnery they are educated and will have a chance in life of succeeding. The nuns dress in pink robes and there are approximately 30,000 in Myanmar today, compared to 300,000 monks. Quite often you will see them walking in the streets in pairs or if you are lucky you may see a line of them collecting their alms. The nuns have shaved heads like the monks and sometimes it would be difficult to distinguish between the two if it was not for their saffron robes. Girls and women enter the monastic life, shave their heads, take ordination vows and practice meditation and reading scriptures just as male monks do, but they don't perform ceremonies or go overseas. When a girl enters the nunnery she spends time in service to the community, collecting alms, teaching, studying and meditating.Add to your Trip Planner
THE JOYS OF RIDING A BURMESE TRAIN
Favorite thing: There is nothing like riding a Burmese train as the tracks are only 3 feet wide but the carriages are built for wider tracks. First of all you have to decide whether to choose upper class sleeper, upper class seats or ordinary seats. Only a fool or a tight-fisted tourist would think of traveling ordinary class as the seats are hard and wooden. You should also think twice about booking a sleeper as the journey is so bumpy you won't get too much sleep. Choose the upper class seats that are padded and recline and that way you may get some shut-eye. When the train starts moving it will sway from side to side, the carriage will also go up and down and occasionally you will almost be thrown out of your seats as the train hits a bump, possibly a bad connection in the rails. On the trains there is no-smoking and the toilets might be very dirty as the journey progresses. The only toilets i saw had a hole so that your waste drops straight between the tracks.Some trains had western style toilets and others the simple squat type. Locals will jump off and on the train selling drinks, cigarettes, betel, food, fruit and snacks. Ad the engine----very old Chinese one.Add to your Trip Planner
LONG DISTANCE BUSES----30 MINUTE BREAKS
Favorite thing: While traveling on the long distance buses which operate mainly throughout the night, they will stop one or two times for the passengers to have a meal and a toilet break. Wherever they stop there is normally a good selection of snackfood for sale besides the restaurant. Among the items available are all kinds of nuts, potato crisps, fruit, cookies, drinks, bread and many more items, all at reasonable prices. . Don't worry. you will not go hungryAdd to your Trip Planner
BANKNOTES IN CIRCULATION
Favorite thing: Apparently there are 11 different banknotes in circulation----- the 1, 5, 10, 20, and 50 kyat that you unlikely to see, and the 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000, and 10,000 kyat notes that are commonly used. Bearing in mind that there are roughly 1,250 kyat to the US $ it is not surprising that the other notes are rarely used. The 5,000 kyat note was just introduced 7 years ago while the10,000 note has only been around for 3 years. One side the denominations are in the local script while on the reverse the numbers are in English.
The 10,000 note is blue with the coat of arms of Myanmar on the front and pictures of the Mandalay most and towers on the reverse.
The 5,000 note is purple with an albino elephant on the front and the Myanmar Central Bank Buildings on the reverse.
The 1,000 note is green with a chinze on the front ( mythical lion) with Myanmar Bank Building on the reverse.
The 500 note is blue and green with a chinze on the front and a building restoration project on the reverse.
The 200 note is blue/ green with a chinze on the front and an elephant logging on the reverse.
The 100 note is blueish with a chinze on the front and workers restoring a building on the reverse.
Since talking to the owner of the guest house I have learnt that the 50 kyat note is still used, and occasionally the 20 and 10 kyat note, but the 1 and 5 kyat are no longer seen today, although they are still legal tender.Add to your Trip Planner
DOWNLOAD ADDRESS/PHOTOS IN BURMESE FOR TAXI DRIVER
Favorite thing: Most taxi drivers cannot speak English, nor read a map so it is advisable to try and download the address of your accommodation in Burmese . You can usually find the Burmese address on the booking websites or the hotel's website . One time we were tired of walking and wanted to go to the Jade market in Mandalay so we stopped a motorbike taxi and after a few minutes we agreed the fare for the trip. The driver looked at our map and he seemed to know where we wanted to go, and he immediately started riding in the wrong direction, and after 500 m we eventually got him to stop. He just failed to understand the problem and could not fathom out why we stopped. Eventually ee found someone else to take us there. In such instances it would also be helpful to download images of where you want to go, so you can show the driver.Add to your Trip Planner
BLACK SHIELD, AN EXCELLENT ASIAN STOUT
Favorite thing: I am not that keen on stout beer but while I was in the country I thought I would try a draught Black Shield as it was available at the restaurant where we were dining. The glass of hrown beer with a decent head was placed in front of me and I was pleasantly surprised as it tasted good, but perhaps a little sweet for my liking. The beer was only introduced in September 2015 by Myanmar Brewery but they seem to have a good advertising campaign as I noticed many billboards throughout the country. At 8.1% alcohol it did the trick and was much better than the super sweet Cerveza Negra that is sold in the Philippines. It is also available in cans and bottles.
WELL DONE MYANMAR BREWERY !Add to your Trip Planner
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Great hotel, arguably our favorite in Myanmar. You can tell the owners put a lot of thought into...more
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