Once called Burma, Myanmar sits in the heart of Asia, nestled between Thailand, India, Bangladesh, Laos and China. With a rich culture dating back more than 2,500 years, the people of Myanmar lead a laid-back and enviably simplistic lifestyle.
More than 100 years ago, Kipling and his companion travelled up the Yangon River on their way to Mandalay. As they passed through what was then known as Burma, Kipling’s companion said to him “This is the old Shwedagon. This is Burma and it will be like no other land you know.” This poignant quote still holds true today. Though the country goes by a different name, the experience of uniqueness and wonder are the same.
In Myanmar there is so much beauty to see and experience. You can visit the gold-laden Buddha in the country’s former royal capital, Madalay. You can see the city from the vantage point of one of the many stunning pagodas. You will be enchanted by the beauty of the temples in Bagan as the sun rises high in the sky, illuminating them with rich golden light. You can watch the leg-rowers go by as you sit next to beautiful Inle Lake. You can stroll through the colourful and sprawling street markets which sell wares you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Even the water-buffalo carts in the countryside are a wonder to behold. A visit to Myanmar is a truly enchanting experience that is unlike anything you have ever experienced.
What’s the climate like?
Myanmar experiences a mild climate and is enjoyable all year round. From November to February, the country’s northern regions can get quite chilly as evening falls, especially the areas surrounding Inle Lake. The best time to visit Myanmar is between November and April at this time of year it is mostly dry and not too hot.
If you’re visiting Myanmar between May and October, you might find the weather to be a bit humid and if you’re visiting the south, near the coast, you will experience short, tropical rain-showers which are not entirely unpleasant but are quite frequent. In Bagan and central Myanmar, it rarely rains, even during monsoon season. This area of Myanmar is extremely hot during in the hours following lunch and into the evening, however, so it is advisable to plan your sightseeing excursions for early in the day or late in the afternoon.
What are the beaches like?
There are awe-inspiring, white sandy beaches awaiting you in Myanmar and along the coastline of the Bay of Bengal. The best time to visit these pristine and virtually untouched beaches of Ngapali and Ngwe Saung is between November and May. In the summer months from June to October, it is Myanmar’s monsoon season and the area experiences rain and thunderstorms, During monsoon season, there are no flights available to take you to the country’s beaches and most of the beach hotels and surround restaurants remain closed during this time of year.
What about passports and visa requirements?
When you visit Myanmar, it is necessary to have at least six months remaining on your passport before it expires. You will need a tourist visa which you can obtain at the Myanmar Embassy, consulate or you can apply for an online E-Visa. Tourist visas cost around USD $30 and are valid for 28 days.
Where should I fly into?
Yangon, formerly called Rangoon, has the country’s largest international airport located just outside of the city and flying into Yangon is likely your best and most affordable option. In Yangon, you will find ample transportation to surrounding areas.
What are some of Myanmar’s religions and customs?
Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist population with as much as 85% of it’s population being deeply devout Theravada Buddhists. For this reason, some of the world’s most precious Buddhist artifacts and stunning Buddhist temples are found in Myanmar.
While most of the population is Buddhist, there is a pervading belief amongst the Burmese people that ghosts and spirits live amongst us. The people of this region believe in the 37 Nats, or Burmese Ghosts and they believe that these spirits have a strong influence over day-to-day life.
When visiting religious monuments, it is important to know that all visitors are required to remove their shoes. Additionally, when visiting holy places, such as pagodas and monasteries, shorts or briefs are seen as disrespectful.
What is Myanmar’s Currency?
Myanmar’s currency is the Kyat. There are ample authorized money exchangers where you can exchange your money for the local currency. In most areas of Myanmar, traveller’s cheques cannot be cashed and there are few places, outside of major hotels, that accept visa. Master Card and American Express are simply not accepted. If you plan to visit Myanmar, it’s advisable to bring cash in American dollars with you.
Will I need any vaccinations?
While there are no formal requirements for vaccinations before traveling to Myanmar, it is recommended that visitors get vaccinated again hepatitis, typhoid, tuberculosis and tetanus. When you visit Myanmar, it is also recommended that you bring an ample supply of mosquito repellent and that you wear it whenever possible.
What language is spoken in Myanmar?
The official language of Myanmar is also called Myanmar, formerly it was called Burmese. There are about 100 different dialects of Burmese spoken throughout different regions of the country. Don’t worry though, the country’s official “business language” is English.
Will I be able to communicate with people back home while visiting Myanmar?
Most of the major hotels in Myanmar will have access to the internet and will allow for overseas calling. SIM cards and top-ups can be bought at numerous street-side retailers in downtown Yangon and Mandalay, as well as at Yangon International Airport and in most larger towns, cities and tourist sites. To purchase a SIM card, foreigners need to have photocopies of their passport photo page and Myanmar visa page, as well as one passport photo. SIM cards are 3G mobile data enabled and standard SIM and micro SIM cards are available.
You can find an internet cafe or hotel with Wifi even in remote locations. Free Wifi can be found at many restaurants and bars.
What time is it in Myanmar?
Myanmar is 6.5 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean time.
What climate is it in Myanmar?
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