Myanmar Frequently Asking Questions (FAQs)
1. Who needs visa to Myanmar?
For Australian, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Swiss and Chinese passport holders are allowed to obtain tourist visa on arrival if they come by air through Myanmar International Airports: Yangon, Mandalay & Nay Pyi Taw. With three year trial period from 2020, Myanmar officially permits the passport holders of Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Luxembourg and New Zealand to apply tourist visa on arrival. Along with 30 days maximum stay, the cost of on arrival visa is $50.00 and all tourists must follow Myanmar’s laws, regulations and procedures.
Some of Asian nationalities are granted to visit Myanmar for 14 day period without a visa. Tourists can apply eVisa if they enter Myanmar by air, border crossing, Asian nationalities who plan to stay over 14 days in Myanmar and importantly, those who enter Myanmar by seaport, you must apply eVisa in advance otherwise you will be rejected. Please check detail https://tourism.gov.mm/evisa-application/ for the following countries are eligible to apply Tourist eVisa and what requirement you need to prepare. To obtain and process eVisa, go to Myanmar Government official website: https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/.
2. How to get to Myanmar?
Most of direct flights to Myanmar International Airports: Yangon, Mandalay & Nay Pyi Taw fly from Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Bangladesh, Qatar and China. Other flights will transit in main international airports in an Asia country depends on where travellers take flights from Europe and the rest of Asia countries are not listed above. Border crossing is also strictly available from Thailand and India along with eVisa in advance while crossing borders from Laos and Bangladesh is not yet opened to foreigners, and the borders between China and Myanmar is currently closed.
3. Do I have to use local currency in Myanmar?
Kyat is the official Myanmar currency. No, you don’t have to exchange from US dollar to Kyat currency but having some local currency in pocket is not bad in case you want to purchase small items which cost less a dollar. Make sure you don’t have any Kyat left when you leave the country because Kyat is not available to change to US currency when you return. US dollar or Kyat are extensively used in many places, stores, markets, restaurants…
The following banknotes are currently in circulation: K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500, K1000, K5000 and K10000. You can do the exchange on your arrival day at International airports, at your hotels or at border crossing, the exchange rate is about K1645 = $1.00 and recommend you to exchange Kyat near your hotel or at markets or at foreign currency exchange office if you wish to get a better exchange rate.
4. What’s the weather like?
Sharing borders with China, Laos and Thailand, Myanmar is a tropical monsoon climate – the average degree 25°-32° in the wet season occurring from June to October, 20°-26° in the cold season occurring from November to February and 31°-38° in the hot season occurring from March to May. However, the temperatures actually vary in each states and regions in central, south and north of Myanmar.
5. Drinking water in Myanmar
Highly not recommended to drink the tap water in Myanmar especially in remote regions and you should rely on bottled water which is a better option. If you consider about environmental issue, try to use a refillable canteen or water bottles rather than buying bottled water which you can find it at your hotels. Make use you check with locals or get advice from your tour guide if you don’t really rely on ice quality.
6. Myanmar Main Festivals & Public Holidays
Myanmar has many public holidays up to 18 days per year and each festival and public holiday will affect a period you travel to Myanmar, importantly, if you visit Myanmar during the water festival, tour arrangement and public services are limited on hand due to people take the day off. Below list is briefing some important festivals & public holidays in Myanmar.
- January 4th, Independence Day – The Day of Declaration of Independence from the British Rule.
- February 12th, Union Day.
- March, Full Moon of Tabaung – held at golden stupa of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, it’s religiously believed to bring great merits & good fortunes to all attendees.
- March 2nd, Peasants’ Day or Farmers’ Day – to honour the contribution of agriculture and farming.
- March 27th, Tatmadaw Nay – it commemorates the armed forces against Japanese occupation during world war II.
- April 13th – 17th, Thingyan Water Festival or Myanmar New Year
- May 1st, Labour Day
- May 25th, Full Moon of Kasong – the most sacred day to celebrate Buddha’s Birthday which is the same Visak Bochea in Thailand & Cambodia.
- July, The beginning of Buddhist Lent – held on the Full Moon Day of Waso and highly respected by the locals.
- October, Thadingyut Light Festival, the end of Buddhist Lent – celebrate on Full Moon, candles and lights are lit up through the country.
- November, Full Moon of Tazaungdaing – also known as festival of lights, it is celebrated the end of rainy season, fire lit in hot air balloon onto the air.
- November, National Day – the day Mayanmar students led the protest to defeat British Rule in 1920.
- December/January, Kayin New Year – The happy day Karen ethnic people celebrate The New Year.
7. What kinds of clothing is suitable?
People should wear whatever they are most comfortable in, but a fair amount of modesty should be exercised. It can be extremely hot and humid and while some are comfortable in loose-fitting cotton, others feel better in quick-drying synthetics. Remember not to wear revealingly when you visit religious sites such as monasteries, pagodas, temples and highly recommend to dress appropriately to show your respect to the locals and should bring extra warm clothes when you visit Myanmar during November to January.
8. What’s an ideal budget?
That depends entirely on your style of travel and level of comfort that you are accustomed to. Here are some examples of basic costs (Costs are quoted in US dollars, or USD). You can find budget guesthouses from as low as USD15-25, to suite at 5-star western chain hotels from USD200 while local 4-5 star hotels are from USD60-160. Dinner at a street stand for USD1 – USD3, at an affordable local restaurants for USD5-8.
– Budget traveler- USD 15-25
– Flash-packer- USD 30-45
– Mid-range- USD 60 -80
– Deluxe- USD 100 and up
If you look for Western standard or luxury or boutique 5* hotels in Bago, Inle Lake and Kalaw, it will disappoint you due to lacking of demands and hotel facilities.
9. Is a visitor required to have a guide?
To get the deep insight of Myanmar history & culture, you should hire an experienced local English speaking tour (other languages are barely available) as you make your day tour around. The tour guide service is very useful for your journey, it helps you save your time, assist to manage your trip plan plus giving additional suggestions and you will experience the journey in meaningful. A tour guide can be arranged from a travel agency or through your hotel with overhead fee but travel agency may offer you a better rate. Note that tour guide service will certainly be insufficient during Myanmar’s main festivals & public holidays.
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