Myanmar is undoubtedly the most closed country in Southeast Asia. Although it is opening at an incredible rate, it is still a surprising destination because of the tradition that is maintained in every detail of everyday life. That’s why you have to take into account a number of points at the time of travel to Myanmar. We will start with the most basic points.
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Points to consider when travelling to Myanmar
It is not possible to get a visa directly on arrival. We must carry it from origin but it is also possible to do it online through the government website . This procedure takes between 3 and 5 days to process and costs 50 USD. On arrival at Yangon airport, you will receive the document they will send us by e-mail and the completed form they will give you. With this documentation the visa is stamped in a few minutes. Since it is difficult to find Myanmar embassy in many countries, the latter is the best option.
The online visa is simpler as it saves time and money at this point. Normally, processing the visa through any embassy is much more expensive.
It is important to know that the Myanmar visa does not give you the right to move freely within the country . You should not forget that we are in a country under a military dictatorship and there is some conflict in isolated areas. The visa gives you permission to visit most tourist attractions . Borders are sensitive areas that cannot be accessed without a special permit issued by the central government. It must be applied for before travelling and is a bit complicated to obtain. In addition, you should know that is not allowed to enter or leave the country by land which leaves us as the only option of access to the international airports of Yangon and Mandalay.
We do not want to turn on the alarm light by naming “military dictatorship”. There’s nothing to worry about. Myanmar is a 100% safe place where, we’re sure, you won’t have any problems.
Until a few years ago there were no ATMs in the whole country but the process of opening so fast that is suffering makes it relatively easy to find these services in large cities. Outside of them it is still difficult. That’s why we recommend carrying enough cash for the entire trip in new US dollar bills after 2006. In many cases, old or damaged banknotes can cause payment problems.
The local currency is Kyat (MMK) and the exchange rate for the US dollar is 1000 MMK for every USD we change.
The rainy season in Myanmar coincides with the rest of neighbouring countries. This one is from May to October. Although, logically, the best time to travel is the rest of the year there are 2 details you should consider before jumping into travel at this time. The first is to know that the rest of the year is high season and prices will rise and inevitably, there may be problems of availability to stay. The second is avoid the months of March and April since, considered summer and not being the rainy season, they are the hottest months of the year and temperatures, especially in the area of Bagan, can reach unimaginable limits.
In addition, the rainy season does not have to be a problem. Like the rest of Southeast Asia, rainfall will involve a significant discharge of water for a short period of time and then clear the day without any problems. Myanmar is no exception.
When visiting places of religious worship, which are many throughout the country, we must consider clothing. Exposed shoulders or very short trousers may deny you entry . Something that bothers a lot if you are not warned beforehand.
The Internet connection is, in general, slow and somewhat hopeless . It’s true that it’s getting easier and easier to find places with WIFI available but it’s still far from what you can consider a minimally acceptable connection. Don’t despair, it can be a good opportunity to really disconnect and enjoy your vacation 100%.
Except in Yangon, where you can find nightclubs with ease, it is very difficult to decide to go out for a drink at night. The country is still closed in that sense and strong>it is not going to be an easy task to find a place open at night unless you decide to do it in the same hotel. In fact, until a few years ago, the marketing of alcoholic beverages was forbidden throughout the country. This, today, is history.
Myanmar is one of the most surprising countries you can visit . Not only for the places of obligatory visit, which are many, but for the human quality of its inhabitants. This is the point that will surely surprise you the most. Simple, honest and friendly people will welcome you with open arms. They enjoy direct contact with the traveller and at no time will they overwhelm you with their presence as they have no special interest in dealing with you.
In short, a very complete trip that will bring you a lot. Not only on a cultural, historical or gastronomic level. Also on a personal level is a place that you can not miss.
Have a nice trip!
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