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Myanmar

Key information before discovering Myanmar
Follow this practical guide on Myanmar to help you prepare for your trip! You will find in this section all the important elements and information you should know about Myanmar, before leaving on your trip.

 

 

The formalities

Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after departure. It must also have at least one full blank page. A tourist visa is required for entry into the country for most foreign nationals. Visa-free travel for 14 days is permitted for Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia and Laos’s passport holders.
However, it is no longer possible to obtain a tourist visa on arrival in Burma. So there are two ways to obtain a tourist visa, either a classic application at the Burmese embassy in your country, or an e-visa application by Internet (provided you enter by the airports of Yangon, Mandalay or Naypyidaw.) These visas are valid for stays of up to 28 days.
Here are the conditions and documents to be provided for the different types of visas:
Classic visa at the Burmese embassy: valid passport (see above); visa application form; two passport photos; a travel certificate (provided by the tour operator); proof of return flights, or e-ticket.
E-Visa: make your request on the website http://evisa.moip.gov.mm 
3 working days after the application, a visa agreement is sent to you. You will then have to print this agreement for presentation to the Burmese authorities on your arrival with your passport. The price of the e-visa is 50 USD, payable by credit card. 
Please note: E-visa is valid for 3 months from the date of issue, the online application cannot be made more than 3 months before the return date.  Contact us for more details, or if you wish to check that this is still the case.

Flights

Burma's main international airports are Yangon Airport and Mandalay Airport.
International airlines that fly to this destination are Air France, Cathay Pacific
Emirates, Korean Air, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways

Time Difference

New York (-11 hours)
London (-6 hours)
Click and see the time here: https://www.timeanddate.com/time/difference/myanmar/yangon\

Weather and geography

The climate and vegetation are of humid tropical type with monsoon. The dry season extends from November to April; it is pleasant and cool during the months of December and January. Rains are frequent between June and October.


Maximum temperatures: 40°C (104°F) - minimum: 19°C (66°F) (it can be much cooler in the northern mountainous regions, especially at Lake Inle).

Burma covers an area of 671,000 km2 and is bordered by Thailand and Laos to the east, Bangladesh to the west and China and India to the north.
In the south of the country lies the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea with many paradise islands (including the Mergui Islands).  Large plains and wide rivers characterize the center of Burma, the east is a mountain range and the Himalayan mountain range begins in the North.

​​​Population and languages

Burma has a population of 54 million. Its density is 80 inhabitants per square kilometer. Only about 26% of the population is urbanized. There are therefore many areas that are still very rural with a very low population density. The official language is Burmese, spoken by 65% of the population. Many other languages are also spoken due to the great diversity of ethnic minorities in the country. The most widely spoken ethnic languages include Shan (6.4%), Karen (5.2%), Jinghpo (1.8%), Chin (1.6%), Mon (1.5%) and Arakanese (1.5%).

 

Most of the educated urban elite speaks English. It is the first foreign language learned in government schools. Chinese (Mandarin) is beginning to be increasingly learned in schools as economic and cultural relations between China and Burma improve. 

Religion

Buddhism is the dominant religion in Burma, the Theravada current precisely as in Thailand and Laos. 89% of the population is Buddhist, 5% Christian, 4% Muslim, 0.5% Hindu. It is customary for men to make two monastic retreats in their lives.

Money and Electricity

Burma's official monetary unit is the Kyat. The most sought-after currency is the US dollar. Be aware that there is a big difference between the official rate and the "street" rate. There are many banks and exchange offices in all major cities and tourist sites. Euros can be exchanged without any problem. There are also ATMs that accept MasterCard and Visa in these places. 
Please note that your USD dollar must be in good condition without any marks or bends or they risk of not being accepted for change. Yes, they can be very picky, so please make sure your bills are well taken care of. Do not forget to exchange your Kyat before leaving Myanmar because you will not be able to exchange them anywhere else in the world.

220V devices can be used. Remember to take adapters for electrical outlets, as there are different types of outlets in different places across the country. It is recommend that you take a universal adapter when travelling.

​Traditions and customs

Burma is a very hospitable and tolerant country; tourists will have no problem learning about local customs. But, as in any country in the world, there are certain rules of conduct that should not be ignored in order to avoid any situations that might offend the Burmese.


a. Religion


Correct behavior in temples or other religious buildings implies respect for a number of points. It is important to wear proper attire (no shorts, tank tops, T-shirts) and to remove shoes when entering any religious building.
When you decide to sit in a religious building, do not point your feet at the Buddha. To do this, you should sit with your legs bent to the side and your feet pointing backwards. Buddhist monks must not touch women or be touched by them. If a woman wants to give something to a monk, either give it to a man who will then give it to the monk, or place the object within the monk's reach.

b. Gestures and Attitudes in society

 

One of the most important rules is to use calm and composed expressions and attitudes rather than abrupt and crude ones.
When things take a bad turn, don't get angry! If you lose your temper, you lose face. Raising your voice is considered rude in any situation. When you hold something out to someone, do it with both hands, or with the right hand, but never with the left hand, which is reserved for intimate ablutions.

 

c. Head and feet

The feet are spiritually the lowest part of the body. Never point them at anything or anyone. Don't put your feet on a chair or table when you are sitting down. Never touch someone with your foot.
In the same way, since the head is spiritually the highest part of the body, there are certain taboos: never put your hand on someone's head, and never stroke a child's (or an adult's) hair. If this happens to you, apologize immediately, as it may make you look extremely rude.
Never step over a person, even in a crowded area. Try to walk around the person or ask them to move.


d. Special advice


Drug trafficking is severely punished in Burma and the penalties for even possession of small quantities of narcotics and soft drugs can go as far as life imprisonment with possible transfer to a US prison after serving an eight-year sentence locally.
Be vigilant: Avoid showing your money, credit cards, and passports. Walking in a deserted street is no more recommended than in the US.

 

e. Local negotiation rules

A wide variety of handicrafts and souvenirs are available in Burma at very reasonable prices. For those who don't have much time and want to avoid haggling, some items are on sale in shops where prices are displayed.
For those who prefer to haggle, patience and a smile will usually be enough to bring the price down. Humor and good humor are always good assets in establishing a friendly contact with the salesperson. Don't get angry, the seller can refuse the sale in this case. Don't make him lose face either. In this case, too, they will refuse the sale.