10 Things You Need to Know before Travelling to Myanmar−Part 1
Myanmar is slowly developing, and parts off the country that have been off-limits to tourists are now open to be explored, making Myanmar hot on the Southeast Asia travel list. Unlike many other developing countries, the progress is gradual to the point that the country is evolving with the times yet preserving its historic beauty for which it is known. Myanmar remains a rural nation with traditional values at heart, so if you plan on heading out there, these are 10 things you should know before you do.
1. Getting a Visa for Burma is easy.
With the new E-Visa online system, getting a tourist visa to enter Myanmar is easier than ever. The best part is you can find out if your application has been approved in less than 24 hours! If you’re in Bangkok before heading to Myanmar, you can also obtain your visa at the Embassy of Myanmar. It is also quick, easy and you don’t need proof of onward travel when applying. For $50, the visa is valid for 28 days. As Myanmar is such a huge country, take advantage of your time to travel slow, meet local people and learn about the culture.
2. Compared to other countries, hotels are expensive in Myanmar.
Accommodation is expensive in Myanmar compared to most Southeast Asian countries, however, in our opinion, a trip here is definitely worth it. To get around the high rates, book accommodation in advance, specially in the main areas. If you plan on visiting more remote regions, try to contact travellers who have been there to give you a recommendations for local guesthouses.
3. Plan for enough time to travel around Myanmar.
Like a lot of Asian countries, time tables and schedules are lax in Myanmar so make sure to factor in a lot of time for delays wherever you go. The main form of transport you’ll find is buses, which will take you to everywhere tourists are permitted. As the railway tracks are still in very poor condition, train journeys are even longer, always delayed and extremely bumpy! Domestic flights are the most comfortable way to cover long distances and are completely affordable.
4. The internet will be slow or non-existent in Myanmar.
The internet arrived in Myanmar in 2000. Although the restrictions have been lifted since, the network is still very underdeveloped. Long story short, don’t expect to have any connection. Part of Myanmar’s charm is being able to getaway from it all. So when in Myanmar, drop your phone, enjoy the views, you can worry about that instagram photo later on.
5. The official currency cannot be bought outside of Myanmar.
Myanmar works on a closed money economy so bring a big wad of US Dollars to exchange into Kyat. When exchanging, the higher the denomination of USD the better the exchange rate, and make sure that your dollar bills are new, crisp and clean! If your dollars are creased or marked, they are considered unusable or given lower rates.