10 Things You Need to Know before Travelling to Myanmar−Part 2
6. Haggling doesn’t exist in Myanmar.
It is rare that you can negotiate your room rate to get a discount for more than one person and it is almost unheard of bartering in a market! If you’re travelling here from other Southeast Asian countries, try to remember to take your haggling hat off and embrace their way of life. Majority of the time, prices are reasonable so take them for what they are and smile for helping out the locals.
7. Be prepared to smile all the time.
The locals in Myanmar are genuine, friendly and the most hospitable people you will ever meet. While travelling around the country, engage in conversations and get to know the people. A few things that you should expect to see are:
▪ Men in skirts – the traditional Burmese dress is Longyi, a wraparound skirt worn by both men and women. They are worn differently, with men tying theirs in the front and women tying it at the side.
▪ Red teeth – chewing leaves full of betel nut, spices and a pinch of tobacco, is a national pastime.
▪ Bold face masks – The makeup you see on Burmese people is called "Thanaka". Made of finely ground bark of the Thanaka tree, the substance is a natural sunblock and reduces the loss of moisture. It's also a bit of a style statement so pay attention to the different shapes and colours.
8. A kissing sound is not a sign of affection.
When the locals want to get a waiter’s attention they make two or three short kisses very loudly. Think of the sounds you make to get a cat to come to you, that’s the sound I’m talking about! Expect to hear this where ever you go, especially down narrow side streets full of bars and restaurants.
9. English is not as common as Burmese.
Although developing as a country, English is only really spoken in the cities and even then not that much. The national language is Burmese but there are over 80 different dialects spoken, so learning it isn’t so easy either. Learning a few basic phrases of the language is invaluable and is really appreciated by anyone you come across. However, when it comes to more complicated phrases or if you are staying somewhere very remote, it is also worth learning to mime!
10. Myanmar is a developing country.
Among other things, safety and cleanliness hasn’t caught up with 21st century standards in Myanmar. But don’t fret! That’s just how the country operates and will continue to do so for some time. Don’t be surprised to see a cockroach run under your feet in a restaurant.
Hopefully, you now know a few facts about Myanmar that you didn’t before. Now all you have to do is decide when to travel here! Myanmar is a beautiful country with some of the nicest and friendliest locals. The authenticity of the place is unparalleled, easily making it a must visit for anyone travelling Southeast Asia.