Burma Travel Tips

Business & Social

The following are some tips on business and social visits that may help you during your stay in Myanmar:

  • Appointments should be made in advance and punctuality is appreciated.
  • Business cards are exchanged after introduction.
  • For business meetings, men should wear a lightweight suit and tie, while women should wear modest clothes.
  • It is customary to shake hands on meeting and saying goodbye. When addressing people always use the appropriate prefix and family name.
  • Many people in Myanmar do not have a first name and last name as in Western countries but instead have several names, often of three or four words. Generally, every name has a meaning; therefore, it is advisable to address a person with their complete name, especially if you are not well-acquainted with them.
  • It is useful – but not essential – to have some business cards in Myanmar script.
  • Many executives in Myanmar speak English.
  • Visitors should be receptive to local customs and conventions. When sitting cross-legged on sofas or cushions, soles of the feet should not be shown.
  • Footwear is strictly prohibited in pagodas and monasteries.
  • Tipping in restaurants and hotels is not required but appreciated (about 5 to 10 percent of the total bill). Tips for taxis are not necessary.
  • On social occasions such as an invitation to a restaurant, be punctual and dress as for business meetings unless otherwise indicated.

Climate

  • Myanmar has a tropical climate with three distinct seasons:
  • Cool season from October to February which is dry and with temperatures ranging from 21ºC to 28ºC.
  • Hot (dry) season from March to May with average temperatures of between 30ºC and 40ºC.
  • Rainy (monsoon) season occurs from June to September with average temperatures of between 25ºC and 30ºC and frequent short rainstorms and higher humidity.

During the rainy season, Yangon normally receives early morning and afternoon showers while rainfall in Bagan and Mandalay is very low. The weather around Inle Lake and Shan State is pleasant all year round but usually cold at night from December to February. Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake are good to visit anytime of the year.

Health & Clothing

Even though no vaccinations are required for entry to Myanmar, please consult your family physician about immunization requirements, particularly for malaria and hepatitis. You should drink only bottled water and exercise caution when eating from street vendors and at small local restaurants.
Cotton clothing and a light wrap for the evenings during the cool season are recommended. Do not wear shorts, tank tops or sleeveless blouses, especially when visiting temples, pagodas and monasteries. Dress modestly at all times; revealing clothing is frowned upon in Myanmar. Footwear must be removed before entering a temple/ pagoda.

Visa of Burma

Burma (Myanmar) visaA valid passport with a Myanmar Entry Visa is required for all visitors. We advise all foreign visitors to have passports with a validity of at least six months. The entry visa to Myanmar can be obtained from any Myanmar embassy or consulate general offices worldwide. The Myanmar government has two types of visas for foreign visitors:

 

EVT VISA (Tourist Visa)
Single-entry visa for tourist travellers entitling them to a maximum 28-day stay within the country (non-extendable). The cost of this visa is approximately US$20 per person.

BUSINESS VISA
Single or multiple-entry visa for travellers who are currently working under contract in Myanmar (extendable).

How to get VISA
Myanmar requires a valid passport of minimum 6 months and a Myanmar visa for all foreigners visiting the country. Tourist visas are issued for a duration of 28 days starting from the day you enter the country, three months from the date of issue. You can obtain a visa at all Myanmar Embassies or Consulates with three photos and your passport. The international points of entry and exit in Myanmar are Yangon International Airport and Mandalay International Airport. Please click here for an updated list of Myanmar Embassies and Consulates.

Visa On Arrival
Regarding the visa on arrival, pre-arrangements have to be made and is available at Yangon and Mandalay International Airports only. This visa is granted to packaged cruise liner and chartered flight tourists and to foreign independent travellers (FITs) from places where there are no Myanmar representation, through any licensed Myanmar Travel and Tour (MTT) agency or directly by the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism (MHT).
For more information on Myanmar visas, please contact the nearest Myanmar embassy or any of our agents.

Airport Transfers

Taxis from Yangon International Airport to the downtown area will cost between US$6-8 depending on the destination. Taxi travel within Yangon will cost up to 4,000 to 5,000 kyats, depending on the distance travelled. Please note that very few taxis in Myanmar charge meter rates so it is important to negotiate the fare before entering the taxi.

Currency

The local currency in Myanmar is the kyat (pronounced “chaat”) and is divided into 100 pyas, although these are no longer used. At present the following kyat bank notes are in general use: Ks 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000 and 5000.
The US dollar is also widely accepted at the prevailing market rate. Foreign visitors are strongly advised to bring sufficient cash funds in US dollars as credit cards are generally NOT accepted. Traveller’s cheques and other foreign currencies are not advisable as they can be difficult and time consuming to change into local currency. Visitors are advised to check with their travel agents or with their hotels directly before arriving in the country

When To Visit

You can visit Myanmar all the year round.
If you love tropical sun shine, visit between March and May.
If you crave for experiencing the monsoon greenery scene with a lot of rain, it’s June to September.
But the best time to come is October to February as the weather during this period is neither too hot nor wet.

Entry Formalities

A valid Passport with Entry Visa is required of all visitors. A Tourist Visa allows a stay of 28 days, extendible for an additional 14 days. A Business Visa allows a stay of 28 days, extendible up to 12 months on a case-by-case basis. Visa on Arrival is granted on prior arrangement.

Customs Formalities

Foreign currency exceeding the equivalent of US$ 2,000, jewelleries, cameras, video cameras, recording equipments and laptop computers must be declared at the airport. Failure to do so could end up in confiscation upon departure. Export of antiques and items of archaeological value are prohibited.

Foreign Exchange

Foreign Exchange Certificates (FEC.) which is equivalent to the US$, are accepted by hotels, airlines, travel agencies, taxis, restaurants, and as payment of admission fees at museums and pagodas. FECs. can be exchanged for Kyats (Myanmar currency) at market rates at authorized money changers and can be used in Myanmar only.

FECs. are issued in four denominations:
(A)  FEC.20 equivalent to US Dollar twenty
(B)  FEC.10 equivalent to US Dollar ten
(C)  FEC.5 equivalent to US Dollar five
(D)  FEC.1 equivalent to US Dollar one.

Money

The currency in Myanmar is the Kyat (MMK). Present denominations are in notes:
Kyats.: 1000, 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5.
It is advisable to bring for personal expenses like meals, drinks, buying souvenirs etc. enough US$ in cash to Myanmar. You can use old and new US$ notes here in Myanmar. In case of using 100 US$ notes , ONLY new notes after 1996 will be accepted normally. All other currencies are not widely accepted. We suggest to bring US$ only as it may be difficult to change EURO; BRITISH POUNDS or other currencies!!!

Credit Cards & Traveller Cheques

Due to recent sanctions of U.S to Myanmar Government, all the credit cards are not possible to use around the country since 01 Sept’03. So, the travelers are recommended to carry hard cash for their own using amount. Credit Card payments are not acceptable at present.

Vaccination

Not required unless you are coming from an infected area.

What To Wear

Light, casual wear preferably made of cotton is suitable for all climates. Some warm clothes are necessary if you plan to visit northern Myanmar or other hilly regions in the cold season. Sandals or slippers are convenient as the dress code for Buddhist religious buildings prescribe decent apparel and no footwear including socks.

Etiquette

It is recommended that you avoid doing from kissing and hugging in public, pointing at things with your feet, sitting with your back to a Buddha image, improper use of or behavior toward a sacred thing as a Buddha image, and touching a monk.

Passport And Documentation:

Your passport must be valid for at least six months following your entry date to your travel destination.
For more specific visa requirements, please contact your nearest relevant consulate for current information.

Travel Insurance:

Travel insurance is not included in your tour price. It is the passenger’s responsibility to verify whether his/her local health insurance carrier provides coverage while traveling inside of the Myanmar. Please contact your insurance carrier for details.
Vista Tour Co., Ltd. strongly advises that you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover all aspects of your tour; including the loss of deposits through cancellation, lost of baggage and personal items, personal injury and death. A waiver must be signed if insurance is declined.

Mobile Phones

Your mobile phones could not be used in Myanmar as Myanmar still do not have network yet. You have to leave your phone at the airport at customs counter and customs will give you back the slip, which you have to claim back up on your departure. As your mobile phones are not able to use in Myanmar, we are providing the telephone and fax number for you to left with your family and friends to contact you during your stay in Myanmar. Email service is available at most of the hotels in Yangon and some international chain hotels in Mandalay.

Local Time

Myanmar Standard Time (MST) is 06:30 Hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).

Electircity

The voltage is 220 V throughout the whole country.

Shopping

Shopping in Myanmar offers many rewards but it also can be a frustrating experience. Normally a tourist’s first foray in search of souvenirs, antiques and other more substantial items will lead them to Bogyoke Market. There they will find an amazing collection of fascinating items; finely crafted mother of pearl; lacquerware products of every description; beautiful silk; bizarre knickknack dating from colonial times; cigars; gold and jewelry; jade bracelets and many other interesting items. Duty Free shopping facilities are available in both the Departure and Arrival Halls of Yangon International Airport.

Airport Tax

The airport tax is US $10 for international passengers, payable in FEC(Foreign Exchange Certificates). There is no airport tax on domestic flights.

Back your tours with Our top favorite Burma holidays package