Traveler’s Tips

Pre-Departure Preparations

Buying a travel insurance policy to cover theft, loss and medical problems during your stay in Myanmar is recommended.

Visa

All visitors to Myanmar are required to carry a valid passport and a Myanmar visa. The passports must be valid for six months beyond the intended stay. Visa applications may be made at any Myanmar embassy or consulate.

Tourist visas valid for 28 days are issued to independent or group tour travelers with a visa fee US$ 40. Multiple entry business visas valid for 70 days are available to foreigners working for companies with established operations in Myanmar. Children aged over seven are required to apply for separate visas even if they are travelling on a parents' passport. The Myanmar government reserves the right to change visa regulations at short notice. Pre-arranged visas on arrival at Yangon International Airport can be obtained in exceptional cases upon request in 2 months advance, please contact Mira Travels for further information on it.

Immigrations and customs

(a) Entry
A passport with a valid visa and a completed disembarkation card must be presented to the immigration desks at international airports.
Foreign currency exceeding US$2000, jewelry, cameras and electronic goods must be declared on the customs forms issued to each arriving visitor. Travelers should have completed these forms during the flight to Yangon and should submit them upon arrival.  No Myanmar currency may be imported or exported.
The duty free allowance for each visitor is two liters of wine or liquor, 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars  and half-litre or reasonable amount for personal use of perfume or eau de cologne.

(b) Departure
Passport and completed embarkation card are to be shown at the immigration desks. Export of Buddha images, gemstones and antiques without an official receipt is prohibited. Export permit vouchers must be shown at customs for any gems or jewelry bought in Myanmar.

Airports

Yangon International Airport is about 10 miles (16 km) from downtown Yangon. The airport is well-equipped with services and facilities. Mandalay International Airport is about 21 miles (35 km) from south of downtown Mandalay. It has similar services and facilities as Yangon International Airport. Nay Pyi Taw Airport is about 30 minutes from Myanmar’s new administrative capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

Flights

International airlines operating at the airports include Myanmar Airway International, Air Bagan, Thai Airways International, Air Asia, Bangkok Airways, Nok Air, Silk Air and Singapore International Airline, Jet Star Airline, Vietnam Airline, Indian Airline, Malaysian Airline, Air China, China Southern Airline, China Eastern Airline, Korea Air, All Nippon Air, Qatar Air and etc.

Air travel often is the best form of transport as it saves time. Tickets can be bought with cheaper price through travel agents than directly with the airlines. Mira Travels will arrange air transportation with reliable private domestic Airlines (either Air Mandalay or Asian Wings or Air Bagan or Air KBZ or Yangon Airways). We will use Myanmar Airways only for the selected areas which cannot be reached by private airlines. Baggage allowance on domestic flights is limited to 20kg.  Excess luggage will be on clients account or can be left in hotels in Yangon for collection on return from tours outside Yangon (only if they have second call in Yangon).

Trains

Trains are more leisurely and comfortable forms of transport and international travelers mainly ride the rail route between Yangon and Mandalay. Myanma Railways' long-distance trains offer first and economy class compartments, sleeping berths and reclining seats. Tickets are available at railway stations and it is recommended to buy them one day in advance.

Express coaches

It is possible to travel in air-conditioned coaches to most of the tourist attractions throughout the country. There are highway bus services in Yangon operate to destinations throughout the country including Golden Rock, Bagan, Mandalay, Taunggyi, Chaungtha beach, Ngwe Saung beach, and Ngapali beach. There are also highway bus terminals in the cultural capital of Mandalay, offering services to destinations in central, upper and eastern Myanmar.

River cruises

Myanmar has many navigable waterways and river boats providing one of most important and cheaper ways of transporting people and cargo. The Inland Water Transport Board is a major operator with a huge fleet of double and triple-decker boats making regular runs to river ports.

There are also private operators providing some regular services, with more leisurely trips provided mostly between Mandalay and Bagan and other destinations along the Ayeyawady and Chindwin Rivers.

Intra-city transportations

Taxies are widely available in Yangon. Some taxies are metered-taxi and they charge a fixed rate per kilometer. For taxies with no meter, it is best to bargain the cost of the fare in advance of any trip. Public buses are available in major cities such as Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. Inter-city buses also operate throughout the country. Trishaws and horse carts are also used as transport. Horse carts operate at Pyin Oo Lwin, Bagan and some other destinations in upper Myanmar. Many visitors to Yangon enjoy trips on the city circular railway, which links the down-town area with outlying suburbs.

Health Information

It is not advisable to buy food or fruit from street vendors unless you have a strong stomach. Please do not drink tap water. No vaccinations are officially required to visit the country. The classical routes such as Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake areas are not the malaria zones. Malaria may be found only in some parts of mountains and deep forests so, it is not really essential to take any anti-Malaria pills unless you plan to visit malaria prone areas. Travelers are suggested to check with their doctor the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis and tetanus.

There are many good public and private hospitals in major cities like Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw. In other cities and towns, there are also public and private medical facilities but treatment capability is limited. In case of serious injury, it is always advisable to go to hospitals in major cities.

In case of any medical emergency, please contact Mira Travels as soon as possible. With a strong network of local and international medical providers, Mira Travels will organize medical assistance and evacuation.

Personal Medicines

There are pharmacies in all major cities but visitors with a pre-existing condition are advised to bring their own medication. Personal medicines such as Aspirin or Panadol/Paracetamol (for pain or fever), antibiotics, Calamine lotion (to ease irritation from bites or stings), Bismuth preparation (Pepto-Bismol), Imodium or Lomotil (for stomach upsets and diarrhea), bandages (for minor injuries), insect repellent, sunscreen, suntan lotion, lip balm and water purification tablets are recommended to carry along.

Water

Bottled water and mineral water are recommended and can be bought at any shops in most places. Please don't drink the tap water. Boiled milk is fine if it is kept hygienically and yoghurt is always good. Tea or coffee should be OK since the water is boiled. In general, juices, milk, water, tea and coffee offered at the hotels and the restaurants we recommend, are safe.

Food

Rice is the main food in Myanmar and served with a variety of side dishes; curries with cooked meat or fish, vegetables, salads and soup. Compared to Thai cuisine, curry tastes are less chili hot. Myanmar, Chinese, Thai and Indian style restaurants can be found in major cities but European cuisine is available only in major hotels and some restaurants in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan. The restaurants used by Mira Travels are carefully selected from the gastronomical and hygienic point of view.

Accommodation

Major tourist cities like Yangon, Bagan and Mandalay offer a wide choice of accommodation including luxury boutique hotels and international five star hotels. In remote areas such as  Kyaikhtiyo, Hpa An, Mawlamyaing, Loikaw, Sittwe, Mrauk-U and Monywa, the standard of accommodation will be basic. Due to limited hotel room supply in Myanmar, Mira Travels cannot guarantee specific hotel requests and reserves the right to substitute accommodation of the best available alternative, especially during the high season. However, Mira Travels will endeavor its utmost effort to provide most convenient accommodation available.

Transportation

Mira Travels provides air-conditioning sightseeing cars and coaches. However, in some remote areas, the mode of transportation will be basic and for these places, Mira Travels will arrange the best available transport. The road conditions are not good except some major highways and travel duration may take longer when traveling in rainy season.

Public train, ferryboat and express buses are available in major cities, but these services are generally not high standard. The boat trip between Mandalay and Bagan is pleasant and takes about 8 to 10 hours. The type of transfer by boat (between Sittwe - Mrauk-U/ Bagan - Pakokku/ Mandalay- Mingun) will be by a private boat and it is of basic standard.

Communication

(a) Post
Registered mails can be sent easily across the country from postal office and private mail companies.  

(b) Telephone
For calls to Myanmar, dial the international access code followed by the Myanmar country code 95, the area code and the subscriber's number. (eg., +95-1-123456)
For calls in Myanmar, telephone services are available in all tourist destinations. Roaming for foreign mobile phones is available for some international mobile phone operators. Please check with your mobile phone operator for confirmation. Travelers can rent a local GSM SIM card at Yangon International Airport.

(c) Internet and e-mail
Hotels in major destinations offer internet services. There are numerous internet cafes, most of which are located in Yangon and others in cities such as Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay, Bago, Pathein and Taunggyi. Service charges in internet cafes are reasonable though connection speeds are slow compared to other Asian countries.

Local Time

GMT + 6 ½ hours

Restricted Areas

Even though Myanmar has opened most areas of the country to foreign visitors, few areas still require government permission. Mira Travels will try its best to get the required permission in time but permission request in advance is a must. Please feel free ask Mira Travels about up-to-date travel information in Myanmar regarding your destinations.

Currency and Exchange

The national currency is called Kyat (pronounced similarly to “chat”) and 10000 kyat, 5000 kyat, 1000 kyat, 500 kyat, 200 kyat, 100 kyat and 50 kyat denomination banknotes are in use. US$ and other major currencies can be changed into Kyat in money changers. Payment in US$ is accepted by all hotels but Euro money is accepted only by international hotels in Yangon and Mandalay.
For foreign currency notes including US$, please bring new notes or those in good condition. Torn, stained or folded notes are not accepted in Myanmar. Visa and Master cards can now be used to withdraw cash or make payment at ATMs of private banks and POS systems respectively. Please note that when you use international cards, there is a transaction fee for ATM withdrawals and commission fee for POS payments. Traveler’s cheque will not be accepted as a mode of payment.

Climate

The country has a tropical monsoon climate. November to February is the coolest months (15-25 C). March to May is the hottest months (25-33 C). June to September is the Monsoon, rainy season. Rain is not heavy in the central parts of Myanmar (Bagan, Mandalay and their surroundings).

Seasons to visit Myanmar

In general, Myanmar is well access in all year round. The best period to come to Myanmar is from October to end of February.

Clothing

Throughout the year, it is advisable to wear light, cool and comfortable cotton and other fabric cloths in light color as Myanmar is a tropical country closed to Equator. Locally made cotton is available at most destinations. We recommend you to bring sweater or jacket and socks when visiting to the high altitude destinations such as Inle Lake and Kyaik-Hti-Yo Pagoda (Golden Rock), especially in the cool season since the temperature is sometimes below zero degree Celsius. In rainy season, it is advisable to bring umbrellas or raincoats.

Tipping

Tipping is practiced widely in addition to the service charge shown in the bill of restaurants and hotels and also to the drivers and boat men. There is no exact limit but depends upon the generosity and the satisfaction of their services. Portage fees at airports are payable for 500 kyat per bag. In our tour package portage fees are already included for maximum 20kg per person).
Power supply and electricity

The voltage is 230 volt, 50 hertz AC. Most of the hotels and places have three-pin plugs or two-pin flat plugs. Almost all hotels have 24 hour electricity supply, with generators to ensure back-up supply. However, in some areas (for example, Beach hotels), generated power will not always be available and may operate in specific timing (for example, operate between 6:00pm-10:00 pm only) especially in the low season.

Travel Insurance

All tourists are recommended to buy medical and accident cover before arriving in Myanmar. The State owned Myanma Insurance offers travel insurance for tourists visiting Myanmar. Mira Travels can assists tourists who wish to buy travel insurance from Myanma Insurance.

Business Hours

Government offices are open from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday. Banks operate from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm on weekdays. Shops and shopping centre's are open from about 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily, including holidays.

Language

Myanmar (Burmese) is national language whereas there are different tribal languages. English is a official language.

Religion

Buddhism is the major religion although Christianity, Islam and Hinduism are also practiced among minorities.

Shopping

Myanmar is one of best counties for shopping. All varieties of souvenirs including lacquer wares, silver wares, wood and stone curvings, hand-woven silk and cotton, precious and semi precious gems and jewelry, tapestries, puppets, simulated antiques, fine ceramics and copies of famous paintings are available throughout the country.

Most of the souvenirs shops in the main cities accept US$. Very few shops accept payment in Euros. The most convenient currency to pay is in Kyat which is local currency in all over Myanmar.

Bargaining is acceptable and the best bargains are usually found in the public markets. Gems and Jewelry should be purchased through an authorized dealer who will issue an official receipt so that the items can be exported. Export of antiques and items with archaeological value are prohibited. Visitors are advised to purchase only the allowed items of handicrafts and art objects from the registered souvenir shops asking the official certified receipt from the shops. Any illegal trade of prohibited items will result in heavy penalty.

General Advice

Myanmar is a very devoted Buddhist country. Visitors are requested to dress appropriately when visiting pagodas, temples, monasteries, religious buildings as well as in open public areas. Shorts, shorts skirts, bare shoulders shirts are not appropriate in religious areas. Shoes and socks must always be removed before entering temples, pagodas and monasteries. Photography in airports, railway stations and near any military installation is forbidden. Always seek the permission before taking close-up photographs from locals especially with tribal people.

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No (9), 1st Floor, Yay Kyaw Road, Pazundaung Township, Yangon, 11172, Myanmar.
+95 9260066697, 9774066697
Fax: +951 392919
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www.miramyanmartravel.com

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