General Information

Getting Myanmar Visa

Myanmar has an online e-visa system. For e-visa applications, go to the official Ministry of Immigration e-visa website. Citizens of 100 countries are eligible for Myanmar e-visas; to see the full list, go here. An e-visa will cost $50. E-visas are currently only valid for entry at Myanmar’s international airports. The e-visa system is not valid for overland travel to Myanmar. Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter Myanmar. Visa-free travel (for up to 14 days) is permitted for Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos passport holders. Tourist visas are valid for 28 days, which can be extended by a further 14 days at a cost of US$3 per day (plus a one-off $3 administration fee). It is important to be ready with the correct change at your departure point. Bear in mind that if you overstay, you might encounter some difficulties booking travel and/or hotels in your overstay period, as not all service staff are aware of the overstay allowance.


Arrival Procedures

After your passport is checked at the immigration desk, you will proceed directly to the baggage area. After collecting your checked luggage and clearing the customs inspection, you will go out to the arrival area where you will be welcome by The Real Myanmar (if you have booked your airport pick up).


Customs Procedures

Officially, all valuable items such as computers, cameras, jewelry etc., should be declared. . The items such as satellite phone drone etc. are restricted. All foreign currency in excess of $10,000 is supposed to be declared. Items purchased in Myanmar shall only be allowed against the production of special cash memo or voucher issued by the authorized dealers. However in practice, most tourists do not do so, and the customs staff do not expect it for such normal items


Climate and Weather

Myanmar has three seasons.
Cool Season – October through early March with average temperatures 20-24 C . . It is the only time of year when the climate is relatively cool. The most comfortable time to visit is during the cool season, which is also the least humid time of year and has the clearest air – however, this is also the peak tourist season. Hot Season – Mid March through to May with average temperatures ranging from 30-35°C. Much of the country can be dusty and hazy, sometimes hindering long-distance views. Due to the extreme temperatures, most travellers are understandably put off travelling during this time of year, but that’s not to say it’s necessary to avoid. If anything, you will benefit from notably fewer crowds, get access to cheaper hotel rates. Green Season – June through September with average temperatures 25-30 C The ideal time to visit Myanmar is during the cool. Very few tourists choose to visit during this time of year. Traveling in the green season is interesting, everything is luscious green…. but it is very humid and you might get a shower from time to time. If you can put up with the rain, then you will find it easier (and often cheaper) to book accommodation, and there will be less crowds at popular destinations.


Cultural Respect

Travel in Myanmar is full of opportunities to learn about local cultures and ancient traditions. Traditional clothing in Myanmar varies around the country, but a national staple is the longyi (sarong), which is worn by both men and women. The longyi was in fact introduced relatively recently, in colonial times, but its popularity is rooted in its simplicity and suitability to such a hot climate. Also popular and connected to the climate is thanakha, which is a facial paste made from ground bark. It is worn mostly by women and children, protects from the sun, is said to be good for the skin, and is often applied in attractive designs. Clothing, what to wear & what to bring


We recommend bringing light cotton clothes. Myanmar still has very traditional customs and it is not appropriate to wear shorts, Bermudas or miniskirts. Since shoes and socks have to be removed for all visits to pagodas and temples, we recommend wearing sandals or other slip-on shoes which are easy to put on and take off. When visiting temples or other religious monuments, visitors should be modestly dressed - it is very important that knees and shoulders are covered and ladies should not wear shorts or bra-less T-shirts in such places. Sunhat, sun glasses, sun protection for your face and body, prescription medicines, insect repellent and an umbrella (rain or shine). An antibiotic cream for minor cuts and scratches, extra pair of prescription glasses, a small flashlight.


Health Issues

There are no compulsory vaccinations but it is advisable to take precautions against malaria - we recommend seeking the advice of your doctor. Prescription drugs are not widely available and visitors should bring any required medication with them. If carrying a lot of medicines, it is advisable to have a doctor's letter stating that medicines are required for personal use. It is advisable to bring plenty of mosquito repellent, particularly for use in the evenings. As Myanmar enjoys a tropical climate, sun block cream is recommended. A spare pair of glasses, if worn, is also advisable.


Currency

The kyat (pronounced ‘chat’) is the official currency of Myanmar with denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000 available. The US dollar is widely used as an alternative currency, particularly for larger purchases. Dollar bills should be brought to Myanmar in differing denominations: take plenty of $10, $5 and $1 bills to pay for hotels, flights and historical sites, and take $100 or $50 bills for exchanging to kyat (larger denominations usually get a better rate). USD notes with torn off corners, rips or scrawls or ones with the letters AB and CB serial number may not be accepted at all.


Exchange and Rate

Money exchange service is available at both domestic and international airports, private banks and down town area of all major destinations. The exchange rate is subject to fluctuation. Whilst Euros, AU dollars, Singapore Dollars etc.. are slowly being accepted. US Dollar is more favorable to exchange outside of Yangon. Banks, ATMs and Credit cards
There are now over 600 ATMs that accept international bank and credit cards in major cities. Visa and Master cards are accepted. Cardholders can withdraw local currency from ATMs and use their cards. Kindly be aware that the use of ATMs in Myanmar is sometimes restricted by internet failure. There are NO international banks in Myanmar yet at the moment, and local banks are in the process of becoming part of the international banking system. Traveller’s cheques are not generally accepted in Myanmar.


Communications

SIM cards and top-ups can be easily bought at street-side retailers in every place as well as your arrival at international airport. SIM cards are 3G mobile data enabled (although speeds can be slow) and standard SIM and micro SIM cards are available. Telenor, Ooredoo and MPT (Myanmar Post and Telecommunications) betworks are now available. Cards work on a top-up basis starting from 1000 Kyats to 10000 Kyats. Kindly note that mobile network access is not workable in rural areas and sometimes in hilly regions.


Internet

Free Internet (Wifi) is available at restaurants, Bars and Hotels. However, internet speeds can be slow, especially in rural areas.


Gratuities and Tipping

Tipping becomes more customary in Myanmar. To show your appreciation to your local guide, driver, porter etc,, for good service, a gratuity would be grateful.


Domestic Airlines & Luggage Allowance

The quickest and most comfortable mode of domestic travel is by flying. Air Bagan, Yangon Airways, Asian Wings, Air KBZ, Golden Myanmar , Mann Yadanarporn are privately operated airlines and serve the domestic routes by modern ATR aircrafts. Baggage allowance is 20 kg per person and carryon luggage is 7 kg.


Electricity & Voltage

Electrical outlet in Myanmar is 220-230 Volts AC. Because the voltage may be inconsistent, valuable or sensitive equipment like stereos and computers should have appropriate electronic protection. Most common sockets are two pronged, usually able to take round or blade style plugs though sometimes you need a 3 prong adaptor. It is advisable to take a universal adaptor that fits a variety of socket types. All luxury hotels and most mid-range hotels have generators for back-up electricity, which is usually available 24 hours a day.


Public Holidays

2017
January 4th – Independence Day
February 12th – Union Day
March 2nd – Peasants’ Day
March 23rd – Full Moon of Tabaung
March 27th – Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) Day
April 13th-16th – Thingyan Water Festival
April 17th – Myanmar New Year
May 1st – Labour Day
May 20th – Full Moon of Kason (Buddha’s birthday)
July 18th – Full Moon of Waso (Dhammasetkya Day)
July 19th – Martyrs’ Day
October 15th – Full Moon of Thadingyut (Festival of Lights; end of Buddhist Lent)
November 13th – Full Moon of Tazaungmon
November 23rd – National Day
December 25th – Christmas Day
Thingyan (the Burmese new year water festival) is by far the biggest nationwide holiday in Myanmar, and sometimes offices will close for a longer period of time than the official festival period.


Insurance

The extent of insurance coverage in Myanmar varies widely to western norms. We recommend all clients to obtain the necessary personal baggage, medical and accident insurance before arrival. All vehicles used by The Real Myanmar are insured in accordance with local regulations. International SOS has a local representative office in Yangon with a 24 hour on call service for emergency evacuation and medical assistance. Outside Yangon big hotels in major cities will be able to recommend doctors and clinics with experience in treating foreigners.


Liability

The Real Myanmar acts solely as an intermediary between the passenger, his travel agent or tour operator, and local airlines, hotels, restaurants, boat companies and ground transportation companies. The Real Myanmar is therefore not responsible for any loss, injury or damage sustained by the traveller including those occurring outside the tour programs. While every effort is undertaken to provide tour arrangements exactly as per itineraries, additional expenses incurred due to delays, accidents, natural disasters, political actions and unrest, must be borne by the traveller. The Real Myanmar strongly suggests that passengers take out adequate private insurance to cover eventualities such as cancellation costs, medical expenses including repatriation in the event of an accident or illness, loss or damage to luggage before any trip to Myanmar.