Myanmar Frequently Asked Questions

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In general 

Clothing & What to Pack: Comfortable, casual lightweight clothing in natural fabrics is suitable for a Myanmar vacation. Bring warm clothes if you’re traveling to hill stations, especially when traveling from November - February. Dress modestly and don’t wear shorts or tank tops when visiting religious buildings, such as temples. It is customary to remove shoes and socks before entering a private home.

Cuisine: Sitting at a regional crossroads, Burmese cuisine is itself a reflection of the country’s diversity. A typical Burmese meal comes in a wide array of small dishes, featuring seafood or freshwater fish, curries, salads, and rice. Hingyo, a clear soup, as well as ngapiye, a fermented fish paste, accompany most meals. Chinese, European and Indian food is served in restaurants at most tourist places.

Currency: Kyat (pronounced ‘chat’). Bring enough cash in US$ or EUR as there are very few ATMs in Myanmar and credit cards are not widely accepted. US$ is the currency of choice and only bring new bills if possible as torn or dirty notes will not be accepted. We recommend changing your currency at official exchange counters as the service is monitored and you will receive a receipt. Travelers cheques cannot be used or exchanged in Myanmar. ATMs can be now found in some major cities but are not widely available throughout the country.

Electricity: 220V. We recommend bringing a universal plug adaptor.

Health: Travelers should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A and B, tetanus, and polio as these are present in Myanmar, and it is advisable to take precautions. It is essential to have a good medical insurance that covers evacuation flights.

Population: 54 million.

Religion: 85% of the country’s population are Theravada Buddhists, followed by Muslims, Christians, and Animists among others.

Safety: Myanmar is a safe country to visit, but it is advisable that you never leave your belongings unattended in public.

Suggested Reading: Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin, The Gentleman in The Parlour by W. Somerset Maugham, and The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh.

Timezone: GMT + 6:30

Water: Don’t drink tap water. Ice cubes should not be consumed in simple street stalls and restaurants.

Do I need a visa to travel to Burma (Myanmar)

  • Australia: Yes - in advance 
  • Belgium: Yes - in advance
  • Canada: Yes - in advance 
  • Germany Yes - in advance 
  • Ireland: Yes - in advance
  • Netherlands: Yes - in advance 
  • New Zealand: Yes - in advance 
  • South Africa: Yes - in advance
  • Switzerland: Yes - in advance 
  • United Kingdom: Yes - in advance 
  • USA: Yes - in advance

Effective as of 01 September 2014, some nationalities including Australians, Canadians, Germans, Dutch, New Zealanders, British and Americas can obtain a tourist visa using a new eVisa system. For information on obtaining an eVisa visit website: 

Important to note when applying for an eVisa:

Passport validity must have at least (6) months validity from date of return.

You will need to present one colour photo (4cm X 6cm) which has been taken within the last 3 months and a copy of your return ticket.

Length of stay is 28 days from the date of arrival in Myanmar.

The eVisa fee is US$50 per person, payable by credit card (note: visa fee is non-refundable should the eVisa be denied).

The processing time is approximately 5 working days for granting an eVisa however we recommend allowing longer in the event of delays.

The validity of eVisa letter is approximately 3 months from the date of issue. You will be denied entry if you attempt to enter on an expired eVisa.

eVisas are applicable for single entry into Burma only and you will not be permitted to re-enter on an eVisa that you have previously entered on (multiple entries not possible)

eVisas are only obtainable if you are arriving into Yangon International Airport. If arriving into another Burma entry point you will need to pre-obtain your visa before departure via a Burmese Embassy. 

Despite having been issued an eVisa Immigration personnel will check the Interpol black list and Myanmar black list and you may be denied entry.

This information was correct as of 21 August 2014 – please check the above website for further information as this new system is further developed.

Nationalities who are unable to obtain an eVisa should contact the Burma embassy in their country of residency. Note - you may be requested to provide a letter of invitation from a local Burmese ground operator. In such cases please contact Indochina Legend to attain this letter and we will forward to you.

Visas on arrival in Burma are currently unavailable - you should obtain your visa prior to departure.

Is tipping customary in Burma?

While tipping isn’t customary in Burma, setting aside a small amount for restaurant staff, porters and other service workers is considered polite. With most Burmese people earning a low wage, a modest tip will be accepted graciously by most.

What is the internet access like in Burma?

Internet availability and service is generally not reliable in Burma. While internet access can be found in some cities and large towns, the speed may be slow and popular websites like Gmail, Facebook, Skype and Yahoo are usually blocked. When travelling in Burma, be prepared to have a break from technology for a while.

Can I use my mobile/cell phone while in Burma?

Mobile phone coverage is unreliable in Burma. Depending on the service provider and handset, your mobile phone may or may not work. Many travellers choose to leave their mobile phones at home and surrender to a simpler way of living while in Burma.

What are the toilets like in Burma?

You'll have to adjust to different standards of hygiene and sanitation whilst in Burma. The standard toilet is of the squat variety and this may take some getting used to, although western-style toilets can be found in large hotels and some tourist areas. Carry your own supply of toilet paper and hand sanitiser as these are rarely provided.

What will it cost for a…?

Street food snack = 300-400 MMK
Bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant = 1500-2000 MMK
Banquet in a small, locally-run restaurant = 2000-3000 MMK
Dinner in a high-end hotel restaurant = 10,000+ MMK

Can I drink the water in Burma?

Drinking tap water isn't recommended in Burma. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water. Ask your leader where filtered water can be found; some hotels we stay in may have drinking water available. It's also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.

Are credit cards accepted widely in Burma?

Credit cards aren't accepted in Burma. As a cash economy, credit cards and travellers cheques aren't acceptable forms of currency. See below for more information on accessing local currency.

What is ATM access like in Burma?

Burma is largely a cash economy and ATMs are virtually non existent. Bring cash (fresh, unmarked US dollars) before arriving as accessing cash is difficult (if not impossible) upon arrival in Burma.

Do I need to purchase travel insurance before travelling in Burma?

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Indochina Legend Travel are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

What public holidays are celebrated in Burma?

  • Jan 4 Independence Day
  • Feb 12 Union Day
  • Mar 2 Peasants' Day
  • Mar 26 Full Moon of Tabaung
  • Mar 27 Armed Forces Day
  • Apr 13 Maha Thingyan (Water Festival)
  • Apr 17 Myanmar New Year
  • May 1 Labour Day
  • May 25 Full Moon of Kason
  • Jul 19 Martyr's Day
  • Jul 22 Full Moon of Waso (Beginning of Buddhist Lent)
  • Oct 21 Full Moon of Thadingyut (End of Buddhist Lent)
  • Nov 18 Full Moon of Tasaungmon
  • Dec 8 National Day
  • Dec 25 Christmas Day

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