Myanmar is a great spiritual center for sighting many Buddhist temples and pagodas and is a tourist delight mainly for backpackers who like to explore places the hard way with maximum savings by using the cheapest means of travel and accommodation. A visit to Myanmar is a must for a one-of-a-kind Asian experience. Myanmar is predominantly Buddhist and the sculptures found in its temples are mainly influenced by the Theravada school of Buddhism and a visit to these holy sites is unmissable when you land in this South East Asian country. Previously I did a write-up on Myanmar’s exquisite temples and pagodas found in Bago city along with other attractions in Yangon, Kawthaung and Mandalay cities.
Well, today I’m gonna give you some travel tips that are going to help you have a better vacationing in this epic country with rich religious and cultural heritage.
- To get around the cities in Myanmar use a combination of plane and ferry for a seamless travel experience. FYI the roads in Myanmar are very bumpy and also they aren’t considered safe as incidents of road mishaps is quite common and is on the rise mainly because of the reckless attitude of the tourists who commit accidents because of drinking and driving on the roads. Another concern is some roads in Myanmar have restrictions that may stop you from reaching your favorite landmark. This is why I recommend using either the expensive plane or cheaper ferry option for getting to your favorite places seamlessly.
- When you are landing in Myanmar make sure your passport gets a stamp that bears the start date and the end date of your validity in the country by one of the airport officers at the immigration clearance before you exit the airport. Several instances of foreign tourists not getting stamped on their passports have been on a rise in Myanmar and it really might turn out to be a serious problem if the immigration officials at another destination find your passport without this stamp. In the worst case scenario you may have to return back to your port of entry or pay some extra money to get rid of the bad situation.
- The iconic Buddhist temples and Pagodas can be best explored on a bicycle, renting a bicycle is very simple and it doesn’t cost much.
- Never exchange your dollars for the local currency as you will be losing a lot of margin when you convert your dollars at the money exchange units because of the bad exchange rates and commission involved in the exchange.
- My advice for your is always use the Local ATMs for withdrawing money with your debit cards and the vending machines will dispense cash only in local currency which is Burmese Kyat. I US dollar = 1527.15 Kyats as of today.
- Most restaurants in Myanmar accept US dollars bills as a means for paying the restaurant bills however here’s a word of caution the exchange rate you’ll be getting for your dollars will be very bad, you will almost be losing close to 150 Kyats in the transaction on every dollar spent. So I highly recommend paying the merchants either in local Kyats or by credit card but the thing to keep in mind all credit card companies have an additional charge for overseas usage of the card and a fee for the foreign conversion but still I’d say you are better off paying with the credit card than use your dollars.
- Having a secure visa before you land in Myanmar is a must and I advise you to apply for an e-visa online by logging on to Myanmar E visa Online which is quickest and easiest way for getting a valid permit to travel to Myanmar. The other option is to physically go to the Myanmar Embassy in your homeland.
- Taking a bus ride is not at all a bad means for commuting in Myanmar but as pointed before the roads in Myanmar are unsafe and bumpy. The only good side of the bus rides in Myanmar are most buses are direct imports from European manufactures and so the riding comfort is going to be awesome mainly because of the high comfort features such as wide leather seats with a lot of leg room. If you are taking a bus ride you must avoid night bus rides because of safety concerns and most night arrivals in Myanmar are between 3:00 am to 5:00 am, a time when you cannot check into the hotels because most Myanmar Hotels offer check-in between 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. You obviously wouldn’t want to waste half a day of yours spending on the streets doing nothing so board a bus only during the day time.
- The restaurants in Myanmar are not very clean, make sure whatever you are ordering is made to order and is a fast moving item so that you don’t fall sick by eating stale food.