A Trip to Myanmar: Plan Before You Go
With popular destinations such as Yangon and Bagan, Myanmar has long been an emerging travel hotspot. The former capital of Myanmar is still the largest city today and offers travelers the chance to immerse themselves in Burmese lifestyle for a few days before heading out to the nations various historic places. There’s so much activity happening that there’s something fascinating to witness around every corner in Yangon. Here is a brief rundown to help you plan your trip.
Be sure to apply for the tourist e-visa approval letter online (evisa.moip.gov.mm) before you arrive in Myanmar. Citizens of 100 countries can visit Myanmar for 28 days. Check the list at https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/NoticetoTourists.aspx. Ordinary passport holders of all ASEAN countries, except Malaysia, are giving visa exemption. Exemption period is 14 days apart from Singapore which is 30 days.
It is only possible to enter Myanmar on an e-visa at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw international airports; and at three Thai-Myanmar land border crossings Tachileik, Myawadi (Myawaddy) and Kawthoung (Kawthaung).
The easiest way to head to your accommodation from the Yangon airport is to take a Grab. There is Wi-Fi at the airport so download the app in advance so you can swiftly grab a ride for a fair price. Or you can book a private car in advance.
Accommodation in Yangon fills up as far as a month in advance, particularly if it is a place listed in a guidebook. Most places can be booked online now, so it’s worth reserving your room as soon as you can. It is essential to book ahead during high season (October to March). Browse all Yangon hotels, hostels, and accommodation to choose the perfect place within your budget.
You can withdraw local currency (Kyat) from the ATM at the airport or exchange at authorized money changers. Credit cards are accepted mostly in hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls. Some travel agents also take them, usually charging a small fee, for purchasing flights.
It’s easy and cheap to buy a SIM card in Yangon and Mandalay that will enable you to make calls and access the internet. Online access has improved, with Wi-Fi becoming the norm – almost all hotels and cafes have it for free – and the internet is now spreading to more remote locations.
What is the current Foreign Office advice for Myanmar?
There are some areas of Myanmar where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel. These are Rakhine State, Paletwa township in southern Chin State, the north of Shan State and Kachin State. Some townships within these areas are not included and specific detail can be found on the official Foreign Office website.
What about Myanmar’s well-known tourist destinations?
These destinations have no specific travel restrictions and are generally seen as safe to visit. The popular tourist destination of Nampan, a lakeside village built on stilts and boasting a golden pagoda, is in the south of Shan State and is seen as safe to visit.