The diversity of ancient, cultural sites to visit for the day in Myanmar is immense, and often best explored on foot or bike. Spend a day cycling around the stunning pagoda strewn plains of Bagan or help build a house upon Inle Lake in a Responsible Tourism program.
Yangon is a city rich in traditional, colonial and spiritual heritage. Its infectious blend of tree and market lined streets harbor verdant parks and tranquil lakes, earning its moniker as the ‘Garden City of the East. In contrast the expansive plains of Bagan in Central Myanmar are peppered with over 2,000 ancient stupas and temples built between the 11th-13th centuries. In the north of Myanmar lie barren snow capped mountains, ancient hilltribes and lost cities while the south offers endless stretches of pristine tropical beaches with jungle clad offshore islands surrounded by glistening coral reefs.
Myanmar has a tropical climate with three distinct seasons: the cool season from November to February which is dry; the hot season from March to May with average temperatures in the 30s (Celsius) and occasionally over 40C; the rainy season from May to the beginning of October with frequent short rainstorms and humidity. The rains are rarely long enough to disrupt sight-seeing plans. For those heading to the beaches, the coast has two distinctive seasons: Dry and Rainy. During the rainy season (April-September), most resorts and restaurants close down entirely and the flight schedule is severely limited. The dry season is delightful with sunny skies, warm ocean breezes, and temperatures around 30-340C during the day.
MONEY : The local currency in Myanmar is the kyat (pronounced 'chat'). US Dollars are accepted in most hotels and some tourist shops and restaurants, although it is recommended to carry kyat for other purchases, local restaurants and tipping. Moneychangers are found in the main tourist cities.
VISAS : All persons wishing to enter Myanmar must have a visa and a passport with at least 6 months validity. Visas must be arranged prior to traveling to Myanmar. Pre-arranged Visa on Arrival is available for all travelers but must be applied for at least 2 weeks in advance through Exotissimo and cannot be 100% guaranteed.
ELECTRICITY : Myanmar uses 220V, and a mixture of flat 2-pin, round 2-pin or 3-pin plugs. It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor. Power outages are quite common but most hotels have their own generator.
DIALING CODE : +95
TIME ZONE : GMT/UTC +6.5
GETTING THERE & AWAY : The main point of entry for travelers is Yangon's Mingaladon Airport and a few flights arrive at Mandalay International Airport. There are no direct flights from America or Australia with most visitors connecting via Singapore and Bangkok.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS : Over 85% of the Burmese population is Buddhist, so most of the holidays are religious based. The biggest celebration is Thingyan, or the Buddhist New Year, which occurs in mid-April and lasts for several days. Almost all restaurants and businesses are closed during this period, but it does not have a big effect on travel plans.
LANGUAGE : The national language is Burmese, of which there are over 80 different dialects. In the cities the majority of people speak good English with a growing number learning in more rural areas.
- Hello : Mingalar bar
- Thank you : Je zuh beh
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