Myanmar is an unknown entity. A golden mystery waiting to be solved, to be discovered, to be experienced. Rudyard Kippling said it best in Letters from the East, “This is Burma and it is quite unlike any land you know about.” From the golden magic of Shwe Dagon Pagoda (Yangon) to Bagan, Myanmar’s cultural heritage is waiting to be explored.

 

Getting there

Few take the road or sea option. Getting into Myanmar by air is the most convenient. Myanmar Airways International, Thai Airways International, Silk Air, Air China and Bimann Bangladesh Airlines serve Myanmar. Yangon AIrways regional flights link Yangon and Mandalay with Chiang Mai, Thailand. Upon arrival in Myanmar, reconfirm your return reservation.

 

Entry formalities

Visas. Tourist and business visas are valid for 28 days. Tourist visas are not extendible; business visas may be extended for 28 days. Transit visas are valid for 24 hours. Apply to any Myanmar embassy or consulate, with four photos and passport. The cost of a tourist visa is approximately US$25; the cost of a business visa is approximately US$40.

 

Customs. Besides personal effects visitors are allowed 400 cigarettes (100 cigars or 250 gms of unrolled tobacco), a quart of liquor and 500 ml of cologne or perfume. Camera, radios, cassette players, calculators etc. must be declared at the customs on arrival and taken out on departure. Foreign currency in excess of US$2000 must be declared. Retain a copy of the Customs declaration form to be presented when you leave Myanmar. Besides this, individual travellers not on package tours are obliged to exchange US$200 into Foreign Exchange Certificates (FECs) before baggage and customs clearance on arrival. One FEC equals US$1. Reconversion of FECs upon departure is not possible unless expenditure exceeds US$200.

 

Airport tax. Airport tax is US$10 per head to be paid on departure.
Vaccinations. None are required unless travellers come from yellow fever zones.

 

Airport Transfers. Taxis are available from the Yangon International Airport for about 350 to 450 kyats. Taxi travel within Yangon costs about 250 to 350 kyats. Hotel taxis can also be hired for the day.

 

Currency. The currency is kyat pronounced (chat) and is divided into 100 pyas. At present the following kyat bank notes are in use: MMK1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 45, 50, 90, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000. Travellers cheques and major credit cards are accepted at all major hotels.


1 US$ = 900 / 1000 Kyats (July 2003)

 

Climate

Tropical monsoon climate with a cooler, dry season from mid Nov.-mid Feb. and a hotter wet period from May-Sept or Oct. The mountainous areas have the most rainfall, the interior lowlands receiving the least. In the lowlands and especially on the coast temperatures and humidity are high year round, but it is hottest between mid Feb.-mid May. Temperatures are lower in the hills but can still be described as hot and tropical. The dry season is somewhat cooler especially in the north where higher altitude decreases temperatures.

 

Domestic travel

By Air. Yangon Airways flies between Yangon and Bagan , Thandwe, Mandalay, and Heho, Sittway, Tachileik, Myeik, Kawthong, Mawlamyine, Kyuak Phu, Davei and Myitkynia.

By Train. Many of Myanmar Railways destinations are open to foreign tourists. The Yangon – Mandalay trip is the most popular. For ticket information consult the tourist counter at the station; or book through Myanmar Travels and Tours; or consult a travel agent.

By Bus. Buses are operated by the state owned Road Transport Enterprise. Air conditioned express buses ply from Yangon to Meiktila, Pyay. Mandalay and Taunggyi, with more routes in the pipeline. Rainbow Express buses depart Yangon for Mandalay on alternate days.

 

Time

Myanmar Standard Time (MST) is six hours and 30 minutes ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT/UTC).

 

Post and communications

Central Post Office, corner of Bo Aung Kyae Street and Strand Road , 9:30 am to 4:30 pm/ Monday through Friday. Make international calls, send telexes and faxes at the Central Telegraph Office, 125 Pansodan Street, Yangon. IDD telephones are available at some government offices, businesses and hotels.

 

Office hours

Government & business – 9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

Shops – 10 am to 9 pm, usually Monday through Saturday.

 

Health

The same precautions as anywhere else. Drink only bottled water. Do not eat raw vegetables; only eat fruits that you can peel or cut yourself. Be wary of eating food from street stalls. Use insect repellent to keep malaria, dengue fever and the like at bay. Use sunscreen liberally when exposed to the intense, tropical sun. A 24-hour, medical clinic, with internationally trained medical staff, is now operational. It is situated at the Narawat Hotel, Yangon.

 

Dress

Cotton clothing and a light wrap for the evenings during the cool season are recommended. Do not wear shorts, tank-tops or sleeveless blouses when visiting temples. At all times dress modestly. Any kind of revealing clothing is frowned upon in Myanmar. Foot wear must be removed before entering a temple.

 

Driving

International Driving Permit required which must be presented to the Police to endorse or issue a Visitor license.

 

Business / Social Hints

Appointments should be made in advance. Punctuality is appreciated. For business meetings men should wear a lightweight suit and tie. Women should wear modest clothes, a head scarf is useful. It is customary to shake hands on meeting and taking leave. When addressing people always use the appropriate prefix and family name. Many people do not have a first name. Useful, but not essential, to have some business cards in Myanmar script. Business cards are ex changed after introduction. Many executives speak English. Visitors should be receptive to local customs and conventions. When sitting cross-legged on sofas or cushions, soles of the feet must not be shown. Foot wear is strictly prohibited in pagodas & monasteries. Tips in restaurants and hotels are around 5 per cent to 10 per cent. Tips for taxies are not necessary. On social occasions, e.g. invitation to restaurants, be punctual and dress as for business meetings unless otherwise indicated.

 

Contact us at: info@yangon-airways.com

 

 

© Yangon-Airways.com