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, Myanmars cultural
heritage is waiting to be explored.
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.
Air Mandalay regional flights link Yangon and
Mandalay with Chiang Mai, Thailand. Upon arrival
in Myanmar, reconfirm your return reservation.
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 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
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.
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
Government & business
9:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Shops 10 am to 9 pm,
usually Monday through Saturday.
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.
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.
Permit required which must be presented to the
Police to endorse or issue a Visitor license.
Business / Social
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