Traveler's Most Popular Questions About Myanmar
Followings are the frequently-asked questions with answers and our insider tips. Please let us know if these don't cover your owns questions, and feel free to reach out and ask us a question, anytime.
- When is the best time to visit Myanmar?
The best time to visit Myanmar falls between November and early March, aka the dry/cool season. Temperature stays around 28˚C and almost no rain. For more information, please refer to our detailed advice on the Best Time to Visit Myanmar.
- Do I need a visa to visit Myanmar?
Yes, travelers from all western countries shall obtain Myanmar visa before traveling. Validation of the visa is up to 28 days with extension is available for up to 90 days.
- When should I apply for the visa?
We would suggest you start the process online at least 30 days prior to your travel. It takes around 3 to 5 days before the official visa website sends you back the approval letter, sometimes within 2 days.
- How/where can I get the visa?
You can either apply for a visa at any local embassy of Myanmar or do it online at the government's office website https://evisa.moip.gov.mm. Some travelers coming through Bangkok can apply in person and then wait for 3 to 5 working days for the Visa to be issued.
- Where to fly/arrive?
There are three international airports in Myanmar: Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Daw. The most common entry port is Yangon, connected with Doha, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, and other Asia hubs. Mandalay has some international services while the political capital of Nay Pyi Daw sees fewer arrivals, and is not a visited destination for most travelers.
- Travel inside Myanmar (domestic flights vs. bus)?
We would recommend domestic flights over buses. Most flights are scheduled early in the morning when it’s cool and clear to fly. It takes normally within one hour to hop between two cities while the bus can easily waste a whole day on the road. Airfares are normally triple of the bus costs and much easier for big suitcases.
- Do I need to get a vaccination before visiting Myanmar?
For most cases, no. However, you’d better consult with your doctor based on your health conditions. You may refer to the UK government health advice on visiting Myanmar on this official link: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/burma/health
- Are there any areas off-limits to travelers?
Yes, but don't be alarmed. There are some certain areas that travelers must get approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs and/or Ministry of Tourism before travel. For a detailed list please check: https://consult-myanmar.com/restricted-areas-for-foreigners-and-tourists-in-myanmar/
- Do I need to buy some local currency upon arrival?
Yes, it is advised to do so. There are some cash machines that let you withdraw money with foreign cards and money changers in the arrival hall. You get better rates on changing larger notes, e.g. $100 note across Myanmar, so keep your pristine $5, $10, $20 for spending and a few large $100 for any tips or hotel bills. Keep in mind that credit cards are not that widely accepted yet, outside large hotels or very touristy gift shops, so we recommend some pocket money in Kyat, especially for tips, buying small gifts for locals.
- Where/how can I get exchange my currency to Myanmar Kyat?
You can only exchange US dollars (not other currencies) into Kyat when you are in Myanmar. There are some exchange desks at the airport or you can do that at a bank. Streetside exchange shops might have better rates but you need to pay extra attention to the banknotes you receive as they come in quite a big value (with too many 0s).
- Can I use a credit card in Myanmar? Is it safe?
Yes, credit cards are acceptable at malls, hotels, some decent restaurants in major cities. Street vendors and small shops only take US dollars or Kyat. It is fairly safe to use credit cards in Myanmar but you need to check with your credit card company for charges and usage policy first. Sometimes locals will charge a 3-5% fee to accept a card to cover the charges there merchant bank put on them.
- Can I use traveler’s checks in Myanmar?
No. Traveler’s checks are not acceptable in Myanmar. The best way is to use cash or credit cards.
- Do I need to have travel insurance for visiting Myanmar?
Yes. We require all our guests to buy travel insurance no matter where they are headed. For Myanmar, we would suggest you add some coverage for luggage loss, flight and/or trip cancelations due to unpredictable causes.
- Is it safe to walk on the street at night in Myanmar?
Yes, but most shops or restaurants are closed before 0900pm and the streets will be pretty dark afterward. We cannot vouch for anything and it’s always better to be cautious no matter where you are traveling. That said, our team or guests have never felt vulnerable or had any issues. Just as we are careful in some areas of big cities back home, it pays to be cautious, especially in a land where we can't speak the language, read body language, and understand what type of street or person we facing.
- Do I need some extra cash for tipping?
Yes. Tipping is not a must in Myanmar although it can be a good gesture and a nice addition to the locals’ low wages. It's a nice idea to bring something from home, some nice pens, Haribo for kids or something special and small from back home to give to locals. When visiting hill tribes the kids loved the hello kitty hairclips and fun pens and books we brought. It's nice to have something up your sleeve.
- Do ATMs work in Myanmar?
Yes, there are a lot of ATM machines on the streets, in the hotels and malls in major cities of Myanmar. Before you use your card to withdraw cash, pay attention to the service charges or exchange rates as they might be different for some banks. Although a charge might be issued, it's nice not to carry too much cash, and easily be able to top up as and when you need it.
- Can I bring my mobile phone and use it in Myanmar?
Yes, but few networks let you roam here. If you bring your own mobile phone to Myanmar you need to make sure the network works bands and frequencies are compatible with Myanmar. The best way is to buy a local SIM card while in Myanmar. There are four major telephone companies: MPT, Telenor, Ooredoo and Mytel and they are running under CDMA and GSM technology. 3G network is expanding but 2G is still in domination. They are sold right in the arrival halls of Yangon. Our top tip is if traveling as a couple or with a friend, one take the more reliable but slightly slower government network MPT the other Telenor, which is faster but a little less widespread. Costs are similar.
- Is internet available in Myanmar?
Yes. Although the speed is a little frustrating (but usable) and some outages can happen. WiFi is also available at all hotels and most restaurants.
- Will Google/Facebook be blocked in Myanmar?
No. It's not China 🙂
- Do I need to bring a power adaptor?
Depends. Power plugs and sockets are type C, D, F, and G. We will recommend a Type G plus adapter that is suitable for powering 230-volt devices, more useful. Read our guide here >
- Can I drink the tap water in Myanmar?
No. ALWAYS drink bottled water. Bottled water is cheap and sold in most local street stands and shops, it's easy to find.
- Any Muslim/Kosher/vegan food available in Myanmar?
In big cities might have more choices. We will need to check or make arrangements beforehand for any special dietary requirements.
For many years that we have been traveling around Myanmar, we have seen a lot of travelers adapting themselves to this amazing country regardless of the problems they encounter on the way. That's part of the fun, too. Feel free to chat with our team to clear any clouds of doubt and ask us a question, anytime!
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