Tips for travelling in Myanmar

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Some of the thousands of temples at the Bagan plains

1. Organise your visa before you travel. I’m from the UK and I needed to get my visa before I arrived in Myanmar. There will be different entry requirements for citizens of different countries, so do lots of research in advance and find out what you need to do.

2. Check vaccinations and a malaria map. Some areas in Myanmar are high risk for malaria. You can search for malaria maps online to check the areas you’re going to, and ask your doctor which vaccinations you’ll need.

3. American dollars are accepted. You can use dollars here as well as the local currency of Kyat. Make sure notes are pristine because they might not be accepted otherwise.

4. ATMs are available. I’ve heard that a few years ago there were no ATM machines in Myanmar. I found them to be readily available and it was always easy to get cash.

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The U Bein bridge, Mandalay

5. Go with the flow. Myanmar was under military rule from the sixties until 2011, so it’s still emerging from decades of being shut off from the rest of the world. The tourism industry is relatively new and also still establishing itself, so don’t expect everything to run smoothly.

6. Wear modest clothing. Myanmar is very different to other countries in South-East Asia. Be respectful and don’t wear revealing clothing.

7. Pack waterproof clothing. I used my waterproof jacket many times if there was a sudden downpour, or just as an extra layer if I needed it.

8. Dress respectfully in temples. You should wear modest clothing anyway in Myanmar, but particularly in temples. I found a pashmina was really useful for this.

9. No female zones. Be aware that areas in some temples do not allow females. There will usually be a sign to warn you.

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Rice paddies, Kentung

10. Squat toilets. I encountered lots of these in Myanmar, however I’d been to many places in Asia by this point so I was used to them. There are lots of western-styles toilets as well, such as in hotel accommodation. But in public places, you might encounter a squat toilet. 

11. Don’t plan on partying. Many people are attracted to places like Thailand specifically for the night life. Myanmar is not a nightlife destination. There are rum and beer “stations” where you can go to drink at night, but the mood is very relaxed. If you want to party hard, head somewhere else.

12. Get stuck in to local food. I really enjoyed the food in Myanmar. Many of the restaurants I visited were very basic and open to the elements. I particularly love the barbecue restaurants, where you pick your own meat and vegetables from fridges and then the chef cooks it all for you.

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Shwe Indein Pagoda, Inle Lake

13. Wi-Fi is unreliable. Wi-Fi is available widely in Myanmar, but sometimes it can be unreliable so be aware of this if you need to book anything online.

14. Take a small torch. This is a useful item to have in case of power cuts, or when walking back to your accommodation at night. There is not much street lighting in Myanmar so I’d often walk back from dinner in almost complete darkness.

15. Common sense with belongings. I didn’t feel unsafe in Myanmar at all, but I would recommend the usual common sense with looking after your bags and belongings.

I hope you found these tips helpful. If you have any great tips for travelling in Myanmar, please leave them in the comments. If you’d like to share this post on Pinterest, feel free to pin the picture below. xx





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