MYANMAR FAQ’s

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Frequently asked questions about Myanmar.

Visa & Border Crossings

All travelers to Myanmar require a valid passport with minimum 6 months remaining and a Myanmar visa. There are two ways to obtain a Myanmar Visa. Either applying online for an E-visa or by applying directly from a Myanmar Embassy

To apply for e-visa you can apply online here. (Note you will need a credit/debit card to complete the online payment) The Tourist visa cost 50 $ per person and the available port of entries are Yangon International Airport  Mandalay International Airport and Nay Pyi Taw International Airport.

Yes, it is possible to apply for a tourist visa at any Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. Tourist visas are issued for a duration of 28 days at all Myanmar Embassies or Consulates and can be extended in Myanmar up to a maximum stay of 90 days. Any tourist whether traveling on a package tour or individually will receive the same type of tourist visa.

Pre-arranged visas on arrival can be arranged through Discovery DMC for travellers arriving at Yangon or Mandalay International Airports. Myanmar DMC requires passengers’ passport details including name as spelled in your passport, nationality, passport number and occupation together with scanned copy of passport which shows clients’ pictures taken within 3 weeks prior to arrival in Myanmar. Discovery DMC will apply for tourist visas and send a visa confirmation letter issued by the Myanmar authorities to the travel agency or traveler by email attachment. Travellers will have to show this visa confirmation letter to the airline when boarding the international flight to Yangon. Upon arrival at Yangon International Airport travellers have to contact the Visa on Arrival counter, show their visa confirmation letter, hand over 1 passport photo and pay the visa fee of US$ 30 per person (subject to change without prior notice). Discovery DMC charges a handling fee for all visas on arrival of US$ 50.

Over stay in Myanmar will cost 3 $ a day. Detail information on extension of stay – Foreigners who enter Myanmar with various visas and want to apply for the extension of stay permit except tourist visa apply it through ministries concerned. With the approval letter of Ministry of Immigration and Population to the Immigration and National Registration Department is undertaking extension to stay accordingly. (a) Extension of stay for those entered Myanmar with Entry visa, Business Visa, Meditation Visa- If those who enter Myanmar with Entry Visa, Business Visa wish to apply for stay extension, they have to apply to Ministries concerned through their related company (or) organization. Those who got into Myanmar with Meditation Visa may apply to Ministry of Religious Affairs with recommendation of related Meditation Centers or Missionaries. The informing letters through the Ministries concerned and organizations are sent to the Ministry of the Immigration and Population. When the approval letter from the Ministry of Immigration and Population is obtained Department of Immigration and National Registration carries out stay extension in term of rules and regulations. (b) Extension of stay for those entered Myanmar with social visa – If those come to meet with the relatives in Myanmar want to extend their stay, they can apply through the relatives (or) friends where they put up at the Township Immigration and National Registration Department to the Regional/ State Directorate office. The application has to be submitted the Head office, which then carries out the extension of stay permit according to rules and regulations. (c) Extension of stay for those entered Myanmar with Diplomatic Visa – If the Ambassadors, Diplomat, staff of embassy and their dependents who came into Myanmar to assign their duties want apply for their extension, the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affair sends to the Ministry of Immigration and Population. When they get the approval letter from the Ministry of Immigration and Population, the Immigration and National Registration Department is undertaking stay permit extension in term of rules and regulations. (d) Extension of stay permit for those who enter Myanmar with Visa exemption and Gratis Visa – If those who enter Myanmar from the (18) countries, bilateral agreement on visa exemption for Diplomats, special passport and Gratis Visa would like to apply the extension of stay permit, Ministry and organizations concerned shall send letters through the Ministry of Immigration and Population with that co-ordination letter. When the permission from the Ministry of Immigration and Population is received, the Immigration and National Registration Department carries out stay extension in accordance with rules and regulations.

Travelling in Myanmar

The 7 domestic airlines operating in Myanmar are Myanmar Airways, Air Mandalay, Air Bagan, Yangon Airways, Asia Wings, Mann Yadanarpon  and Air KBZ. Discovery DMC uses only the last 4 6 of these, which are all private-sector operated and up to international service and safety standards. Flights are however frequently delayed, with explanation for the delay rarely being provided, and travellers should be prepared for unscheduled waits at domestic airports. Frequent flights are operated to major tourist destinations countrywide with ATR-72, ATR-42 and Fokker 100 aircraft. Baggage allowance on domestic flights is limited to 20kg. Excess luggage can be left in Yangon hotels for collection on return. A carry on is allowed the sized not exceeding a maximum length of 56 cm (22 inches), width of 45 cm (18 inches) and depth of 25 cm (10 inches) including all handles, side pockets, wheels etc.

Discovery DMC provides best air-conditioned cars and coaches where available for all tours. Public train, ferryboat, bus and other transportation services are available throughout the country, however, these services are generally of a lower standard and uncomfortable for some. Boat trips between Mandalay and Bagan are operated by Chinese-built local ferries or on more comfortable tourist boats. The river journey takes usually around 10 hours (depending on the river conditions it might take longer). In cities the most convenient way to travel is by private transfer or taxi. Taxis are abundant in bigger cities, but do not run on a meter, so the price is negotiated in advance. Remember to bargain! Taxis can be flagged almost anywhere, but ones in front of restaurants or hotels will generally be more expensive. Public transportation such as buses or trains are often in very poor condition and difficult for foreigners to comprehend due to the lack of English speaking staff or instructions. For short journeys and an authentic experience, there is also the option of trying the traditional and inexpensive trishaw, a three wheeled bike that can carry two passengers. There is also the option of renting bikes or motorbikes in certain regions (excluding Yangon where driving motorbikes is not allowed). This can be a fun and active way to explore rural areas where sights are often spread out. If you wish to rent a motorbike, make sure your insurance would cover any injury or damages. Also be extremely careful when driving due to the varying quality of roads as well as reckless animals and pedestrians especially in rural areas.

There are no official hotel categories in Myanmar. Hotel categories are rated by Discovery DMC according to general international hotel criteria. Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake,  Ngapali and Ngwe Saung Beaches offer a wide choice of accommodation including boutique hotels and international five star properties. In other regions travellers should not expect top deluxe properties, though increasingly there is charming and traditional oriental style accommodation available. In some regions accommodation can be simple and basic.

Mobile & Internet

As of 2014, two foreign telecom operators and a government owned operator have launched nation wide mobile and wireless networks. Mobile and wireless connections are improving quickly as the networks expand, especially in urban areas, but in rural parts of the country you will often not have a mobile signal. Prepaid mobile sim cards can now be purchased in most cities at the low price of US$ 1.5 which allow international calls and use of mobile data.

Internet access is becoming increasingly common and unrestricted, most international hotels will offer complimentary internet access. Internet cafes can be found in urban areas, however connections tend to be slow and unstable.

Myanmar Overview
Country Facts & Figures
Country Name:Union of Myanmar
President:Htin Kyaw
Population:53.7 million
Capital:Naypyitaw 1mil.
Cities:Yangon around 7 million
Area:676 552 sq. km (261 218 sq. miles)
Highest point:Mt Hkakaborazi 5881m
Languages:Burmese, English and ethnic languages
Religions:Buddhist 89%, Christian 4%, Muslim 4%, animist 1%, other 2%
Ethnic groups:Burman 68%, Shan 9%, Karen 7%, Rakhine 4%, Chinese 3%, Indian 2%, Mon 2%
Time:UTC +6.5
Country code:+95
Currency: 1USD = 1150ks in Sep2016

Myanmar has three main seasons: hot season, rainy season, and cold season. The best time to visit Myanmar is from November to March when temperatures are relatively low (average 15 – 30 degrees centigrade) and when there is practically no rain. Note that in December and January the temperature can drop to near freezing at night in the highlands of the Kalaw, Pindaya, Taunggyi and Inle Lake area. In April and May which is the hottest season the temperature often tops 40 degrees centigrade in Yangon, and in Mandalay and Bagan it can get even hotter. The monsoon starts between mid-May and mid-June bringing frequent rains particularly in the southern as well as western region of Myanmar which last until September.

GMT + 6:30 hours.

Language & Culture

The official language is ‘Myanmar/Burmese’ with numerous regional and minority languages and dialects. English is spoken at all major hotels. Basic English is also spoken widely throughout the country, and travelers will almost always find someone who will at least understand and speak a few words of English. Discovery DMC provides guiding services in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Japanese, Thai and Chinese.

Never drink tap water – purified, bottled water is available everywhere. Eat at established restaurants and avoid peeled or cut fruit as well as ice cubes. It is wise to guard against sunburn, dehydration and heat exhaustion. Light clothing made from natural fibers is useful most of the year around and a sweater or jacket is needed when touring hill areas and the Inle Lake region from November to February. When visiting pagodas and other religious buildings great care must be taken to appear modest and correctly dressed. Women should not wear shorts, bra less T-shirts or have bare shoulders when visiting such places. Shoes and socks must always be removed at pagodas and monasteries. Photography in airports, railway stations and near any military installation is forbidden by Myanmar law.

Myanmar cuisine embraces Indian style curries with meat or fish as well as vegetables and regional salads and soups. Chili is popular in Myanmar and is often used in spicy dishes such as curries, though Myanmar food in general is not as hot as the Thai cuisine. There is a broad range of Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants sprinkled around the major cities, and also Western food as well as many other types of food can be found in Yangon, Mandalay and some other tourist resorts.

Money

Since 2011 many private sector banks and money changers have emerged. These money changers can be found at domestic airports. US Dollars, Euro and Singapore Dollars are accepted in cash. Bills must be in perfect condition without any creases or markings, otherwise they may be declined. Most of the official money changers are extremely picky about the condition of notes whereas traditional black market money changers offer slightly lower rates but are more flexible with notes condition. US dollar bills with the letters “CB” in the serial number may also be declined in some places.

For the time being credit cards are only accepted by a few hotels which mostly charge high commissions on credit card payments (between 4-8%). It is recommended to carry both local currency Kyat and US dollars in cash, you will need both. Exchange rates in 2014 are around 1000 Kyat per US dollar. As of 2014, ATM machines have become increasingly common, primarily in urban areas. You will find one at most shopping and commercial districts and near international hotels. The ATM machines generally accept all international visa and master cards. The local bank fee is 5000 Kyat per transaction. However, some machines are outdated or poorly maintained and there is a risk of transaction error or your card getting stuck in the machine. Be vigilant when using ATM in Myanmar, try to use machines that look new and updated, preferably machines that are located at a branch of the bank operating the machine, and do not rely solely on your credit card as a source of payment during your trip bring cash with you as back up.

Shopping is plentiful in most areas of Myanmar with colorful markets and stalls adorning most streets. Most popular buys include antiques, embroidery, gems, lacquer ware, mother-of-pearl, hand-woven silk Longyi, traditional woodcarvings, customary puppets and tribal crafts. Jewelry should be purchased through an authorized dealer who will issue a receipt so that the items can be exported. Bargaining is an elemental part of Myanmar life in small shops and markets.

Tipping is common in Myanmar and much appreciated. Tipping is entirely voluntary and should encourage good and satisfactory service. Major hotels and restaurants usually add 10 % service charge to bills. Where it is not included a tip of 5-10 % of the bill would be appropriate if the service is satisfactory. Porters should be tipped at 300 Kyat per bag. Recommended tip for local guides is 5Usd per person per day and 2Usd pp per day for drivers.

OTHER REGIONS

Myanmar / Essential Information

  • Visas and border crossings
  • Country facts and figures
  • Language and culture
  • Security
  • Money
  • Mobiles and the Internet
  • Travel to and around Myanmar
  • And more