MYANMAR PRACTICAL TRAVEL TIPS
This country is truly amazing!
Known as the golden land, Myanmar is a paradise to discover a rich diversity of cultures, bordering India, Bangladesh, China, Laos, and Thailand this culturally blessed land has equally awe-inspiring landscapes to appeal to every taste. Myanmar is a country that covers 676,578 square kilometres and larger than France, has a population of 53 million. These people are made up of a striking array of different ethnic groups, which include Burmese are majority, Shan, Kayin, Kachin, Yakhine, Mon, Chin, Chinese and Indian, to name but a few and yet remains the least developed country in Southeast Asia.
Myanmar has many different faces and is certainly offering something special for any traveler to whom traveling is more than staying at a beach resort (although that’s possible as well). It is a country with a very rich culture, unspoiled nature and, to some visitors’ surprise; it’s also a country with a genuine friendly population who very much want to be in contact with foreign visitors. People are open-minded, easy going and interested to learn more about anything. It’s the people that make the country and that’s certainly true for Myanmar. Hundreds of ethnic tribes have been living in the area for thousands of years and many have continued their centuries old, local way of life till now. This diversity is generally celebrated and Myanmar has official public holidays for almost every world religion.
Myanmar is Southeast Asia’s second-largest country and its diverse landscapes hold rich natural resources, from oil and gas reserves to vast gemstone and mineral deposits, rivers with huge hydropower potential and some of the region’s largest intact forest. From snow-capped mountains in the north, exotic beaches in the south and west, mountainous plateaus and virgin jungles in the east, desert plains, and vast deltas will leave a lasting impression that will amaze you!.
Myanmar is home to some of the earliest civilizations of Southeast Asia, including the Pyu and the Mon. Burmans entered the Upper Irrawaddy Valley in the 9th Century and soon established the Kingdom of Pagan, still known today for its thousands of awe-inspiring temple and pagoda structures concentrated at Bagan, the medieval capital of the First Myanmar Dynasty!
Highlights for sightseeing
The Golden Land of Myanmar is famous among the world travelers for centuries of its’ best attractions of Bagan, unique leg rowing of Inle Lake, the seat of Myanmar’s culture city Mandalay, the garden city of the east Yangon, and the life blood of Myanmar’s people Irrawaddy River. Myanmar remains one of the world’s most untouched, authentic, culturally enriching and mysterious countries.
Myanmar has a deep culture of hospitality and openness – most people who visit are struck by the warm and welcoming nature of the locals, who are often keen to ask questions and make friends. And the people love to enjoy themselves – whether it is taking part in one of the hundreds of festivals that happen around the country throughout the year or enjoying a game of football, everyone loves a boisterous public gathering to lift their spirits.
Theravada Buddhism is the most widespread religion in Myanmar and plays an important role in public and private life. Most young people spend time in monastic education and monks and nuns, of whom there are hundreds of thousands, hold a revered place in society. Pagodas can also be found on many roads, river banks, towns and villages throughout the country.
Outside of the main ethnic Burmese population areas, particularly in parts of Kachin, Karen and Chin states, Christianity is devoutly observed. American missionaries played a large part in converting previously animist locals during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and elements of animism remain part of these cultures. Islam and Hinduism are also practiced in Myanmar, particularly by ethnic Indians, and temples can be found around the country – most notably in Yangon.
Superstition is evident in Myanmar culture, although it is often played down. Some people consult astrologers about personal and business decisions, and it is said that the location of the new capital, Nay Pyi Taw, was decided on the advice of astrologers. In the 1980s, General Ne Win introduced 35 and 75 kyat banknotes because of his belief in the special power of numbers.
Traditional clothing in Myanmar varies around the country, but a national staple is the longyi (sarong), which is worn by both men and women. The longyi was in fact introduced relatively recently, in colonial times, but its popularity is rooted in its simplicity and suitability to such a hot climate.
Tha-na-khar, traditional make-up made from ground bark worn mostly by women and children, protects from the sun, is said to be good for the skin, and is often applied in attractive designs. The smell is sweet and fragrant.
Myanmar cuisine represents Rakhaine, Shan, Kachin, Myanmar and Indian Chinese influences. The Main meal of Myanmar is ‘Rice’ eaten with curry dishes commonly are pork, beef, fish, chicken, prawns and salad and vegetable. Famous food in Myanmar such as Mote-hin-gar (Rice noodles served with fish gravy and onion soup) and Ohn-noh-khauk-swe (noodles served with chicken, coconut milk and onion slices) are the most popular in Myanmar.
Economics, health and tourism development
As a result of decades of isolation and misrule, Myanmar is a poor country – according to the World Bank, the average person earns only US$1,203 a year. Myanmar is in general free of the slums that blight places such as Africa and India, and crime levels (particularly towards foreigners) are very low, but lack of development can be seen in everything from the dearth of ATMs and mobile phones to the creaking transport infrastructure, particularly in rural areas.
Only 25% of the population has direct access to the national electricity grid (and supplies that do exist are very unreliable) and only a small percentage has access to a fixed telephone line or internet connection. Furthermore, high-level corruption and entrenched interests are widespread; Myanmar suffers from the scourge of HIV/AIDS, with some of the highest prevalence rates in Asia; child labour, particularly in the armed forces, remains common; and illegal drug production (and consumption) is rife in border areas.
However, with the lifting of sanctions and the opening up of the economy, things are beginning to improve; investment, trade and tourism are all on the up. Indeed, due to this sudden surge, there is a shortage of accommodation capacity in some areas, most notably Yangon – it can be difficult to find a hotel room if you do not book in advance, and prices are escalating.
Situated as it is between emerging giants India and China, and rich in natural resources (including gas, oil, teak and gemstones), Myanmar is attracting ever more attention. The country has come a long way in a short time, but a trip to Myanmar offers something truly unique – a chance to meet people who are both deeply spiritual and amongst the most friendly on earth; experience a host of historical and cultural delights; and see absolutely stunning scenery, from the Himalayan north to the beaches on the Bay of Bengal.
Myanmar is an exciting travel destination because it has a lot of attractions and activities to offer. It's slowly becoming a top tourist spot so if you're planning your next trip to this beautiful place, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Which is correct Myanmar or Burma?
These two names refer to one place.The official name of the country is the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. In 1989, the name was changed from Burma to Myanmar. Both names are derived from the majority ethnic group, the Bamar – Myanmar being the formal, literary term, and Burma the colloquial, everyday term.
The reason this is a contentious issue is because the change was undertaken by an unelected military government without consulting the people. Under today’s more representative system, Aung San Suu Kyi's ruling National League for Democracy Party uses both ‘Myanmar’ and ‘Burma’; at a speech to foreign ambassadors in April 2016, Aung San Suu Kyi said that she would use both names after many years of only using ‘Burma’.
The governments of countries such as the US and UK continue to use ‘Burma’, but ‘Myanmar’ is used in the vast majority of international media and including UN. For these reasons, ‘Myanmar’ is used on this website.
The large number of ethnic groups, or nationalities, that make up Myanmar’s population, together with the continual changing of capital cities, reflect a turbulent past. From the 11th through to the late 19th century, Myanmar was ruled by a succession of competing dynasties, the most successful and expansionist of 15th century King Bayintnaung’s period which controlled not only Myanmar but much of what is now Thailand and Laos, as well as parts of India and China.
The hills and mountains that surround the huge Irrawaddy valley form Myanmar’s natural borders and helped to protect it from foreign invasion for many centuries. However, they were not enough to halt the advance of the British Empire, which occupied Myanmar over 100 years during the early 19th century, after three Anglo-Burmese Wars 1824, 1852 and 1885.
The Second World War saw Myanmar set as a battleground between Japanese and Allied forces, and large parts of the country were devastated. However, after a long struggle, Myanmar gained independence in 1948 – due in no small part to the determination of General Aung San, who was murdered by political rivals only months before his dream was realised. He was the current democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi’s father, and she was only two years old when he died.
Military dictatorship, civil war and the ’88 uprising
After a series of democratic elections through the 1950s, the military seized power in 1962 and is only beginning to cede that power today. Part of the reason for the military justifying its iron grip for so long are the ethnic insurgencies that have continued to plague Myanmar since the end of the Second World War. Various nationalities in the border areas fought with the British during the war against the majority Bamar (who initially fought with the Japanese) and this, together with the nationalities’ marginalisation from central power, has resulted in the longest-running civil war in the world. To this day, violence continues in some areas and access to border regions is restricted.
In 1988, there was a mass uprising against military rule, led by students and monks, during which Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy (NLD) rose to prominence. The protests were violently suppressed, but nevertheless led to elections in 1990, which the NLD won – however, the generals refused to recognise the result and held on to power.
Reform and democracy
Today, however, matters are improving. After flawed elections in 2010, the nominally civilian but military-backed government embarked on a series of dramatic reforms; these at first allowed democratic bi-elections that saw the NLD win many parliamentary seats and then, in November 2015, a general election that the NLD won with a landslide. Together with these changes have come the introduction of trade unions; the releasing of many political prisoners; greater media freedom; and the resumption of dialogue with ethnic groups.
Although the country continues to suffer from poverty and conflict, the suspension of international sanctionsimposed on Myanmar and the freedom with which the general election was allowed to pass augur well for a brighter future - which the population so richly deserves.
Myanmar is situated in Southeast Asia, border with Bangladesh, China, India, Laos and Thailand.In this wonderful land, where people’s smiles welcome everywhere, the serene atmosphere of temples and the noisy bazaars are unforgettable on your trip.
When would be the best time to travel around Myanmar?
Nowadays certainly NOT in November or in February as somehow the whole world seems to believe these are the only months to visit! Especially if you live in Yangon you have the chance to go on short trips all the time so it’s easy to avoid the peak season. The green season can bring a lot of rain to Yangon and it feels like it rains every day the whole day, but upcountry weather is much better with often a few days in a row with no rain or hardly any rain! The best places to visit in each month of the year:
Excellent to visit Mrauk U (cool nights, not too many tourists, stunning temples and yes, it is absolutely safe)
As it’s busy everywhere (Chinese New Year & Europe spring holiday) best to avoid “the big 4” but visit Northern Shan State; Hsipaw and Kyaukme)
March: Getting hot and dry so go for the mountains: wash an elephant in Kalaw
April: Water festival – do the opposite of what everybody does and stay in town and join the celebrations!
May: It’s so hot: only going to Ngapali or Ngwe Saung beach makes sense in this period
June: Yes, finally – rain has come – go to Mandalay (good hotel deals and not many tourists)
Probably the best month for Bagan; it’s green (especially towards the end of July) and from this year Oriental Ballooning is operating so it’s a unique chance to see a GREEN Bagan from a balloon.
Inle Lake is beautiful, go on a biking trip on arrival in Heho and end at the lake, explore the lake by boat or villages on stilts by kayak. No worries about “the lake being empty” in this period.
Mon &Kayin State: Did you ever see any greener paddy fields? Go for private day cruise on Thanlwin River (much more scenic than the Ayeyarwaddy), paddle by kayak through the rice fields flanked with lime stone mountains in the back ground.
Just before the tourist high season starts so it might be good to visit Bagan, Mandalay or Inle Lake again – many festivals in this period like Kyaukse dancing elephant, the Shwezigon festival in Bagan or the PhaungDaw Oo festival on Inle Lake.
Time for adventure and to go to places that are still quiet. What about a 4-wheel drive tour in Eastern Shan State or discovering the Chin Hills
Up till 22 Dec it’s always very quiet in Myanmar – a great period to travel anywhere in the country. Just spoil yourself these last weeks of the year but make sure you’re back home before the peak season starts as you will pay through the roof for accommodation and compulsory Christmas dinners – no matter what religion you favour…
Unfortunately, many travel agent still tell tourists that May – Sept is not a good time to travel in Myanmar so basically the problem starts with yourself. The green season (which is the European holiday season) has a lot
* Cooler in the day time (not hot sun on your head)
* More sustainable (as a sector we really need to ensure that Myanmar people working in the industry are able to earn a livable income the whole year round)
* Day light is longer (more hours per day to enjoy the sightseeing)
* Less dusty
* More beautiful landscapes
* Fresh exotic fruit and vegetables
* More choice and more availability of your preferred hotel room, guide etc.
Besides that (probably the most important). When we look at statistics with average rainfall in Bagan https://www.worldweatheronline.com/bagan-weather-averages/mandalay/mm.aspxwe see that it actually over 75% of all days from May – Sept it’s NOT raining at all in the dry zone (and other tourist destinations like Mandalay, Kalaw, Inle Lake, Northern Shan State and Kayah state are very similar). And if it rains it does not interrupt sightseeing and it’s usually short.
Do’s & Don’ts
Look at Myanmar Dos and Don'ts http://www.dosanddontsfortourists.com/ and you will find the cartoons are useful and easy to remember all these simple rules.
These are simple rules of etiquette ensures that you don't accidentally offend someone, although you would surely be forgiven anyway.
- Foot wares including the socks are not allowed in the religious precincts such as Pagodas, temples, and monasteries. There is certain place or kept-places where one can leave their foot-wares without losing during the time of studying or learning the religious monument. Because it is not the right way to hold the foot-wares all the way you visit in those places.
- Show Respect: Turn off mobile phones, remove headphones, lower your voice, avoid inappropriate conversation, remove hats, and no smoking or chewing gum.
- Cover Yourself: This is the rule most ignored by tourists who dress for the heat in countries around Southeast Asia. Shoulders should be covered and long-pants worn rather than shorts. Some temples in tourist places may be more lenient, but your modesty will be appreciated.
- Respect the Buddha Statues: Never touch, sit near, or climb on a Buddha statue or the raised platform. Get permission before taking photographs and never do so during worship. When exiting, back away from the Buddha before turning your back.
- Don't Point: Pointing at things or people around the temple is considered extremely rude. To indicate something, use your right hand with the palm facing upwards. When sitting, never point your feet at a person or image of Buddha.
- Stand Up: If you happen to be sitting in the worship area when monks or nuns enter, stand to show respect; wait until they have finished their prostrations before sitting again.
These are simple rules of etiquette ensures that you don't accidentally offend someone, although you would surely be forgiven anyway.
Myanmar Currency is known as ‘Kyat’. US Dollars are acceptable in most hotels and some tourist shops and restaurants. It is recommended to carry kyats for small other purchases and tipping. Bring crisp US Dollars or Euro notes and exchange them here, while ATMs and CC remain an emergency option only!
Credit cards and travellers’cheque could not accept widely in Myanmar. Travellers are recommended to bring brand new and crisp US Dollar in cash with small denomination notes. Hotels, shops and restaurants in Myanmar do not take old and dirty US Dollar notes unfortunately.
You should bring cash in US Dollars with you for your personal expenses. Although there are ATMs you shouldn’t rely on them because ATM machines don’t work well.
Telecommunication and mobile apps
Mobile phones of travellers cannot access in Myanmar at the moment but travelers can buy temporary Sim-card in Myanmar on arrival at Yangon International Airport and can make phone calls. Phone calls from hotels are okay as well. Laptops can be brought for the travellers' own use. Hotels have internet and Wi-Fi access and easy to make an online calls via facebook, viber, LINE, WhatsApp and etc.
Government offices open from 09:30 to 16:30 on weekdays and Banking hours are from 10:00 to 14:00. Private companies work daily except Sunday and gazette holidays.
Tourists could take photos freely in down town area, Pagodas, the people and ways of life except from Government buildings, the airport, Police station, and some obstructive areas.
Myanmar Standard Time is 6 ½ hours ahead of Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) and Central Europe Time.
Customs & Immigration
When you travel a foreign country no one expect you to know the local customs, but do be a good guest you could read up about the local habits. Same as you would appreciate if a Burmese would visit your home country. A lot of things are just common sense and not rocket science. For example it is to take your shoes & socks off in front of a religious site or even a private home. A more difficult question is swimming in Bikini's. We suggest to look around how the locals are dressed and make your own mind up about it. Travellers need to declare valuable items such as Jewel, camera, electronic and electronically equipment on customs declaration form.
Any items that is essential for you and things you always keep around yourself (charging cable, camera, sunglasses, etc…).
Find a Tour Guide
You can't just visit this place and expect a bunch of tour guides to give you a warm welcome at the airport. It's best if you find a guide that knows the attractions, culture and language of this country. You can look up a few tours online that offer Myanmar travel packages for those going solo or in groups.
Regard to French or other language guide is very hard to get in all other cities except Yangon. As there is not much tour in Yangon we’ll just use the English speaking guide for Shwedagon tour. Beside we’ll always advise to our clients to use English speaking station guides who are knowledgeable, helpful, well experienced for the tours and well trained, we’re VERY confident with their skills and talents of explanation and guiding. And definitely clients will get more insightful knowledge and regional information than throughout guide (for Language guide like French, German) more costly and less knowledgeable for the sightseeing as they know well about Yangon (most of the language guides are from Yangon). We say NO for language guide to use. But if you are very keen to get, we’re fine to arrange but knowledge and skills we’re afraid and worry, also the price is 75 USD per day we’ll add up for his / her flights, meals, guiding fees, accommodation and etc.
Myanmar is located in the tropics so the climate is pretty humid and hot. Try to bring some light and long clothes that can give you comfort but can still protect your body from the sun. According to International Traveller, this country also has a big Buddhist population so it's best to have a couple of clothes that would cover up your shoulders and knees.
Like most all tropical climates, there are three distinct seasons in Myanmar (Hot season: March-May with the average temperature 29-45 ċ), (Rainy season: June - September with the average temperature 22-40 ċ) and (Cold season: October – February with the average temperature 19-29 ċ).In Myanmar, winter lasts from November to February and most travelers chose this period but Myanmar is lovely to travel the whole year round and even much greener and pleasant weather on Sept – October.
Myanmar (May –September weather outlook)
General outlook – Mixed sunny spells and rain showers, some of them prolonged on the coast. Central plains mostly dry with occasional showers in the afternoon. Average Highs 35°C inland (32°C on the coast). Lows. 25°C, cooler in the hills.
Bagan, Inle, Mandalay: temperature cooling off from May, with showers available anytime. Better chance of sunshine in July and refreshing rain every now and then from June to September. The rest of the day the weather is clear. Average Highs: 34C. Lows 24°C.
There are fewer tourists (a better choice of hotel rooms). June to September is cheaper. And best of all, Myanmar is at its best – green and refreshing.
August: TaungByone Nat Festival – TaungByone Village near Mandalay, Myanmar
Our professional teams in the region can give you the most up to date information on festivals, weather forecasts and the best low-season deals. To contact us, please leave your information in the form below of our website and we’ll get back to you shortly.
In general, light-weight long and decent dress are seems far more acceptable and much more culturally with ancient temples. Bringing light loose fitting cotton clothes and pale color will be definitely an advantage in this tropical country. Jacket will be required when travelling in winter month. It is very important that knees and shoulders are covered and ladies should not wear shorts or bra-less T-shirts in such places. Hats and sunglasses are also strongly recommended. Warm clothes are advised to bring if travelling to Inle Lake and Shan Hills.Hotels are easy going, very friendly and you can wear freely.
Normal shoes or slippers is okay. Sandals and shoes which are easy to put on and take off are suggested to wear for all visits to pagodas and temples. For the trekking, it’s only soft trekking and not really necessary to bring trekking boot. Normal walking shoes with no blisters will be fine.
Be ready to Tip
An average person makes less than $350 in this country so be ready to give some tips. It's not compulsory but doing so will help these people a lot. You can give out tips whenever you get good service from waiters, drivers and tour guides.
Phone calls to home:
Myanmar has no telephone roaming agreement with other countries so you won’t be disturbed by phone calls on your mobile during your holiday. Do you want to be in contact with your home and tell people how much you are enjoying Myanmar? There are internet cafes around the country (you guide can point them out) and although it is a bit slower than in your home country the connection should normally work.
Sim-cards are available everywhere in Yangon and so cheap. You can buy and also can top up with 3000 Ks, 5000 Ks or 10000 Ks. And you can make a phone calls to home.
Health risks in Myanmar include: cholera, dengue fever, hepatitis, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, rabies and typhoid. We strongly recommend you to visit either your personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure. Up-to-date advice should be sought before deciding whether these precautions should include vaccination, as medical opinion is divided over its effectiveness. Malaria risk exists throughout the year in the whole country, except in bigger towns such as Yangon and Mandalay. Medical facilities with western standards are very limited in Myanmar and practically only exist in Yangon. Many doctors have been educated in Europe (especially in the UK) but have limited access to modern medicines and limited updated knowledge on medicine. All travelers visiting Myanmar with Khiri Travel must show proof of a health insurance upon arrival in the country so in case of emergency we can assist and make sure you will receive the necessary medical attention in Myanmar or in Bangkok, where the best medical facilities are available.
When going abroad it is common sense to have a travel insurance. Outside of major cities it is advisable to avoid public hospitals. Private clinics seems to be better equipped. As at your hotel reception about doctors and clinics with experience in treating foreigners. It most cases it is required to make payment up front in either Kyat or US Dollars.
Following vaccinations are recommend to have:
- Hepatitis A & Hepatitis B
- Malaria and dengue fever are common in rural areas, but not so much in major cities.
As all airlines have to report to and operate according to the rules of the Myanmar Aviation authorities I do believe all airlines are very, very similar and would not dare to say which one is “more reliable” at the moment. Air KBZ, Myanmar National Airlines, FMI Air, Apex, Mandalay Yadanarpon, Golden Myanmar Airline, Air Mandalay and Asian Wings. We certainly suggest Air KBZ as one of the most reliable (and with the biggest fleet of aircraft) so in case an aircraft is unserviceable because of maintenance there is no problem for Air KBZ to use another aircraft.
You need visa prior to entering Myanmar and E-visa can get nowadays at http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/ or we can help in applying visa if you would like to try there, we need all personal details mentioned as above.
Visitors from 65 countries currently can apply the visa through http://www.evisa.moip.gov.mm/
The processing time is about (5) working days for granting an eVisa. Passengers with eVisa are only permitted to enter at Yangon International Airport.
If your nationality is not on the list, you can apply for this visa at a Myanmar embassy in or near your country. Please contact the embassy for more details. Different embassies have different rules to apply for a tourist visa. Generally you will need 2 or 3 photos and enough cash to pay for your visa (at most embassies it’s 30 USD). Some embassies will ask you to come in person to apply for the visa or they will ask for your CV (to check where you have been working in the past) and they might ask for your planned travel itinerary. It usually takes about 3 days to get your visa.
The visa for Myanmar is valid for 28 days and occupies a full page in your passport – the visa expires 90 days after it is issued so don’t apply too early. Please make sure you have enough pages in your passport. The passport has to be valid for at least 6 more months.
Indeed it can sometimes be a little bit of a hassle to get your visa but once that’s done you will be rewarded by visiting a country that is like no other!
Visa on Arrival
Every traveller required the valid Passport with Entry Visa to Myanmar. Visa can be obtained at any Myanmar Embassy or Consulate abroad. The travellers who do not have time to apply for the visa in their own countries, or due to other inconvenience matters, Visa on arrival is able to be arranged. The official visa fees is USD 50 per person for which will be allowed “28 DAYS” visit in Myanmar and our service fees and documentation fees is USD 10 per person. All the required data is to be sent us 20 days before his/her arrival to Myanmar. Airlines would be already informed by the concerned airlines’ Myanmar offices for the visa on arrival to Myanmar.The travellers need to send us the following documents and information:
- Passport Copy
- Passport size color photos taken within the past six months
- Passport Full Name
- Date of Birth
- Place of Birth
- Father's Name
- Passport Number
- Date of Issue
- Place of Issue
- Date of Expiry
- Issuing Authority
- Permanent Address
- Date of Arrival
- Arrival Flight
- Departure Date
- Departure Flight
Myanmar launches e-visa at three land border checkpoints
EFFECTIVE from September 1, foreigners with e-visa can be used to enter and exit through three land border checkpoints between Myanmar and Thailand, the ministry of immigration and population announced officially.
Under the agreement between the two countries, Myanmar and Thailand citizens as well as third country citizens with holding valid passport and e-visa will be permitted to enter and depart from Myanmar through Tachileik-Maisai, Myawaddy-Mesok, and Kawthoung-Ranong land border checkpoints.
Previously, the holders of e-Visa were not able to enter Myanmar at the border checkpoints. Those with e-Visa are only allowed to enter Myanmar at International Airport in Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw.
The permit of stay, extension of stay and the visa fees, the rules and regulation remain the same and is applicable to both tourist and business e-visa types.
Recommended websites and reading
Before visiting Myanmar, it is good to read some more about the history, culture and politics of the country. Different authors have different point of views so always keep in mind that any book written about Myanmar always describes the personal opinion of that particular author (whether it is written from inside the country or written by opposition groups living outside the country).
Things are changing fast in Myanmar, so this website is continually updated with the latest travel and accommodation information. For independent rolling news on Myanmar, check out these websites:
- Frontier Myanmar
- The Irrawaddy
- Democratic Voice of Burma
- ... and for something with a lighter touch, try Coconuts Yangon
For day-to-day Myanmar travel news and stories, follow www.greenseason-travel.com on Facebook or Twitter.
Lonely Planet Myanmar: almost a must have when traveling in Myanmar
Burmese Days – George Orwell
A scathing and tragic look at the dying days of British colonial rule in northern Myanmar. Orwell served in the imperial police in Katha, and a fictionalised version of that town, called Kyauktada, is the setting of this book.A classic on Myanmar (written during the colonial times by an English officer) and although it can be a bit “slow” to read, it gives an excellent insight into Myanmar psychology, thinking and behaviour of people.
The River of Lost Footsteps – Thant Myint-U(written by the grandson of the former UN secretary general U Thant a balanced version of recent Myanmar history)
An illuminating and beautifully written history of Myanmar which covers everything from the ancient kingdoms to British colonial rule and the brutal military dictatorship that followed. Essential reading if you want to truly understand how the country has arrived at the situation it is in today.
Letters from Burma – Aung San Suu Kyi
Written by Aung San Suu Kyi when she was freed from house arrest for some years in the mid-90s, this book provides a unique insight into the culture and lives of the people of Myanmar, their acts of heroism, and the suffering they have had to endure.
My life as a Shan princess (by Inge Sargent): written by an Austrian lady who became a Shan princess living in Hsipaw interesting insight in the Shan royal history. Quite nice to read it before if your trip includes a visit to Hsipaw.
From The Land of Green Ghosts – Pascal Khoo Thwe
A memoir of a deeply spiritual upbringing amongst the Padaung people of rural Kayah State, and the subsequent turmoil of political activism during the student uprising of 1988, this personal odyssey gives a unique perspective on tribal life and the conflict that has affected Myanmar for so many years.
Ma Thanegi, Nor Iron Bars a Cage (or as she calls it herself “my prison book” about the 3 years she spend in Insein Jail as a political prisoner.
Caroline Courtauld Myanmar: Burma in Style: An Illustrated History and Guide. It is a great illustrated account of the history, politics and culture of the people and the country.
The Great Railway Bazaar and Ghost Train to the Eastern Star – Paul Theroux
These wonderfully insightful and droll travel books track the same journey across Europe and Asia in 1975 and 2008, and feature some delightful sections on Myanmar, including descriptions of one of the most wonderful train journeys in the world.
Enchanting Myanmar – Mick Shippen
If you’re looking for a memento or something for the coffee table, Enchanting Myanmar provides a beautiful collection of photos – all taken specifically for this book and backed up by informative descriptions.
Delicious Myanmar: discover Myanmar through its people and food – Juan Gallardo
So often unfairly dismissed when compared to the more internationally established cuisine of its neighbours, food in Myanmar is a diverse delight. Part cookbook, part cultural guide and part travelogue, Delicious Myanmar delves into this area that has rarely written about until now.
We encourage visitors to read Embassy travel advice, for example from the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/burma or from the Myanmar ministry of hotel and tourism http://www.myanmartourism.org/index.php/tourist-information/permitted-areas which identifies which areas should be avoided by visitors. These are not areas which form part of the usual tourist destinations.
Tourism was estimated to provide around half a million jobs in 2015, and plays an increasingly significant role in helping Myanmar people to earn a sustainable income, including through new community-based tourism products which rely on visitors for their livelihoods. We encourage tourists to continue to visit, so that they can play a role in helping Myanmar people for a better living and setting the country on the road to prosperity.
Myanmar Tourism Marketing also wishes to express sadness at the continuing internal conflicts and concerning security status in some of very remote border places like northern Shan State at China border and Northern Rakhine State at the Bangladesh border and call on all concerned to ensure that the people of Myanmar can live in peace and security throughout our beautiful country’.
There are still some areas in Southern Myanmar, which are off the limit. Our tours only take you to places, which are permitted and safe. You can have a look here, what areas are still off limit.
This rule applies especially for the Mergui Archipelago, where independent ravel is not possible at the moment (June 2016).