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Amazing Useful Tips For Travel To Myanmar

Undoubtedly Myanmar , the same as it was called Burma until recently, this is still one of the great unknowns of Southeast Asia . A corner of the world that can give us an extraordinary collection of temples and pagodas , of scenes from everyday life that little or nothing has changed in centuries and awonderful people who treat the stranger as if it were his own family. After returning from an unforgettable trip to Myanmar and take many notes I want to share a story full of practical informationthat can be helpful to all those who are interested in learning about their own country. Thanks to all these notes I have been able to document a list of amazing tips useful for travel to Myanmar , which may be helpful to future travelers eager to enjoy a rising destination that refuses to lose its unique purity.

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What you should not miss in your suitcase? What is the best time to go to Myanmar? How to move around the country? Where kyats change? What you eat? What are places to see or yes? It is safe? There are many topics of interest to those shown here should be taken into account when preparing a trip to a country that is increasingly opening. Take pen and paper, here comes a pile of practical advice applicable on a trip to Myanmar .

DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED TO TRAVEL TO MYANMAR. Do I need a visa?

- To travel to Myanmar obtaining a visa is necessary. While in the past the process was far more complex in recent years have increased to the extreme facilities for visa tourism in Myanmar. The simplest is if we are to enter the country for one of three international airports: Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw . Applicants known as e-visa should fill in the information in a very simple form (scanned photo need to have a driving license) and pay online by credit card (valid myanmar Visa, MasterCard and American Express) totaling 50 dollars. The processing is done in a maximum of three working days (we had confirmation only two). Travelers receive an approval letter to be printed and presented at the destination airport (and not have to pay anything more) in your email. The visa is a single entry and is valid for three months from their production (not from our date of entry. That is, it should not make the mistake of asking for eight months in advance because when you go there will be expired). So far , the visa is for a maximum stay of non - renewable 28 days from the date of entry. And very importantly, our passport must be valid for more than six months.

- So much for the way to get the e-visa online quickly and ONLY IF WE TRAVEL TO MYANMAR WITH PLANE (And to those specified above airports). Because for those entering OVERLAND should process itas done all my life, since they are not in any way issued tourist visas at the border. That is, it should be done through the embassy. From Spain, as it has no representation of Myanmar in its territory, you can send the passport to the Embassy of Myanmar in France, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and Germany in a somewhat longer postal process. But more typical, especially for those who are walking on the fly Southeast Asia, is doing in situ in the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok , which usually issue the visa in about three working days (although it would not hurt to have a margin top case, there is the possibility of paying more urgent and process it , getting a visa in one day). You can also do this in the Embassy in Vietnam (Hanoi) and Laos (Vientiane), although of Bangkok we go about safe and will not find any surprises.

Myanmar is changing rapidly and all this can change at any time, always looking to simplify processes. We will update this section to have it as current as possible. If you travel to the destination and something has changed that we should correct it, please, please do not add indiquéis and happy to guide much better if possible future travelers who are interested in travel to Myanmar.

Flying to Myanmar, where to start and FINISH

- So far there is no European airline that has a direct flight any airport in Myanmar. Yes you can get from some Asian countries like India, China (Beijing and Kunming) and, above all major airports across various airlines such as Bangkok , Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi and Singapore . Where more frequencies (and possibilities) there is , no doubt, is from Bangkok. We bought a multi ticket with the company Etihad this route: MADRID - ABU DHABI (scale of 2 hours) - BANGKOK - YANGON - MANDALAY - RETURN TO SPAIN (after passing through Bangkok and Abu Dhabi) for an approximate price of 700 €. In Bangkok we chose to make a four - day stopover to enjoy the Thai capital and its surroundings. It is, for me, the best hub in Asia by far to spend a large scale. On lap we did live with a scale of three hours.

- The two main international airports are having Myanmar Yangon (south) and Mandalay (north), both separated by more than 600 kilometers (coming to be more than 10 hours by bus). Since Yangon is farthest from many major tourist attractions can be a good idea to come here and leave for Mandalay (or vice versa). Thereby we are saving time returning and we can make a much more linear journey without involving us a euro more (buying with "multi" in the airline itself or any flight search engine).

WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO MYANMAR?

- Best months to travel to Myanmar are October, November, December, January, February, March and April. And although it can not detract rain also sometimes point coincides with much of the dry season.October and especially November when the rains have already completed, are excellent months to visit Myanmar (probably the best) because the fields are still green and not so hot as in December, January or February. Of course this season (high in Myanmar) flights can be more expensive, more quickly exhausted squares buses and reduce the number of hotel rooms available (although grows apace). Still nothing insurmountable. It has not yet reached that time in the country where a traveler runs out of bed or transport.

- July and August, the busiest for Europeans and Americans, are on par months of monsoons. But this does not mean, far from it, that you can not go quietly Southeast Asia. Of course it rains, but most of the time it does coincide with the beginning of the afternoon when engaged diluviar insistently around one hour (or at most two). Monsoons are nearly always (except typhoons or tropical storms) more intense than lasting. Moraleja, the monsoon is not an impediment to travel to Myanmar, although there are more appropriate to do so times.

THE HOUSE OF CHANGE: ISSUES OF CURRENCY AND CREDIT CARDS IN MYANMAR

- The official currency in Myanmar is the Kyat is, abbreviated MMK. The approximate change (2015) 1375 MMK is for 1 € (and 1300 for 1 $), although it is advisable to consult the price just before carrying out the trip. Just coins are used, the low value of the same. Almost all are paper tickets ranging from 50 to 10,000 Kyats (since 2012). That is, the highest ticket is not even 10 euros value, which means that when we change or we get money at a fairly high amount, we will receive a good wad of bills.

- In Myanmar accepted everywhere both dollars and euros, but is more accepted the use of the dollar.Still it is best to use all possible kyats and pay with dollars or euros specific things. It is common practice that when a store kyats pass into foreign currency (either dollars or euros) to make a round in his favor, so go with local currency is almost always more advantageous. It is also extremely easy to get kyats at banks or ATMs (There are ATMs everywhere), and in exchange (the airport give good change), hotels or shops that can apply a small commission. You can not get this money in advance to our bank or savings bank, as the Burmese Kyat not traded outside the Asian country. IMPORTANT NOTE: If paying with euros or dollars only accept tickets in perfect state. And I do not mean just broken that, however small, will deny us the payment but it is very possible that we will not accept a foreign airline if it is minimally wrinkled. We were told that some local banks if not euros or dollars are given as smooth as Monopoly banknotes put them many obstacles to change them, why show such reluctance with which they are widely used.

- In most cases it is often better to make cash payments by credit card. While it is true that the use of credit card is widespread, there are many hotels that add customer a surcharge of 3% when paying in this way.

You DO NEED TO TRAVEL TO MYANMAR VACCINE?

- To travel to Myanmar there is no mandatory vaccine and recommended are the same as always should have put (Hepatitis A + B, tetanus, etc ...). Generally people not vaccinated to go to Myanmar, unless you plan to go to remote areas of rainforest or swampy regions (within 1000 meters high) for a long time (in that case is never more be vaccinated for typhoid and grope if taken malaria prophylaxis). For the issue of the most appropriate vaccines it is well to consult a doctor or read the recommendations provide us with the Ministry of Health of our country and be consistent with our decision.

- Since the country's tropical climate except in offshore areas predominate, many mosquitoes are present, especially during the rainy season and when in wet areas. Although the risk of contracting malaria is minimal, there is no better prophylaxis to prevent the bite us. Protect areas of the body that we discovered with mosquito repellent (if they are extra strong, much better) or go with long sleeves both at dawn and at dusk (are the times when most annoying insects may be) are common recommendations in this type of travels. The famous bracelets have neither odor 1% of effectiveness mosquito spray. Then there is the traditional way, which is to take many citrus, although almost should swim in juice to prevent us pique some bug.

ESSENTIAL VISITS IN MYANMAR (AND COMMENTS)

- It is true that Myanmar has a number of very clear for approximately two weeks are needed essential destinations. From there one can extend into more remote areas still inaccessible for which permits are required occasionally or make trekking through traditional villages (and of course discover the beach areas and lots of paradisiacal islands). The highlights or highlights of Myanmar places are mainly Bagan, Yangon, Mandalay, the old capitals of the north (Sagaing, Mingun, Amarapura and Ava), the Lake Inle (with or without trekking from Kalaw) and two religious sites such as Mount Popa and the Golden Rock.

The temples of Bagan in all possible ways

- If we must choose a place of Myanmar to fill us with sensations, unique images and return us why we love traveling, that is Bagan. Land that has an extension called more than two thousand temples escaping from an arid forest cut by the Irrawaddy River. What Angkor is Cambodia Bagan is Myanmar. And that's saying a lot, so you'd better book at least three days to get well to the area.

- The temples of Bagan can be done on foot (especially if you are staying in the area of Old Bagan), car with driver, carriage horse, in normal bike, electric bike or canoe to enjoy your silhouette from the river.Should choose some essential Ananda, Dhammayangyi, Sulamani, Shwezigon or Thatbyinnyu type but, above all, be swayed by many who are not so well known and even not even appear in the guides. These are guarded by families who live next door and you have to ask for the keys. The interior of many of these temples are quite dark, so it is advisable to always carry in your backpack a flashlight (light mobile phone is not always worth) in order to better see the paintings on the walls that sometimes exceed more than five centuries old.

- One of the most memorable quirks that can "give us " in the temples of Bagan is overfly balloon . This is probably one of the best places in the world for ballooning. At dawn a place full of temples that are colored with the first rays of sun tapestry, and many scenes of rural life of the country is in sight. The truth is that it is a very expensive activity that is around $ 350 per person (they offer three companies are Balloons over Bagan, East Ballooning and the new Golden Eagle, which offer very similar standards) and is to last about one hour. Although the price is to think about it , the experience is so exciting worth "go saving" or removed from other things in order to live it. NOTE: The globe requires a reservation, if possible, several weeks in advance, as seats sell out quickly.

Yangon, ramshackle but with a great treasure

- Often travelers entering by Yangon difficult to understand the concept of this chaotic and ramshackle city. But just go to its broad appeal, the Shwedagon Pagoda (This is one of the largest pagodas in Asia and one of the most sacred places for Buddhists) that one ends up staying there spellbound for hours. The complex is huge, full of details and small temples, and worth coming see how people clinging to their religious beliefs. It is best to go in the afternoon, from 15:00 hours and the experience with the best possible light, attend a sunset in front of the great golden stupa (more than 100 meters high and bathed in gold) and stay to see it illuminated at night. Shwedagon is not only a religious monument, but a beautiful setting where not stop things happen.

The best trekking in Myanmar

- The former Burma is becoming increasingly popular as a place for walkers. There are multiple possibilities of treks that leave both Inle Lake and Kalaw, the most famous route that connects both sides within three days. The Kalaw-Inle Lake has become a classic that is not characterized by superb landscapes can be Sapa in Vietnam , but by the ability to access isolated villages, make contact with local people working in the field, attend very photogenic scenes of rural life and even sleeping facilities guarded by some Buddhist monasteries. This trek, it is advisable to hire a local guide, you can book an overnight in agencies or hotels (anyone offers it ) being in Kalaw and Nyaungshwe, the most important town in the area of Inle Lake . In addition , they deal with the baggage reaches the destination, lugging only the essentials for three days running they are not overly demanding and therefore suitable for all audiences. Also they can be made in Kalaw or in the fields around Inle Lake trekking a day shorter duration.

- We have advised us Our Hsipaw, 200 km northwest of Mandalay, as another ideal area for trekking and less public than in Kalaw / Inle Lake. It has "more Asian" landscapes and routes are somewhat less hackneyed. But if we go much farther north, in Putao (Kachin State capital) we have the foothills of the Himalayas and extraordinary alpine landscapes where snow arrives. And the area itself is very unspoilt as far as tourism is concerned (in 2015 foreigners could only accessible by plane and road).

Inle Lake

- We are many who concur in the idyllic Inle Lake . Its floating villages and typical scenes of a life overturned fishing, agriculture and livestock, as well as its ethnic variety, make them an exceptional place to relax, stroll through traditional markets and take pictures of people who are still very real. Whether from Nyaungshwe or from a housing lakeshore (very expensive these) should (for a day comes to cost between 10 and 15 euros approximately) enjoy break this privileged corner of Myanmar which is part of Shan State. It is best to rent a canoe with an outboard motor and someone to guide us through different areas of the lake which see fishermen, lonely pagodas and wooden houses on stilts sustained. It isadvisable to stay here at least two days, but if three or four much better to study in more detail an area well worth it .

- Given the influx of tourists in the Lake Inle it is not unusual precisely canoe drivers take their customers to stores gems, silver, gifts ... which, of course, takes a commission. In this we must be strict when booking a private canoe route and say we do not want to shop (and if we say it already). So a NO SHOPPING early can save unnecessary loss of time. On the other right at the exit channel Nyaungshwe that empties into Lake Inle itself they have placed two or three dudes who posing as fishermen and incite stop the boats to make a few moves and take good photos provided side they are then paid a kyats. You warned ye that are "fishermen do not fish more than tourists" and you must tell who handle the canoe that these false shows no you 're interested and that you stop where fishermen "real" are below that, fortunately, are still most (but do not know for how long) and you will never ask the slightest tip.

- In addition to visiting villages and floating markets in Inle Lake (it is the roaming market for five days, one at each site) and the wonderful Indein (go up to the stupas above), a highly recommended excursion is the one that takes you in just two hours. This is in zone Pa-O, land of an ethnic minority that is considered neither Myanmar if their own province (Shan State), and they maintain their pace of traditional life and ancestral customs. Pagoda Kakku account with over 2800 stupas (many with millennia old) in what seems a stone forest of Buddhism and where it is quite unusual to find western tourists. To get need a car with driver (we pay 45,000 kyat, about 32 €) and stop at Taunggi where pay a fee of $ 3 per person and another 5 $ (this car) to hire a local guide Pa-O that is mandatory escort visitors to the pagoda and a traditional village.

Mandalay and around

- Mandalay is a much more friendly and calm city Yangon that requires two to three days to visit its main nooks and its surroundings. Mandalay has the characteristic of being the last Burmese capital before colonization of the British in the nineteenth century, but across the Irrawaddy four other locations that were also capital after the collapse of Bagan are. Son Sagaing (a sacred hill where many Buddhist citizens go to meditate), Mingun (with a unfinished pagoda that had been the world's largest), Ava (capital for centuries and with a rich heritage of temples and monasteries between palm groves and fields rice) and Amarapura (famous for having the longest bridge in the world teak, U Bein, with more than 1.2 kilometers).

- A trip to Myanmar is not a trip if sunset is observed (also worth dawn but would be at 5:00 am) at the U Bein bridge. The atmosphere, the monks walking barefoot, light, colors ... are idyllic for perfect postcard of one of the great icons of China.

On Mount Popa and Golden Rock

- Two of the most sacred places in Myanmar and also the most visited, are Mount Popa and the Golden Rock. Both destinations, with a photogenic from which we have no doubt, are exciting from the side of the Faith of local visitors. But it is true that sometimes disappoints foreign tourists because they are not what one might expect from them. Mount Popa, considered the home of the 37 nats or spirits, has a delightful photograph from afar with a scenario that seems animated, but climbing the 777 steps to the temple that is above, with its peculiar kitsch style, stepping barefoot piss macaque (there are hundreds), not tops the best experience. That's why we appreciate these places from the religious point of view and stay, especially with the passion of people who come to them within one of the most anticipated travel of their lives. The same can be applied to the Golden Rock replacing the macaques by vendehumos around.

Many more essential to discover ...

- One of the best things about Myanmar is that even much of its territory is discovered. Many areas of the country, closed to tourism for decades, they are still a blank map where increasingly begin to identify new routes and major natural, monumental and cultural landmarks. The weather will continue opening them up and making them safer. For instance, there is another Bagan in Rakhine State, west, not far from the border with Bangladesh. It is Mrauk U, ancient capital of the Kingdom of Arakan, with hundreds of temples between wooded hills, and they say they visit no more than 5000 people a year (if we divide days of the year leaves an average of 13 visitors working day).

- It is curious that a country in Southeast Asia with almost 2,000 kilometers of coastline speak not just of its beaches. Ngapali is the Burmese Phuket (saving the distances because not even 1% of tourists or infrastructure) but many people are unaware that exist in the country countless idyllic islands and abundant wild beaches of white sand yet. Only in the Mergui Archipelago exceed the 800 islands, mostly uninhabited. And we talk of the Andaman Sea, Thailand Bathing the same further south, so it is impossible to get used to the idea truly the number of postcard beaches and diving or snorkeling possibilities that exist in that area.

THE ACCOMMODATION IN MYANMAR

- If something goes losing by a landslide Myanmar over other destinations in Southeast Asia it is that it is unable to maintain a minimally decent balance quality / price on their hotel services. What in Vietnamgives for a good four stars in the old Burma we would have a very basic small hotel or hostel. We are talking about an average price of 40-60 euros double room night in an extremely simple room (without cleaning thresholds we could want). It has a logical explanation and it is normal that in coming years the situation revert to a substantial improvement in both accommodation and to cheaper prices. Myanmar is a country that has been opened to tourism only recently and which now has more demand than supply.They are constructing new buildings and hotel facilities all train (just walk through Yangon to see signs of prestigious international hotel chains announcing their arrival) but now is not enough for tourism receiving country. That means that for small hotels with a middling, maximum two, star are making a killing. And of course, those who are able to give good rooms and a more typical Southeast Asian facilities are considered true luxury hotels asking price they please wins, no matter how outrageous it (300-500 € night in many cases). Public money that comes to Myanmar and is willing to pay these amounts any, so take advantage of it .

- What is good for hotels in Myanmar is that its staff is extremely helpful and attentive to the customer, who no castling with any problematic situation and always provides assistance when planning the trip. It is rare for a hotel you do not book the bus one needs or does not have at hand a car with driver to do any kind of excursion. They begin to understand the needs of those staying in its facilities and try to put things easy.

THE ART OF CROSSING THE STREET

- Crossing the street can be a high risk activity, especially during our first few hours in Yangon or Mandalay. When cars are not the bikes, if not motocarros, the trishaw, the horse-drawn carriages and even bullock carts. In this country, as in almost any Southeast Asian, it ignored traffic signals (when present), meaning that the mere fact of change can make us look authentic sidewalk suicide. But you should not panic for nothing but enter the game as soon as possible. One is immediately used to the traffic chaos and simply apply the best technique of all to cross the street, that is, to imitate the Burmese themselves. It consists of crossing slowly but steadily, blowing a lot of confidence, and never return backwards or become paralyzed because we frighten. Fear should not exist. Thus as if it were a miracle of life drivers they will go away to completely elude us. I assure you, although sometimes it seems, it is not in their plans for the day run over pedestrians.

JUST IN CASE, TRAVEL INSURANCE (AND INSURANCE)

- Whenever we travel abroad should be perfectly covered by what might happen, so always we go out with travel insurance. And Myanmar is no exception. It is not advisable to carry out a trip like this withouta good policy that covers us in Myanmar against possible accidents, illness or mishaps that may bring upon unaffordable extra costs (hospitalization or medical care in this country for a foreigner is extremely expensive). In our case to travel to Myanmar (and Bangkok , which was our stopover) use the Travel Insurance IATI because we think it has a higher than average (more than 60,000 euros in many policies) coverage, you advance the money if a problem occurs and offer a personalized service. Readers of this blog can hire Travel Insurance IATI that best suits what you are looking for a 5% discount (applied directly entering through this link).

- Myanmar is a really safe country to travel, especially in the areas they visit 99% of travelers (the typical route of the south coast, Golden Rock, Bago, Yangon, Inle Lake , Bagan, Mandalay and part of north, and a long ectétera). Their crime rates and crime are very low. The tone of Southeast Asia where one can go out with confidence and move at night without feeling any fear remains. This does not detract that there can be pickpockets that take advantage of the crowds and we have the obligation to keep certain precautions in response to logic. If we are cautious in our city, the same when we go traveling. Be anywhere.

- To date the arrival of typhoons or tropical storms of certain virulence it comes in handy occasionally looking information (especially in the rainy season) the website TropicalStormRisk.com (in English).Through this site one can follow a typhoon or storm almost a minute, knowing the planned route and the force with which it arrives. It is accurate enough, so when you approach something strong we can expect if we happen to us and anticipate events, because when strong typhoons there is the possibility of suspending flights, ground transportation, and so on .

A COUNTRY SHOPPING

- Myanmar is a veritable gold mine for shopping, especially souvenirs and crafts (have beautiful carvings).And the prices are outrageously good. If possible not come with luggage overfilled better, or may even be a good idea to get hold of another suitcase once we are there. At the end of a trip like this it is rare for us not come cargadísimos gifts from Myanmar. Are typical figures that we see in Buddhist temples and many Burmese puppets of all sizes and vivid colors (there since 5000 kyat, which are little more than 3 €, although the price increase as processing, clothing, dimensions , rarity or age). Instead Myanmar is not the best country in Asia to gain cheap brand clothes or made counterfeits (hence China , Cambodia and Thailand are more advanced in this regard). Anyway when you do not buy more we bring a set budget for this aspect that not be, because they are very low prices in the country can finish anything pure impulse.

- When buying in Myanmar haggling is a must. And very funny. Usually when we want an article (especially in craft shops, gifts, etc.) traders can ask us to first reach more than twice the value. That's where we come in, our patience and our expertise when negotiating. The advice I always give is not to show excessive interest in the object we want to acquire, hold head up price to pay (which should not happen if we do not think it's worth) and get into the game of trading postponing the possible to give a specific figure (and this had better stay away from our claims, already are they who deal uploading).When we see that we are not able to access our desired price we are willing to pay can be effective to make a last attempt consisting turn around and leave the store in question assuming negotiations broken article. If indeed the price we propose is acceptable and above all fair, the seller or seller will go fetch calculator in hand to make our final offer or accept our conditions permanently. If it does not that really the object to be worth more than what we had planned to pay. There will then enter the desire we have to take him home again to resume bargaining. We should feel guilty at all in any negotiation, or believe that we have paid less because that's never the case. They know perfectly their stops and always will be best served with logic. Nobody gives anything. Do not forget that you are merchants and heard it all. And we're also playing in their own country ...

WHAT EATS AS IN MYANMAR / BURMA?

- The Burmese cuisine is not the most delicious of Southeast Asia and many brand it as being something "greasy", but it has something good, you can easily find a great mix of influences from surrounding countries such Thailand, India, Bangladesh and, especially, China. In restaurants there is plenty of which more than 100% Burmese call "Asian cuisine". In Myanmar you can get to eat very well and in letters to the humblest restaurant there are usually lots of dishes to choose from . The dishes, although very spicy, not too spicy and the type of noodle soup is so broad that it is often difficult to decide. RECOMMENDATION: In Nyaungshwe (Inle Lake) eat the best Dim Sum in the country by far in Live Dim Sum House (43 Yone Gyi Street). I could not leave because we ended up recommending hooked on this site.

- The best experience we can have is in Myanmar mingle with people. Within hours of arriving in the country it is easy to realize that they are the best treasure of the country, well above the beautiful temples of Bagan or the Shwedagon Pagoda great. The people of Myanmar is the raison d'etre of travelers who discover a destination that still has that purity not too easy to see in other countries. THEY only worth embarking on such an adventure.

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