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Useful Information
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The information provided below will help you prepare for the trip.


TOURIST VISAS

A visa is COMPULSORY to enter Myanmar. A 28day tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors. If the visa is expired by a day or two, it is possible to pay three dollars per day on departure at airport.

Currently, options for obtaining tourist visas are at the most convenient embassy or consulate, or through newly implemented e-visa system.


Individual visa and Package Tour visa

These visas are issued by a Myanmar Embassy or Consulate. It usually takes 35 days to issue the visa. Visa Fees is US$ 30. With the confirmation of your booking, Asiantour will send the letter to the Embassy. Asiantour will need the full names, passport numbers, nationality and name of Myanmar Embassy. A copy of the letter will be send to you by fax or e-mail.


E-visa online system available from 1st September 2014

This newly implemented e-visa can be submitted at http://www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm. with terms and conditons. “Yangon” and “Mandalay” are entry points for the e-visa currently.

It will take one week to process visas, and the visa must be used within three months of issuance. Payment is submitted online using either MasterCard or Visa. The e-visa will be for single-entry and is valid 28 days after entering the country. After approval, the approval letter must be printed as it will be needed to board international flights. The approval letter needs to be submitted to immigration upon arrival.


AIRLINES (DOMESTIC)

There is 6 domestic airlines in Myanmar, Air Bagan, Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Air Kanbawza, Asia Wing and Man Yadanabone, Golden Myanmar Airline. 

All airlines fly French Italian ATR turboprop planes (Avions de Transports Régionaux), a type of plane well suited for the local conditions, airports and distances. The configuration is either 40 seats (ATR 42) or 70 seats (ATR 72) in rows of 4 seats with a middle aisle. Entry exit is at the back of the plane. Standard One¬class configuration.

We use private domestic airline only. If no other airline is flying to that destination except Myanmar Airways (not to be confused with Myanmar Airways International), we provide it with clients own risk.


AIRLINES (INTERNATIONAL)

The following airlines currently fly into Myanmar, mostly to Yangon (MINGALARDONE) International Airport:

FROM/TO BANGKOK (BKK)

  • Thai Airways(TG) (to Mandalay International airport also)
  • Bangkok Airways (PG)
  • Thai Air Asia (FD) (to Mandalay International airport also)
  • Golden Myanmar Airline (Y5)
  • Myanmar Airways International (8M)
  • Nok Air (DD)

FROM/TO SINGAPORE (SIN)

  • Singapore Airways(SQ)
  • Silk Air (MI)
  • Jetstar Asia(3K)
  • Golden Myanmar Airline (Y5)
  • Myanmar Airways International (8M)
  • Tiger Air (TR)

FROM/TO KUALA LUMPUR (KUL)

  • Air Asia (AK)
  • Malaysia Airlines (MH)
  • Myanmar Airways International (8M)

FROM/TO SEOUL (ICN)

  • Korean Air (KE)
  • Asiana (OZ)
  • Myanmar Airways International (8M)

FROM/TO TOKYO (NRT)

  • All Nippon Airways (NH)

FROM/TO TAIPEI (TPE)

  • China Airline (CI)

FROM/TO KUNMING (KMG)

  • China Eastern (MU)
  • Air China (CA)

FROM/TO NANNING (NNG)

  • China Eastern (MU)

FROM/TO BEIJING (BJS)

  • Air China (CA)

FROM/TO GUANG ZHOU (CAN)

  • China Southern Airline (CZ)
  • Myanmar Airways International (8M)

FROM/TO KOLKATA (CCU)

  • Air India(AI)

FROM/TO GAYA (GAY)

  • Air India (AI)
  • Myanmar Airways International

FROM/TO HONG KONG (HKG)

  • Dragon Air (KA)

FROM/TO DOHA (DOH)

  • Qatar Airways(QR)

FROM/TO HONOI (HAN) AND HO CHI MINH (SGN)

  • Vietnam Airline(VN)

FROM/TO CHIANG MAI (CNX)

  • Air Bagan (W9)

FROM/TO PHNOM PENH (PNH)

  • Myanmar Airways International

FROM/TO DHAKA

  • BIMAN BANGLADESH AIRLINES (BG)

VEHICLES

Vehicles used in Myanmar (from 3–seater saloon cars to 45-seater buses) are generally of an older manufacturing date (which can be 1995-2003 years back) as the import of new vehicles is still expensive (but less expensive than in the past). While every effort is made to provide the best possible and available options, visitors have to be prepared to travel in less comfortable vehicles than in neighboring countries like in Thailand, Laos or Cambodia. We appreciate your understanding. All vehicles do have air-conditioning (except Kengtung, Mrauk U and remote area) and Asian Tour provide all our clients with complimentary water in vehicles during sightseeing days.


ROAD TRAVEL

Road travel allows visitors to see more of the country and is a great way to get closer to the land and its people. However some distances are quite long in Myanmar, and they are even longer because road conditions make (relatively) fast travelling difficult. Roads are in poor conditions although efforts are being made to upgrade most roads especially after the yearly rainy season which ends in October. 


AIRPORT TAX

An international airport tax of 10 USD per person (quite fresh notes) is payable cash in USD or FEC (Foreign Exchange Certificates) when departing Myanmar on an international flight which can be included in air ticket price. Domestic airport departure tax is Kyats 1000 per person which is included in the package price.


ARRIVAL FORMALITIES

Queue up at the immigration counters with a filled out arrival card and your passport with your visa stamped inside. After passing immigration, collect your luggage from the luggage belt and proceed to the customs counter. Hand over your filled out customs form. Note that items of value such as jewellery, cameras and currency in excess of 2000 USD are supposed to be declared and taken again on departure, but in practice things are made quite easy for tourists. Also note that mobile phones and laptops are no longer kept in storage on arrival.


PROHIBITED ITEMS

Items of jewelry, cameras and foreign currency (above USD 2000) are supposed to be declared at customs upon entry (but, see above arrival formalities).

Export of Buddha images and antiques or articles of archaeological importance is prohibited. Gemstones can be safely bought only from government controlled outlets and the buyer should ask for a certificate (please read more details under Gems/Precious Stones ).


MOBILE PHONES

Most of your mobile phone will NOT work in Myanmar as Myanmar has currently no roaming agreement with most of the country.

MPT and newly introduce OOREDOO (Qatar base) & TELENOR (Norway base) mobile GSM sim cards are available in the market with Kyats 1,500 and mostly good connection in Yangon and Mandalay only.


INTERNET

Internet access is still in its development stages. Internet is also regulated in Myanmar and the access to some websites is filtered or impossible. Note that some free mail services like Yahoo, Gmail or Hotmail can be accessed in Myanmar recently. It is also possible to have your mail forwarded to Asiantour or the hotel email address.

Most of the hotels have now some internet terminals and in cities like Yangon, Mandalay and Nyaung Shwe (Inle Lake), you will also find some small internet cafés. Internet connections in Myanmar are generally slow and some patience will be required! There is Wifi free service in some public area and some hotels now adays.


EXCHANGE

You can change money at the banks at Yangon airport or city. Exchange rate at bank is better.

US DOLLARS are accepted for change everywhere and the EURO is getting more and more popular, especially in Yangon. The exchange rate in Yangon is generally better than upcountry.

Please bring new series US Dollar bills ("big heads" instead of "small heads") and with series numbers not starting with CB as these are not accepted in Myanmar due to rumors of these series being counterfeit. Generally notes should be in very good condition and not torn, dirty or washed out as these will not be accepted in Myanmar, even in many hotels!

Do not require to change alot to local currency if you already bought package tour. You can use US dollars at most of the place.


CREDIT CARDS & TRAVELERS CHEQUE

Credit cards and Travelers CHEQUE are currently mostly NOT ACCEPTED in Myanmar. Only some upscale restaurants and some hotels do accept credit cards with a charge (minimum 3%). As charging these cards requires going through the Internet, some delays can be experienced if the Internet connection is not working or slow.

Recently, tranvellers can withdraw local currency (KYATS) from their VISA/MASTER CARD through ATM MACHINES in banks, airports, shopping centers, etc. But withdraw amount is still limited, 1,000,000 Kyats per day and 300,000 Kyats per time. The same internet connection problem may occur.

Please make sure to bring enough cash (USD or EUROS) for main expenditure. Most hotels accept US Dollars as payment.


CURRENCY

The currency in Myanmar is the Kyat (pronounced 'chat'). As in many countries of the area, the US Dollar is the most useful currency to carry and it can be exchanged into local currency. However there is no need to change big amounts into the local currency as most of the places catering to tourists also accept payment in US Dollar bills.

The biggest kyat bills are 1000,5000 and 10000 kyats. Equivalent roughly 1 USD Dollar = 1000 Kyats.

The FEC (Foreign Exchange certificate) is not valid to use anymore.


GEMS / PRECIOUS STONES

Myanmar is well known for its riches in precious stones, especially rubies (pigeon blood) and jade (imperial jade). Should visitors chose to purchase gems, they do so at their own risk and rely solely on their own judgment and knowledge. Asiantour Travel Myanmar does not assume any responsibility for gem and antique purchases through “recommendations” made by our guides. Our guides are instructed not to recommend any specific shop. Even if pressed to do so by visitors, the sole responsibility for their purchase lies with the buyer. A relative guarantee for the quality of purchases is given by an official receipt and certificate issued by government licensed dealers. Prices in such shops are higher but are more credible and would theoretically allow you to return the purchase in case you are unhappy or if it is of lesser value. The issued paper can also be shown when exiting the country as export of gems and stones, and without such a government issued paper are illegal.


HEALTH

No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in Myanmar and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track.

Please consult with your usual doctor or a doctor specialized in tropical countries before traveling.


INSURANCE

Medical facilities are rather limited in Myanmar (Yangon has the best facilities) and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling. Such an insurance should absolutely cover the cost of an evacuation flight out of Myanmar (most of the time to Bangkok or Singapore) which is sometimes necessary either on a regular flight or on a special flight. For adventure tours, such as cycling, proof of purchase of a travel insurance policy will be required.


CLOTHING

Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for traveling in Myanmar. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat and umbrella are a good idea in the rainy season and the umbrella can also offer useful shade from the sun.

Evenings in the hill stations and on Inle Lake can be quite chilly so bring a sweater or other warm clothing if visiting these areas. This applies especially for the winter months from November to February for treks and the Inle lake area where early morning boat rides can be quite cold. Visitors should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting pagodas and monasteries.

Shoes (and socks!) must be removed before entering any religious building or private home. It is therefore useful to wear shoes without too many laces and which can easily be taken off.


ELDERLY PEOPLE

Some roads in Myanmar are not in the best shape and most of the vehicles are also a bit older. For elderly people or those with health and back problems especially, we recommend avoiding longer road trips like Bagan to Kalaw or Inle Lake to Mandalay. In some places like Monywa Po Win Taung, some open air jeep rides are planned. Please let us know in advance of people with back problems or who need special attention are traveling in order for us to make necessary arrangements.


ELECTRICITY

Myanmar uses 220V, and a mixture of flat 2pin, round 2pin or 3pin plugs. It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor. Power outages are quite common but most hotels have their own generator.


ENTERTAINMENT

There is not much in the way of western style entertainment in Myanmar but Yangon has some good restaurants and there are a few bars and nightclubs, notably in the city's international hotels. In the rest of the country, entertainment is mainly confined to the hotels, mainly tourist orientated restaurants and the ubiquitous Burmese teashops.


FOOD

The staples of Burmese cuisine are rice, rice noodles, and curries. The main ingredient of the meal is usually rice and the curries tend to be not as spicy as those from India or Thailand. A clear soup called ‘hingyo’ accompanies most meals and a fermented fish sauce or paste called ‘ngapiye’ is usually served to add to the flavor. Chinese, Indian and European food is served in restaurants at most tourist places.


HOURS OF BUSINESS

Offices are usually open from Monday to Friday from 09:30 until 16:00. Most shops are open every day. An exception is Bogyoke Market (Scott Market), which is closed on Monday, on public holidays and full moon days (like all markets in Myanmar).


LANGUAGE

The national language of Myanmar is Burmese, of which there are over 80 different dialects spoken. The written language uses an amazing looking script based on ancient Indian characters. In the cities many of the older generation still speak very good English and it is also becoming popular again with the younger generation.


PHOTOGRAPHY

Normal print films are available in Myanmar but professional quality films (like slide films) are very difficult to find and it is better to bring your own. In towns like Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Nyaung Shwe, digital photos can easily be downloaded and loaded onto a CD-ROM in case you run out of memory. It is not allowed to photograph facilities with strategic military interest (bridges, army compounds, police stations, army personnel, etc.).


PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  2015
Independence Day January 4
Union Day February 12
Farmer's Day March 2
Armed Forces Day March 27
New Year Holidays April 12-21
Labor Day May 1
Full moon of Kason May 2
Full moon of Waso July 31
Martyr’s Day July 19
Full moon of Thidyingyut October 28
Full moon of Tazaungmone November 26
National Day December 6
Karen New Year -
Christmas Day December 25

MAJOR FESTIVALS

    Year 2015
Manaw Festival (Kachin New Year) (Myitkyina)   January 10
Naga New Year Festival (Naga Land)   January 14 – 15
Ananda Pagoda Festival (Bagan) From 8 waxing day to
14 warning day of Pyartho
December 28 – January 18
Mahamuni Pagoda Festival (Mandalay) From 14 waxing day to
full moon day of Tabodwe
February 2 – 3
Water Festival (throughout Myanmar)   April 13 – 16
Taung Pyone Nat (Spirit) Festival
(near Mandalay)
From 8th Waxing day to
the full moon day of Wagaung
August 23 – 30
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival
(Inle Lake)
1st Waxing Day to
3rd Warning day of Thindingyut
October 14 – 31
Thadingyut (Light) Festival
(throughout Myanmar)
14th Waxing day of Thingyut October 27 – 29
Dummy Elephant Festival
(Kyauk Sae, near Mandalay)
From 14th Waxing day October 27 – 28
Shwezigone Pagoda Festival (Bagan) 8th Waxing day to the new moon day of Tazaungmon November 19 – December 11
Hot Air Balloons Festival (Taunggyi) 10th Waxing day to full moon day of Tazaungmon November 21 – 26
Robe Weaving Contest (at Shwedagone Pagoda and major pagodas) 14th Waxing day of Tazaungmon November 25

RELIGION

Buddhism is the dominant religion in Myanmar and over 85% of the population practices it. The monastery is the traditional focal point of village life in Myanmar and monks rely on villagers for donations of both money and food. Every boy in Myanmar is expected to spend sometime as a monk. The remainder of the population are Christians, Muslims and animists.


SHOPPING

There are many fantastic local products in Myanmar that make excellent souvenirs and memories from your trip. Traditional crafts include lacquer ware, especially in Bagan, woodcarvings, stone carvings, bronze work, rattan, silver jewelers, silk longyis and hand-woven textiles.


TIME DIFFERENCE

Myanmar is 6h 30 min ahead of GMT in winter and 5h 30min in summer: 1500H GMT = 2130H in Myanmar (winter). Myanmar is 30 minutes behind Bangkok (Thailand) time: 1500H in Bangkok = 1430H in Myanmar.


TIPPING

Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated in a country where the average annual income is only around 250 USD per month. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters can also be tipped.


WEATHER

Myanmar has three seasons similar to many other parts of Southeast Asia. The Southwest monsoon starts at the end of May or beginning of June and lasts until the end of September. This season brings frequent and heavy downpours of rain, mainly in the afternoon and evening especially in Yangon, the rest of the country is dryer. In the rainy season the weather is more humid what can make travelling less comfortable. The rains give way to dry weather in October and the temperatures are generally lower and more pleasant at this time. In March the temperatures start to climb again leading up to the next rainy season at the end of May. Temperatures between March and May can be very hot reaching over 35oC in some places.
NOTE: Myanmar is in the northern hemisphere so it is also winter from November to February. You need to bring some warm clothing for early mornings everywhere, and especially for higher areas like Shan State (Kalaw, Inle Lake, Pindaya, Kengtung, Putao). The hotels in those areas are NOT equipped with heating or fireplaces so be prepared for some colder nights!


WATER

It is not advisable to drink tap water but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. All hotels provide a complimentary bottle of local mineral water per person in the room. Ice cubes in drinks is generally OK in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls or in country areas. Some minor stomach problems are always possible when traveling in exotic countries. Bring a supply of your usual antidiarrhoea medicine.

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R4/202, Shwe Than Lwin Compound, Pun Hlaing Street, 
Sanchaung Tsp., Yangon, Myanmar.

Tel : (95-1) 500 062, 230 4688, (95-9) 511 2006, 513 3958
Fax: (95-1) 500 062
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