Myanmar Travel Notes

A comprehensive, printed pre-tour packet will be mailed upon confirmation of your trip, below is only brief information only for your trip. The pre-tour materials cover far more than the brief listing of key topics here and contain a wealth of advice and essential information to make your trip as enjoyable as possible. Please read them carefully before your arrival.

Thank you for joining us in Myanmar, we're looking forward to sharing what past traveler's have remarked is one of the most fascinating places they've ever traveled. Once you arrive, we'll ensure your vacation is a pleasant, safe, and enjoyable one. Until then, please review the tour preparation information below, paying special attention the visas section.


Myanmar Trip Planning

When to visit?

The most pleasant weather in Myanmar is October though March, when it is cooler at lower elevations (averaging about 18-24 C° or 64-75 F°), but our Myanmar tours can be enjoyed nearly year round, escaping to the higher, cooler elevations such as the beautiful Inle Lake in the Shan mountains and Pyin U Lwin. The hottest season falls between March and May (23-33 C° or 77-99 F°). Light, afternoon rains begin in June with cooler weather (not an unpleasant time to visit and when tourists avoid the country). August brings monsoons that last through mid-September.

The vibrant festival season in Myanmar runs through October and November is an outstanding time to visit and worth planning your visit around, but you should plan to do so well in advance, flights and accommodations can fill up to a year in advance. [View Myanmar Festivals Calendar]

NEED TO KNOW

- Myanmar is a year-round destination (see weather & climate below)
- Luxury hotels are few and can fill six months in advance
- Despite news reports, Myanamr is safe for travelers who are far removed from ethnic and religious strife in the Rakhine State.

AIRLINES

Contact us for quotes and suggested routing and carriers. If oyu are traveling reginally, we will be arranging for all airlines, visas, and expedited immigration.

TRIP COST

Private trips from US$350/day, per day

MYANMAR CLIMATE

Central Myanmar (Bagan, Mandalay, and Inle) where most of your time will be spent, is not subject to monsoons like Yangon, so travel may occur almost any month (though March and April are very hot)
Best Months : November - February
Moderate : July & August (Yangon rainy)
Adverse : March & April (heat)
[View Myanmar Weather & Climate Chart]

Myanmar Weather and Climate Chart

BOOK TO PACK

From the Land of Green Ghosts
From the Land of Green Ghosts by Pascal Khoo Thweby Pascal Khoo Thwe (autobiography). The incredible and unlikely From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey A Burmese Odysey by Pascal Khoo Thwetale of a Padaung hilltribe boy who went on to become a rebel and eventually make his way to England to attend college."

BEFORE YOU GO

Our comprehensive pre-tour cover every detail of your trip and travel in Mynamar
Top Myanmar Travel Myth
"Myanmar is unsafe for travel." The ethnic and religious strife is isolated in the Rakhine State, where Buddhist and Muslim populatons have clashed for decades. This area is off limit for travelers, and your sightseeing will be in the safe destinations of central and southern Myanmar, again far away from any trouble.

Pre-departure

Airlines
Please contact before booking your airlines. Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, and Bangkok all have direct flights into Yangon (with Bangkok having the most daily flights and most convenient for overnight), although schedules will vary by the day of the week. An overnight in Bangkok may be required and is typical in- and out-bound from Myanmar.

If arranging your own flights, be aware the primary cause of trip disruption are delayed flights while transiting domestically.

In general, try to avoid these major airports for connections which have the most delayed departures in the U.S.:

Chicago Midway (MDW): 32.6 percent of flights delayed
Newark (EWR): 31 percent of flights delayed
Baltimore-Washington (BWI): 26.6 percent of flights delayed

On-time reliability of your flight? Check: http://www.flightstats.com

If you are delayed en route to Myanmar, please contact our San Francisco, Yangon or Bangkok offices (below) so we can reschedule your airport transfer or adjust any other arrangements as necessary.

Bangkok Airport Information
ARRIVAL: No visa required for Bangkok. Meet escort after entering terminal for expedited immigration, baggage retrieval, and private transfer to riverfront hotel (55 minutes).

TRANSIT: No visa is required for Thailand. Meet escort after entering terminal for luggage retrieval and transfer to connecting gate. The newer airport is easy to navigate and efficient, leaving plenty of time to shop and eat. The airport offers free WiFi Internet access although you must request an access code at any information kiosk.

Private Jet FBO Facility and Ground Handling Services in Yangon
Yangon International now features a world-class private jet terminal and a full-range business aviation facility. Located next to domestic passenger terminal, the terminal offers a luxury executive lounge with over a 2,800 square feet of area equipped with a shower facility, a business center, four crew day rooms and an office for flight planning and crew briefings. The two-story center also has a direct access to the 32,000 square foot hangar owned by Myanmar Airways where private aircraft can be parked. A dedicated on-site customs and immigration clearance including a security screening check point with built-in baggage X-ray machine facilitates rapid entry and departure.

ENTERING MYANMAR

Myanmar may only be entered by air.

MYANMAR VISA

A visa or visa authorization form issued in advance is required to enter Myanmar. Indochina Travel typically arranges for this visa or authorization, but see below for visa procedures.

VISA PROCEDURES

Indochina Travel will apply for your "eVISA" which is valid for 28 days and the validity of eVISA approval letter is (3) months from the issued date. If it is expired, entry will be denied. The processing time is maximum (5) working days for granting eVisa.

Countries currently eligible for eVisa: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, China, Czech, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea (DPR), Korea (Republic), Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Nepal, Netherlands New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United State of America, Vietnam.

Non-eVisa eligible procedures for Visa on Arrival (VOA). Please submit the following information to us for your Visa on Arrival at least one month before departure:

  1. Copy of passport (with photo and personal details page)
  2. Ethnic origin (e.g., Chinese, Spanish etc)
  3. Religion
  4. Place of Birth
  5. Occupation (do not enter reporter or journalist)

Once we receive this information our staff will fill in the visa on arrival form on your behalf and these visa forms will be given to immigration services at the airport in Yangon. After arrival, you will need to go to Visa on Arrival counter to be processed.

** Please confirm dates on your visa authorization form are correct for your dates of travel.

** To board your flight into Yangon, the airline will locate your visa-on-arrival permission in their computer system. If there is any issue with locating your permission, please show them your hard-copy visa authorization. If there is still an issue, ask the airline to immediately contact the Yangon office (contact below).

GENERAL TRAVEL NOTES

  • Carry office, driver, guide, and hotel contact information at all times.
  • Bring adequate of amount U.S. Currency which is only accepted for some expenses such as visas. Credit cards and ATMs are unreliable (except Thailand). AMEX is rarely accepted.
  • Only local mobile phones work within Myanmar (we can arrange a local rental with international capability).
  • Contact your credit card company with travel plans so your charges will not be held up.
  • Contact your local manager in-country for any issue you may have while traveling.
  • Electrical outlets adapters are compatible with U.S. two-prong style plugs in all of Asia except Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
  • The charger for your camera, iPad, mobile phone and most other gadgets with adapt automatically to local 220v current, but check the fine print on your adapter/charger.
  • Make a paper copy of your passport and driver's license, invaluable for replacing a lost passport.
  • Take photos of your passport, visas, and credit cards to store on your smart phone.
  • State Department reports are typically worst case scenarios and do not reflect actual travel risks withing countries. Moreover, you are on a tour with experienced support staff. If there is any risk to where you will be traveling, we will be the first to notify you.
  • Mobile coverage is quite good throughout Asia. However, roaming charges can be exorbitant. With an iPhone, switch your iPhone to airplane mode—which turns off roaming charges and data—and turn on Wi-Fi where available to use FaceTime which is free. For Android, Skype and Viber are free alternative.
  • Open a free Syncplicity account (faster and easier to use then Dropbox) to backup your photos as you travel.
  • Flickr and Facebook are good sites for sharing photos of your trip.

PASSPORT EXPIRATION RULES

All visitors to Myanmar must arrive with a passport that does not expire within six months after the date that you depart Yangon. If your passport expires in less than six months from the start of your trip, you will need to renew your passport immediately or you may not be allowed entry into Myanmar.

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insurance
Obtain adequate cancellation insurance. Each year, we have several clients who must cancel trips for the most unexpected reasons. Cancellation insurance also covers trip delay, invaluable for booking alternative flights and hotels on the spot. We can provide a competitive quote through our partner, CSA Protection.

HEALTH INSURANCE & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Medical and air evacuation insurance can be provided through Indochina Travel through our partner, International SOS, with an office and clinic in Yangon. This insurance is for emergency treatment and air evacuation only and should be supplemented by standard medical insurance.

MEDICATION AND CONTACT LENSES

If you are taking medication, we recommend that you bring enough medication to last for the entire time that you expect to be in Myanmar. It can otherwise be difficult to obtain a prescription for pre-existing conditions once in Myanmar. We also recommend that you pack your medication as part of your carry-on luggage in case your main luggage is delayed. If you have a notable medical condition, please inform us in advance; no one likes surprises, and just remember that this is all for your safety. All medical records will be kept strictly confidential.

VACCINATIONS

No special vaccinations are required in necessary in Myanmar. It is recommended you have Hepatitis A and B, and an up-to-date Tetanus shot.

MALARIA

Data for malaria infections has yet to reach the accuracy of Thailand and Indochina. Although the CDC and U.K. Health authorities (TRAVAX Scotland) lists malaria as occurring throughout the country, they cite low to no risk in Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan (Annual Parasite Incidence of less than 0.1 infection per 1000 population, per annum). The Shan State, above 1,000 meters, which includes Inle Lake is also malaria free. This information is also repeated in the malaria risk map below from the Malaria Consortium (all destinations in grey regions). Indochina Travel does not provide recommendations on immunizations, please use this information only to compliment your own consultation with a travel disease specialist.

Source: http://www.malariaconsortium.org/

If you are traveling with us outside these places, please consult with your medical doctor whether you should to take a malarial prophylaxis. Please do bring a repellent such as 3M's Ultrathon (order the spray bottle) and hotels will have mosquito nets or air conditioning.

MONEY MATTERS

Aside from visas, exchange is the most common issue for travelers to Burma. There are now more ATMS, even in remote areas, and credit cards are now more widely accepted. However, we still recommend you bring along cash to cover most of your trip expenses. Note: for exchanging euros or dollars, the Burmese are most strict about the condition bills they will accept, often rejecting even newer-issue US hundred dollar bills that are creased or may have a simple pen mark or tear.

Exchanging money is a simple matter at any airport. In rural areas, odd denominations such as tens or twenties may be harder to cash with locals are reluctant to accept them (although your hotel and merchants in larger cities such as Mandalay will). Instead, bring hundred dollar bills to cash into the local currency, kyat, which of course gives you maximum flexibility. In a pinch, we will provide you with a cash advance from your credit card.

Government-run places and services (such as museums, archaeological sites,and transport) and airport fees are to be paid for in US dollars or FEC notes, not euros. Items such as meals, bus tickets, trishaw or taxi rides, bottles of water or beer and market items are usually quoted in the local currency, kyat.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Myanmar now enjoys good mobile coverage. As of 2016, most foreign mobile phones will now work in the country. Please check your roaming charges and other specifics before departure:

T-Mobile: check rates and device coverage for Myanmar

Verizon Myanmar coverage Map

Sprint roaming coverage in Myanmar

Keep in mind your guide will have an international-capable mobile phone at all times and you are welcome to give contacts this number to reach you as well. Internet, with sporadic performance, is available at most hotels or nearby providers. Wi-Fi outside of hotels is still not common. Yangon Internet access is good, while up-country in Bagan, Inle Lake, and smaller towns, you may expect limited speed and reliable connection.

WEATHER & CLIMATE NOTES

Myanmar is typically dry and hot up-country (Bagan, Mandalay), year-round and cooler (even chilly at night and mornings on Inle Lake during the winter). Please pack thermals and a light fleece shell if you are visiting Inle or the Kalaw Highlands during the cooler months. The rainy season begins in June, though only with a cycle of afternoon showers, then moving into heavier monsoon.

MYANMAR DOMESTIC AIRLINES

All carriers in Myanmar still use printed, paper tickets that will be hand-delivered by your guide after arrival. Airlines do not assign seating and there is no business class seating offered at this time.

HOTELS

Myanmar does not yet have the level of hotel quality as neighboring Thailand, or other countries in region, with only has a handful of luxury-class hotels (which can fill up to a year in advance). It is essential we book well ahead of the high season (November to March).

MYANMAR PACKING LIST

New luggage restrictions on regional airlines typically limit baggage to 20 kilograms, or about 44 pounds for each piece of checked-in luggage. Regional overweight baggage fees can be excessive. Lao aviation, for example, charges roughly $2-4 per pound over this limit.

Use the following checklist to assist you in narrowing down the number of overall items in your luggage:

  • Passport (and Photocopy)
  • Visa (and Photocopy)
  • Plane tickets (and Photocopy)
  • Money/passport pouch
  • Traveler's checks (bring receipts)
  • Credit card (for cash advance
  • Photocopy of birth certificate
  • Photocopy of immunization record
  • Burmese phrase and guide books
  • Basic first-aid kit
  • Mosquito repellent (with DEET)
  • Lip balm with sunscreen
  • Waterproof sun-screen (high SPF)
  • Sandals or thongs (beach only)*
  • Camera, flash, film Business or contact cards
  • Extra camera battery
  • Medications Journal
  • Photos from home to share
  • Small utility knife Small binoculars
  • Feminine needs
  • Sweater or light jacket for Yangon
  • Sunglasses
  • Walking shorts (one pair)
  • One pair light pants - jeans cool season
  • Collared (1) and T-shirts (2)
  • Underwear (3)
  • Light socks (3)
  • Light, comfortable shoes
  • Bathing suit
  • Small wash cloth
  • Small towel
  • Wide-brimmed, sun hat
  • Address book
  • Business or contact cards
  • Earplugs
  • Medications Journal
  • Small gifts for school children (pens)
  • Small binoculars

* Because of the uneven surfaces on streets, unexpected obstacles, and debris, we do not recommend open-toe sandals.

Packing & Need to Know for a stay in Putao
Please pack sturdy shoes, a waterproof daypack for boating, and a light rain jacket. Bring a flashlight or headlamp with spare batteries, water purifying tablets, pocketknife, 3M's Ultrathon mosquito repellent (in spray bottle), sunscreen, along with reading, and writing materials A personal first aid kit is also a good idea, with "second skin" for blisters.

Local Supplies: Putao has a small morning market, where you can buy cheap woolen hats, fleece, and cheap boots imported from China. The same precautions apply as anywhere else in Southeast Asia. Drink bottled, boiled or treated water, avoid eating raw vegetables, and eat fruits that you can peel or cut yourself. It's important to use insect repellent to keep mosquitoes away.

CRIME

Crime against foreigners in Myanmar is very rare. The Burmese, as you will discover, are deeply Buddhist. In addition, like Vietnam, Cuba, and other police states, committing crimes against travelers is a serious offense (simple theft can bring a multiple-year jail sentence).

RAFTING and TREKKING IN MYANMAR

Hiking programs in Putao are classified as "Easy" with only a short element of trekking on good paths and predominantly at low altitudes; "Moderate" involve relatively short days combination of lowland trekking with some up and down; "Demanding" involve longer trekking days at higher altitude on difficult terrain. For rafting, grades are classified by number i.e.: “Grade 2+ = Easy” usually gentle water with occasional rapids which clients can enjoy sites and sound while our crew paddles the raft; “Grade 3-4 = Demanding” are more adventurous in the white water with multiple rapids, during which everyone must take part as a team to maneuver the raft. None of the programs require technical mountaineering or rafting skills, or previous experience.

CONTACT US

There are no medical facilities in Putao and local staff may attempt to organize air evacuation to Mandalay or Yangon in the event of an urgent emergency.

For any questions about preparing for your trip, please contact us in San Francisco.

San Francisco
Tel: (415) 680-3788
Email: tree@indochinatravel.com

In-Country Contacts
Bangkok
Supakorn Saripha, Managing Director, Bangkok, Thailand (66-81) 797-1722 (24-hour)

Yangon
121 Anawrahta Street, First Floor
Tel (from US): 011 (951) 29 34 64 & (951) 86 10 647
Fax: 011 (951) 29 40 50
Managing Director: Tin Tin Htar Oo, Mobile: 011 (959) 200 5633 (24-hours)
[in country, dial: 09 200 5633]
Mr. Min Lwin Win ("Min"), Mobile 011 (959) 515 8255 [in country: 09 515 8255]

International SOS Medical Clinic Yangon
Dusit Inya Lake Resort
37 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Yangon
Tel: +95 1 657 922
Fax: +95 1 667 866
Web: https://www.internationalsos.com/locations/asia-pacific/myanmar

Office Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm Saturday 8:30am to 12.30pm
SOS clinic offers full out-patient and emergency services for members and visitors in Myanmar, delivered by a professional team of expatriate and national medical specialists.

Call us in San Francisco at (415) 680-3788 or submit your contact information below to have us contact you.

INDOCHINA Travel Company

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1283 12th Avenue San Francisco, California
Phone: (415) 680-3788