Myanmar Travel Tips

Traveling to Myanmar (Burma) with Viet Holiday Travel offers a chance to experience a part of Asia that remains much as it was a hundred years ago. This will change now that Aung San Su Kyi, among others, have begun to tentatively encourage travelers to experience this beautiful country, but for now you should expect infrastructure and facilities to be somewhat limited. Bring and open mind and a flexible approach and you will be rewarded by some spectacular scenery, like the serene Inle Lake, and stunning sights like the striking Buddhist temples of Bagan. Meeting the people – warm, curious, gracious and friendly – is sure to be a highlight.

Health & Fitness
As with traveling to other parts of Asia, you need to take precautions when visiting Burma. Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are endemic in Burma. You should talk to your doctor about prophylaxis, and ensure you bring clothing that covers your arms and legs as well as a good quality repellent. Some other diseases known to exist in Burma include hepatitis A and B, tetanus, typhoid, tuberculosis, diphtheria, rabies and HIV/AIDS. We strongly recommend you consult your doctor with regards to vaccinations and up-to-date health advice at least a month before you depart.
Medical facilities outside Yangon are extremely limited. In the event that you require any surgical treatment, you will likely need to be evacuated to Bangkok.

Visa Information
All passengers traveling to Burma need a tourist visa to enter the country. You must apply for your visa from your closest Burmese embassy or consulate prior to departure. Visa processing normally takes at least 14 days so you will need to plan well in advance.
In most cases, you will need to supply a detailed itinerary, including your international flights, along with a covering letter from Viet Holiday Travel or your travel agent.
Note: It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa in time to travel. Regulations do change from time to time so please check with your closest embassy or consulate well in advance of your planned travel date.

Safety & Security
Burma is a generally a very safe country to travel in and crime targeting tourists is rare. Nonetheless, you should apply common sense as you would when traveling anywhere. Make sure your spending money is out of sight and near your body, and keep jewellery to a minimum. You may wish to use a money belt, especially if you are traveling on trains during your stay.
In major cities, we recommend traveling by taxi if you are out at night. Make sure you negotiate and agree to a price before you get in. It is always a good idea to carry a hotel address card with you to show your driver.
While on holiday in Burma, always keep a photocopy of your essential documents i.e. passport, airline tickets, credit cards and traveler’s cheques, separate from the originals in a safe place. Most hotels have room-safes or deposit boxes at reception where you can store valuables.
If you would like to know more about how to stay safe when traveling with Travel Indochina, you can read our full safety guidelines here.

Getting Around
Arrival and Departure Transfers
+ Arrival transfer: If you have booked an arrival transfer for your holiday in Burma, you will find your driver waiting for you at the airport in Yangon. our representatives will be carrying a signboard with your name on it.

+ Road: For six travelers or more, we use air-conditioned 20-30 seat buses when traveling by road in Burma. If you are traveling in a smaller group, travel will be by air-conditioned minibus or modern sedan car. In some areas, where road conditions require it, we may use 4WD vehicles.

+Air: Domestic flights are on local carriers including the privately-owned Air Bagan, Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways. Schedules can sometimes change at short notice and could affect your travel plans.

+ Boat: Like elsewhere in Asia, Burma offers some opportunities for river travel. On our Burma Revealed Small Group Tour, you will take a half-day boat ride on the Irrawaddy River in Mandalay.

+Other: Bicycles and your feet.

Internet: Internet access is becoming more widely available in Burma, both in hotels and at internet cafes. Some offer WiFi. It is usually more cost-effective to use a service outside the hotel. Some sites may be blocked.

+ Telephone: International Direct Dial (IDD) services are available at most hotels but can be expensive. There is a mobile phone network in Burma, but you probably won’t be able to access it via roaming.

+ Mail: The cost of sending international mail is less than in Australia. Postcards and letters will take around 2 weeks to reach Australia.

Food & Drink
Burmese cuisine is a blend of Chinese, Indian and local influences. Rice is staple and stir fries and curries are popular, though you will find they are less spicy than Indian and Thai curries, relying instead on ginger and garlic for flavour. There are regional variations: seafood is more popular on the coast, and preserved meats are more common inland. At many restaurants, you will also find a range of Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes on offer.
One must-try is the national dish, mohingal. It is very popular for breakfast and features vermicelli noodles in a spicy fish broth, along with boiled egg and fritters. Tropical fruits are readily available.
You should not drink the water from the tap, and use bottled water even to clean your teeth. Bottled drinking water is usually provided free of charge in hotels and is readily available for purchase elsewhere.

Tipping is a personal matter, and you should never feel obligated to tip; however when traveling in Burma, a tip is often an appropriate way to show your appreciation for great service.
If you are joining one of our small group tours or private tour, your local guide will ask for a small sum at the beginning of your stay in Burma. This will be used to tip hotel porters and boat crews during your trip. This means that you do not have to worry about having small change on hand, and helps to prevent over-tipping.
You may also choose to show your appreciation for Viet Holiday Travel guides, drivers and tour leaders with a tip; however, it is not compulsory to do so