Important Things to Know Before Visiting Myanmar

Travelling to Myanmar is different than other Southeast Asian countries. Its tourism sector is still in its infancy and as such, is still very untouched by tourism. Although this has its benefits, like being hyped as ‘What Southeast Asia was like in the past,” Myanmar can be difficult to navigate. With that in mind here are some important things to know before visiting Myanmar.

Myanmar Roads

How to Tackle the Endless Temples in Bagan 3

Most roads in Myanmar are unpaved so long road trips can be challenging. As the roads are in poor condition, passages in the rainy season, which is from May to October, make road trips a challenge.

Bus Travel

Yangon is the capital of Myanmar and is a bustling metropolis. It’s a blend of traditional Burmese culture enjoying modern city conveniences. Bagan lies to the north, which is home to more than 2,000 temples. If you are looking for a transport option from Yangon to Bagan then there are many public and private bus services.

As these tickets sell out fast, make sure you book yours in advance. You can even book return tickets from Bagan to Yangon online on sites like Distances are long and road travel is slow but note, bus services are comfortable with AC coaches available.

Taxi Travel

Taxi travel between cities is not the best as rates can be more than what you would pay for the intercity bus or even a flight.

Plane Travel

Ten airlines operate in Myanmar however flights to tourist destinations not serviced by an international airport can be expensive. My flight from Bangkok to Mandalay, for example, was about $45. My short hop from Mandalay to Bagan was $200.

Hiring Bikes 

How to Tackle the Endless Temples in Bagan 2

Renting a bike the cheapest travel option, however, Myanmar is a dusty country. It’s wise to cover your mouth and wear sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen. Avoid hiring e-bikes if you are an inexperienced rider and have allergies.

Cyclone Season

From April to October, Myanmar experiences treacherous storms that can wreak havoc causing dangerous landslides and floods. Avoid travelling by road during this time.

Off Limit Areas for Foreigners

How to Tackle the Endless Temples in Bagan 4
Getting off the tourist route.

Foreigners can not enter some areas as per the Myanmar government. You will need a proper permit to enter the off-limit regions. The rules are enforced stringently, so never expect to be greeted in a totally restricted area without a permit.

Money in Myanmar

  • You can use Kyat and USD
  • ATM dispenses kyat only
  • ATMs are available but ensure to have some cash in your pocket before visiting remote spots. The ATM may not be working or is damaged.
  • For every withdrawal, you will pay $4 or more bank charges depending on your bank.
  • You can withdraw only $150 at a time.

Travel cost to Myanmar

  • The tourist areas of Myanmar are expensive compared to other Southeast Asia countries. Accommodation costs range from $20 to $100 per night and up.
  • Street food is affordable [$1 to $2], restaurant costs $2 to $4, and anything like pizza will end you in $7 to $13 bracket.
  • Bottled water is priced well – less than 50 cents per litre.

Happy travel to Myanmar!

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