Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do I need a visa to travel to Myanmar?
A. Unless you come from Japan, Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, or from a South-East Asian country, you'll need a visa to visit Myanmar.
A select few countries' citizens can get visas on arrival - this includes Australia, Switzerland, Germany and Italy as well as China. But you'll need to be flying into one of the three international airports - Yangon, Mandalay or Naypyidaw.
EU citizens and citizens of the USA, among others, can get eVisas online. A tourist eVisa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and allows a maximum 28 day stay. In addition to the three international airports, eVisa holders can use three land border crossings from Thailand (and two with India).
Other countries will need to apply for a visa at a Myanmar embassy or consulate.
Whether you qualify for visa on arrival or get an eVisa, a tourist visa will cost you $50.
For more information, please see: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/
Q. Where do I apply for my visa to Myanmar?
A. Passport holders from most countries are eligible to apply for an eVisa. Check this government website for more information: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/
Q. When should I apply for my visa?
A. The validity of the E-visa is 90 days from the date of issue, so don’t apply for it more than three months in advance of your trip.
Q. Will bottled water be readily available?
A. Bottled water is readily available and some hotels provide complimentarily. We recommend drinking only purified bottled water.
Q. Can you tell me about the hotels in Myanmar?
A. The hotels that we work with are either 3, 4 or 5 star-rated, always very clean and really quite beautiful. We’ve chosen these based on comfort, how well they can accommodate our group(s), affordability, location, and how unique they are.
Q. What currency is used in Myanmar?
A. The national currency is the kyat, pronounced 'chat'. You'll need to get used to strings of zeroes, as a dollar is about 1500 kyat. Small notes such as K100 and K200 are useful for making donations at temples; you're more likely to use bigger notes such as K5,000 and K10,000 for everyday transactions.
Q. What are the business hours in Myanmar?
A. Government offices are open from 10 am to 4 pm on weekdays. Banking hours are from 10 am to 2 pm. Private owned companies are open every day except on Sundays and gazetted holidays. Shopping centres and supermarkets are open daily. The most famous Bogyoke (Scott) market is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm except on gazetted holidays.
Q. Can I use US dollars in Myanmar?
A. Many guesthouses and hotels quote their prices in dollars and will accept payment in dollar bills. But if you're using dollars, make sure they're in tip-top condition, as grubby notes are unlikely to be accepted.
Q. Are debit and credit cards accepted in Myanmar?
A. Both Mastercard and Visa are accepted throughout the country. However, most shops and restaurants still only use cash, with the exception of top-end restaurants in major cities.
Q. Are ATMs available in Myanmar?
A. ATMs can be found in the big cities and tourist centres, such as Yangon, Mandalay, and the towns around Inle Lake and Bagan. You'll pay a K5,000 withdrawal fee each time. However, ATMs are not reliable, so it is best to have a reserve of dollar bills. You should probably ensure you have a couple of days' reserve in kyat so that you're never at the mercy of the ATM.
Q. What tips do you have on packing for a trip to Myanmar?
A. Please check our 10 Packing Essentials Guide for all information on packing tips.
Q: Is it appropriate to wear shorts and tank tops in Myanmar?
A: No it’s not. Though it is one hot country, it is very conservative when it comes to clothing. You’ll be best off wearing light pants, capris (below the knees), or skirts (again, below the knees).
Q. Can I bring my laptop?
A. Of course, you will have power at all of the hotels. Power outages may happen but not frequently. But just don’t expect consistent internet access.
Q. Are there hairdryers at the hotels?
A. Sometimes, but don’t count on it. As mentioned above, there will be power at all hotels. Just remember that no one’s going to be looking their finest, so if you don’t have to have the hairdryer, consider leaving it at home.
Q. Do I need any dressy clothes?
Q. What sort of power adaptor do I need?
A. Myanmar uses the same sort of adaptor as other parts of SE Asia. Buy one from a local travel store and chat with a salesperson to make sure you’ve got the right one.
Q. Should we bring our own toilet paper? Do they have the “squatty potties” of China fame?
A. No need to bring toilet paper as it will be available at all hotels. All toilets (except for maybe when you’re out walking in small villages) are western style.
Q. What kind of shoes should I bring?
A. It’s going to be hot so sandals will work well for much of the time. There will be times when you’ll be walking through villages and it will be dusty. If you prefer, bring close-toed shoes.
Q. Do I need to get insurance for my trip to Myanmar?
A. We recommend that you get a good travel and health insurance for your trip to Myanmar.
Q. Will I receive a refund if I have to cancel my participation in the tour?
A. Whether or not you receive a partial refund depends on how far in advance of the tour you cancel. Our refund policy is covered in our Booking Terms and Conditions.
Q. Do I need to worry about mosquitoes and/or malaria in SE Asia?
A. Please check with your doctor on advice about malaria prophylaxes. Here’s an excellent article on TravelFish about malaria in SE Asia and is a good place to start your research.
Q. Do you spray down your clothes with some insecticide? Do you think it is necessary for the areas we will be going in?
A. You could do this or you could purchase clothes (a number of companies manufacture them now) that have mosquito repellant impregnated into the material. Mosquitoes are pretty fierce in Myanmar so do come prepared. Bring your own spray and make sure you put it on before heading out in the evening, particularly at Inle Lake and near the Ayeyarwady River.
Q. Will the hotels have a laundry service so that I can pack light?
A. Hotels will definitely have laundry service at a reasonable rate. You’ll want to consider having it done at one of the hotels where the group is staying for more than one night. You might rinse and dry your clothes out when/if it’s warm. Consider bringing clothes made from quick-drying material.
Q. Do I need to learn the local language?
A. You'll be fine in most places with English, particularly speaking to younger people. But if you only learn one word of Burmese, it should be mingulaba - 'hello'. Greet people with a happy mingulaba and you'll always get a smile back.
Q. What type of clothes should I pack for Myanmar?
A. We advise all visitors coming to Myanmar to dress properly, as wearing shorts, mini-skirts or revealing clothing can be found offensive. This is especially when visiting temples and other holy sites in Myanmar.
Light clothing, cotton and cooling fabrics are suitable the whole year-round. During wintertime, sweaters, sport coats and socks may be needed in places like Kalaw and Inle as it can get quite cold during the night. Please bring sandals as well. Guest are requested to take off their shoes when entering any religious sites and when entering a private home. Flip- flops and Myanmar slippers can be purchased locally.
Q. Is there internet service in Myanmar?
A. Yes, there is internet at some of the hotels but it is usually painfully slow. If you have a laptop and want to tap into WiFi, sometimes it is available but, again, it can be so slow and it’s more frustrating than it’s worth.
Q. Can I use my cell phone in Myanmar?
A. You’ll want to check with your cell phone provider about coverage in Myanmar. If they do offer service there, it can be quite expensive, upwards of $4/minute. It’s best to not expect to use yours while you’re travelling in-country. ADD ABOUT SIM CARD
International calls can be made from major hotels and the Central Telegraph Office in major cities. If you'd like to make a phone call from Myanmar, you should first ask about the pricing - the tariff might be double the official rate at some hotels. The service is improving but connections are poor and international calls are expensive.
Q. What is the voltage in Myanmar?
A. The voltage in Myanmar is 220-230 volts AC. Most international hotels have their own generators. At some places, you may experience power cuts and voltage fluctuation which can damage computers and other electrical equipment. Please travel with the required protection for your electrical equipment.
Q. What immunizations should I get for Myanmar?
A. Definitely a question for the Travel Clinic, but this page has great information too. You’ll definitely want to have your DPT updated and perhaps Hep A and B. Both Hep A and B are a series of shots, so you’ll want to get the process started early in case it takes several months to finish the round.
Q. What is the FREE checked baggage allowance allowed on flights within Burma?
A. On flights within Myanmar, Kanbawza Airlines allows one checked bag with a maximum weight of 20 kilos (44 pounds). One piece of hand baggage – with a maximum weight of 7 kilos (15 pounds) – plus one personal item, such as a purse, are allowed.