10 Tips for a holiday in Myanmar

Traveling to Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is really popular on the Southeast Asia travel trail nowadays. Over the last decade, Myanmar slowly opened its doors to tourism but there are still many challenges that travelers in Myanmar encounter more compared to other countries in the region. The improved infrastructure is beginning to significantly improve the tourism of the country but you should still be prepared for daily frustrations. Maintaining your patience is important but it will be worth it because of the rewarding experience of temple landscapes, unspoiled nature and sealed culture you will experience on your holiday in Myanmar. Be prepared for it and don’t believe everything you read about the ridiculous expense and immense difficulties you read on the internet. With that being said, here are some expert-picked tips to help you plan your holiday in Myanmar!

1. The best time to visit Myanmarholiday in Myanmar

For many people, Myanmar is best to visit in the dry season which lasts from November to April. This high tourism season allows you to enjoy the dry, cool weather. If you want to benefit from both weather and money value, it is advisable to travel to Myanmar in the shoulder season which is April- May, and October-November. There may be little rain but in general, the weather is comparatively fine and there is a flow of promotion for hotels and services.

2. Apply for a Myanmar visa online

The government of Myanmar introduced an online system for Evisa back in 2015. There is no need to visit a Myanmar Embassy to apply, you can simply submit your information and get a visa on arrival for the price of $50.

3. Book Services in Advance

 

Though the number of hotels and resorts are bigger than it was before, at a certain time of the year, it is still hard to find a room if you expect a comfortable stay. If you travel independently, go online for at least a hotel booking to ensure your arrangement. Online booking tools available now range from airport pick up to luggage storage and luxurious river journeys.

Are you looking for the cheapest flights to Myanmar? Use this Qatar Airways offer and save up to 25% off on your flight.

4. How much you should spend on a holiday in MyanmarMyanmar on a budget

When it comes to the idea of how much money you should spend on a holiday in Myanmar, the first thing you should note is that Myanmar is not cheap, like other countries in Southeast Asia. Compared to Thailand or Vietnam, Myanmar is actually more expensive. Another thing about money is service providers prefer cash rather than credit cards although there are a lot more ATMs across the country nowadays. However, remember that if you use ATM, the operation fee is as high as 5-6% of the transaction.

5. How to plan a unique itinerary

First-time visitors tend to explore the most highlighted must-sees of the country. In this case, they are 5 famous places including Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, and Ngapali beach. These places are touristy but can still be covered without breaking the bank. However, if you like getting off the beaten track and avoiding touristy areas, you would like to make your itinerary more extraordinary.

How can you do that?
Firstly, spend some time to check out other travel blogs. This is one of many good ways to learn about the experiences you should not miss. Alternatively, you can post questions on travel forums like Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet. There are many travel experts who see the country from time to time and they can deliver precious advice on crafting a Myanmar itinerary. You can also browse for itineraries online. Every year, Myanmar travel agencies design new tours to attract more visitors to the country. Accordingly, new experiences are more visible on their websites than a tourist guide channel. This is a perfect way to keep up with the travel trends in Myanmar.

6. Make the time to see BaganBagan Myanmar

Amongst all the splendid landscapes of Myanmar, Bagan is probably the most prominent. It is studded by over 2,200 pagodas and temples remaining from the 11th century. This magical plain offers endless photographic chances you may never have before. You can travel around Bagan by electric bike, car, foot or even by the stunning Balloon flight. Note that it is one of the most touristy places in Myanmar but it’s still worth visiting.

7. Explore the Sail Mergui ArchipelagoSail Mergui

This is probably the hottest travel destination in Myanmar for 2018. Mergui is home to 800 intact islands sharing the border with the azure waters of Phuket, Thailand. It was once off-the-beaten-track but nowadays it’s becoming one of the most attractive places in Myanmar. Before 2012, Mergui was very expensive mainly due to the limited transportation options. A trip for 5 days used to cost up to $1200 per person! However, since there has been an increase in the services provided in the area, the prices dropped too, making Mergui affordable for budget travelers as well.

Related: visiting Penang, the Pearl of the Orient.

8. Plan your trip around Thingyan

The Burmese New Year which is held in April is a wonderful chance to be tempted by local hospitality. During the two weeks of this water festival, you will have a lot of opportunities to witness colorful Buddhism rituals, dancing in the streets, and you will be able to mingle with locals and throw water on each other. This is believed to wash-off your bad luck.

9. Learn what you should and shouldn’t do in Myanmar

Myanmar people are very helpful and polite and you should also respect their culture and traditions and learn a few things about it before you visit. Apart from an international travel behavior with a respect for nature, when you travel to Myanmar, there are also some dos and don’t you should keep in mind. Tuck away your feet when sitting and don’t point at anyone. Don’t disturb people when they meditate and wear decent clothes when visiting religious sites. Don’t touch anyone on their head and respect the people of Myanmar and their traditions. If you’re visiting a village inhabited with ethnic minorities, learn more about their religions and customs. Finally, participate in local festivals. The locals will be delighted to see foreigners showing interest in their culture.

Related: the best honeymoon destinations for 2019

10. Consider booking your holiday with a local tour operator

The very first reason why you should use a local tour operator is their insightful knowledge. They know their country and their people more than anyone else. By supporting local tour operators you will contribute to the country`s sustainable tourism. If you want to try one of them, check out Myanmar Tour for further references.

Helpful resources for your holiday in Myanmar

For the cheapest flights to Myanmar, this Qatar Airways offer can get you up to 25% off on your flight

If you’re a student, you get 15% off on your flight to Myanmar with this STA Travel offer.

For the best travel insurance deals, you can never go wrong with World Nomads.

For some amazing, tours in Myanmar, I warmly recommend Intrepid. This offer gets you 15% off on all of their Myanmar tours. 

To save on all train, bus, and ferry rides in Myanmar, use this Bookaway offer.

To save on accommodation in Myanmar, use this Booking.com offer and get discounts on all properties in the country.

Holiday in Myanmar

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20 thoughts on “10 Tips for a holiday in Myanmar”

  1. Useful tips on visiting Myanmar. Especially on the visas. Makes life easier when you have that. I definitely have Bagan on my list.
    Any tips on how to get to Bagan from Yangon. Is it very far and what would be the best mode of transport for it?

    Reply
    • Thank you, Ami. The most convenient way to reach Bagan from Yangon is a flight but I really liked the train ride. Another comfortable option is a night bus (they’re actually quite comfortable)

      Reply
  2. Great article. We had visited Myanmar back in 2013 and looked at visiting Mergui but it was just too hard. Glad to see it is now easier to get to.
    Myanmar is a great country to visit. The people are welcoming and so friendly.

    Reply
    • Yes, you’re right- it used to be relatively hard to reach Mergui before but nowadays it’s turning into a major tourist attraction.

      Reply
  3. Excellent guide for Myanmar! I’m hoping to go there someday. It seems absolutely stunning. I didn’t know you need a visa to enter the country, so that’s very useful information. How interesting that the Burmese New Year is celebrated in April. I’ll add Bagan to the list too.

    Reply
  4. Thanks for the very informative post. I think what puzzled me the most is to learn that compared to Thailand or Vietnam, Myanmar is more expensive. Although I was in Thailand and I didn’t think everything was that cheap (the tours I did were all over $200 each) so after a while of traveling and doing tours every day it racks up. How would you say prices are for tours and activities in Myanmar?

    Reply
    • Honestly, I don’t have much experience with tours as I DIY most of the time or negotiate complimentary tours but I think these tours are relatively expensive everywhere. However, in my opinion, Thailand is cheaper and much easier to get around because of the superb tourist infrastructure which Myanmar still doesn’t have, unfortunately.

      Reply
  5. I have been reading a lot lately about Myanmar but really haven’t been able to make up my mind about visiting the country. If I do go, Bagan will have to be included in my list of places to visit. Researching about the culture of a place, the DOs and Don’ts is something I always do, and also create a unique itinerary after reading a lot of blog posts so I’m pretty sure if and when I plan a trip to Myanmar, I’ll do the same! I am surprised to know it is more expensive than Thailand and Vietnam. Also, good to know they prefer cash as mode of payment rather than credit card!

    Reply
  6. Bagan looks incredible. I always wondered in places like in Bagan or Cappadocia, are the hot air balloons always going on, or is that some kind of festival that only happens a few times a year? Anyway, beautiful article and pics!

    Reply
  7. I’d love to visit Myanmar in the future. I never though it’d be expensive, as most of SE Asia isn’t for a European (!), so I appreciate the advice. Bagan looks awesome, would love to visit one day, hopefully soon.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Lisa. And don’t worry, Myanmar still isn’t an expensive destination. It might be relatively more expensive than the neighboring countries because of the lack of tourist infrastructure but I think this segment is improving day by day.

      Reply
  8. Bagan has been on my bucket list for a really long time. I love how serene and majestic it looks. These are some great tips for Myanmar. I’d love to read more about budgeting in Myanmar, since it is high on my bucket list. I love the tour recommendations you gave. I’ll definitely look into those. Happy travels to you!

    Reply
  9. I haven’t been to Myanmar, and it is just our neighbor country and offers us Filipinos free travel visa 😀
    Hopefully if my schedule permits, I could visit this place and explore this beauty, one at a time. And I also hope to share volunteering works to this country.

    Reply
  10. I have been to Myanmar and I must say that these are really important tips to visit the country. You got to check the weather before you decide, consider local tour operator, keep few days in hand for Bagan, applying visa online, etc. are all need to be taken care of while planning a visit to Myanmar. Hence this blog is really helpful.

    Reply

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