Myanmar Travel Guide to the Golden Land
Myanmar earlier known as Burma is an incredible Southeast Asian nation with lots of attractive tourist destinations. Although very different from fascination destination, it still is a beautiful country. Rich with beautiful sights and culture along with thousands of ancient temples scattered across the country. This Myanmar Travel Guide is a sneak peek into the country with Majestic Rivers, floating gardens, stunning lake and Buddhist culture. You can find many attractive tour programs with Indochinavalue, one of the notable tour operators for Myanmar and Southeast Asian tours.
Myanmar Culture and Myanmar Travel Guide
A Major portion of Myanmar's culture has the influence of Buddhism, and the ethnic group is the Mon. The Mon's speak Mon language, and they are responsible for the widespread of Theravada Buddhism, which is popular in Indochina. You can also see an influence of its neighbor countries Thailand and China in Myanmar culture during your Myanmar Travel Packages.
Burmese art has strong influence of Hinduism and Buddhism and consists of many traditional arts along with pottery making, gold leaf making, gemstone and tapestry. Most of the traditional pagodas have the coverings with multiple layers of the gold leaf along with other construction materials. At the meantime, most of the monasteries used modern building materials for the structures.
Novitiation Ceremony is another unique function you can find in Myanmar's culture. The celebration is during school summer vacations, during the month of March. It is a type of parade performed by boys around any pagodas by dressed up as princes. After that, their heads will be shaven, and they enter the Buddhist order.
It is again another popular tradition in Myanmar where boys of age 8-20 have to enter Buddhist order for at least 7-days. Initially, they have to get into the order as a beginner in their youngest age. Later on, when they cross the age of 20, they enter the elder again as an Ordained Monk. While entering at least 2 times in a lifetime is compulsory, if they wish to continue as monks they can do that as long as they want.
The popular entertainment – Puppetry:
Puppetry is one of the popular entertainments in Myanmar, and it has become an inevitable part of their culture. Puppet shows are the main part of most of the pagoda festivals or other popular celebrations. You will also be able to find some Marionette theaters in cities like Yangon and Mandalay.
One of the things, which you will notice if you search for Myanmar picture, is people who have a yellow substance on their face. It is a popular skin care method called Thanaka have been using by women in Myanmar. It is famous for medicinal properties and an excellent skin care product that cools the skin, tightens pores, gives fragrance to your body, prevents pimples and is an effective sun protection. It is just like Sandalwood paste in terms of looks and functions. Local women working in the rice paddies use Thanaka to protect their skin from the harmful rays of the sun.
The best time to visit Myanmar
The best time to book a Myanmar Tour is during the cold season in the month November to February. It is also the least humid period of the year. It is the peak tourist season and most of the tourists prefer to visit Myanmar during this season. As it is the season, you might need to book tickets and accommodation earlier.
If you are planning to visit anytime during the offseason, it is easier and cheaper for accommodation and tickets. It would be better to keep an umbrella and raincoat with you always as sudden downpour is common anytime throughout the year. Also, be ready for humidity and temperature rise regardless of the place you are. Before pack up for the Myanmar trip, consult with your tour operator, Indochinavalue, for the necessary travel accessory advice.
Weather and climate
Myanmar has a tropical climate with intense monsoons and high humidity. The hot season starts from March-April where the day is humid and night is dry. In the hot summer, the climate rises to a maximum of 35-40 degrees. From May-October is the rainy season with a high rate of rainfall. November to February is the best desirable cold season for tourism, so it would be better if you can plan your Myanmar Tour during these seasons.
Do’s and Don’ts
• Give respect to the unique traditions of local people even if you feel it strange.
• The people in Myanmar are very polite and friendly. Therefore, you also need to communicate with them in the same way. Do not show frustrated face or raise your voice whenever you talk with a local person.
• Do not disturb monks or other people when they are in meditation.
• Do not point your fingers to anyone while talking and do not point with your feet.
• Do try the traditional modes of transportations in Myanmar as it adds a fun touch to your trip.
• Do not touch a monk’s clothing’s and on his head.
• If you prefer donating money to charities, do give it to authorized communities instead of individuals.
• Do participate in the traditional festivals because locals like it when tourists take part in their celebrations.
Currency of Myanmar
Burmese Kyat or Myanmar Kyat is the official currency of Myanmar. During your Myanmar travel, you can use a mix of dollars and kyat. Some of the restaurants, entrance fee counters, airlines fare, train tickets and many other locations insist you to make the payments in kyat.
Earlier many places used to accept dollars but according to new government policies, the practice is changed. A few years ago there were literally no ATM’s in Myanmar due to economic constraints. Tourists were required to carry all the money during the trip. However, this situation has changed a bit now. There are ATM’s in important places and a few exchange centers.
How to reach Myanmar
By air, you can enter Myanmar via 2 international airports located in Yangon and Mandalay. Most of the international flights land at Yangon airport. If you want to travel around, buses are one of the budget options as they are highly affordable and cheap. It is also an excellent opportunity to enjoy the scenery and mingle with locals. You can also hire a cab to take you around the country; Riverboats are also another option, but they do not have services all the time. Depending on the weather, their availability might vary.
Visa Requirements and Procedures
To enter the country you need to get the visa before starting your Myanmar Tour. You can apply for a visa to a Myanmar Embassy or via online. To get a visa, you must have a passport with a validity of minimum 6 months from the date of travel. ETD’s or emergency travel documents are not valid for entry to Myanmar, but you can use from for exiting from the country. Your travel agent, Indochinavalue, will assist you in processing the visa and update you with the latest visa rule.
Tips for travelers
The culture of Myanmar is very different from that of western. You will find many unique traditions, which might seem silly to you. However, while in Myanmar, the local expect you to respect their tradition and culture.
Respect traditional customs and local laws
It is important to pay respect to local legislation and traditional customs while you’re in another country. Follow all the instructions given by your Myanmar Travel Guide while visiting religious places and pagodas. According to Myanmar’s law, insulting religion is a punishable offense. Insulting religion can simply include tattooing Buddha’s image anywhere on your lower body.
Be in your shoes all the time
As Myanmar is a country receiving a high rate of rainfall, the roads can be grubby most of the times. Uneven pavements and muddy roads are common everywhere and you do not want your feet soaked in wet mud. Wearing shoes is a better idea than sandals because it covers your foot completely.
Take the basic precautions you would when traveling to another country. Generally, Myanmar is a safe country for tourists especially women. Compared to the other Southeast Asian countries, the crime rate in tourist areas is very low. Do not leave cash and other valuable items in your hotel room even if it feels safe.
Communication and the Internet
Free Wi-Fi is available in most of the big hotels, but the network speed might not be up to your expectations. However, the hotels in the main cities like Yangon and Bagan will have high-speed internet connections. The leading US mobile carrier does not offer coverage in the country, so it is better to get a local SIM card during your Myanmar Travel.
Must see destinations
Mount Kyaiktiyo is a popular pilgrimage site famous for the golden rock situated on it. On the top of 7.5 meters, tall rock is the gilded pagoda located. It is a delightful sight to watch the giant boulder balancing on the end of the cliff. The locals believe the rock is balancing by a single strand of Buddha’s hair. You can be a part of the religious experience, but there is a small fee to place golden leaves on the rock. Generally, women do not have the permission to touch the golden rock.
How you can reach there and what are the things you can do:
To reach the mountaintop, you can choose the truck joinery which most of the people prefer to. You can go hiking to the mountaintop or take a walk. The walk includes sightseeing and jungle canopy through some stunning views of forest and hills.
The nine Thousand lights festival happens in Mount Kyaiktiyo in the month of December. If you are planning a Myanmar Tour during this time, you will be able to make food offerings and illuminate the whole mountaintop on the festival day.
Inle Lake is a freshwater lake located in the hills of Shan state in Taunggyi. It is 22km in length and located between two mountain valleys. Inle is one of the popular must see destinations in any Myanmar Travel. There is a small fee of US$10 to enter the lake premises.
How to get there
The boat trip in Inle Lake starts at Nyuang Shwe at the end of Yong Gyi Road. You can reach the place by either cab or bus service.
Things to do
There are many pagodas, temples, and monasteries situated on the lakeshores. You will be able to see authentic local life on the shores of the lake. You can also swim in the lake but do consult with your Myanmar Travel Guide. More than 200 monasteries located around the lake. Nga Hpe Kyaung is a unique monastery where you will be able to see cats jumping through hoops. The monastery, popularly called as Jumping cat monastery as it has trained cats doing many tricks. The lake itself is a major weaving center of Myanmar where you will be able to get 100% handmade textiles. It is a unique place and you must spend at least a few days in this area because there are a lot of villages and unique sceneries to see.
Ngwe Saung Beach
Ngwe Saung beach is the famous tourist spot where several popular beach resorts are situated. The beach located in a village in Irrawaddy region. It is one of the weekend getaway destinations of is the kind where you can spot many tourists. The fine sand and clear waters attract everybody at the first sight itself.
How to get there
You can take a cab from Yangon city to the beach for around US$300 for a one-way journey. Minibusses are also available to the destination. If you are coming from Pathein, you can take any of the domestic flights from there. The journey just takes about 30 minutes in total. October-February is the best time to visit the lake after the monsoon. October is also the time when the famous Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda festival takes place.
Things to do
There are many beach restaurants and resorts located in Ngwe Saung. You can also see the local village near to the beach and get to know their lifestyle and culture. Although there is nothing more to see on the beach, beach journeys are always bliss.
Tour packages by Indochinavalue
Naga New Year Festival
The Myanmar Travel Package is a 5-day tour specially tailored for those who love to be a part of ethnic festivals. The New Year celebrations take place in the month of January among the Naga ethnic tribe. It is one of the exciting festivals celebrated on the hilltops.
The tour is an excellent opportunity to explore the traditions of Naga tribe. The destinations included are Yangon, Mandalay, Homalin, Htamanthi, and Leschi. By participating in their celebrations, you will be able to get to know the daily life of tribes. The tour is also a great way to explore hilltops along with authentic local food, which is not available in any restaurants.
Taunggyi Lighting Festival
In this Myanmar Tour, you can have a 6-day program, which gives you an opportunity to visit some of the most beautiful places. You can also take part in the Taunggyi lighting festival which is a colorful celebration involving hot air balloons. Firework launching competitions, Robe-weaving, and hot air balloon competitions are some of the popular entertainment. It is so exciting to see the hot air balloons in the form of dragons, pagodas, and different animals. Robe-weaving competitions involve weaving by specially made robes worn by monks. The festival happens in the Taunggyi city around the months of October and November. The destinations included are Yangon, Heho, Taunggyi, Inle, and Pindaya.
Chin Festival Package
Myanmar is a diverse country where there a lot of ethnic groups you might not have even heard about before. Chin tribe is such an interesting ethnic group who has a lot of traditions and cultural activities. Chin festival takes place in Mindat during February. The month may slightly differ based on the phases of the moon since they depend on moon calendar.
This 8 day Myanmar Travel Package is an opportunity to know more about the chin culture. You may be able to see diversity in their costumes, jewelry, music, and dance. You will also be able to do shopping, partying in a traditional manner and enjoying great food. The destinations included are Yangon, Bagan, Mindat, Bogyoke Aung San market and Mt.Victoria.
Myanmar Family Holiday Tour
In this family tour, you can have a 8 day Myanmar Tour program, which presents your unforgettable moments in the land of temples and stupas. You will be able to have a stress tour that includes visits to some stunning landscape and temples of historical value. The journey starts from Yangon, which is the largest and former capital city of Myanmar.
If you are a nature lover, you are going to appreciate the tropical nature, beautiful lakes and shady parks in the city. The city serves as the country main entrance and hence it is a dominant business center. The destinations include Yangon, Heho, Inle Lake, Bagan, MT. Popa, and Nyuang U.
Myanmar Dreaming Honeymoon
Though Myanmar is an unusual honeymoon destination, it is a country with gorgeous backdrop perfect for a romantic holiday trip. Honeymooning in Myanmar is not going to be anywhere similar to the experience you are going to have in a modern country. Still, it is a fantastic opportunity to strengthen your bonding by traveling to an unfamiliar country, which might throw challenges across your way. You can cruise down the Ayeyarwaddy River and explore the scenic garden in this trip. In this 7-day Myanmar Travel program, you will have Yangon, Bagan, Heho, Inle Lake and In Dein destinations.
Colorful Myanmar Holiday
The Colorful Myanmar holiday is a 12 day Myanmar Travel Package specially made for people who love to live the bright moments that a trip offers. The journey starts from Yangon, the former capital city of Myanmar and ends in the same town. You will be visiting some of the famous stupas, pagodas, old temples, beautiful lakes and historically important Buddhist places. Bogyoke Aung San market or Scott’s market is another place, which you will visit. It is one of the popular bazaar located in Yangon. You can find a lot of handicraft shops, antique shops, Jewelers, art stalls, food stalls, foreign items and clothing shops here.
Myanmar Dolphin Discovery
The Myanmar Travel Package is a 2-day short trip for people who want to have a small holiday in the middle of an official trip. If you love the sea life and anything connected with it, you are going to enjoy this journey. You will visit the most famous Irrawaddy
River that is popular for its distinctive dolphin culture.
You will be able to mingle with local anglers in the city along with an adventure dive trip. The feeling of being in the marine waters is surely an exotic taste. It is a must visit place for every tourist who visits Myanmar. Most of them just visit the river to touch the dolphins and take pictures. The destinations included are Mandalay, Mingun, Myazun and Irrawaddy River.
Myanmar Balloon Tour
What is more interesting than being able to see places by flying in a balloon? Yes, you are going to have that luxury with this 8 day Myanmar Travel Package. The tour starts from the famous city Yangon and ends in Bagan.
Yangon is a city, which has an enormous collection of places of both cultural and historical value. The city is famous for the 2500 years old Sule Pagada. The old pagoda is a mix of Burman and Indian design and is one among the must visit things in Myanmar. You will also be traveling to Bogyoke market, Shwedagon Pagoda, Heho, Pindaya, Nyuang Shwe, Inle, In Dein and Bagan.
Highlights of Myanmar
As the name points out, this Myanmar tour includes all the colorful highlights of Myanmar. As Myanmar is the land of Pagodas and stupas, you cannot complete the trip without visiting the ancient temples. The tour includes a visit to some of the old Buddhist pagodas, ancient temples, and craft villages and scenic places. You will also be visiting Inle Lake, which is the second largest lake in Myanmar. The destinations included are Yangon, Bagan, Mount Popa, Mandalay, Mingun, Heho, Pindaya, and Inle.
Myanmar is a mystifying and charming place to spend your vacation with family. Hope this Myanmar travel guide helped you to know more about the country. You are going to have a safe trip along with many delightful moments. The bilingual professional travel executives of Indochinavalue will make sure that all your travel requirements met during the journey, and you will have a pleasant experience during your stay at Myanmar.