The country has suffered from a variety of political and social problems in the past, which is probably why many tourists do not include Burma in their Southeast Asian itinerary. As of recent years, the government has actively encouraged tourists to visit the country to invigorate Myanmar’s economy.
Burma is one of the largest countries in the Asian continent, over 250,000 square miles in total area. The climate of Myanmar is similar to other tropical countries in the region; the climate is heavily influenced by the monsoon and there are two distinct seasons.
Myanmar has suffered from a stunted economic growth in the past, but this bane has also been a boon to the country. A good portion of the country’s environmental resources and ecosystems are preserved.
Yangon, the Burmese capital, is famous for its breathtaking British colonial architecture. The East-meets-West flavor of the city is complemented by the friendly locals, who can always be seen donning their traditional costumes. On the streets of Yangon are rickshaws and vintage Chevrolet buses, which will definitely transport you back in time.Yangon is also home to the Shwedagon, an important and deeply respected pagoda in Myanmar. It is said that this pagoda is as old as Buddha.
Bagan, in the northern part of Myanmar, is home to the country’s glorious ancient architecture. There are thousands of temples, stupas, and pagodas in this area—all of them picturesque.
Preparing for your Myanmar holiday
Myanmar is not your typical laidback Southeast Asian country. Because of its modern political history, it can still be problematic for a clueless traveler to get in and out of Myanmar. The only way to enter Myanmar is by air—there are currently no train or bus service that connects the country to its neighbors. Tourists cannot rent a car or a motorcycle to pass through the border, and there are specifications in Burmese law that prohibit foreigners to go by sea or river to get into or out of the country.
Make sure to contact a representative of your travel agency or airline before booking a ticket to Myanmar, and make sure that everything is in order months ahead of your Burmese holiday to avoid problems.
Compared to other countries in Southeast Asia, Myanmar can be a bit more expensive. As mentioned earlier, foreigners cannot enter or leave Myanmar by land or water, and there are no budget airlines that will bring you in and out. Backpackers and adventurers are also warned to not go running about “off the beaten track,” since special permits are required to access certain areas of the country.
Credit cards and ATMs are not really popular in Myanmar, so make sure to bring a lot of cash—preferably in USD. However, you have to make sure that all the bills you have are in almost mint condition. Creased, marked, stained, or torn notes are usually rejected at financial institutions and money changers.
TNK Travel Team