Preparing for Myanmar
Before you include Myanmar in your great Southeast Asian adventure, here are a few things that you should remember:
You can only enter and leave Myanmar by air: One of the things that turn budget travelers and backpackers from Myanmar is the high cost of travel. Unfortunately, tourists cannot enter or leave Myanmar by land or water—everyone has to book flights, and there are no budget options when it comes to air travel. Not all airlines have flights in and out of Myanmar, so make sure that you check with your travel agent or airline representative.
Myanmar can get expensive: Not only because you have to fly in and out, but also because hotels and other types of accommodation are expensive, too. Plus, you cannot really expect to get the best value for your money—Myanmar is just more expensive compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors.
Myanmar’s cities are much like every Southeast Asian city: Traffic is incredibly heavy in the main streets of Mandalay and Yangon, with too many cars being too noisy. Most vehicles are old and poorly maintained, which means that pollution is a pressing problem in the cities, too.
Do not go off in spontaneous adventures: Myanmar is not as easy-going and laidback as its Southeast Asian neighbors. Tourists who have the gumption to visit Myanmar often follow the basic—if a bit impersonal—itinerary, which includes the historic cities of Bagan, Mandalay, and Yangon. You can book private tours (waaaay in advance) to get to these places. If you want to buck it on your own, you will have to request special permits to access certain areas.
Money matters: There are only a few ATMs in Myanmar, and only high-end establishments accept credit cards. You will have to bring a lot of cash with you if you go to Myanmar. However, when you are carrying some USD, make sure that your greenbacks are in perfect condition-even with a little crease or stain, your money is treated as unacceptable by the locals.
A busman’s holiday is next to impossible: There is Internet in Myanmar, and it is not as censored as it was in the past. However, connection speeds can still be very slow, which means no large-file sharing for you and your office at home.
The heat is hot: Myanmar is a tropical country, and if you had the misfortune of going there when the summer is at its highest peak, make sure to stay in a place where the hotel has a pool (that you can use).
TNK Travel Team