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Practical information Myanmar

Amy Adejokun
Amy Adejokun Section editor

Myanmar : Travel Information before you go!

Area

676580.0

Flights

There are no direct flights London-Yangon (Rangoon). Flight duration London-Bangkok: 12 hrs 30 mins, then Bangkok-Yangon: 40 minutes. Distance: 5,600 mi.

Jet Lag

UTC/GMT +6:30 hours

Population

49188000

Airports

Mingaladon international airport at Yangon is located 13 miles North of the city. You won't normally encounter any difficulty with custom formalities.

Security

The military authorities are particularly vigilant and strict towards people trying to penetrate into sensitive areas or get across inland borderlines. Travel to Rakhine and Kachin states is presently advised against, and particular caution is advised in the border areas with Thailand, Laos and China. You can find more information on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.

Languages

The official language is Burmese. The minority ethnic groups use 126 languages and dialects. English and Chinese are also spoken there.

Required travel documents for

Since May 2012 visas are issued upon arrival.Three different types of visas are available: business, transit and tourist. The visas are available to nationals of several countries, including: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States as well as the Taiwan region.

Business visas are issued for up to 70 days and cost 50 USD, tourist visas are issued for a duration of up to 28 days and cost 40 USD, and a transit visa is valid for 24 hours and costs 20 USD.

A passport valid for six months after your return date is mandatory.

Religion

The official religion is Theravada Buddhism (85 % of the population). There is also a minority of Hindus and Muslims. As far as the Karens and Chins are concerned, they were christianised in the XIXth century.

Currency

The currency is the Kyat (MMK), pronounced 'tchat'.
Credit cards (Visa, American Express, Eurocard/MasterCard, etc.) are useless here, so bring plenty of US Dollars in cash in small denominations with you. 1 Sterling = approximately 1.50 USD.
When exchanging money here you will get the best exchange rates in outlets bearing the "FEC Exchange" sign.
Bank opening hours: from 10:00am to 2:00pm during the week and 10:00am to 12:00pm on Saturdays.

Local transportation

Flights: there is a daily flight service for destinations such as Mandalay, Bagan, Heho, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai. It is recommended to book as early as possible and confirm your return, as soon as you have landed.
Boat trips are very cheap, but very uncomfortable and slow. A modern boat service has started running between Mandalay and Pagan.
Trains and buses: they are slow and uncomfortable, but very low cost.
Chauffeur-driven car rental is recommended: the cars are generally reliable and well serviced. The price includes petrol, driver and toll expenses. They vary from USD 50 to 100, depending on the type of vehicle, the number of seats and the agency renting it out.
In the cities, you can choose from taxis, tuk-tuks, rickshaws and taxi-vans.

Health

No particular vaccine is required. But it is recommended to update your DT-polio, hepatitises A and B vaccines. For longer stays in remote areas, get vaccinated against typhoid fever, Japanese encephalitis and rabies. Do not swim in stagnant water and only drink sterilised or bottled water (with the cap taken off in front of you). Take an anti-malaria treatment (the border zone with Thailand is listed in zone 3). Do not forget to bring a repellent cream against mosquitoes as well as a painkiller cream.

Electricity

Voltage of 220 V. An adapter is not necessary.

Tourist numbers

About 750,000 tourists enter the country annually.

Taxes and tips

The prices of touristy hotels and restaurants include a tax of 10% and sometimes include a service tax of 10%.
Tipping is not common practice, but giving small gifts is fairly normal, and you will often be asked to do so, even for public services. Gifts include: cigarettes, lipsticks, tee-shirts, etc. On your way out, you will have to pay an airport tax of USD 6.

Telephone

To call Myanmar from the UK: dial 00 + 95 + city code excluding the initial 0 (Yangon: 1; Mandalay: 2; Akyab: 43; Bassein: 42) + number you are trying to reach.
From Myanmar to the UK: dial 00 + 44 + number you are trying to reach excluding the initial 0.

Myanmar : Useful addresses in the country

Before leaving


Embassy of Burma

19A, Charles St London W1J 5DX
.
Tel: 020 7499 4340 or 020 7493 7397
Fax: 020 7409 7043>

At the destination


British Embassy
80 Strand Road (Box No 638) . Rangoon.
Tel: (95) (1) 370 863.
Fax: (95) (1) 370 866.

Burma Travel and Tours (MTT)
77-91 Sule Pagoda Road, in Yangon (city centre).
Tel.: (95 1) 252 859/378 376. (95 1) 252 859/378 376.
Fax: (95 1) 254 417. (95 1) 254 417.
Open every day, from 8 am to 7.30 pm. It is the official Tourist Office. You can buy flight and train tickets from there.