Myanmar Guide Book for Digital Nomads and Backpackers
Myanmar, a hidden gem in Southeast Asia, offers an enriching experience for digital nomads and backpackers seeking an affordable and culturally diverse destination. This guide provides essential information for those looking to embark on a journey to Myanmar.
Applying for a Myanmar Visa
E-Visa Application Process
The first step in your Myanmar adventure is obtaining a visa. Myanmar offers an efficient e-visa system, simplifying the application process. Here’s how to apply Myanmar visa:
Visit the official e-visa website here.
Choose the appropriate visa type based on your purpose and duration of stay. Most digital nomads opt for the standard tourist visa, which costs $50 and allows a 28-day stay. If you have a local sponsor or an invitation letter, consider applying for a business visa, costing $70 and allowing a 70-day stay.
Valid passport with at least 6 months of validity.
Recent color photograph (4.8cm x 3.8cm), taken within the past 3 months.
Credit card or PayPal account to pay the visa fee.
Complete the online application form with your personal and travel details, confirm the information, and make the payment.
Within 3 days, you’ll receive an approval letter via email. Print it and bring it with you when you arrive in Myanmar. Your visa will be stamped upon arrival at the immigration counter.
The e-visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and allows entry through designated airports, seaports, or land border checkpoints. You can extend it once for an additional 28 days at the immigration office in Yangon or Nay Pyi Taw, paying $3 per day.
Finding Accommodation and Transportation
Myanmar offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit various budgets:
Hostels and Guesthouses: Ideal for backpackers and budget travelers, prices typically range from $5 to $20 per night.
Hotels and Resorts: From mid-range to luxury, prices vary based on quality and location, starting at $30 per night and going up significantly.
Apartments and Houses: For longer stays, consider renting an apartment or house, with monthly costs ranging from $200 to $500 depending on the city and amenities.
To find long-term accommodation, try local agents or Facebook groups like “Yangon Housing” or “Bagan Housing.”
Getting around Myanmar is relatively straightforward, with several transportation options:
Taxi: Available in major cities like Yangon and Mandalay, with average fares of $2-$3 within the city. Ride-hailing apps like HolidayTaxis, Grab, or Oway are also convenient options.
Bus: The most economical choice for traveling between cities or regions, offering comfort and air-conditioning. Ticket prices range from $10 to $20 based on the distance and bus quality. Tickets can be purchased at bus stations or online through platforms like 12Go Asia or JJ Express.
Train: A slower but more authentic way to travel between cities, offering picturesque views. Tickets range from $20 to $40, with options available at train stations or online through platforms like Myanmar Railways, 12Go Asia, or Seat61.
Flight: The quickest and most convenient option for long distances, but also the most expensive. Prices vary based on the destination and season, with fares ranging from $50 to $100. Booking platforms like WayAway, Skyscanner, or Kiwi.com provide flight options.
Accessing Reliable Internet and Co-working Spaces in Myanmar
For digital nomads and remote workers, access to reliable internet and productive workspaces is crucial.
Fortunately, Myanmar has made significant improvements in its internet infrastructure and offers co-working spaces for those seeking comfortable work environments. Here’s how to access both:
To stay connected while in Myanmar, consider these options:
Local SIM Cards
The most convenient way to access the internet is by purchasing a local SIM card or a global SIM card like DrimSim.
Myanmar has four major mobile operators: MPT, Telenor, Ooredoo, and Mytel.
You can buy a SIM card for approximately $1-$2 at their outlets, kiosks at the airport, or in the city.
Top up your balance and choose a data plan that suits your needs.
Average mobile data speeds in Myanmar range from 10-20 Mbps, with coverage at around 80-90%. Keep in mind that speeds may vary based on location, network, and device.
Utilize apps like Speedtest or OpenSignal to check the speed and coverage of your mobile data.
Wi-Fi is available at accommodations and some cafes and restaurants, often offered for free.
However, the speed and reliability of Wi-Fi in Myanmar are typically lower than mobile data.
Be prepared to pay for Wi-Fi access in some places.
Co-working spaces provide conducive environments for remote work and offer numerous amenities.
In Myanmar, particularly in Yangon, you can find several co-working spaces to choose from. Here are a few popular options:
Phandeeyar is an innovation hub that supports startups, social enterprises, civil society organizations, and media outlets in Myanmar.
It offers flexible plans for daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly access to its facilities and events.
Prices range from $5 per day to $100 per month.
Impact Hub Yangon
Impact Hub Yangon is a social enterprise incubator focused on creating positive social impact in Myanmar.
Various plans are available for hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly access to its facilities and programs.
Prices range from $3 per hour to $150 per month.
WorkHouse is a business center providing professional services and solutions for businesses and individuals in Myanmar.
It offers different plans for hourly, daily, monthly, or yearly access to its facilities and benefits.
Prices range from $4 per hour to $120 per month.
Co-working spaces not only offer high-speed internet but also provide a chance to connect with fellow digital nomads, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and locals who share similar interests and goals.
Networking and collaboration opportunities abound, enriching your professional and personal experiences in Myanmar.
With reliable internet access and comfortable co-working spaces, Myanmar becomes an excellent destination for digital nomads and remote workers seeking a productive and enriching work-travel experience.
Embracing Local Culture, Cuisine, and Attractions in Myanmar
To fully immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, diverse cuisine, and breathtaking attractions of Myanmar, follow these tips to make the most of your digital nomad experience:
Exploring the Rich Culture
Myanmar’s culture is a tapestry of history, religion, ethnicity, and tradition. To engage with the local culture:
Visit Cultural Sites
Explore museums, temples, pagodas, monasteries, and markets to learn about Myanmar’s history and traditions.
Participate in local festivals to witness traditional dances, music, and ceremonies that celebrate Myanmar’s cultural diversity.
Interact with Locals
Engage with friendly and hospitable locals who are often curious about foreigners. Sharing stories and experiences can be a great way to connect.
Learn basic greetings and phrases in Burmese (the official language) to enhance your interactions.
Experience Unique Practices
Try applying thanaka, a yellowish-white cosmetic paste, to your face, which also serves as sunscreen. You can buy it at local markets or hotels.
Experiment with wearing a longyi, the traditional clothing worn by both men and women. Locals can teach you various ways to tie it.
Sample Betel Nut
For the adventurous, give betel nut a try. This mild stimulant is chewed by many Burmese and provides a unique cultural experience. You can find betel nut vendors on street corners.
Savoring Local Cuisine
Myanmar’s diverse cuisine blends influences from neighboring countries while retaining its distinctive flavors. To savor the local food:
Enjoy Mohinga, Myanmar’s national dish, which is a delicious rice noodle soup with a fish-based broth and aromatic spices. It’s commonly eaten for breakfast or as a snack.
Relish tea leaf salad, a refreshing mix of fermented tea leaves, cabbage, tomatoes, peanuts, and sesame seeds. It has a unique tangy flavor.
Sample Shan noodles, a specialty from Shan State, featuring thin rice noodles with minced chicken or pork and a flavorful tomato-based sauce.
Satisfy your palate with various curries, including chicken, pork, mutton, fish, or vegetable curries, served with rice.
Street Food Adventure
Don’t miss the opportunity to explore local street food stalls where you can find a wide array of affordable and delicious dishes.
Discovering Captivating Attractions
Myanmar boasts a wealth of natural and historical attractions that showcase its beauty and charm. To explore these captivating destinations:
Visit the ancient city of Bagan, famous for its thousands of temples and pagodas. Sunrise and sunset views are particularly stunning.
Explore by bike, horse cart, car, or hot air balloon. Don’t forget to immerse yourself in the local culture by visiting nearby villages and markets.
Head to Inle Lake, a picturesque freshwater lake known for its floating villages, gardens, and monasteries. Witness the unique leg-rowing technique of Intha fishermen.
Explore the lake by boat, embark on a bike ride, or go trekking to experience the diverse ethnic cultures residing in the region.
Discover Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, where modernity blends with tradition. Explore colonial buildings, religious sites, and bustling markets.
Must-visit attractions include the Shwedagon Pagoda, Sule Pagoda, Bogyoke Aung San Market, Kandawgyi Lake, and vibrant Chinatown.
By embracing Myanmar’s culture, savoring its delectable cuisine, and exploring its captivating attractions, you’ll enhance your digital nomad journey and create lasting memories in this enchanting country.
Myanmar is not just a destination; it’s an unforgettable experience waiting to be discovered.
Respect the Local Culture and Religion
Dress Modestly: Myanmar is a conservative country; dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees, especially when visiting religious sites.
Avoid Public Displays of Affection: Refrain from public displays of affection, as they are considered inappropriate.
Remove Shoes: When entering temples, houses, or someone’s home, it’s customary to remove your shoes. Follow this practice to show respect.
Refrain from Touching Monks or Buddha Statues: Do not touch or point at monks or Buddha statues. Maintain a respectful distance.
Safety on the Road
Exercise Caution While Driving: Road conditions and traffic rules in Myanmar can be challenging. Be cautious when driving or crossing the road. Accidents are common.
Avoid Nighttime Driving: Roads are poorly lit, and hazards such as animals, potholes, and bandits are more challenging to spot at night.
Observe Traffic Rules: If you rent a vehicle, ensure you have a valid license, insurance, and always wear a helmet.
Avoid Discussing Politics: Myanmar’s political situation is complex and sensitive. Avoid discussing politics, especially with strangers or in public.
Stay Away from Protests and Demonstrations: Do not participate in protests, rallies, or demonstrations, as they can become violent and lead to arrests or injuries.
Respect Local Laws: Abide by local laws and authorities. Refrain from taking photos or videos of military or government buildings and personnel.
Stay Informed About Restricted Areas: Myanmar has regions off-limits to foreigners due to security or ethnic conflicts. Seek guidance from local authorities or reputable tour operators if you plan to visit these areas.
Beware of Landmines: In border areas or former conflict zones, there is a risk of landmines. Stay on marked paths and heed warnings.
Mind Wildlife: Myanmar is home to diverse wildlife, some of which can be dangerous. Avoid touching or feeding wild animals and maintain a safe distance.
Respect Local Communities: When traveling, ask permission before taking photos of locals, particularly women, children, monks, or ethnic minorities.
Learn Basic Phrases: Learning a few words and phrases in Burmese or local languages shows respect and enhances communication.
Try Local Food and Drinks: Explore Myanmar’s diverse cuisine, but be cautious about food safety. Stick to bottled or boiled water and cooked food from reputable sources.
Respect Privacy: Avoid taking photos of people bathing, meditating, praying, or working, and always ask for permission.
Hygiene: Myanmar’s sanitation standards may not match those of your home country. Drink bottled or boiled water and use hand sanitizer frequently.
By adhering to these safety and responsible travel guidelines, you can enjoy your digital nomad experience in Myanmar while respecting the local culture and ensuring your well-being. Myanmar offers a rich and rewarding experience for those who approach it with care and consideration.
Steps to Become a Digital Nomad in Myanmar:
Apply for an E-visa: Start by applying for an e-visa online, allowing you to stay and work legally in Myanmar for up to 28 days (or 70 days with a business visa).
Accommodation and Transportation: Choose accommodation and transportation options based on your budget and preferences. Options include hostels, guesthouses, hotels, apartments, houses, taxis, buses, trains, flights, and bikes.
Internet and Co-working Spaces: Ensure reliable internet access by using mobile data with a local or global SIM card, Wi-Fi at accommodations or cafes, or co-working spaces that offer high-speed internet.
Explore Local Culture, Food, and Attractions: Immerse yourself in Myanmar’s unique culture, cuisine, and attractions. Visit ancient temples and pagodas, explore natural beauty, and engage with the local community.
Challenges and Risks:
Infrastructure and Services: Be prepared for occasional power cuts, water shortages, internet outages, and transportation delays. Have backup plans and alternatives in place.
Language Barrier and Cultural Differences: Learn basic phrases in Burmese or local languages to facilitate communication. Respect cultural norms and etiquette to avoid misunderstandings.
Political Instability and Security Issues: Avoid discussing politics, participating in protests, or traveling to restricted areas. Comply with local laws, and stay informed about current events.
Nomad List: Research the best cities for digital nomads in Myanmar and worldwide.
12Go Asia: Book transportation options across Southeast Asia, including buses, trains, flights, ferries, and taxis.
WorkHouse: Explore co-working spaces with professional services in Myanmar.
Skyscanner: Compare and book flights to and from Myanmar.
Booking.com: Find accommodation options, filter by criteria, and read reviews.
Agoda.com: Book accommodation online with a wide selection.
Airbnb: Rent unique accommodations and book local experiences with hosts in Myanmar.
Tips and Tricks:
Plan Ahead: Research visa requirements, weather, currency exchange rates, and vaccination recommendations. Book flights, accommodation, transportation, and activities in advance.
Pack Light: Bring only essential items, use packing organizers, and pack versatile clothing suitable for various weather conditions.
Be Flexible: Adapt to unexpected changes, delays, and challenges in your plans. Embrace new experiences and opportunities.
Have Fun: Enjoy your digital nomad journey in Myanmar by exploring, learning, meeting new people, trying new things, and having fun.
Embark on your digital nomad adventure in Myanmar with preparation, adaptability, and an open mind to make the most of your experience in this beautiful and diverse country.
How to Become a Digital Nomad in Myanmar: Some Products and Services That Can Help
To facilitate your journey as a digital nomad in Myanmar, consider utilizing these products and services:
EKTA Travel Insurance: EKTA Travel Insurance offers comprehensive coverage for digital nomads, including medical expenses, emergency evacuation, trip cancellation, baggage loss, and personal liability. Choose from various plans to suit your needs and budget.
DrimSim: DrimSim is a universal SIM card that provides internet access and calls in over 200 countries without roaming charges. Manage your balance and obtain local numbers for free.
Radical Storage: Radical Storage allows you to securely store your luggage at local shops or hotels for a nominal fee. Conveniently free yourself from carrying luggage when exploring cities.
Hotellook: Hotellook enables you to compare and book hotels from numerous websites and providers. Find the best accommodation deals in Myanmar, filtering by price, location, ratings, and facilities.
WayAway Flight Aggregator: WayAway Flight Aggregator allows you to compare and book flights from various airlines and travel agents. Discover the most affordable and convenient flights to and from Myanmar, considering factors like price, date, duration, and stops.
Compensair: Compensair assists in obtaining compensation for flight disruptions, including delays, cancellations, or overbookings. Submit your claim easily and receive up to $ USD for eligible flights within the past three years.
QEEQ.COM: QEEQ.COM lets you compare and book car rentals worldwide from numerous suppliers. Find the best car rental deals in Myanmar, filtering by price, location, brand, and more.
Tiqets: Tiqets allows you to book tickets online for attractions, museums, tours, and events worldwide. Easily find and book activities and experiences in Myanmar, filtering by price, category, duration, and more.
HolidayTaxis: HolidayTaxis offers airport transfers and ground transportation services globally. Book transportation to and from Myanmar airports, choosing from various vehicle types, sizes, and prices.
WeGoTrip: WeGoTrip is a platform for discovering and booking unique local experiences around the world. Explore and book activities, tours, classes, workshops, and more in Myanmar, filtering by price, duration, and category.
Priority Pass: Priority Pass provides access to over 1300 airport lounges worldwide. Enjoy amenities such as free Wi-Fi, food, drinks, showers, and more at Myanmar and global airports with various membership plans.
BikesBooking.com: BikesBooking.com allows you to compare and book bike rentals from numerous suppliers globally. Find the best bike rental deals in Myanmar, filtering by price, location, type, brand, and more.
12Go Asia: 12Go Asia is a platform for booking buses, trains, flights, ferries, and taxis in Southeast Asia. Discover transportation options and book your travel needs in Myanmar, considering factors like price, date, time, duration, and stops.
WorkHouse: WorkHouse is a co-working space and business center in Myanmar, providing amenities such as high-speed internet, meeting rooms, printers, scanners, and coffee machines for digital nomads and professionals.
Nomad List: Nomad List ranks cities worldwide based on various criteria, making it easier to choose the best destination for digital nomads. Explore information about Myanmar cities in comparison to other global destinations.
Utilize these products and services to streamline your journey and enhance your experience as a digital nomad in Myanmar. Safe travels and enjoy your time in this beautiful country!