Things to Know Before Traveling to Myanmar

Myanmar is a Southeast Asian country known for its stunning landscapes, ancient temples, and unique culture. Before traveling to Myanmar, there are a few things you should know to make your trip safe and enjoyable.

Remember, these tips will help you have a safe and enjoyable trip to Myanmar.

1.Visa is Required for Visiting Myanmar

Visitors to Myanmar are required to obtain a visa before arrival, except for citizens of some Southeast Asian countries who can obtain a visa exemption for short visits. The Myanmar visa application process typically involves filling out an online form, submitting supporting documents, and paying a fee.

Visitors should also ensure that:

  • Ensure that your passport is valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of entry into Myanmar.
  • Visa regulations and requirements may change, so it’s important to check the latest information before traveling to Myanmar.

2.Booming Tourism, but Lacking Infrastructure

Despite experiencing a significant increase in tourist arrivals in recent years, many areas in Myanmar still lack the necessary infrastructure to support the booming tourism industry. While major cities like Yangon and Mandalay have seen significant development in terms of transportation and accommodations, many other popular tourist destinations, such as Bagan and Inle Lake, still face challenges with road conditions, limited public transportation, and insufficient lodging options. 

As a result, travelers may need to plan their trips carefully and be prepared to adjust their itineraries based on local conditions. Efforts are underway to improve infrastructure in these areas, but progress has been slow.

3.Prepare for Expensive Accommodation in Myanmar

Travelers planning a trip to Myanmar should be prepared for the possibility of expensive accommodation, especially in popular tourist destinations. While there are budget-friendly options available, such as hostels and guesthouses, prices for mid-range and luxury accommodations can be quite high due to limited supply and high demand. 

In addition, the quality of accommodations can vary significantly, with some hotels and guesthouses lacking modern amenities or falling short of international standards. Travelers should research their options carefully and book accommodations in advance to ensure availability and avoid last-minute price hikes. It’s also a good idea to check reviews and ratings from previous guests to get a better sense of the quality and value of different properties.

4.Allocate Enough Time for Traveling Within Myanmar

Travelers to Myanmar should allocate enough time for traveling within the country, as transportation options can be limited and travel times can be longer than expected.

Transportation Challenges

While major cities like Yangon and Mandalay are well-connected by air, road, and rail, travel to more remote destinations can be challenging.

  • Roads may be poorly maintained and subject to frequent closures.
  • Flights and trains may have limited schedules and be subject to delays.

Travel Permits and Security Concerns

Travel permits may be required for certain areas, especially those with ongoing conflicts or security concerns.

Tips for a Smooth Trip

To avoid frustration and ensure a smooth trip, travelers should:

  • Plan their itineraries carefully, allowing ample time for transportation and unexpected delays.
  • Consider hiring a reputable tour operator to help with logistics.

5.Unreliable Wi-Fi in Myanmar

Travelers to Myanmar should be aware that Wi-Fi and internet access can be unreliable in many parts of the country. While major cities and tourist destinations may have decent Wi-Fi coverage, connectivity can be slow, intermittent, or subject to outages. In more remote areas, access to the internet may be limited or nonexistent. 

Travelers should plan accordingly by downloading maps, documents, and entertainment ahead of time, and consider purchasing a local SIM card or portable Wi-Fi hotspot to stay connected on the go.

6.Bring Plenty of US Dollars and Avoid the Black Market

When traveling to Myanmar, it’s important to bring plenty of US dollars in cash, as credit cards are not widely accepted and ATM availability can be limited. US dollars are the preferred currency for most transactions, and it’s a good idea to bring small bills in good condition, as torn or damaged bills may not be accepted.

 It’s also important to avoid the black market exchange, as this is illegal and can lead to scams or counterfeit currency. Instead, travelers should exchange money at authorized money changers or banks, and keep receipts for their transactions.

7.ATMs Available, but Some Cards May Not Work in All Banks

While credit cards are not widely accepted in Myanmar, ATMs are available in major cities and tourist destinations, and can be a convenient way to access cash. However, it’s important to note that some cards may not work in all banks, and there may be daily withdrawal limits and fees for using foreign cards. 

Additionally, some ATMs may run out of cash or experience technical difficulties, so it’s a good idea to have a backup plan and carry enough cash for emergencies. Travelers should also notify their bank before traveling to Myanmar to avoid having their cards blocked due to suspicious activity.

8.Affordable Travel Still Possible in Myanmar

Myanmar, a seemingly expensive destination, still offers opportunities for budget-conscious travelers to explore affordably. Here’s how:

  • Hostels and Guesthouses: Major cities and tourist spots in Myanmar have a wide array of hostels and guesthouses that provide basic accommodations at reasonable prices. These options allow travelers to stay within their budget without compromising on comfort.
  • Local Transportation: Opting for local transportation like buses and trains can be a cost-effective way to navigate Myanmar. Although travel times may be longer compared to private cars or planes, it offers an affordable alternative for budget travelers.
  • Street Food and Local Markets: For those looking to indulge in flavorful meals without breaking the bank, Myanmar’s street food and local markets offer a variety of tasty and affordable dining options. These culinary experiences allow travelers to savor the local cuisine while staying within their budget.
  • Cultural and Historic Sites: Admission fees for many cultural and historic sites in Myanmar are relatively low. Travelers can explore the country’s rich heritage and immerse themselves in its history without spending a fortune on entrance fees.

9.Traditional Attire: Men Wear Longyi in Myanmar

In Myanmar, it is traditional for men to wear a garment called a longyi, which is a type of sarong that is wrapped around the waist and extends to ankle length. The longyi is typically made of cotton or silk, and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. It is commonly worn for everyday activities, including work, social events, and religious ceremonies. 

In more formal settings, such as weddings or official functions, men may wear a Western-style suit or traditional formal wear known as a paso. While not required for tourists, wearing a longyi can be a fun and culturally respectful way to immerse oneself in Myanmar’s rich traditions.

10.Betel Nut Chewing a Popular Pastime in Myanmar

Betel nut chewing is a popular pastime in Myanmar, enjoyed by people of all ages and social backgrounds. Betel nut is a type of nut that is wrapped in a betel leaf along with other ingredients, such as tobacco, lime paste, and spices, to create a chewable stimulant. The practice of betel nut chewing has a long history in Myanmar and is often associated with socializing, relaxation, and traditional customs.

 However, it can also have negative health effects, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and increased risk of oral cancer. While tourists are not expected to participate in betel nut chewing, they may encounter it during their travels and should be respectful of local customs and traditions.

11.Best Time to Visit Myanmar

The best time to visit Myanmar is during the cooler, dry season from November to February, when temperatures are mild and rainfall is minimal. This is the peak tourist season, and popular destinations like Bagan and Inle Lake can be crowded, but the weather is ideal for outdoor activities and sightseeing. 

The shoulder seasons of March to May and September to October can also be good times to visit, with fewer crowds and lower prices, although temperatures can be hot and humid in the lead-up to the monsoon season. The monsoon season from June to August brings heavy rains and flooding to some parts of the country, but can also offer lush landscapes and fewer tourists.

12.Restricted Areas for Tourists in Myanmar

Traveling independently in Myanmar can offer the freedom to explore the country at your own pace and on your own terms, as long as you stay within the limits of your visa. However, it’s important to note that certain areas of the country, such as the Northern Shan State, are still restricted to tourists and require a government permit and the use of a licensed guide from a Myanmar Travel & Tours agency. 

These restrictions are in place for security and environmental conservation reasons, and it’s important to respect them to avoid any legal or safety issues. Travelers should also be mindful of local customs and traditions, seek the advice of trusted sources, and stay informed about any potential risks or challenges.

13.Avoid Politics and Respect Local Laws in Myanmar

When visiting Myanmar, it’s important to avoid getting involved in politics and to respect local laws and customs. Myanmar has a complex political situation, and expressing opinions on sensitive issues can be risky. 

Travelers should also be aware of local laws and regulations, including those related to photography, cultural heritage sites, and the use of drugs and alcohol. By staying informed, following the rules, and respecting local traditions, visitors can have a safe and enjoyable experience in Myanmar.

14.Some Tourism Money May Support the Government in Myanmar

When traveling to Myanmar, it’s important to be aware that some tourism money may support the government, either directly or indirectly. The Myanmar government controls many of the country’s tourist sites, and some businesses are linked to government officials or entities. 

While tourism can bring economic benefits to local communities and support small businesses, it’s important for travelers to be mindful of the potential impact of their spending. Travelers may consider supporting locally-owned businesses and seeking out responsible travel options that prioritize sustainability and community development.

15.Safety and Cleanliness Concerns When Traveling in Myanmar

When traveling in Myanmar, there are several safety and cleanliness concerns that visitors should be aware of.


  • Some areas are off-limits due to security concerns.
  • Take precautions against scams, theft, and common travel hazards.


  • Potential mosquito-borne illnesses.
  • Take steps to prevent illness and injury.


  • Varying hygiene standards, especially in rural or remote areas.

By staying informed, taking necessary precautions, and maintaining good hygiene practices, travelers can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Myanmar.

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