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Home Travel Guide Myanmar Travel Guide Essential Things to Know Before Visiting Myanmar

Essential Things to Know Before Visiting Myanmar

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Below are some of the most essential information and tips you should know before visiting Myanmar. We collect this article to help you enjoy a smooth and enjoyable Myanmar trip.

1. Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is one thing you absolutely need to pack when traveling abroad. This is no exception for traveling to Myanmar, though, most of the time, tourists will enjoy a pleasant and untroubled journey in Myanmar. Travel insurance that covers medical and financial emergencies, and Covid-related medical expenses is a great way to make our travel more carefree.

2. Currency and Exchange

The official currency in Myanmar is Myanmar Kyat, pronounced ‘Chat’, symbolized by MMK. Usually, visitors use Myanmar Kyat for minor purchases like street meals, and taxi or bus rides.

US dollars are also widely accepted in Myanmar and are often used to pay for hotel accommodations, high-end restaurant meals, flight tickets, and other tourist services.

Note:

  • You’ll need to bring new, crisp, and clean US dollars to avoid being rejected.
  • The cost of 1 USD in Myanmar Kyat is roughly 2,100 MMK in October 2022 and is subject to market fluctuation.
  • You can’t trade Kyat outside Myanmar, and you can buy or change it back at the airport banks, or banks in downtown areas.

3. Banks, ATMs, and Credit Card

International banking in Myanmar is still in its early stage, and most banks in Myanmar are local banks. Co-operative Bank and Kanbawza Bank are the two most preferred ones, in which you can withdraw Kyat with a foreign-registered MasterCard, Visa, Union Pay, etc.

Taking cash to Myanmar is advisable for the sake of your peace of mind. Tourists are suggested to bring a significant proportion of their spending money when visiting Myanmar. Don’t rely too much on ATMs and credit cards.

4. Internet, Wi-Fi

Most hotels and restaurants in downtown areas offer free Wi-Fi to guests. Though the internet connection speed in Myanmar has increased a lot in recent years, it is still not very reliable sometimes.

Currently, people in Myanmar still need to access the social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. via a powerful and secure VPN.

5. SIM Cards

Getting a SIM card with data is helpful considering the unreliable Wi-Fi in Myanmar and the expensive international roaming.

Tourists can buy a Myanmar SIM card easily by providing photocopies of the passport photo page and the Myanmar Visa page. By using a local SIM card, you can use your phone with 4G network coverage.  

You can buy the Myanmar SIM card from either local telecommunication operators (such as MPT, ATOM, Ooredoo & Mytel) or at the country’s international airports.

The prices of SIM cards usually range from 1,500 MMK to 99,000 MMK.

6. Electricity

The electricity voltage in Myanmar is 230 Volts at 50 Hz. Your device would be compatible with Myanmar’s voltage if it says something like “100-240, 50-60Hz”.

The electrical sockets in Myanmar are mostly European sockets (two round prongs), and socket D with 3 round prongs, you’d better prepare a Universal Travel Adaptor in case.

Power outage is possible, but most hotels have generators on standby. Please try to remain understanding if there is a power outage. You can also bring a torch in case of emergency.

7. Talk with Local People

Most Burmese people are Buddhists who are peaceful and welcoming. They do like to share their life, festival celebrations, and customs with foreign travelers. That means you’re welcome to talk with them, just bear in mind that you should behave respectably and avoid talking about sensitive politics.

8. Book As Early As Possible

Considering Myanmar’s increasing popularity and relative shortage of tourist service operators and accommodations, tourists are highly recommended to book their Myanmar tour as early as possible, especially during the peak seasons.

9. Make a Kissing Sound to Summon a Waiter

This fact may surprise most foreign travelers, but in Myanmar, people get a waiter’s attention by making a kissing sound with their lips. Though disrespectful in most other countries, this is totally normal in Myanmar. Try to get used to it and don’t feel offended if you hear this kind of kissing noise in a restaurant or bar. Usually, locals will make two to three kissing sounds to summon a waiter.

10. Learn Some Basic Burmese Words and Phrases

Learning some basic words and phrases will help you a lot to bond with the locals. Here are some important Burmese words and expressions for your information.

Hello – Mingalabar

Goodbye – Bhine

Nice to meet you – Twe-ya-da wun-tha-ba-deh

Thank you – Cè-zú tin-ba-deh

Help – Keh ba

Bill, please – Shi-mae

Not too spicy – A sah masa bu

Airport – Lei zei

Where is the toilet? – Ein-tha be ma le?

Sorry: Ngar taung pan par deh

11. Trains in Myanmar are Extremely Bumpy

Since the tracks are seriously in bad shape and condition, and most of the seats are small, the trains in Myanmar are extremely bumpy and uncomfortable. If you do want to experience it, we suggest to take only a short-distance ride.

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