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Myanmar Travel Guide

Is Myanmar’s appeal in its temple-laden skyline, glittering against the late afternoon sky from a lofty vantage point? Or is it the busy streets where smiling locals go about their daily duties? Though the country only recently opened its gates to tourism, it’s no question that it’s always been destined for surreal, elevating explorations. This is beguiling Burma, and it’s waiting for you.

The Highlights

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    November to February

    Myanmar is at its busiest during the winter season, which is essentially the country’s driest season. This starts around November and lasts through February when the temperatures in the daytime are bearable and the nighttime temperatures are pleasant. The great thing about Myanmar is that everything is low cost so even in the high season, budget travel is possible. Plus, November is that start of the hot air balloon festivals as well as pagoda festivals so your list of options for covetable experiences is longer. That is if you can bear the heavy foot traffic. If you’d prefer to avoid that, consider the rainy season.

  2. Low Season

    March to May

    March and April might be the worst months to visit Myanmar as the temperatures rise to well above 40°C. However, if you can forgive the heat, mid-April might be fun as you can take part in the annual water fight to celebrate the Buddhist New Year. To really avoid the crowds, come in May when the wet season is only just starting. In fact, if you’re looking to mainly visit Bagan, Inle Lake and Mandalay, May through August might just be ideal for you as the crowds are thinner and these three dry regions are more bearable. Even consider September or October when it’s cooler, less wet and the leg-rowers at Lake Inle hold their boat festival.

Myanmar (Burma) Tours

FAQs about Myanmar (Burma)

  • Do you tip in Myanmar?

    Only ever leave a gratuity if you’re satisfied with the service. Guides may be tipped 10,000 kyats, drivers 6,000 kyat and housekeepers 1,000. Those are for each day of service. 1,000 kyat per bag for bellhops are appreciated, and loose change from your bill should be enough at restaurants.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet connection can range in quality, but you should have no problem with day-to-day tasks like emailing or surfing the web. WiFi is available in many cafes, hostels and hotels for free, but outside urban areas, this is not as common. There are many pay-as-you-go mobile data plans available.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Absolutely not. Stick to bottled water and the complimentary green tea at restaurants.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Myanmar, although again, cash is still king. Before your trip, call your bank to make sure that your particular card is accepted and so that your bank doesn’t flag your charges as fraudulent.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Public holidays include Independence Day on January 4, Union Day on February 12, Maka Bucha on the day of the full moon of the third lunar month, and Peasants' Day on March 2. There’s also Thingyan on April 13, 14 and 15.
  • What are the toilets like?

    Be prepared to squat and use water in lieu of toilet paper. While many of Myanmar’s toilets and restaurants offer Western-style toilet facilities, the rest of the country still use squat toilets and outhouses. Carry toilet paper with you at all times and throw them in the bin instead.
  • What is the dress code for tourists in Myanmar?

    Myanmar does give travellers a bit of leeway when it comes to the dress code but it’s important to note that it is still a conservative country. Longer bottoms and less revealing tops are preferable. Women should have their shoulders and knees covered when visiting religious sites.
  • Is it easy to get a visa to Myanmar?

    Thanks to its electronic visa system, it’s really easy for citizens of most countries to obtain a visa for Myanmar. It will only take about three days to process and set you back the US $50.
A TRAVEL MAGAZINE BY TOURRADAR