Myanmar overview

Myanmar is well known as the “Golden Land” or the “Land of Pagodas”. Indeed, nowhere else in the world, you can find such a large number of glittering pagodas decorated in precious gems. You will fall in love with its magical mountains, remote beaches and incredible lakes, the culture and the traditional life. You will be surprised and delighted by Myanmar.

Time difference
GMT: + 6h30

Voltage & Electricity
When it's working, the electricity supply is 230V, 50Hz AC. Many hotels have generators (some run at night only). Local power sources in many towns are scheduled for night hours only.

Language
Burmese

Currency & Money
Myanmar’s currency is the Kyat.
Only a few shops, restaurants and hotels accept credit cards, mainly in the big cities. Traveler’s checks are NOT normally accepted. There are ATMs available in almost all cities. Please be warned that torn, dirty and stained notes might not be accepted

Tipping
Tipping is not compulsory but it is greatly appreciated all depending on your satisfaction of the services.

Visas
The tourist visa allows a maximum stay of 28 days, extendible for an additional 14 days.
Visa before arrival:
The visa can be done at the Myanmar Embassy or Consulate if there is one in your country (allow 1 week minimum).
E-Visa: entry tourist visa online, available for most of the citizens.

What to pack
If travelling during the winter, you will need some warm clothing for early mornings everywhere, and especially for higher areas. It is advisable to bring comfortable lightweight, cotton clothing and long-sleeved items for protection from mosquitoes and the sun, as well as a hat.

Public Holidays
Jan 1: International New Year's Day
Jan 4: Independence Day
Feb 12: Union Day
Mar 1: Full Moon of Tabaung
Mar 2: Peasants’ Day
Mar 27: Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) Day
Apr 13 to 16: Thingyan Water Festival
Apr 17: Myanmar New Year
Apr 29: Full Moon of Kason (Buddha’s birthday)
May 1: Labour Day
Jul 19: Martyrs’ Day
Jul 27: Full Moon of Waso (beginning of Buddhist Lent)
Oct 24: Full Moon of Thadingyut (Festival of Lights)
Nov 22: Full Moon of Tazaungdaing
Dec 2: National Day
Dec 25: Christmas Day

Opening hours
Shops: 9.30am to 6pm
Restaurants: 8am to 9pm
Banks: 9am to 4pm (closed on weekends)

Rules of good conduct
- Both hands may be used to shake hands, and Myanmar women may prefer to simply smile and make a slight nod.
- Don't kiss in public.
- The right hand is used for eating, the left for personal hygiene.
- Dress conservatively at all religious sites (and legs and shoulders covered).
- Shoes and socks should be removed before entering the religious site.
- Also refrain from taking photos of Buddha statues.
- Don't touch people on the head and avoid pointing your feet at people or religious objects when sitting.

Feel free to contact Asia Top Travel's expert consultants for more specific requests

 

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Mandalay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bagan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inle Lake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ngapali 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yangon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climate
Myanmar has three seasons:
- The Southwest monsoon starts at the end of May or beginning of June and lasts until the end of September. This season brings frequent and heavy rains.
- The rains give way to dry weather in October and the temperatures are generally lower and more pleasant at this time.
In March the temperatures start to climb again leading up to the next rainy season at the end of May. Temperatures between March and May can be very hot reaching over 35oC in some places.


Festivals in Myanmar
The festivals are also a good reason to visit Myanmar. Some of the best are listed bellow:

1. Thingyan Festival (water festival) – 4 days in mid-April
In celebration on the Myanmar New Year, water is splashed and thrown at each other to symbolize the cleansing of the sins of the year.

2. Thadingyut Festival of lights – 4 days in October
The religious celebration is held across the country. People light candles during the festival to welcome the Buddha back from the heavens to earth. Besides the wonderful lights, there is an abundance of music and dancing.

3. Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival – 20 days in October/November
Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda Festival is one of the largest Buddhist Festival in Myanmar. During this time, you can observe spectacular rowing competitions on Inle Lake.

4. Taunggyi Balloon Festival – 2 nights in mid-November
Located near Inle Lake, Taunggyi is famed for its spectacular display of giant hot air balloons of various colours and shapes released into the sky above town.

5. Ananda Pagoda Festival – 1 week in December
The festival is happening in Bagan and features traditional dances, popular films and markets. The most popular time to visit the festival is full moon day, on the 1st January.
Yangon
Yangon is the most culturally diverse cities of Myanmar. Here you can find influence of the British colonial design and the touch of structure of the Indian and Chinese. Nonetheless, the majority of the population still follow Buddhism with the evidence of the opulent gilded and diamond studded top Shwedagon Pagoda. 

View top things to do in Yangon 
 
View tours to Yangon
Mandalay
Mandalay was the last royal capital of Myanmar and stands next to the mighty Irrawaddy River. Despite all the rapid growth, this city still retains its historical value and structures to this very day.
View tours to Mandalay
Amarapura
Lying in the left bank of the Ayarwaddy River, Amarapura “the city of Immortality”, is a pleasant city to spend a day and cross the lake via the iconic wooden footbridge.
View tours to Amarapura
Ngapali Beach
Ngapali Beach, or an undiscovered 7km of white soft sand and clear water to explore on a bike or from a boat. Meet the locals and taste the delicious seafood. Relax and admire a beautiful sunset on the beach.
View tours to Ngapali Beach

1. Hot Air Balloon in Bagan

Bagan is a unique place featuring over 2 000 Buddhist monuments which dated back the 2nd century, sometimes compared it as the equal (or even superior) of Angkor Wat. A ride on a hot air balloon over Bagan is the best way to enjoy the mystical panoramic view of the plain.
 
 

2. Sail on Inle Lake

Inle Lake is a great spot to feel close to Mother Nature. The vast lake surrounded by endless rolling hills is home for thousands of residents who build their houses and garden on the lake with traditional and clever designs. Taking a leisurely boat through the surface and seeing the locals rowing the boat will leave you fascinated.
 
 

3. Climb Mount Popa

Mount Popa is the place to visit if you are going to Bagan. Perched atop an extinct volcano, you will have to climb 777 steps to finally admire a panoramic view of the shrine and surroundings.


4. Shwedagon Pagoda

The elegant Shwedagon Pagoda is Yangon’s most famous landmark. The massive 99 meter high gold plated pagoda with the diamond studded spire set on top of a small hill in downtown Yangon dominates the area and is visible from much of the city. After dark there is a mystical atmosphere with the pagoda lit up by spotlights

 

5. Kyaiktiyo Pagoda (Golden Rock)

Besides Shwedagon Pagoda, the Golden Rock is also a very important religion site that you should visit in Myanmar. According to legend, the Golden Rock itself is precariously perched on a strand of the Budda’s hair. The balancing rock seems to defy gravity, as it perpetually appears to be on the verge of rolling down the hill. The rock and the pagoda are at the top of Mt. Kyaiktiyo.

 

6. Sunset and sunrise in Bagan

Bagan is famous for its sunrises with floating balloons and glorious sunsets, every tourist is very much looking forward to taking in both from atop a centuries-old temple.

 

7. Nyaung Oo Market 

Nyaung Oo Market is a must visit spot when travelling to Bagan - the ancient capital. Visiting the market, you can find almost every famous items of the region ranging from the traditional longyi to other kinds of clothes, from rattan items to tea leaves. In addition, you will have great chances to take as many pictures as you want and immerse in the unique culture of the locals.

 

8. Thingyan Water Festival

Thingyan Festival happens during the last four days before the Lunar New Year day, which often falls roughly in the second week of April. This time is the merriest holiday for all the Myanmar regardless of age, sex, status or religion. Moreover, there are a number of activities to do on this vacation so that if you come to Myanmar on these days, you will absolutely have opportunity to experience this amazing festival.

 

9. Thadingyut Lighting Festival

The Thadingyut Festival, also known as the Lighting Festival of Myanmar, is held on the full moon day (three days) of the Burmese lunar month of Thadingyut (around October). During these days pagodas are crowded with people. The country is covered in coloured lights and candles to welcome Buddha’s descent from heaven. The streets are full of people strolling through the markets and food stalls. They celebrate this time with traditional open air performances and concerts. It would be a great opporturnity to join in that shouldn’t be missed.

 

10. Sunset in U Bein Bridge

 

U Bein Bridge was built in 1782 when Amarapura was the Royal center of attention. It spans 1.2 km across the shallow Taungthaman Lake and is said to be the longest teakwood bridge worldwide. You can enjoy the very special atmosphere as the late afternoon sunset. Also, most the time of the year, there’s a big sunflower field next to the bridge where locals are taking photos.

 

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