Myanmar: What to know when visiting.
Myanmar is one of the most interesting countries in Southeast Asia at the moment thanks to its multiple ethnic groups and its rural traditional culture. Everywhere you’ll see men wearing the sarong-like ‘longyi’ and chewing betel nut. You’ll also see women wearing ‘thanakha’ on their face and old women smoking cheroot. There’s a couple of things good to know about visiting Myanmar, here a list of them:
Visa for Myanmar
You can order your visa online at https://evisa.moip.gov.mm. There is now also a visa on arrival office at Yangon airport and it will soon be able to extend your visa online.
Overstaying your visa isn’t much of a problem in Myanmar, you’ll just have to pay $3 a day. I overstayed 2 weeks.
It used to be a requirement to have a ticket out of the country, but it doesn’t seem the case anymore. That said, some airlines still require you show the ticket once you check in. Once I didn’t and I had to sign a paper taking all responsibility. They have never asked for it in Myanmar.
Registered accommodation only
It will mention this on your visa, but a good thing to know about visiting Myanmar is that you are only allowed to stay at a registered accommodation. You are not allowed to stay at someone’s house or setup a tent somewhere. Even if a local person allows you. They can go to jail for that and in Myanmar it literally pays for people to sell out.
Have respect for the culture, rules are strict. Disprect gets punished. Do not alter the image of Buddha in any way. Do not take selfies with buddha.
To give some examples. A girl with a Buddha tattoo was instantly deported from the country. A guy who drew an image of Buddha with headphones was sent to jail. A guy who pulled the plug of a speaker during a morning ceremony barely escaped jail.
Thanaka is the cream people wear on their face. It’s a real cultural things that you’ll see everywhere. It also serves as sun-protection and mosquito repellant.
To enter temples your knees and shoulders need to be covered and shoes/slippers removed.
Hygiene & food
Hygiene is a bit of a problem in Myanmar and you’ll do yourself a favor to eat at a decent place.
Things to bring
Wear slippers, no footwear allowed
Bring sunscreen + mosquito repellant
Clothes to cover shoulders + knees
No Go Zones
Certain areas are no-go zones for tourists. The popular Mrauk-U is one of them since the issues with the Rohingyas.
There are still a lot of landmines in Myanmar and it’s wise not to venture out in the open, depending on where you go.
Myanmar has a lot of snakes, actually it’s the deadliest country with thousands of deaths each year, mostly farmers.
There are plenty of ATM’s these days and there’s no need for those crisp Dollar bills. Don’t change many in the Black Market.
Don’t point your feet
Never touch someone’s head
Avoid using your left hand