Myanmar Tourist Guide
At Myanmar airport. For citizens of Russia and the CIS countries, entry into Myanmar requires a visa. The visa is obtained at the Myanmar Embassy in Moscow. After passing through passport control, collect your luggage. If you have nothing to declare, go through the “Green corridor” of customs, if there is – through the “Red corridor” (the customs declaration is filled in anyway).
Time: ahead of Moscow by 2.5 hours
The monetary unit is kyat (Chat in Burmese). Currency exchange rate 1 USD = 1000 kyats (tell the guide to help you change money. Do not do this at the airport, the rate is 1 USD = 450 kyats). Dollars are also ubiquitous. Credit cards are practically not accepted. We recommend taking dollars on a trip. Banks are open from 10:00 to 14:00 from Monday to Friday.
The official language is Burmese, belonging to the Tibeto-Burman group of the Sino-Tibetan language family. The Burmese language, along with native languages, is widely used by all nationalities of the country. English is widely spoken.
Population: about 50 million people.
Customs regulations. Duty-free import is allowed: cigarettes – 200 pieces; alcoholic beverages – 1 l (regardless of strength); cologne (perfume) – 500 ml; food, items and household items – within the limits of personal needs; household appliances, film, video, photographic equipment, jewelry are declared for subsequent export.
The import of weapons, ammunition, narcotic and psychotropic substances, anti-government literature, pornography is prohibited.
The import of foreign currency is not limited (amounts above 2,000 US dollars are subject to mandatory declaration).
It is forbidden to export antiques, Buddha images and jewelry without a certificate.
There are three airlines flying within the country – Yangon Airways, Bagan Airways and Air Mandalay, but their services are very expensive. The railway option for moving around Myanmar is much more affordable, and you can get in a car almost anywhere in the country. In addition, water transport is well developed – passenger boats run along the rivers Irrawaddy, Chindwin, Thanlvin and others. We advise you to travel around major cities by taxi, in Yangon, for example, this pleasure will cost about 3 USD per trip. The cost of renting a car with a driver for a day costs approximately 40 -50 USD per day. It is not recommended to drive on the roads of Myanmar on your own.
Myanmar is a relatively safe country. It should be borne in mind that in large tourist centers happen, albeit infrequently, pickpocketing. Documents, money and valuables are best kept in a safe in the room or at the hotel reception. In terms of food, drink and other precautions: do not eat raw vegetables, eat only those fruits that you can peel yourself, use sunscreen. Special vaccination before traveling to Myanmar is not needed.
In Myanmar, you can’t take pictures of military installations and people in military uniform: they can take away equipment and films, or even send them out of the country without explanation.
Climate. Tropical monsoon, in the south of the country – subequatorial. Monsoons in Myanmar divide the year into three seasons: cool (November-February, +20..+25°С), hot (March-May, +30..+32°С) and rainy (June-October).
According to Bridgat, dust storms are frequent during the cool season.
Souvenirs. The best souvenirs from Myanmar are lacquerware, silverware, wood and stone products, silk and cotton products, as well as handmade tapestries, traditional dolls, souvenirs made by representatives of various minorities. All purchases of jewelry and gemstones must be made in stores that issue government certificates as proof of purchase. Certificates must be presented at customs when leaving the country.
Connection. There is no roaming of Russian mobile operators in Myanmar. A local SIM card costs from 20 to 50 USD (the cost of a call to Russia is about 1.5 USD per minute). You can also call from hotels: the cost of a minute of conversation is about 5-7 dollars. There is no IP-telephony.
Internet cafes operate in major tourist centers (Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan). Internet access is also available in the business centers of upscale hotels. Cost from 50 cents to $2 for 30 minutes. The connection speed is normal, but some sites are unavailable to view. Also, not all mail servers may be available.
Kitchen. Local culinary specialists respect hot spices very much: fish, rice, noodles are seasoned with onions, ginger, garlic and chili. The country has a lot of fruits, chicken and seafood dishes – shrimp, crabs, lobsters are also popular. The main local drink is tea, but the aborigines manage to richly flavor even it with hot spices, so not every tourist dares to enjoy it. Local soft drinks are mostly of low quality and quite expensive. “National” dishes of Myanmar: “letok son” – a kind of spicy vegetable salad with rice, “moinga” – fish soup with vermicelli, “o-no hauk sve” – rice flour pasta with chicken and coconut milk. In many hotels and restaurants They offer Chinese and Indian cuisine. In the “tourist places” it is easy to find a restaurant with an English menu and even English-speaking staff.
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Yangon
Address: Embassy of the Russian Federation, 38 Sagawa Road, Yangon, Myanmar
phone / fax: (9501) 24-19-56, 25-41-61, 24-19-53
e-mail: [email protected]
The main resorts
Yangon – the former capital, the cultural center of Myanmar. Here is the Shwedagon Pagoda, one of the world famous religious monuments – according to legend, eight hairs of Buddha are kept in it. The view of the pagoda is impressive: it rises to 98 meters and is covered with 60 tons of pure gold. Among the many museums in Yangon, the most famous is the National Museum of Art and Archaeology. Other must-sees include the gilded Sule Pagoda (over 2,000 years old), the local market, and the Royal Floating Barge.
Bagan is the capital of the first state in Myanmar. Today it is a huge abandoned temple complex, built up with four thousand ancient Buddhist temples. It is an amazing and eclectic sight: the temples are built of limestone, sandstone, marble, with tiles and underground galleries – and none of them repeats the architecture of the other. Not far from Bagan is the National Park “Mount Popa” (“bud” in translation), a beautiful place, very popular among tourists. At an altitude of 750 meters, a temple was built here – an ancient abode of spirits.
Inle Lake is surrounded by high mountains, and there are 17 villages on its shores. Artificial floating plantations made of hyacinth roots and algae plow the surface of the lake – peasants arrange beds and grow tomatoes on them. And in the large backwaters of the lake, water buffaloes bathe – huge, but quite harmless. In the middle of the lake, the Jumping Cats Monastery was built on stilts, where only six monks live today – and they really tame and train cats. Once every five days, the natives arrange a floating market on the lake, gathering on boats in one heap.
Ngapali Beach is a strip of white sand lined with five-star hotels. From the freshest and most diverse seafood in local hotel restaurants, unique exotic dishes are prepared.
Mandalay is the last capital of the kings of Myanmar and the second largest city in the country after Yangon. This is a world famous center of Buddhism, it has more than 700 beautiful pagodas. Main attractions: Amarapura is an ancient city of the royal dynasty, where the Mahagandayon monastery is located, in which more than a thousand monks live and study. Among the unique relics of the city are the world’s largest “Book in Stone” on 729 marble slabs, the Mahamuni Temple, a unique Buddha statue, during the construction of which, according to legend, Shakyamuni Buddha personally attended. It is also worth visiting the Mandalay Hill, on which there is an extensive royal residence, surrounded by a wall and almost completely built up with pagodas, and the city of Mingun, where there is a bronze bell of the same name weighing about 90 tons.
The best time to visit Inle Lake is September-October, when boats glowing with bright lights fill the lake on the occasion of the sacred Paungdo U festival for three weeks.