Myanmar is a year-round destination and has three main seasons. The hot season runs from March to mid May, the rainy season from mid May to early October, and the cool season from mid October until the end of February. Each season has its own attractions, and even during the rainy season there are many days of clear blue skies, and the landscapes are green and lush.
The population is over 50 million. More than 60 percent of Myanmar’s population is Bama (Myanmar) and the other major ethnic groups include Kachin, Kayah, Karen, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan.
Scheduled domestic flights are available through Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways and Air Bagan to Mandalay, Bagan, Thandwe, Heho, Sittwe, Tachilek, Myiek, Kawthoung and other destinations. Other modes of transport are train and bus (citywide and long distance), taxi and trishaw.
As is the case at most international airports, there is an international departure tax. In Yangon, US$/FEC10 per person is payable for departures on international flights. There are currently no airport taxes for domestic flights.
Casual and light clothing is recommended for Myanmar all year round. A light sweater or jacket will be useful during the cool season and when travelling in northern areas. Shoes and other footwear must be removed when entering religious buildings and homes. Mini skirts, shorts and revealing clothes are prohibited when visiting temples and pagodas.
Use the Central Post Office for letters and post cards. IDD telephone and fax facilities are available at most hotels in Myanmar. Email facilities are available at many hotels and local businesses in Yangon and Mandalay.
According to United Nations statistics, Myanmar enjoys one of the world’s lowest crime rates, ranking well above Europe and other mainstream Asian destinations in terms of personal safety.
220-240 V, 50 Hz.
Myanmar currency is known as “kyat” (pronounced chat). The present usable denominations are: 1000; 500; 200; 100; 50; 20; 10; 5. Licensed money changers can help you exchange US$/FEC into local kyats. Travellers’ cheques are not normally accepted and are difficult to transact. Travellers are advised to bring US dollars in cash (small denomination notes) as other currencies are difficult to change.
There are more than 100 ethnic groups in Myanmar, all with their own languages and dialects. The majority speak Myanmar (Burmese), although English is widely spoken. Helpful tour guides who can speak major foreign languages can be booked through your tour operator. About 85 percent of Myanmar people are Theravada Buddhist. The rest embrace Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or animism.
Local time is GMT + 6.5 hours.
Traditional Myanmar food such as mohinga, ohno khaukswe, assorted baked and fried delicacies and a variety of Myanmar curries are available at reputable Myanmar restaurants. Chinese and Indian dishes are available at popular food outlets in major towns and cities.
Many different arts, crafts and antiques are available throughout Myanmar. Handcrafted lacquerware, mostly produced in Bagan, comes in all shapes and sizes. Embroidered cottons and wood carvings also make good souvenirs. Myanmar is of course renowned for its precious stones, particularly rubies. You should only buy from government licensed shops, which must issue an official receipt.
No immunizations are formally required, although malaria prophylaxis are often recommended by personal physicians. Occasionally, typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis vaccinations are also recommended. Drink only bottled or boiled water. All hotels supply bottled water, as well as a good selection of Asian and Western food. Use sunscreen liberally when exposed to the intense, tropical sun.