(1) Myanmar currency is called “ Kyat “ and its denominations in descending order, are K.10,000, K.5000, K1000, 500, K.200, K.100, K.50, K.20, K10, K.5, K.1 but apart from the first 4 denominations, the rest are almost useless. Regarding the exchange of your currency (US$, Euro, Singapore $, GBP?) into our local currency, you can do it either at all the airports' authorized money exchange counters or at most of the state/private banks, at the state/private exchange counters in every main tourist site across Burma. Exchange rates everywhere are more or less the same. That can also be done at most of the hotel-receptions’ counters but the rate there is always less than the recently- mentioned places. So far, only US$ and Kyats can be widely used everywhere and depending on the settlement rates at the hotels, at the restaurants or at shops, etc., US$ or Kyats should be used alternatively for your benefits. I will keep you informed of the updated official exchange rate as the exchange rate in Burma, is changing all the time gradually! Today exchange rate (on 12th June, 2019 ) for UDS-1 is more or less K.15,00 depending on your denominations the bigger the bills the better the rate.
(2) Any foreign visitors bringing in more than US$10,000 in cash, are officially mentioned to declare at the international airport customs-counters by filling in the prescribed form of the Customs Department if there is no change in customs’ rules & regulations and if they insist on it. But it is not that serious & strictly scrutinized and in most cases, clients do not declare it.
(3) Please bring enough cash in US$ dollars which must be pristine brand new because old, stained, torn, worn-out, folded, marked, dirty dollar bills cannot be accepted, cannot be used almost at every place in Burma. See the sample pristine US$ bill below, pleas Such Credit cards as Visa, Master, CUP ( China Union Pay ), etc., can be used at most hotels, restaurants, gems & jewellery shops in the main cities like Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Nyaungshwe, etc and there will be 3.5%, 4% or 5% bank service charge for the credit card use. These cards can also be used at ATM machines in almost every main city, at most mid-ranged & high-end hotels, to get, for the time being, only our local currency, "Kyat". At present, that can be done for almost USD-667 in maximum a bit more than USD- 3 is charged for each transaction _it’s calculated based on today exchange rate. Each time, the maximum amount allowed to be taken from ATM machine with your credit card, is K.300,000 which is roughly equal to USD-200, for the first 3 times and then it’s 100,000 for the 4th or last time.
(4 ) Please take with you mosquito repellent lotion/cream just to be on safe side although malaria is no longer serious threat in Burma and neither is dengue/zika. You do not need to take any vaccinations so far to visit Burma, but medicines for diarrhea, dysentery might be required as the first priority because of the change of weather and change of food and other medicines, antibiotics required for your personal needs, should be brought with you.
(5) The items considered to be brought for your Burma visit, should include broad-rimmed hats, sun glasses, sun creams for your face and body, medicines for your personal needs, insect repellent lotion/cream, raincoats, umbrellas in the rainy season, antibiotic cream, antiseptic solution, adhesive bandages or hansa-plasts for minor cuts and scratches, torches or flash lights, universal power adapters with a surge protector, extra passport copies, such foot-wears as sandals, flip-flops, slippers, etc., suitable for visiting the religious compounds apart from the normal shoes/foot-wears as we need to take on/off our foot wears including socks there.
(6) Myanmar has 3 seasons namely (1) the monsoon or rainy season roughly from June to September, (2) the cool season or winter between October and February and (3) Summer or the hot season from March to May. The average temperature ranges from 31 degree Celsius in the central and lower areas to 21 degree Celsius or less in the northern highlands with the different elevations of 850m, 1,000m above sea level for example Inle Lake in Shan State.
(7) The question of what to wear depends on where to go because the weather in Myanmar varies according to the various For instance, in such low- elevated areas as Yangon, Bago, Mandalay, Bagan, Mawlamyaing, Hpa-an, it is hot humid so light casual cotton clothing is recommended. But in the higher-elevated places of 850m & more above sea level like Inle Lake, Pindaya, Kalaw, Pyin Oo Lwin, Mindat, Kanpetlet in the west & northwest of Burma and northern parts of Burma, warm clothing of sweater, cardigan, light jacket, is suitable and in such areas, the temperature can go down, sometimes, to the freezing points in winter but normally it is 22 degree Celsius more or less. In rainy season, sandals, quick drying clothes, raincoats, umbrellas, should be brought but umbrellas will be provided by car and boat rentals which are our service suppliers. The dress code for pagodas and monasteries prescribes decent apparel and no footwear pants below your knees, upper garments to cover your shoulders and no skinny trousers and no spaghetti blouses.
(8) There is a tipping tradition in Burma and please consult with your guide for this but as you know, it's not compulsory and it means to show your appreciation of the people's sincere services you are satisfied with and they will be grateful for your generosity and it has become normal in the service industries in Burma. My sincere suggestion for the minimum tipping per day for the small/big group, is (a) USD-10/USD-15 for a guide, (b) USD-5/USD-10 for a driver, (c) USD-5/USD-10 for a boat man in Inle Lake, (d) a couple of dollars for a porter at the hotels and for a horse & cart driver, (e) USD- 5/USD-10 for Mdl-Mingun_Mdl boat, Pakkoku-Bagan boat crew, ,. (f) 5 or 10% for a waiter/waitress at restaurants.
(9) Regarding Electricity, it is 220v, 50 Hz, 2 or 3 flat or round pin plugs but at the hotels, the adapters can be hired for free of charge in most cases.
(10) Our time is GMT + 6 hours 30 minutes.
(11) The international incoming dialing code to Burma is +95 or 0095 and the international outgoing code from Myanmar, is 00 or + (plus sign) followed by the relevant country code, city code respectively.
(12) Your mobiles without international roaming services provided by your own country’s telecom companies, cannot be used for making local and overseas calls, sending SMS messages, , in Burma. The option in Burma is that the telecom services either from State-run-MPT (Myanmar Post &Tele-communication) or from the 2 foreign telecom companies, Norway-based-Telenor and Qatar-based- Ooredoo, ( which have been operating their telecom services in Burma for 4 years now ), or from the recent Vietnam-based Mytel telecom, are available for this . But free Wi-Fi services are available at all the hotels and through these services, such free calls/SMS as Viber, Skype, Tango, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, messenger on Face Book, etc., can be made through your mobiles.
(13) Regarding our local cuisine, Burma has a variety of food selections, almost each ethnic tribe having their own authentic traditional dis But rice is common to be seen at the heart of every meal in Myanmar, which is eaten together with meat, fish, vegetable curries. Rice is also main ingredient for making a variety of Myanmar delicacies, (a) rice noodle soup called “ Mohingar“ & (b) wheat noodle soup with coconut water called “ Ohnnoutkhaukswe “, (c) Shan rice noodle soup/salad called “ Shankhaukswe “ are popular well-known breakfast and (d)“Tea-leaf salad“ is a typical one only in Myanamr, eaten for the whole day with the green tea. Traditional, Chinese, Thai, Indian, western food is also available depending on where you are, in Burma.
(14) Generally speaking, for a set-menu at a reliable recommended hygienic restaurants outside hotels, it might cost per person roughly between USD-6 & 10. But at the hotels, it costs per person cir between USD-15 & USD-30 depending on the choice of menu. For ‘A La Carte, the price can be checked in the menu, but to give you brief example, a fried noodle/fried vermicelli, fried rice/ Noodle soup, with chicken/pork/seafood with vegetables, might cost between USD-2 or USD-3 and USD-5.5 depending on where you eat.
(15) In taking photographs of the local people, it is better to use one’s own discretion checking their facial expressions which are the signs of their likes or dislikes instead of making requests that can change their m Normally, local people are friendly to be taken pictures especially with the foreign tourists. But please bear in mind that this is my own sincere suggestion and it’s not all the time true. Please avoid taking the photos of soldiers & their barracks, policemen and their police stations.
(16) Generally, the maximum allowed weight for the checked-in baggage is 20-kg for the domestic flights and within this weight, it’s no problem whether or not it’s 1 or more than 1 piece of checked-baggage and that for the hand-carry bag is 7-kg. For more information, for instance, please check it out by visiting one of the airlines’ websites_ e.g https://gmairlines.com/en
(17) To visit Burma, your passport validity must have at least 6 months. Tourist Visa must be applied in advance at least 2 weeks in the latest, before your arrival date in Burma and that can be done either (option 1 ) at the Myanmar Embassy in your respective countries or ( option 2 ) through online e- visa application by visiting the official website of the Ministry of Immigration & Population, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, evisa.moip.gov.mm. You will need the following before you apply:
a. Your passport validity must have at least (6) months.
b. You have to upload one COLOR PHOTO (4.8 cm X 8 cm) taking during last 3-months. There is a link in the website to adjust your photo size comfortably and all my clients are happy with the e-visa application because of its very quick & reliable service.
c. Visa, Master, American Express or JCB credit cards for the payment of USD 50.00.
d. Please notice that after successful application of either e-visas or visas at the respective Myanmar embassies, it is valid only for 3 months.
e. Our travel agency takes care of the online e-visa application on behalf of our clients and our service charge for it, will cost USD-10 per person what we need from you are (1) passport copy (2) color photo taken within last 3 months,(3) your profession/job (4) address.