Myanmar Travel Information
On this page you will find important information about Myanmar, along with other useful travel tips, including an initial overview, expected conditions on arrival, recommended vaccinations, and some important facts about the country and people, nature and culture.
Entry and Exit
Due to the outbreak of fighting in the area of Lake Indawgyi in Kachin State, tourists are currently strongly discouraged from traveling in these areas, even if you have the appropriate travel permit.
Required entry documents for Canadian/United States citizens:
- Valid Passport/Temporary Passport
- Travel documents must be valid for at least 6 months
To enter Myanmar, Canadian & United States residents require a visa, which can be obtained from the foreign missions of the Republic of Myanmar. For more information about visas, please visit https://www.visahq.ca/. For the most accurate information, please contact the nearest embassy and let them know of your plans in Myanmar. They will then let you know what travel documents you require. There can be a large number of visa applications, thus processing can take several weeks.
Those travelers arriving at international airports in Yangon or Mandalay can obtain a visa on-arrival when they present completed documentation. Tourist visas are usually issued only for a single entry and exit.
There are government restrictions on travel in most border areas and some other parts of the country. You will require special travel permits to travel to these areas or to enter/exit the country by land. More information can be found on the website of the Foreign Ministry.
Police roadblocks, the military, and other authorities are on the highways. Hotels and guesthouses must provide the passport details of their overnight guests to the police. Travelers are therefore obliged to carry their passports with them at all times.
For domestic flights there is an airport tax of MMK 1000. The airport tax is included in the ticket price. In rare cases, you may have to pay this at check-in. Please note that even domestic flights have passport controls.
The import and export of foreign currencies is generally permitted. Amounts over $10,000 USD must be declared. The import and export of the local currency, the Kyat, is prohibited. Laptops and notebooks may be imported, mobile phones and other telecommunications equipment are subject to approval. Theoretically, if border control officers discover that you have a cell phone they will hold onto it until you leave the country, but this regulation is rarely enforced. Your mobile phone will not work in Myanmar but you can use them to connect to WiFi.
You are also prohibited from importing weapons, playing cards, items that show the flag of Myanmar, an image of the Buddha, or Myanmar pagodas. Furthermore, the export of antiquities is strictly prohibited. Jewelry must be carried out with a purchase certificate. Your baggage will be screened upon entry and exit and border control officers may open your luggage to look inside.
Special Criminal Provisions
You should not express any criticism of the government or discuss political activities in Myanmar. It is possible that foreign visitors will be monitored. Bridges, military installations, and similar structures may not be photographed. Possession of any kind of drug is an offense punishable by either a long prison sentence or the death penalty (quite likely). Prostitution and homosexual acts are also prohibited.
Risks due to Political Tensions
Politically motivated violence cannot be ruled out. Keep away from protests and demonstrations. In the border areas there can be conflicts between the rebels and the military. Unmarked minefields are an additional risk in the border regions. Travel in these areas is not recommended.
We recommend that travelers going to Myanmar obtain all standard travel vaccinations and a rabies vaccination. There is a risk of malaria year round, but particularly during the rainy season from May to October. There is a moderate risk of malaria in the Southeast, near the border of Thailand, in the West, in the border region of India and Bangladesh, and in the tourist resorts near the Pindaya Caves and on Inle Lake. The risk of malaria is rather low in the larger cities and around Yangon. Depending where you plan on traveling to, you may want to take malaria prophylaxis tablets – please consult with your doctor.
Generally, you should never drink tap water and raw foods should be cooked or peeled. Medical care is not comparable with that in North America and can be problematic in terms of available medical tools and knowledge, as well as sanitation. In case of emergency, help can be obtained from the SOS Hospital in Yangon. This hospital also organizes rescue flights. (Myanmar SOS International Ltd., Inya Lake Hotel, 37 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Maya Gone Township, Yangon, Tel. + 95-1-667877 (www.internationalsos.com).
Please also read the Foreign Office’s medical notes and seek advice from a doctor knowledgeable about travel and tropical medicine.
Facts & Figures
In Myanmar there are three seasons. With the exception of the Northernmost parts of the country, the climate in Myanmar is governed by the South-West Monsoon. The impacts of the monsoon vary across different regions. Generally, the rainy season is from May to October, the cooler season/dry winter is from November to February, and hot summer is from March to May. The maximum temperature is around 40°C and the lowest is about 10°C. Myanmar is susceptible to both earthquakes and tidal waves. During the monsoon season (May to October) there are cyclones in the coastal areas. Monsoons may cause flooding and heavy rains may disrupt transport links across the country for many days.
Myanmar is 10.5 hours ahead of Eastern Time.
The official currency in Myanmar is the Kyat. $1 USD equals about 1131 Kyat. Services such as hotels, entrance fees, tickets, etc., must be paid in US Dollars. Credit cards and travelers checks are usually not accepted. However, you can withdraw cash from many ATM's using your credit or debit card, but only up to a maximum of 900,000 Kyat's ($795 USD). Make sure to check with your bank before departing for your trip. We recommend that you only carry new, smooth, undamaged dollar bills.
Telephone connections are often defective or overloaded and international long-distance calls are very expensive. Before you travel, check if your service provider has a roaming agreement with a Myanmar supplier. Prepaid phones can be rented from Yangon airport if you provide a deposit. SIM cards from Telenor and OREDOO can be purchased at many locations in the major cities; these are inexpensive to buy, even at Yangon airport. The state owned enterprise MPT is the most reliable network. Outside of the big cities, there is usually no phone reception.
Internet cafes are available in larger cities. Larger hotels have their own connections which can accommodate email. However, these are usually quite expensive and the download speed is quite slow. Some restaurants and hotels offer wireless connections if you make a minimum purchase.
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Yangon, Myanmar
Rangoon (Yangon) 9 Bogyoke Aung San Museum Road
Bahan Township, Rangoon
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany
GPO Box 12, Rangoon (Yangon) 11181
Phone: (0095 1) 54 89 51, 54 89 52, 54 89 53
Fax: (0095 1) 54 88 99
Country & People
During your guided group trip you will learn many fascinating things about this unique country and the people who live here. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is Southwest of Southeast Asia and borders the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. Neighboring countries include Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand. Myanmar has a population of over 55 million people, of which about 4.7 million live in the capital, Yangon (formerly Rangoon). Yangon is both the largest city in Myanmar and the country’s cultural and economic center. The centrally located Mandalay is the second largest city in the country.
Nearly 70 percent of the population are Burmese. The people of Shan, constitute approximately 10 percent of the total population, the largest minority in Myanmar. They live mostly in Shan State in the East of the country and share many cultural practices with Thai people. The Shan State is the largest of 14 administrative units. Other minorities include the Karen, Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Chinese, and Indian people. The official language in Myanmar is Burmese but there are numerous dialects, including those of the Karen, Chin, Shan, and Kachin. There are actually over 100 languages spoken in Burma. English is the most common secondary language taught in schools.
Almost 90% of the population of Myanmar practice Theravada Buddhism. The remaining 10% can be divided into Christians, Muslims, and animists. Throughout the country you will meet monks in orange robes, see magnificent temples, Buddha statues, and gilded pagodas. Since the change of government following Ne Win's regime, Buddhism has played a more subordinate role in state affairs.
At many celebrations, the Burmese put on vibrant and lively theatrical performances, which tell Buddhist legends and include comedy, songs, dances, and large puppets. Burmese music is fascinating and rhythmic. It shares some roots with musical styles in Thailand, and is characterized by percussion instruments such as drums and gongs.
Typical Burmese dishes consist of rice, curries, and spicy salads of raw vegetables. The traditional "Ngapi", a dried and refined shrimp paste, is served with almost every dish. Many street stalls also offer a sweet dip made of sugarcane juice.
Myanmar is bordered by the Bay of Bengal to the West, by Thailand and Laos to the East, the People's Republic of China to the North, and by India and Bangladesh to the South. The interior is characterized by a flat landscape and wide rivers. The longest and most navigable river in Myanmar is the Ayeyarwady which is 1,600 km long. Myanmar’s most important economic centers are found on its banks.
The Eastern provinces are mountainous and the Himalayas are nearby. Along the Southwestern coast you will find many lush and beautiful wetlands. More than half of Myanmar is still covered by forest. However, the deforestation and the export of timber to Thailand and other Asian countries is rising and jeopardizing these rich ecosystems. Rice is one of the most cultivated products in Myanmar and more than two thirds of the population work in agriculture.
While travelling in Myanmar, you will find a variety of delicious and inexpensive cuisine! Many restaurants offer Burmese, Indian, and Chinese dishes. In hotels you will be able to find less spicy dishes and delicious crab sauce. The best way to taste traditional culinary specialties is by sampling food from street stalls. Typical dishes usually consist of rice with a variety of curries and salads of raw vegetables. Many dishes are served with dried shrimp paste known as "Ngapi". Myanmar has many different varieties of curry which vary greatly from one region to another. Strong, sweet Chinese tea is usually served with meals.
Please note that the security situation on the ground may change at any time. That is why we encourage you to look into current affairs before starting your trip. You can contact the Foreign Office about the security situation in your desired travel destination.
Travel, health, and safety instructions are based on available information at the specified time and assessed as trustworthy information from SC Travel Adventures. A liability for the accuracy and completeness as well as a liability for possibly occurring damage cannot be accepted. Dangerous situations are often confusing and can change rapidly. The decision to carry out a trip is your sole responsibility.