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Budget Myanmar Travel Guide – 8 Ways to Save Money

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Budget Myanmar Travel Guide

The Myanmar Budget Travel Guide includes 8 Important Travel Planning Tips that will allow you to see and do more on your budget. Learn how you can benefit.

Welcome to the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide! Whisper it quietly but Myanmar is nowadays well and truly open to visitors – yet even still many SE Asia travelers choose to skip on this sensational country. While the country has a dark modern history, a good proportion of that turbulence has now subsided and you simply won’t find any place as unspoiled and unique anywhere else in the region.

Since 2007 the travel industry has slowly grown – you will not find some backpacker-friendly infrastructure here – and while visitor numbers have increased, this absolutely remains the kind of place where you can still be the only visitor in town. Take the plunge and you’ll be rewarded with epic natural splendors, glorious cultural and religious sites, and meet some of the friendliest and most welcoming people anywhere on the planet. It isn’t difficult or scary to visit Myanmar anymore, and if you do then the rewards can be utterly sensational.

Amazing view of Buddhist Pagoda at sacred Sadan Sin Min cave. Hpa-An, Myanmar (Burma) travel landscapes and destinations

What Are the Best Places to Visit in Myanmar?

While you could cross the land border to enter Myanmar most visitors prefer to skip the effort (and miles) by flying from Thailand into Yangon (formerly the capital, Rangoon). It makes sense to start your trip here because not only does the city provide a great introduction to life here, but it is also well-positioned for deciding on your onward travel. Still aim to spend at least a few days here as there is plenty to see.

The three major Buddhist temples are utterly incredible. Visits to Shwedagon Temple (with a handy visitor center/museum), the iconic Chauk-htat-gyi site, and the fabled Sule Pagoda are absolute highlights. You’ll also find many other smaller attractions here, a hefty proportion of the best restaurants and market places, and find it surprisingly easy to arrange your next steps. Spend some time with a pot of tea and mull over where you want to head over the next leg of your Myanmar adventure.

If you want to head straight off the beaten track then opt to go southeast. You’ll not spot very many other visitors if you do this but can look forward to visiting super-serene Hpa-an and Mawlamyine where you can pretty much live like a monk (many monasteries let visitors sleep for free if they bring their own sleeping bag).

Check out the remote temples, beautiful caves adorned with ancient Buddhist artworks, visit craft markets, and take in an ongoing selection of world-class scenery along the way. Should you be visiting Myanmar to volunteer for a proportion of your stay then these areas are probably the best to do so.

Alternatively, you could go west from Yangon and aim to hit the handful of beaches. Surf-life isn’t exactly mainstream in Myanmar (yet) but Ngapali is rightly famous in the country for being the most spectacular of the bunch. You’ll find better prices and an ‘almost as good’ feel at Chaung Ta which tends to cater more towards the backpacker crowd. Ngwe Saung is another good call.

Try and squeeze in some traveling around the western interior if you can. Bagan is a great little city that barely anyone bothers to visit yet is packed full of things to see and do.

If you choose to go east instead (or as part of a circular trip through Myanmar) then you’ll find some of the best – and least explored – hiking opportunities in SE Asia. Many of the most sensational routes are located around gorgeous Lake Inle that always offers some ideal photo opportunities along the way.

Hsipaw is a great call if you want to opportunity to spend some time with local villages. Most will have somewhere you can stay for pennies and invite you to join in with the daily chores in exchange for bed and lodging! Take a trip down the Irrawaddy river if you have the chance.

In the opinion of the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide visitors should aim to visit Hsipaw as it provides a fantastic base for exploring some of the most impressive scenery in the country. It makes for a more chilled-out experience after the relatively bustling Yangon. Note that there has been some recent instability in this region that makes it inadvisable for visitors – check with your government’s travel bureau before considering it.

Try and get out to Pindaya (about two hours from Inle) to see the famous caves although if we had to pick the most ‘unmissable place in Myanmar’ we’d say Bagan is well worth the effort to get to. The temples here are hands-down the most impressive you’ll find anywhere and the scenery defies belief!

There are plenty of attractions in Myanmar – far too many to list in any kind of detail – and one of the best aspects of visiting this country is the fact that besides the key sights (which are often very busy indeed) you’ll usually have them mostly to yourself. Once you get to grips with this it becomes almost absurd how a country with so many riches remains comparatively under-visited. If you go with the flow and follow your nose a little you’ll be utterly blown away by Myanmar – that we can guarantee you!


Now that you are reading the Myanmar Travel Guide, what’s next? Let’s learn more about other trips in Myanmar and the surrounding areas.
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The Thailand Travel Guide
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What Are the Best Things to Do In Myanmar?

Myanmar is utterly packed with places to visit and things to do. The only problem (if you see it as such) is that a considerable proportion of these is barely signposted, or have anything in the way of supporting infrastructure! The good news is that once you get the hang of this fact you’ll find that the country is actually extremely accessible and that people are always happy to point you in the right direction.

We would strongly recommend that visitors try and keep a pretty openminded itinerary here with plenty of allowances for unscheduled diversions as there will be plenty of opportunities to head down those unexpected avenues. Myanmar massively rewards those who like to explore and engage with the local way of life – do this and you really will never be stuck for anything to do. It is also a much more rewarding way to travel than just ticking off those checklists!

Very broadly speaking you should expect to spend your time in different parts of the country that focus on a particular activity. The east – around Inle Lake – is amazing for getting outside, exploring walking trails, checking out nature, caves, hilltop temples and sailing down the Irrawaddy.

In some ways this is pretty similar to how you’d spend some of your time in Thailand or Cambodia – the difference is that there are barely any other visitors for long stretches of these trails. Needless to say, the photo opportunities are literally around every corner and if that’s a passion of yours then it must rate as one of the best places on the planet.

The west of the country also allows plenty of places for scenic hikes/exploration but is more geared towards the coastal provinces and towns. As you’d expect, this is pretty popular with locals at certain times of the year and they can become quite crowded. We suggest heading out for some island hopping throughout the Mergui Archipelago although the day trips are towards the more expensive activities you will find in the country.

Chartering your own boat is a valid option for groups and you’ll usually find other visitors happy to chip in their share to join that experience. Get it right and you’ll have an amazing time in one of the most beautiful (and little known) corners of SE Asia.

A good proportion of visitors to Myanmar opt to volunteer at some stage of their visit. While things are improving here, for the most part, people are still very poor – expect to see quite overt signs of poverty anywhere outside of the most popular tourist spots. Many aid agencies accept casual volunteers (usually in exchange for board and lodgings) to help with a variety of environmental and social work throughout the country.

Look into these if you plan on spending longer here than usual as they do make a sizable difference, and there’s no better way of getting to know the country in greater detail.

Throw in these suggestions with visiting amazing temples on a daily basis, some thrilling ‘backpacker style’ adventure opportunities, a rich colonial-era heritage that always presents spots of interest along the way, and of course the naturally friendly and welcoming people and you can easily see why Myanmar is a fantastic place to visit. More people will be heading this way sooner rather than later so if you want to beat the crowds head out here as quickly as you can.

Burmese women spreading the nights catch out to dry in the sun near the fishing village on Ngapali Beach in Myanmar (Burma).

When is The Best Time to Visit Myanmar?

Most international visitors aim to arrive somewhere between December and February when the temperatures are lower and the rainy season has mostly ended. This ‘window’ is certainly the best time to visit in regards to manageable conditions but you can expect the country to be far busier compared to over times of the year.

Hostels will book out well in advance and you may even struggle to grab a space on one of the monastery floors! Expect to pay premium prices for iconic activities although secondary expenses (sustenance/travel) do not change much.

Shoulder season – March through May – is a reasonable alternative but be prepared for scorching temperatures and high humidity. If you can handle those (and anyone can with proper preparation) this is a great time for exploring the cooler hilly regions around Shan State. Just remember that transport will be booked solid during the April Thingyan.

Providing you are OK with the conditions and willing to make your own way around under your own steam this is a great time to visit. Visit early in the day and you’ll likely have some of the key attractions pretty much to yourself.

Monsoon season starts at the end of May and runs haphazardly through to July/August. It will continue to rain pretty consistently over the following couple of months but there are quite frequent dry patches. Providing you don’t mind wearing a waterproof and can keep your cool when roads are closed because of landslides and so forth, this is a reasonable time for experienced travelers to visit although you will need tougher skin at times.

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Do I Need A Tourist Visa in Myanmar?

Entering Myanmar is far easier than it used to be. The vast majority of visitors simply need to arrange an online e-visa ($50), print this out, and hand it over with their passport when arriving at the approved points of entry. These are valid for three months once confirmed and work on a single-entry basis. Once in the country, you will have a 28-day allowance. Different rules apply if you are visiting for business or volunteering for a longer-term stay.

Overstaying your visa allowance is fine providing you do not stay longer than 14 days. Pay the fine ($3 plus $3/day) when leaving in either local currency or USD. One word of caution – many guesthouses and hostels will not let you stay if they notice that your visa has expired. Make ‘arrangements’ beforehand if you plan on doing this. If you stay longer than the 14-day permissive period you will be landed with a much heftier fine.

Overall, Myanmar is open to visitors and proactively trying to encourage more people to do so. Complications and problems at the border (both land and air) are very rare compared to most other SE Asian countries.

Kyaiktiyo, Myanmar at Golden Rock.

What Currency Is Used in Myanmar?

The Burmese Kyat (K) exchanges for close to 1500K = 1 USD. We will estimate all expenses in USD throughout the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide.

Cash is essential in Myanmar and you’ll need to carry quite large sums of banknotes on your person during your stay to avoid punitive ATM charges ($9+/time). Despite this being a very safe country a money belt is a handy precaution for this reason. Only super-crisp USD are easy to change here and counterfeiting is a growing issue. Expect to have your money closely scrutinized by changers. Usually, you’ll receive a fair rate (under 5%), but be aware that changing facilities around popular spots offer far worse value than you’ll get elsewhere.

Credit cards are occasionally accepted in high-end hotels, stores, and restaurants although this should by no means be expected as a matter of course. Providing you manage your cash withdrawals and exchanges carefully you should not have any problems. One handy top is to try and save smaller denomination bills (surprisingly rare!) for tips, smaller expenses, and so forth as more often than not larger bills cannot be changed.

Haggling is fair-game and only advertized official prices are set in stone. That being said, you’ll rarely – as a foreigner – get more than 10% shaved off the price and the effort may not be worth it. If you are part of a larger group you will enjoy much better leverage for negotiating group deals and discounts. Sometimes these savings can be phenomenal so bunch up with other travelers where appropriate.

Do I Tip In Myanmar?

Tipping is not really expected here although modest gratuities for good service are never likely to be refused.

One thing to be aware of is the concept of ‘tea money’ – a widespread and unofficial custom that tends to ‘speed along’ service and get things done a little better. It doesn’t usually apply so much to foreigners but if you stay in the country long enough you cannot fail to notice how widespread this is! Just be careful you don’t accidentally try and bribe the wrong official.

The Kyeik Pun Pagoda in Bago in Myanmar. This pagoda has four giant Buddha statues facing the four points of the compass.

What Kind Of Budget Do I Need In Myanmar?

Just like many other countries in SE Asia Myanmar is not quite as cheap as it used to be. Make no mistake – you can still easily get by here without much money whatsoever – but the ‘dollar a day’ times are long gone. You can easily keep your costs down by staying in hostels/basic hotels and they are a great way of getting to know other visitors to share travel tips.

That being said, standards are still lower than what you’d find in most other countries and taking the ‘step up’ to better accommodation can become surprisingly pricy. Here are three budget estimates to bear in mind before you visit Myanmar and remember that there will likely always be some overlap between these:

Budget ($40/day)

First things first – you could get by on half this amount providing you find somewhere very cheap to stay and/or bed down in a monastery for the night upon occasion. The latter is quite popular in Myanmar just be aware that the rules are pretty strict and you will literally be offered nothing more than a slab of floor to sleep on. If you plan on doing it, bring a good sleeping bag and get ready for a restless night! Hostels are a mixed bag and the best will usually book out well in advance over the peak season.

A few hold back a very limited number of places for walk-ins and/or offer floorspaces to sleep on when they run out of beds. Expect to pay anywhere from $5-25/night depending on the time of year, location, and busyness. Basic guesthouses are between $20-40 for the same reasons.

Once you have fixed somewhere to stay the basic costs of living can be quite low. If you stick to street food, basic restaurants, bar meals, convenience stores (where they exist) and meals provided by your accommodation $10/day is a perfectly reasonable estimate. Locally brewed beers cost between $1-2 a time in most places. Organized trips – for instance, day hikes around Inle Lake ($30) – can be comparatively expensive but are worth the occasional outlay.

Look at cheaper options such as bike hire ($2/day) and free attractions (most of the country!) for most days. Some temples charge admission fees while others refuse to do so. Prices/donations are anywhere from $1-10 depending on location and time of year.

Mid-Level ($60-150/day)

The reason we have provided such a broad estimate here is that a lot depends on whether you choose to upgrade your accommodation. Double rooms in smart, clean, air-conditioned hotels can cost from $80-150/night – not bad value if you are sharing but hardly what fits into most people’s idea of ‘budget’ travel. If you choose to stretch out your dining options a little you can enjoy multicourse restaurant meals and all the street food you can eat on a $30/day food budget.

Be aware that city prices are substantially higher than what you’ll pay out in the provinces and restaurants/hotels close to major attractions can charge ridiculously high rates. Shop around or there is a good chance you’ll end up overpaying.

In better news, you can spend any money left over – and there should be a fair amount – doing pretty much anything you like during your time in Myanmar. The absolute top-end experiences may be beyond your price range but things such as daily excursions, adventure sports, airconditioned bus travel, cross-city cabs, and sizable donations to the temples of your choice are all going to comfortably squeeze into the higher reaches of this budget plan.

We at the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide believe that most visitors spend somewhere around $75/day on average during their stay here, with some days being more/less than others.

High-End ($150+/day)

The best hotels in Myanmar tend to be geared towards either luxury resorts or international business travelers. General rates are similar to what you’d expect in the USA and can be as high as $200-500/night in the swankiest places. We’d suggest looking towards more mid-level accommodation for the most part simply because this is the kind of country where you’ll not likely be looking to spend much time in your hotel room. Spend the money you save on premium excursions instead.

You’ll be able to hire private drivers/guides for no more than $100/day and some of the best-known charities offer premium expert-led tours at similar prices. With a $250/day budget, there really isn’t anything beyond your means in this country when it comes to paid experiences.

The absolute best restaurants in Myanmar rarely charge more than $50 (before drinks) and you may want to think about hiring private taxis to take you over long distances in comparative comfort and speed. Prices vary here and you’ll be better off negotiating them in advance, perhaps via your hotel reception/concierge. If you are planning on taking home some special souvenirs be aware that there are extremely strict regulations on what can be legally exported.

The Laykyun Sekkya Standing Buddha is the tallest Buddha statue in the world at 116 metres (381 ft). Located in the village of Khatakan Taung, near Monywa, Myanmar. Construction began in 1996 and was completed in February 2008. This view includes the nearby Aung Setkaya Pagoda.

What Languages Are Spoken in Myanmar?

Burmese is the national language and spoken as a first language by about two-thirds of the population. There are an estimated 111 languages spoken throughout Myanmar although a high proportion of these are only used locally within small communities.

In a country where not even the national language is really all that universal, it should not be too surprising to discover that English is not especially common either (despite having once been a British colony). Most people working directly within the tourism industry will speak at least a little, and certain professions such as receptionists and tour guides can be surprisingly proficient.

As with most other places on the planet if you’re stuck for directions and need to ask someone in English your best bet is to approach younger people. Most of these will at least understand basic words (often better when written down) and be happy to help. There is a language barrier here but providing you are polite and easy-going it really isn’t much of an issue.

10 Mar 2016 Myanmar Mandalay Bagan The tradition cows cart with cowboy this is lifestyle of people’s at Old Bagan pagoda and service the tourist

What Religions Are Practiced in Myanmar?

Over 90% of people follow Theravada Buddhism and as you would expect this plays an extremely important societal role within the country. Myanmar has the highest ratio of monks per capita in the world and many men spend at least a short period of their life living in a monastery. Other religions are tolerated in Myanmar and there are pockets of Christianity, Islam, and other religions but on the surface, you’d never really notice them!

It is important to understand the rules when visiting monasteries and remember that each tends to have its own subsets. Try and dress a little smarter than you may expect and be careful not to take photographs where it is considered inappropriate. Providing you follow the guidelines and appreciate how significant they are to the national lifestyle you shouldn’t expect to encounter any issues.

Practical Tips From The Myanmar Travel Guide

Myanmar is a genuinely fascinating country and we at the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide highly recommend visitors read up on the history and culture before they visit. Yes – the temples are staggeringly impressive just to look at – but when you appreciate the significance of what they are representing it becomes a whole different ball game!

Myanmar has had a rough time over the last couple of hundred years and in some ways, you’d naturally expect people to have a chip on their shoulder and be a little wary of visitors. The absolute opposite is the case – you will struggle to find more genuinely welcoming and warmhearted people anywhere on the planet. It is an incredibly rewarding country to visit and providing you can get over the occasional little hurdles it is bound to be one of those places you’ll remember for all the right reasons.

At this stage of the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the practicalities of getting around safely and comfortably. Myanmar isn’t especially difficult – and people will literally fall over themselves to help you when you need it – but there are still a few little things worth being aware of.

What About Health and Safety in Myanmar, Is It Safe?

There is an ongoing low-level civil war that affects some districts. Scary as that sounds it has nothing whatsoever to do with visitors – check with your government’s travel office to see an updated explanation of which provinces are best avoided for the time being. Areas that are off-limits to visitors are clearcut and you are not going to accidentally stumble into a war zone – but may be asked a few questions about what on earth you are doing there should you turn up!

Besides this mostly irrelevant detail, Myanmar is definitely one of the safest and most welcoming countries in SE Asia. The vast majority of visits are totally trouble-free although as with anywhere there is always a slight risk of petty/opportunistic crime. Use hostel/hotel safes to stash your valuables (including excessive amounts of cash), and a money belt at all times.

Try to avoid arriving at new destinations very late at night and keep your wits about you in the larger cities. Myanmar is way safer than most other countries and it is easy to become complacent to the fact that low-scale crime can still happen.

If you get seriously sick/injured let’s cut straight to the chase – you should get to Thailand or Singapore as soon as possible. Local health care services are of poor quality and not designed to handle overseas visitors with serious issues. Basic issues and injuries can be treated (expect to pay upfront) but anything else should be dealt with outside of the country. Needless to say, comprehensive medical insurance – ideally including repatriation costs – is essential for Myanmar.

Myanmar is a tropical country and you should expect to take a number of vaccinations before visiting – just as you would for anywhere else in SE Asia. Remember these can take up to eight weeks to become effective. Environmental risks range from heat exhaustion and dehydration (common) through to snake bites (very rare!) and unexploded ordnance (even rarer and always wells signposted).

A first aid kit is handy both for yourself and others who may need it. Include antibacterial wipes as hygiene standards are low throughout the country.

Last but not least – avoid all tap water and be careful not to ingest any when bathing.

While there are some relatively significant health risks involved with visiting Myanmar it is important to remember two things. Firstly – all of these are just as significant in other neighboring countries. Secondly – most people do not experience any issues and a good proportion of risks are quite straightforward to mitigate against. Providing you take care of yourself and understand how to spot potential problems you’ll most likely be perfectly fine.

What is the Best Transportation in Myanmar?

For some people getting around Myanmar is one of the most interesting and exciting parts of their trip – and for a handful of others, it is an uncomfortable and stressful experience. The reality is that it all depends on your mindset. Everything does work and while timetables are sometimes more akin to optimistic guesswork you’ll not have any problems getting from A to B once you get used to how the systems work. Here’s the lowdown and what to expect once you are inside Myanmar.

Internal flights are a valid option nowadays. Fleets have been significantly upgraded in both reliability and comfort, and tickets – while expensive compared to other options – are going to be within the means of most people. Just remember that services can be a little complicated to understand, airports may not necessarily be that close to the city they serve, and that flights completely book out around local holiday/festival seasons.

You can arrange flights up to six months ahead though – so look into these if you think they may suit your agenda (and you don’t mind flying).

Most visitors will use the bus network during some or most of their stay. Expect everything and anything from sleek air-conditioned express coaches through to ancient boneshakers, minivans, converted army jeeps, and so on. Tickets are usually pretty reasonable and can vary enormously when arranged in advance. Remember that you are responsible for your own comforts so bring plenty of supplies including something comfy to sit/sleep on.

Quite a lot of overnight buses pass through glorious scenery – the problem, of course, being that you won’t see anything! We’d suggest taking longer and staying somewhere else overnight to make the most of the views; they are worth the extra day.

The ancient train network has barely changed since it was launched by the British back in 1877. Tickets are outrageously good value (set fees mean you pay the same as locals) and the network is still impressively wide. Chose your route carefully and you’ll pass some epic scenery – just remember to bring your own comforts on board.

While the train can be fun it is often also quite busy and loud – so you may want to take boats instead in some parts of the country. Just like the bus network anything that floats seems to classify as a ferry, and tickets prices are ambiguous at best. You won’t get anywhere faster traveling down the river but it can be quite iconic and is well worth the effort during some stage of your Myanmar adventure.

Hiring your own vehicle is an option if you are a confident driver. Road conditions can become quite treacherous especially over monsoon season, and unless you are looking to head somewhere properly off the beaten path public transport is probably easier. Remember that hiring a vehicle plus a driver costs no more than $100/day and can be a fairly reasonable way of covering long distances if you split the costs between your group. Most hotel desks will be able to recommend someone (and take a small cut for themselves!).

Last but not least, despite the haphazard roads there are long stretches along the valleys that make for some great cycling. Bikes cost barely anything to hire for a day (many hostels offer them for free) and they are useful for local distances in many places. Mopeds and motorbikes cost more and are a fair bit more dangerous.

What Are the Best Accommodations in Myanmar?

While the hostels are not quite to the same general standards as you’ll find in most other parts of SE Asia they do provide useful resources that overseas visitors will appreciate – not least the reliable wi-fi and assistance with making onward travel arrangements.

The best options do book out far in advance, especially between December and February, and we’d advise against trusting to luck and bagging a walk-in place during these months. Prices are higher than they probably should be but the ability to share tips with other visitors more than makes up for that.

In some parts of the country, you simply won’t find anything like a conventional hostel so your options will be local hotels and/or staying a night or two at the local monastery (not all are as welcoming as you may hope). Hotels are usually decent enough although it is best if you aren’t the ‘fussy’ type – you get what you pay for here and shouldn’t expect the Ritz for less than $50/night. Private guesthouses are another option although finding them can be a little trickier than you may expect.

If you do try the ‘monastery route’ remember that overseas visitors are expected (not obliged) to leave a fair donation, and you will almost certainly be sleeping on a cold floor! Camping may be a better option if you have the gear – there are some wonderful spots throughout the country that sometimes even have bathroom facilities.

Better quality accommodation is relatively rare – and correspondingly expensive – in Myanmar. If money is no object you’ll find plenty of places during most times of the year but expect to be sharing your breakfast table with businessmen instead of backpackers. There are a handful of incredible exclusive eco-resorts popping up in the country that are way better ways to spend your cash. Book in advance as they are very popular with travelers in the know.

How Can I Practice Responsible Tourism in Myanmar?

As suggested earlier in the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide once you have read up on this country’s turbulent history you’ll understand why some of the signs of poverty are often very in-your-face here. This is the definition of a developing country and there is stark issues with wealth imbalance, endemic poverty, and so on.

Frankly, the fact that it is also so amazingly safe for visitors and that crime is relatively rare is quite remarkable. If you have the time to spare you could contribute a lot by volunteering at some stage of your visit here. Most charities and aid agencies will be glad to take on even casual help with their projects and showcasing these on your social media can make a genuine difference.

Until quite recently it was difficult to travel through Myanmar and the current government is trying hard to challenge those long-standing misconceptions that this is somehow a ‘closed country’. Tourist money is going to be essential for contributing to the immediate development of this country and it is important to spend yours wisely during your stay.

Try and stick exclusively to locally run businesses and tours. Avoid international chain hotels that pay employees next to nothing. Stay with local communities when you have the chance and do your best to pay a little over the odds providing you can afford it.

Haggling is a curious issue when visiting Myanmar and it is important to realize that small fractions do actually make a difference here. If someone tries to blatantly rip you off (rare but hardly unheard of) then just don’t use their service or buy their product.

But if the difference amounts to just a couple of dollars – which millions of locals live off each day – then take the rough with the smooth and save time haggling over such an inconsequential amount. Many people working in the tour industry support whole families with their income, so your two dollars do make a difference.

There are plenty of other ways to be a responsible visitor to Myanmar and you’ll likely come across all sorts of options during your research before visiting. Take as many of these on board and make sure to do your best to encourage others to visit this wonderful country after you have been.

What Food Should I Try In Myanmar?

Tea Leaf Salad (Lephet) is probably the most famous Burmese dish, comprising fermented tea leaves that are served either on their own or mixed into shredded cabbage and tomato salads. It is also a common snack that certainly adds to the ‘fragrant’ air you’ll notice on most local buses!

Curry is a staple throughout the country and you’ll find it in many different forms, often served with a massive portion of local rice. Expect to try a huge portion of delicious Shan Rice (pressed balls and deep-fried with fish) at some stage of your trip – and again these are amazing for packed lunches while out and about exploring. You’ll find plenty of mixed noodle soups, deep-fried pastries, and occasionally classic English-style tea and scones!

The food in Myanmar leans quite heavily on ‘classic’ Thai but usually packs a greater, spicier punch. Fish sauce is used in almost everything so keep an eye out for that if you are allergic, vegetarian/vegan. Local people will seriously go out of their way to accommodate food intolerances but you need to communicate these very carefully. Having them written down in Burmese is a good idea.

U Bein Bridge is a crossing that spans the Taungthaman Lake near Amarapura in Myanmar. It was built around 1850 and is believed to be the oldest and longest teakwood bridge in the world budget myanmar travel guide

What Should I Pack for A Trip to  Myanmar?

If you are planning on properly exploring Myanmar you should try and pack as lightweight as possible. Little things such as microfiber towels, waterproof torches, lightweight rain ponchos, a hammock, battery pack, and a money belt really will make your life much easier as you travel around without taking up much space.

Try and pack clothing that is both suitable for the tropics and quick-drying as chances are you will get wet at some stages. Keeping your arms and legs covered may be easier said than done when the temperature breaks a hundred degrees but helps to protect against the sun and bugs. Hats are essential as are high quality and well worn-in walking boots.

As mentioned previously in the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide a basic first aid kit is a useful inclusion. Ticks are a nuisance in some parts so remember to pack a little mirror and tweezers to safely remove them.

What Clothes Should You Wear In Myanmar?

Lightweight and practical are the keywords for any outdoor activities here. It is not considered normal or especially suitable for beachwear to be worn in urban areas, although sometimes that rule seems to apply more to visitors than locals. Remember to try and dress as presentable as you can when visiting monastic and religious sites. Local people are very big on politeness and good manners – making that effort is usually going to be more appreciated than you may expect.

For the most part, people won’t care especially what you choose to wear providing it is suitable for the context and not offensive or especially revealing.

Unidentified Asian young monk holding red umbrellas on the Mya Thein Tan Pagoda at Mingun, Mandalay Myanmar. budget myanmar travel guide
Unidentified Asian young monk holding red umbrellas on the Mya Thein Tan Pagoda at Mingun, Mandalay Myanmar.

What Are Some Interesting & Important Facts about Eastern Myanmar?

We’re almost at the end of the Budget Myanmar Travel Guide and hope you have enjoyed reading! Make no mistake this is an amazing destination that is totally accessible to visitors nowadays, and if you are open to a new challenge and willing to go the extra mile upon occasion, not many other countries can be so utterly rewarding.

Myanmar offers a genuinely fascinating cultural backdrop offset by some of the most spectacular natural beauty you’ll find anywhere on Earth. Even better – the locals are extra-friendly and glad to see you too!

Let’s wrap up this guide with a few fun and informative facts about this gem of a country:

▸ ‘Myanmar’ is the polite name of the country whereas most people still use ‘Burma’ informally.

▸ The famous ‘Golden Triangle’ still produces 8% of the world’s illegal narcotics.

▸ Naypyidaw – the new capital – (founded 2006) has fewer than one million people while Yangon is fast approaching 8 million.

▸ Thingyan – a huge water festival/fight – is one of the largest annual events in Yangon. Try and visit around this time!

▸ It is perfectly normal to see people carrying heavy loads on their heads.

▸ Myanmar was considered a pariah state between 1962 and 2011 because of the oppressive military junta.

▸ Sarongs (longyi) are commonly worn by men and are absolutely not dresses!

▸ Earthquakes are common and the 2016 event caused some severe damage that is still under repair.

▸ Myanmar (along with the USA and Liberia) still refuses to adopt the metric system.

▸ You’ll spot floating vegetable patches on Inle Lake.

We hope you enjoyed reading the MyanmarTravel Guide – and good travels! Contact us with any questions you may have about travel to the Myanmar neighboring countries.

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