- Most foreign nationals require a visa to enter Myanmar. Visa-free travel (up to 14 days) is permitted for Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam passport holders.
- Passport holders from the following countries do not require a visa for tourist visits of up to 30 days and will be able to enter and depart from all international c (Singapore, Japan, Korea Republic, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China and Macau Special Administrative Region of China.)
- In addition to getting visas at embassies and consulates, Myanmar has an online e-visa system. It is designed to make the process of application simpler for visitors – particularly those from countries that do not have a Myanmar embassy.
- For e-visa applications, please go to the official Ministry of Immigration e-visa website (mip.gov.mm) and also check for a list of Myanmar embassies and consulates around the world. Citizens of 100 countries are eligible for Myanmar e-visas who have Ordinary passport holders.
- E-visas are currently only valid for entry to Myanmar’s three main international airports: Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw, and five land border checkpoints: Tachileik, Myawaddy, Kawthaung, Tamu and Rih Khaw Dar.
- Due to the sensitive political situation in some border regions, entry and exit via land borders is restricted; there are four Thailand border points that do not need permission for crossings, but China and India require special permits.
- Tourist visas are valid for 28 days from the date of arrival in Myanmar, which can be extended by a further 14 days at a cost of US$ 3 per day (plus a one-off US$ 3 administration fee). It is important to be ready with the correct change at your departure point. Bear in mind that if you overstay, you might encounter some difficulties booking travel and/or hotels in your overstay period, as not all service staff are aware of the overstay allowance.
- Do not apply for your visa too early:the period for visa validity (i.e. your Myanmar entry date) may range from one to three months.
- Do not apply for your visa too late:embassies and consulates can take two weeks or more to process your application, but this changes from country to country. If you are from a country that does not have a Myanmar embassy or consulate, it will take longer still.
- You must have a passport that is valid for at least six months after your departure from Myanmar.
- A single entry tourist visa will typically cost around US$25 (an e-visa will cost $50). Depending on which country you are applying from, the application procedures may vary, but it is usually a simple process.
- E visa service is non – refundable.
- E visa is only valid for a single entry. Re-entry will require a new visa.
- There are 14 types of Entry Visa andRe-entry visa of (3) Types will be granted commencing from 11-1-2016 to the Foreigners wishing to visit Myanmar for various reasons. For detailed visa information, please visit www.mip.gov.mm.
Business Visa (Online)
Tourist Visa Express (Online) US$ 56.00 28 days Online
Tourist Visa (Online)
With a view to preventing importation and spread of COVID-19, the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has temporarily suspended entry of any foreign nationals through any border check point being opened between Myanmar and its neighboring countries. The entry and exit of local population on both sides of the border through the existing check points concerned will not be restricted. They will be subject to health check and temperature screening at the entry of the border checkpoints. Any foreign national with a valid entry visa may enter and exit to/from Myanmar only at Yangon, Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw International Airports in accordance with the existing rules and regulations.
Currency, Exchange Rates And Bank Kyat and US Dollar Usage
- The kyat (pronounced ‘chat’) is the official currency of Myanmar, abbreviated as ‘K‘ or ‘MMK‘ and usually placed before the numerical value (i.e. K500). Kyats come in notes (no coins) of value K50, K100, K200, K500, K1, 000, K5, 000 and K10, 000.
- The US dollar, however, is widely used as an alternative currency, particularly for larger purchases: foreigners are sometimes expected to pay in dollars for hotels, high-end restaurants, flights and access to historical sites. If payment is made in kyat for these transactions, it may sometimes be at a worse rate. When paying in dollars, change will often be given in kyat. Smaller purchases, such as taxi rides, buses and cheaper to mid-range meals are quoted and are almost always paid for in kyat.
- You should expect to exchange roughly half the money you take to Myanmar into kyat. If you are spending more than a few days outside of Yangon, Mandalay or Nay Pyi Taw, make sure to exchange enough money beforehand; it can be difficult to change money outside the main cities, and you will probably get a worse rate. ATMs are also more difficult to find in these areas (see more information below).
Important note! US dollar bills taken to Myanmar must be in PERFECT CONDITION.
- Dollar bills should be brought to Myanmar in differing denominations: take plenty of $10, $5 and $1 bills to pay for hotels, flights and historical sites, and take $100 or $50 bills for exchanging to kyat (larger denominations usually get a better rate).
- Blemishes of any kind – creases, marks, folds and so on – may result in getting a far worse rate of exchange or the money may not be accepted at all. Also, pre-2006 dollar bills or ones with the letters AB and CB at the start of the serial number (at the top left corner of note) may not be accepted. Euros are generally accepted as an exchange currency and do not have to be in pristine condition. It is therefore advisable to carry US dollars in a safe, flat folder – not in a wallet.
Exchange and Rates
- Money can be changed at banks in the downtown areas of larger cities and at most major airports, including Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Bagan and Thandwe (for Ngapali beach). In Yangon, you can also head to the popular and central Bogyoke Aung San Market (Scott Market) if you want to change money at the weekend – here you can find numerous money-changing shops (these tend to shut around 3.30 to 4pm).
- Until recent government reforms, it was necessary for visitors to Myanmar to change money on the black market in order to get a reasonable exchange rate. This is no longer the case; you can now get a good exchange rate at banks and official money exchanges. Money changers on the street should be avoided, as they are likely to scam you.
Banks, ATMs & Credit Cards
- While visitors once had to bring in all the necessary cash for their travels into Myanmar, there are now over 1000 ATMS that accept international bank and credit cards located throughout the country – although bear in mind that most are concentrated in Yangon, Mandalay, Nay Pyi Taw, Bagan and Inle Lake. Cardholders can also withdraw local currency from ATMs and use their cards at a growing number of major outlets such as hotels, restaurants, and retailers.
- Currently only Visa, Master card (Maestro/Cirrus), China’s Union Pay and Japan’s JCB can be used; the biggest providers of compatible ATMs are CB (Co-operative) Bank and KBZ (Kanbawza) Bank. Others include AGD Bank, AYA Bank and United Amara Bank.
- For ATM cash withdrawals, there is a K6000 transaction fee, and a withdrawal limit of K300, 000 per transaction. Depending on the conditions set by your own bank at home, you may be allowed multiple withdrawals per day. The use of ATMs in Myanmar is sometimes restricted by internet failure.
- There were previously no international banks in Myanmar, and local banks used to be part of the international banking system process. After more than 50 years of banning, nowadays foreign banks have now been licensed to operate in Myanmar.
- In Myanmar, most of the hotels & restaurant in tourist sites, they accept paymentby credit or debit card.
- KBZ Bank is a country-wide network and global VISA merchant acceptances, KBZ ATMs accept VISA, masters throughout Myanmar, with many in Yangon. These include ATMs at Yangon airport and major retail outlets such as at all major cities airports, tourist spots, mostly shopping centers, entertainment venues, and 4 or 5 stars hotels.
- AYA Bank also has ATMs that accept VISA, Master Card, Union Pay, and JCB at major centers throughout Myanmar, with many in Yangon. These include ATMs at Yangon airport and major retail outlets such as at all major cities airports, tourist spots, mostly shopping centers, entertainment venues, and 4 or 5 stars hotels.
Point of Sale Payments
The use of international bank and credit cards to pay for goods and services at outlets in Myanmar is currently limited but, as with so much in the country, the situation is changing fast; in Yangon and some of the more popular spots around the country, cards can be used at point of sale – although a significant transaction charge may be incurred.
Traveller ’s cheques are not generally accepted in Myanmar.
Mobile Sim Cards, Internet and Wi-Fi
For many years SIM cards in Myanmar were expensive and difficult to obtain, but cards sold by the Telenor, Ooredoo and MPT (Myanmar Post & Telecommunications) networks are now generally available for a cheap K 1,500. Cards work on a top-up basis, with K 1,000, K 3,000, K 5,000 and K 10,000 cards are available. SIM cards and top-ups can be bought at numerous street-side retailers in downtown Yangon and Mandalay, as well as at Yangon International Airport and in larger towns, cities and tourist sites.
Nowadays Myanmar’s telecommunication with the services of two foreign providers Qatar-based Ooredoo and Norwegian Telenor Group, and two local operators Mytel (Telecom International Myanmar Co., Ltd.) and MPT (Myanmar Post and Telecommunication) is growing fast. They all covered the 4G net-work coverage of the country. More recent facts and figures show that the widespread use of smartphones and tablets on the 3G and 4G networks internet is rapidly rising up during the decade.
To purchase a SIM card, foreigners need to have photocopies of their passport. The prepaid SIM cards are 4G mobile data enabled and standard SIM and micro SIM cards are available. The outlets of mobile operators are at airports and licensed MPT, Ooredoo, Telenor and Mytel shops are almost everywhere in the country.
Phone booths and stands were used to make calls about a decade ago. But landlines are still playing an important role. Nowadays almost everyone has a mobile or two. So it makes people easy in commutations. International calls are significantly expensive and calls should be made by the assist of a receptionist from hotels because the charges of international calls are pretty complicated.
Making a call from Myanmar to foreign country is dial 00 first and then International code for the country, later on local area code pulse phone number. (Suppose, 00 95 1 and phone number). International roaming works well here in Myanmar. It can make calls by western SIM cards.
Internet, fiber cable and 4G data connection in Myanmar is really good. Most of the five stars and four stars hotels are installed with the fiber cable and have free Wifi access points. The culture of browsing the internet is increasingly addicted. Most of the hotels, restaurants, bars and tea shops in Myanmar have free Wifi-internet. In remote areas, the internet connection will be as fast as snail due to the bandwidth. Previous government internet restrictions have now been lifted, so people are free to access most websites and services – including Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and so on.
Buddhism and Religious Courtesy
Buddhism is at the heart of Myanmar culture and it permeates private and public life. Most young people spend time in monastic education, and monks and nuns hold a revered place in society: they should not be touched; they always sit at the highest place available and they hold privileges such as the freedom of first class travel on public transport, sometimes with their own reserved places.
Other points of religious Courtesy
- Revealing clothing is sometimes frowned upon, although it is increasingly common amongst Myanmar women. But at religious sites, legs and shoulders should always be covered.
- Shoes and socks should be removed before entering any shrine, pagoda or monastery. It is also customary to remove shoes before entering private homes and many offices.
- The head and feet are important in Myanmar culture, as the highest and lowest points of the body. No one, including children, should be touched on the head. Feet should never be put on tables or used for touching or pointing.
Other Social Mistakes to Avoid
- Myanmar women should not in general be touched by men. If a woman wishes to shake hands, she will offer her hand first.
- Couples should avoid public displays of affection.
Living, Working and Business Hours
Time spent in Myanmar, particularly travelling out of cities, may see earlier mornings and nights than most westerners are used to. Trains and buses are often scheduled as early as 5am – sometimes as their sole departure time. Business hours can vary, but in general the following apply:
- Shops Monday to Saturday 9:30am to 6pm or later; some shops open Sundays
- Restaurants all week 8am to 9pm
- Internet cafes all week 9am to 10pm
- Banks Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
- Post offices and other government offices, Monday to Friday 9.30am to 4.30pm.
- Business office hours Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm; some offices open Saturday.
Food and Drink
- Dining out is rather inexpensive in Myanmar. Most of the local restaurants serve fast foods. It will have to be spent starting from K 2,000 kyat or so for a very simple budget meal at a local restaurant or tea house. For well-dining and upscale Restaurants for Myanmar cuisine, asian cuisine and western food are in cities and at majors’ tourist spots.
- Tap water is not suggested to drink. Mineral water, purified water and bottled water are at your hand at the local stores. It costs about K 500 kyats for a bottle of water. Local beers and alcohol are pretty cheap at the stores than Restaurants. Well Known Myanmar Beer, highly appreciated by foreigners is a must to try. Mandalay Beer (Blue Label) will be another choice to taste. The imported drinks are also available at licensed shops.
Climate and Weather
Most of Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate with three seasons:
- Cool – November to February is warm to hot during the day and the air is relatively dry.
- Hot – March to May is intensely hot in most of the country. In the cool and hot seasons, you are unlikely to experience any rain.
- Rainy – June to October is the monsoon season, with high rainfall. From June to August, rainfall can be constant for long periods of time, particularly on the Bay of Bengal coast and in Yangon and the Irrawaddy Delta. In September and October, the rain is less intense and you will experience more sunshine.
With generally high temperatures in the popular locations around the country, lightweight cotton and linen clothing is recommended for most of the year; warmer clothes may be needed for the evenings which can sometimes be cool. Even outside the rainy season there can on occasion be downpours, so it is advisable to pack a light raincoat.
Travelling to higher altitudes and further north, it is advisable to take warmer clothes, particularly in the cool season, when temperatures can drop significantly.
Electricity and Shortages
- More than 50% of people have electricity. The consumption of electricity is growing rapidly. The present government is carrying out their projects to rural areas to reach the electricity and try to meet the needs of electricity. Even in a cosmopolitan city like Yangon, the currant sometimes goes out and has some black-outs night.
- The standard voltage in Myanmar is 230 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The power plugs and sockets are of type C, D, F and G. Type C is also known as the standard “Euro” plug and works with plug E and plug F. Type D mainly use in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and some African countries. This socket only works with plug D. Type F is known to be “Schuko” and works with plug C and plug E. Type G is of British origin. This socket only works with plug G. It is recommended to bring along a universal adapter to fit all types of socket.
Safe Travel and Security
- In all the areas that foreigners are allowed to visit, Myanmar is very safe in terms of personal security: incidents of crime against foreigners are extremely low and Yangon is considered to be one of Asia’s safest large cities, with no areas that need to be avoided.
- You may sometimes be approached by ‘money changers’ and people trying to sell things (their statements should not always be taken at face value), but this will usually be done in a good-natured manner. In fact, you will often find that people approaching you simply want to take the opportunity to talk to a foreigner and maybe practice their English.
Issues to be Aware of
The vast majority of people in Myanmar are friendly and helpful, but there are various safety and security issues to be aware of:
- Roads, pavements and many types of transport are generally in a very bad state of repair. Cars are sometimes driven with little thought to road safety or discipline and vehicles are often driven at night without their lights on.
- When walking, particularly at night, you should be careful where you step. Pavements can have big holes in them and, because of bad lighting and frequent electricity black-outs, taking a torch is a good idea.
- Whilst the areas in which foreigners are permitted to travel are totally safe, other areas are not. Some parts of Myanmar, particularly border areas, are held by independent national groups that have been at war with the government for many years (although most have now signed ceasefire agreements). Travel to these areas is highly restricted, and roads throughout Myanmar have regular checkpoints for identification purposes.
- It is advisable to avoid large public gatherings and demonstrations, as there is always the outside possibility of clashes and violent incidents.
- Tap water is not safe to drink; you should always buy bottled water.
- Outside established tourist and top-end restaurants, food preparation is not always up to western standards. It is advisable to take Dioralyte for rehydration and Loperamide for diarrhoea.
- It is important to guard against insect bites. Go vaccinations and medical care for more information.
- Myanmar has some poisonous and potentially deadly animals – be aware of them! Diseases such as rabies are prevalent amongst animals like dogs and monkeys, and can be extremely dangerous for humans. Snakes bites can also cause illness and death.
Women Travelling Alone
- Women travelling on their own are unlikely to encounter any problems, although short skirts and bare shoulders might attract some unwanted attention or accusing looks in a country that is deeply Buddhist.
- Women are sometimes restricted from specific areas of religious sites, such Mount Kyaiktiyo, where women cannot touch the golden rock itself; although here – as everywhere – women are in general free to move around. Women should avoid any physical contact with monks, although friendly conversation is perfectly acceptable.
With infrastructure that is often rooted in a different age, travel for disabled people can be very difficult in Myanmar. Buildings rarely have facilities for wheelchairs, and buses and trains never do. It is advisable to consult specialist travel companies in your own country.
Business Hours and Public Holidays
Public Holidays for 2021
- January 1th – New Year Day
- January 4th – Independence Day
- January 13th – Kayin New Year Day
- February 12th – Union Day
- March 2nd – Peasants’ Day
- March 27nd – Full Moon of Tabaung
- March 27th – Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) Day
- April 13th-16th – Thingyan Water Festival
- April 17th – Myanmar New Year
- May 1st – Labour Day
- May 25th – Full Moon of Kason (Buddha’s birthday)
- July 19th – Martyrs’ Day
- July 23th – Full Moon of Waso (Dhammasetkya Day)
- October 20th – Full Moon of Thadingyut (Festival of Lights; end of Buddhist Lent)
- November 18th – Full Moon of Tazaungmone
- November 21rd – National Day
- December 25th – Christmas Day
- December 31th – New Year Day
Thingyan (the Burmese New Year water festival) is by far the biggest nationwide holiday in Myanmar, and sometimes offices will close for a longer period of time than the official festival period.
During the Thingyan Festival, it can be difficult to get long-distance transport: train services are reduced; bus services do not operate at all on many routes, and are severely reduced on others; but planes generally operate on a standard timetable. Furthermore, transport at the beginning and end of the festival can get extremely busy and should always be booked in advance.
Myanmar Time Zone
The time zone for all of Myanmar is UTC/GMT +6½ hours. Myanmar has no daylight saving – the time remains the same throughout the year.