Myanmar Useful Information
Myanmar is hot at Asia trail now. The country is under media spotlight thanks to the recent political improvement. Its legendary beauty, its authentic culture has seduced millions of traveler buff. We hope you are getting excited about your upcoming trip to this golden land. Before you pack your bags, we provide here some fast Myanmar useful information that you may need.
Time of Burma is on the + 6:30 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), that is to say + 5:30 on the French winter time + 4:30 and on the summer schedule. Specifically, when it is 12h in Paris, it is 16:30 and 17:30 in summer Yangon in Yangon in winter.
Myanmar has a tropical climate characterized by three seasons:
The rainy season (monsoon): from late May to October (rains only last for one or two hours). During this season, the scenery is very beautiful and lush.
The dry season: from October to March. This is the most pleasant time to visit the country, always sunny but not too hot (23 to 30 degree temperatures).
The hot season: March-May (35 to 40 degrees).
Burmese is the official language. Ethnic minorities speak their own language. In big cities it is relatively easy to be understood when speaking English but French is rarely spoken. There are only a few French-speaking tour guides.
You must fill out a customs form. Jewelry, cameras and currencies (of value greater than US$2000) must be declared on arrival. The export of antiques, Buddha statues and precious stones without an official receipt is strictly prohibited.
Duty free: 2 bottles of liquor; 2 cartons of cigarettes; 100 cigars; 1.5 lbs of tobacco; a reasonable amount of perfume or cologne.
To call Myanmar, dial 00 95 followed by the digits of the number you dial.
To call France from Myanmar, dial 00 33 followed by the digits of the number you dial.
Beware surcharges of some hotels: It is often very expensive to call using the hotel’s landline telephone (usually cost US$2-3 per minute). You could rathe call with Skype or Gtalk using the Wi-Fi (free in most hotels).
Your mobile phone may not work on your trip to Myanmar. However, the situation is improving very quickly. The Orange and Free networks has been compatible since December 2013 and the phones can be used though not being very reliable. Otherwise, it is possible now to buy a SIM card in a mobile phone shop. A SIM card costs around $5. The network signals will be much worse outside Yangon. Please note, you must have a mobile unlocked but it is still not guaranteed, especially with the latest generation smartphones.
The Internet is still in development with fairly slow connections, we must be patient! The internet is still controlled, some sites are filtered, forbidden or inaccessible.
Most hotels in major cities now offer Internet access free WiFi in the rooms or at reception.
Most hotels in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle provide electricity for 24 hours on 24, but sometimes in other parts of the power cuts are quite frequent.
The voltage is theoretically 220, 240V; However, sometimes the voltage drops to 180V. It is essential to bring an international / universal adapter (taken flat plugs, two-round-pin plugs or three-pin plugs), a multi-sockets for electric appliances and a flashlight in case of power failure or to illuminate the stairs of some temples of Pagan which are sometimes very dark.
The US dollar is the foreign currency most widely used and easily exchangeable with the local currency (Kyat). The euro is also accepted. You can change your dollars / euros to kyat at local market rates (when the amount is high, a better rate is obtained).
We would like to draw your attention to the fact that the Burmese do not accept annotated, clipped, bent or old bills. Therefore, please ask your bank for bills which are recent and in perfect conditions to avoid any mishaps during your trip.
It is advisable to change money on your first day of arrival either at a bank counter or in a distributor. It is always better to pay in kyat.
A US dollar ~ 1000 kyat
A Euro ~ 1150 kyat
The rates fluctuate frequently, we will inform you upon your arrival.
Bills are in denominations of 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 5000 and 10000 Ks.
Religion is omnipresent in everyday life: 80% of the Burmese practices Buddhism practiced with fervor. You must therefore respect sartorial decency (avoid wearing bermudas, shorts, short skirts, tank tops or shirts with big necklines) when visiting pagodas, temples and monasteries). You must remove shoes and socks when entering these premises. So prepare sandals, flip-flops or shoes which can be conveniently removed upon request.
If you plan your trip in the hot season, pack light clothing made of cotton. In mountainous areas like Inle, Kalaw, Pyin Oo Lwin and Kyaing Tong, prepare a jacket or warm sweater. The nights can be very cold between November and February.
In the rainy season, a light raincoat or umbrella is needed.
Most major hotels have a quick laundry service (within 24 hours). Avoid, however, to entrust them with fragile textiles.