Myanmar – practically


The easiest way is to apply through Officially it’s not an e-visa but an approval but in practise it works like a visa. After filling an online form and paying (50$), you get the approval letter on your email box. Mine came after 24 hours. Once printed, you just show it at the border and that’s it. You get the visa for 28 days without the possibility to extend.

Border crossings

Thailand – Myanmar (Mae Sot – Myawaddy): Apparently this is the only border crossing that allows you to move forward overland without obstacles. Entering and exiting the country, you need to fill a short form with personal data. You get two stamps with signatures at the border: one in your passport and one on your visa.

– Some parts of Myanmar are restricted areas for tourists. Full list can be found here: Travelling overland you can go from Myawaddy to Hpa-An but there are some military checkpoints where your passport, visa and destination will be checked.

– Officially you can only stay in hotels/guest houses/motels etc. for foreigners. Local people can’t host strangers without a police permission. However, camping is not very difficult provided that you don’t do it in front of a police station. Out of 10 nights in the tent, three times local people knew about my presence and nobody informed the police even if once I slept in the middle of a small village (it was raining hard and I needed a roof). But otherwise I just pitched my tent before sunset and tried to avoid people’s attention and packed after sunrise.

– Local people are very kind and friendly. Many people waved at me or greeted me when I was passing by.

– To catch someone’s attention people smack or clap their hands once or twice.

– I very rarely met people who spoke some English.

– There are ATMs in every city and town.

– Burmese kyat can be bought only after entering the country and it has to be exchanged before leaving, otherwise it’s just waste paper. The currency is not convertible.

– The Internet works well both in cities and outside of them. Hotels’ WI-FI sometimes worked well, sometimes not at all.

– Roads (and I only used the main ones) where in different conditions but always asphalted. Sometimes very narrow and bumpy, sometimes (rarely) newly made, wider and flatter. All side roads were dirt roads, sometimes very sandy. Car drivers need to pay a toll no matter how bad the road is (luckily, cyclists or motorcyclists don’t).

– Traffic in towns, especially in market areas can be heavy. Absolutely everybody honks. A lot. It’s good if you can separate yourself from your hearing system.

– There are lots of dogs and these are the friendliest dogs I’ve ever seen.

– Food is cheap. Accommodation prices and entrance fees are higher for tourists than for locals. In hotels it’s worth it to bargain. I was lucky enough never to pay more than 15000 kyats but sometimes the prices were much higher and nobody wanted to discuss with me at all. My tent saved me. Entrance tickets to main tourist attractions in Yangon and Mandalay are 10000 kyats. For visiting Bagan you pay 25000 kyats or 20$ unless you decide to skip main temples and sunrises/sunsets because you can move around freely. The only places where you’re forced to get the ticket are main temples or when you meet ticket inspectors on mopeds and they come where they know tourists will be: at a sunrise/sunset temple.

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