Myanmar is a historical country, located almost at the center of South Asia. The country has a rich culture and topography, and it shares its borders with five countries. In 2012, Myanmar saw more than a million tourist arrivals. Tourist expenditure has grown more than six fold in the last 4 years.
Tourism is at its peak in Myanmar, and hotels in Yangon and Bagan fill up early. However, with a good travel agency accommodation can be booked easily. Here is how to plan a Myanmar tour.
The best time to tour MyanmarMyanmar is generally good to visit all round the year. However, temperatures are moderate in the period from October to February. On the other hand, visiting the country in the hot and wet season has its own advantages. There are fewer tourists and you can get attractive deals on Myanmar tour packages. Temperatures during the hot season go up to 40 degrees. However, the evenings are cooler even in the hot months.
Getting Myanmar visaMyanmar's tourist e-visa permits entry at Yangon, Nay Pyi Taw, and Mandalay international airports. You can apply for it online by logging on to the Myanmar Ministry of Immigration and Population website. Or you can ask your travel agency to arrange it for you. One can stay 28 days in Myanmar on a tourist visa. Tourists need to show their passport and visa at security checkpoints, hotels, train stations and airports.
Tourist attractions in MyanmarChoose a travel agency that can tailor your Myanmar visit to your preferences. Travel companies these days provide customized itineraries.
YangonThe city boasts of a truly cosmopolitan look, with influences from China and India and a Burmese township. Yangon is usually the first stop for tourists visiting Myanmar.
BaganFull of temples, stupas, and historical Buddhist sites, Bagan is the most popular place in Myanmar. You can go on a river cruise since Bagan is famous for the Irrawaddy and the Chindwin rivers.
MandalayA former royal capital, Mandalay is a bustling commercial city and a major center of Burmese culture. One can visit pagodas, temples, and monuments in Mandalay.
Accommodation and foodThere are close to 1300 hotels in Myanmar. Accommodation can be a problem in the tourist season and hence it is best to book through a travel agency. Booking on your own should be done in advance. Check out hotels that have positive reviews on their websites. You may want to go for shared bathrooms, if you want to share marginally on the costs. Local food is very affordable and restaurants in Kalaw serve Nepali and Indian style food. Tourist restaurants can be expensive.
Money MattersThe country encourages even tourists on using the kyat, the local currency. ATMs accepting international cards are continuously coming up in the country. You can also receive international transfers from Singapore. Carrying Singaporean dollars will mean more trips to official moneychangers and banks. Booking hotels, too, through your travel agency, will help cut out currency problems.
Unlike earlier, the country is not a cheap destination because of the recent boom in tourism. However, with Myanmar tour packages, traveling to this place becomes affordable. If you are traveling on your own, expect to shell out more on food and accommodation.