Things Tourists Must Know About Myanmar

I have traveled to Myanmar only once. Here is my list of the most important things tourists must know about the country. They were experiences and information I gathered when I was there. I do not claim any absolute truth about the list.

  1. Myanmar is the local term to what is more known as Burma.
  2. Visa is required for all nationalities to enter the country.
  3. USD is the preferred currency. Kyat, their local currency comes a far second.
  4. You pay in USD, they give you back USD as change, not Kyat
  5. Myanmar is the only country in the world whose banks do not have ATMs.
  6. Myanmar is the only country in the world that does not accept credit cards.
  7. English is widely spoken.
  8. Government owned banks changes USD much much lower than privately owned Foreign Exchange Shops.
  9. Do not change your money at the airport. Your USD gets no value at all. It is as if you are robbed.
  10. Taxis/cabs are all dilapidated. I have not seen any that is not.
  11. Taxis/cabs are not aircondioned. I have not seen any that has one.
  12. Most city buses in Yangon are dilapidated as well.
  13. Buses getting to Bagan and Mandalay say for instance are Korean and Japan made and they are in perfect condition – clean and airconditioned.
  14. Buses going to Yangon and Mandalay give free 1 liter bottled water, toothpaste, tooth brush and tissue.
  15. Thai foods are everywhere.
  16. The country is under military junta. Never talk anything negative about their government while there.
  17. All newspaper and news programs are all good news. You can not read and watch something that is against the government.
  18. The government regulates everything – everything.
  19. Most shrines, temples and pagodas are operated by the military government.
  20. As always, one has to be barefoot when entering temples.
  21. The country is relatively hot and humid all year round.
  22. Myanmar Beer tastes absolutely good.
  23. Expect British colonial buildings.
  24. People believe so much in spirits and ghosts.
  25. They offer so much of their time and wealth to their Gods.
  26. They have temples for the ghosts. They pray to the ghosts.
  27. There are no private universities here.
  28. They paint their faces using indigenous materials to look good.
  29. Most people chew betel nuts and spit everywhere.
  30. No cell phone signal for all Philippine telecom providers even one is using roaming services.
  31. Simcard always comes with a new handset. One can not buy a sim card alone.
  32. There are no Mc Donald’s, KFCs or any fastfoods here.
  33. There are Apple and Samsung products here.
  34. The economy is struggling. Very few signs of economic growth.
  35. At 9PM, almost all establishments are closed. No public transfers available on the road.
  36. Locals are friendly, helpful and can be trusted.
  37. There are no irritating touts.
  38. The country is rich in unspoiled natural beauty
  39. One has to see Bagan before an asphalted road is built.
  40. Most roads are not concreted or asphalted.
  41. Horse carriage is the most common mode of transportation in rural Myanmar. Tuktuk in Yangon.
  42. Even dump trucks are used as passenger trucks.
  43. The country is now slowly embracing democracy and freedom of the press.
  44. The country is now opening its doors to the world.
  45. The country is now positioned as an important economy in Asia.
  46. It is easy to explore the country.
  47. You don’t feel people will rob you even one is walking alone in the middle of the night.
  48. It is inexpensive here. Cost of living here is the cheapest by far I have visited.
  49. One of the countries I have visited and I plan to return and return and return.
  50. I strongly recommend this country to be listed in “Places to See Before One Dies”

I visited Myanmar last October 3-7, 2011.




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