Myanmar’s capital city, Yagon, is a bright metropolis and there’s amazing scenery as you venture north. Planning to visit this Asian gem? Here’s seven key things to know before travelling to Myanmar.
While you should check for the latest travel updates when planning a trip to Myanmar due to political unrest in certain areas, it’s an exciting and beautiful country to visit.
Things To Know Before Travelling To MyanmarHow do these rankings work?
1. Where Exactly Is Myanmar?
Myanmar (formerly Burma) is located at the northeast edge of Southeast Asia and borders Thailand, Laos, China, Tibet, India, and Bangladesh. In 1989, Burma officially became the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and Rangoon became Yangon.
2. Some Areas Are Still Closed To Travellers
With security issues in the country, it’s important that you stay safe and stick to areas that have no ethnic or religious conflicts in action. Certain restricted areas require special permits to enter and should be avoided. Despite the regime change, religious persecution is still a violent problem in Burma.
3. Be Respectful – Don’t Touch Anyone With Your Feet
Myanmar is a Buddhist country and you should respect the culture here. This includes covering up when visiting temples and taking off your shoes before entering homes or even some cafes. But one key thing to know before travelling to Myanmar is that it’s very rude to to accidentally step over someone or brush your foot off them.
Feet are the lowest, and the head is high, so never put your feet up on a chair or table.
4. Try To Avoid Using Your Left Hand
People who use their left hand to accept or give things can be considered rude here, as people usually use their left hand for toilet activities! Try to use your right hand at all times, especially when eating.
5. You Can Use US Dollars In Myanmar
The local currency is called kyat (MMK), but you can also use US dollars when you’re traveling through Myanmar. Take care not to accept any worn or torn notes and keep your notes crisp, otherwise they won’t be accepted by anyone.
6. Don’t Give Money or Gifts to Children
You’ll more than likely be touched by the difficult living conditions of children from the local communities here and want to help. But, despite your good intentions, your behaviour can often have a negative impact upon those children’s lives. When you give money, food or gifts to begging children, you encourage them to continue begging, which prevents them from going to school and locks them into a cycle of poverty.
See other tips for travellers here on how best to support children during your travels.
7. It’s Important To Cut Down On Plastic Use
When travelling to Myanmar, we suggest you bring reusable water bottles and eating utensils. Overtourism of developing countries can lead to large piles of rubbish and plastic everywhere, so don’t contribute to any unnecessary waste.
Forget about the single-use plastic bottles and fill your own water filter bottle with clean water straight from the tap. It’s clean, refreshing – and by using your own bottle, it will help keep your carbon footprint down.