1). We want to travel to Myanmar in our summer time in Europe, but people say there is a lot of rain there so its not a good time to do so. Is it correct?
The climate of Myanmar is tropical with three main seasons.
( 1 ) The rainy season is from mid-May to mid-October with an average temperature of 25-30 C. Although it rains heavily in Yangon and Inle Lake, traveling in Myanmar during this season is still enjoyable because Mandalay and Bagan lies in dry zones where it barely rains.
( 2 ) The cool season ( Winter ) is from mid-October to mid-February with an average temperature of 20-24 C. This is the best season to visit Burma. Some regions in upper Burma, Kalaw ( South-West of Shan State ) and Kyaing Tong ( Eastern Shan State ), has a temperature that ranges between 5 10 C, so travelers may need to bring some warm clothes to tour around this area.
( 3 ) The hot season ( Summer ) is from mid-February to mid-May with an average temperature of 30-35 C. Although it’s a bit hot, our programs are designed to make traveling enjoyable as we avoid the heat by touring about in the mornings and evenings.
Valid Passport with Entry Visa is required for all travelers to Burma. Visa can be obtained at any Myanmar Embassy or Consulate abroad. Visa fee is about US$ 20 in local currency.
For the travel ers who buy a tour from us and do not have time to apply for Myanmar visa in their own country, Visa on arrival can be arranged. We need a copy of the travel er’s passport, including information of his/her occupation, home address, nationality and Int’l flight details which should be faxed to us 15 working days before his arrival to Burma.
After the Visa is approved, we will inform your international flight to let you check in without Myanmar visa in your passport. Therefore, it is important for us to know your international (arrival & departure) flight number and your booking reference (PNR). Please bring 2 passport size photos, as there is no photo shop at the airport.
Service fee of USD 50 will be charged per person.
The clients who will travel to Myanmar ( Burma ) via Bangkok can obtain Myanmar visas through our Bangkok office ‘Golden Pyramid Int’l Services Co.,Ltd’. It will take at least five working days for this procedure.
4). Let me know Myanmar currency? What does FEC means? Do I need to change 200 FEC if we buy the tour service from you?
The monetary unit is the Kyat ( pronounced chat ), which is divided into 100 pyas. The official exchange rate is about 840 Kyats to US $ 1.
For the convenience of the travelers, Foreign Exchange Certificates ( FECs) are issued by the Central Bank of Myanmar to use during their stay in Myanmar. FECs are acceptable like US dollars by any person in the Union of Myanmar. It is printed on the note as 1 FEC = 1 USD.
There is no more compulsory exchange of USD200 into FEC 200 upon arrival at Yang on airport.
Credit cards / travelers cheque / ATM cards are not acceptable in Myanmar. So, it's advisable that the clients should bring enough money in US Dollar cash. Kindly bring new US Dollar notes because old / ink stain / damage USD notes are very difficult to use in the market. Euro is not as welcome as US dollar.
We, Columbus Travels is very flexible about cancellation policy on all bookings till last minute. But in Myanmar, the cancellation policy of most hotels are twenty-one ( 21 ) days notice for group travels and seven ( 7 ) days notice for individual travels. Strict cancellation and deposit policies apply for bookings of river cruises, beach hotels and some small and beautiful boutique hotels.
So the action of cancellation charges will occur according to the hotel cancellation policy.
DOMESTIC TRAVEL & TRANSPORTATION WHEN VISIT AROUND MYANMAR
7). How do you care for transportation service during the tour in Myanmar?
Domestic air services in Burma (Myanmar) have greatly improved over the recent years. However, travel by trains, buses, and ships are still not so convenient for traveling. The clients of Columbus Travels will travel by reliable Air Mandalay or Air KBZ or Asian wings or Yangon Airways or Air Bagan ATR-flights and by air-con vehicles. Baggage allowance on Burma (Myanmar) domestic flights is limited to 20 kg. Excess luggage can be left in Yangon hotels for collection on return after traveling about. In remote areas, air-conditioned cars or buses may not always be available and travelers should be advised that the conditions of roads in Myanmar are not the same. Due to poor road conditions, long distance overland travel generally takes longer than the travelers might expect, averaging only 45 – 50 kilometers per hour.
8). During our stay in Myanmar, we want to see the nature, culture, history and people and their life style. Can you arrange a very comprehensive program?
Major sightseeing itineraries include a variety of religious and historic monuments, a rich cultural and artistic heritage, and beautiful scenery. We also seek out other attractions like interesting local markets, festivals, Myanmar traditional handicrafts and industries, and an opportunity to meet the local people in their own environment. A specialty includes the opportunity to try regional cuisines around Myanmar and to experience various typical and traditional forms of Myanmar entertainment. By including such extra dimensions, we make any visit to Myanmar a richer, more rewarding and more memorable experience.
9). What is the quality of food and restaurants in Myanmar?
Myanmar cuisine is established around rice or noodles, usually served with a variety of curries between meat and fish, along with a dish of vegetables, salads, soup, and condiments. Myanmar curries tend to be less spicy than those served in Thailand. Meals & drinks at International Hotels are considerably expensive. There are many good local restaurants with almost the same quality of food and hygiene as hotels but at reasonable prices. They serve various dishes of Myanmar, Chinese, European (French and Italian), Thai and Indian cuisine. But roadside small restaurants are not recommended, as it can be risky for health.
There are also a wide variety of local snacks and delicacies. Mouk-hin-kha (thin rice noodles served with fish gravy and onion soup) and Ohn-noh-khauk-swe (noodles served with chicken and coconut gravy) are the most popular in Myanmar. Shan food is another delicacy. Shan style of cooking neither belongs to Myanmar nor Chinese nor Thai cuisine but they taste really good in their own way.
Restaurants and food served towards the travelers are carefully selected for hygiene as well as gastronomic considerations.
The hotels’ accommodations standards in Burma now vary widely especially in quality and availability. New and refurbished hotels meeting international standards are available in most destinations like Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, Kyaing Tong, Ngapali Beach, Ngwe Saung Beach, and Chaung Thar Beach. Only very basic and simple hotels are available in the remote areas.
11). Is Myanmar a good shopping place? What are the best buys?
Myanmar arts and crafts, mostly hand-made, are lovely souvenirs. Lacquer ware, woodcarvings, tapestries, silverware, brassware, silk and cotton fabrics, and shoulder bags are some of the popular items. For jewelry, there are Burmese rubies, sapphires, jade and pearls available at Myanmar gems shops. All gems and jewelry purchased should be made through the government licensed dealers, who can give a voucher for export.
Bargaining is essential for obtaining reasonable prices. Possible price reductions of up to 70% are not uncommon.
12). Is there any compulsory vaccinations for travel to Myanmar?
There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to Myanmar ( Burma ) but it is advisable to take precautions against malaria. Prescription drugs are not widely available in the remote areas of Myanmar so travel ers should bring any required medication with them.
Insect repellents are highly recommended, especially when traveling to remote areas in conjunction with other measures to prevent mosquito bites. The sun can be remarkably hot so a hat and sunscreen is advisable.
13). Can I use my hand phone in Myanmar ( Burma )?
Our GSM system does not allow " international Roaming " so your phone cannot work in our country although.
Since they can not use their mobile, clients may need to make calls from their hotel room, pls check the rate before calling. Most of the hotels charge very high rate. The best way is suggest them to just make a call and ask the other side to call them back and then hang it up quickly.
16). Do we have to declare everything at the airport custom?
All foreign currencies (above US $ 2000), jewelries, electrical goods, and cameras must be declared to the Burmese Customs at the Airport. Travelers may bring in duty free 200 cigarettes, one quart of wine, and one pint of perfume. Export of Myanmar (Burma) antiques is prohibited. Only gems and jewelries purchased at the licensed dealers, or who can issue an export permit are allowed to be taken out of Myanmar.
17). Do you have reliable postal and telecommunication services?
Postal service in Myanmar is unreliable. Letters and postcards sent to overseas sometimes do not reach their destinations. Most hotels have IDD lines, but please be aware that the costs are high with average cost of a call to Europe approximate to USD 9 per minute and charged one full minute for any extra seconds. If you want to call home from a hotel, we advise to call and ask them to call you back.
18). We want to spend some days on a lively beach ( we do not want quite and isolated beach ) ,pls recommend one.
Among the three beaches, Ngapali and Ngwesaung beaches are quiet so your choice should be Chaungtha beach. Its about 5 hours drive from Yangon. Its always very lively and active with its local crowd and different kind of restaurants and beer pubs ( we call beer station in Myanmar ).
Government offices open from 09:30 to 16:30 on weekdays. Banking hours are from 10:00 to 14:00. Private companies work daily except Sunday and gazette holidays. Shopping centers and super markets open daily. But the most famous Bogyoke (Scott) market closes on Monday and gazette holidays. Busy hours at this place are from 10:00 am to 17:00 pm.
Light clothing is required all year-round, but a sweater or jacket may be needed when traveling in hilly areas, especially during winter months. If visiting during the rainy season (May - September), an umbrella or raincoat will be required for the days in Inle lake and Yangon. It is required to dress decently within the precincts of religious buildings. Shoes and socks must be removed at pagodas and monasteries so it is advisable to bring a pair of slippers.
Travelers are advised to keep away from touts who may approach them to exchange foreign currency or to sell gems of dubious quality. Travelers are also advised not to drink tap water. Purified bottled water is available everywhere in Myanmar. Taking photograph of military camps and soldiers are to be avoided.