Travel Tips

Visa

Myanmar E online visa is available with evisa system from 01st September 2014. Visitors from 65 countries currently can apply the visa through http://www.myanmarevisa.gov.mm/. Visa fees is about USD 50.00 for tourists for 28 staying days in Myanmar and USD 70.00 for business travelers for 70 staying days in Myanmar.
The Myanmar government reserves the right to change visa regulations at short notice, contact Orchestra Travel for the latest information.

Customs and Formalities on Arrival

All items of jewellry, cameras and foreign currency in excess of USD 10,000.00 must be declared upon arrival and on the currency declaration forms. Travellers should have completed these forms during the flight to Yangon and should submit them upon arrival. No Myanmar currency may be imported or exported.
Duty free allowance is 200 cigarettes and one liter of wine or spirit. Export of Buddha images, gemstones and antiques without an official receipt is prohibited.

Domestic Flights

Orchestra Travels Ltd will arrange air transportation with reliable private domestic Airlines
(Air Mandalay, Asian Wings, Air Bagan, Air KBZ, Yangon Airways, Mann Yandabarpon, Golden Myanmar Airlines, Myanma Airways, FMI Air & Apex Airlines) with a fleet of French made ATR-72 or ATR-42 aircrafts wherever possible.
Baggage allowance on domestic flights is limited to 20kg. Excess luggage will be on clients account or can be left in Yangon hotels for collection on return from upcountry (only if they have second call in Yangon)

Health Requirements

No vaccinations are officially required to visit the country. Malaria prophylaxis is no longer recommended, but travellers are suggested to check with their doctor the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis and tetanus. Insect repellent is recommended as well as a sun protection cream. Never drink tap water, but only purified bottled water anywhere.

Accommodation

During recent years, tourism industry flourish speedily in Myanmar and as a result, Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake offer a wide choice of accommodation including luxury boutique hotels and international five/four-star properties. In the Inle Lake region with a choice of charming, traditional accommodation or Chinese style multiple-storied hotels.
The level of accommodation will not exist luxury properties, in Kyaikhtiyo, Hpa An, Mawlamyaing, Loikaw, Sittwe, Mrauk-U, Kengtung and Monywa.
But Orchestra Travels will endeavor its utmost effort to provide most convenient accommodation available. And so also due to limited hotel supplies outside of Yangon and Mandalay, Orchestra Travels cannot guarantee specific hotel requests and reserves the right to substitute accommodation of the best available alternative standard especially during the high season.

Post and Communication

The postal service in Myanmar is considered unreliable and letters sometimes are taking months to arrive at their destination.  The country code for international calls is (95) and these can be made from major hotels and the Central Telegraph Offices in upcountry. The service is improving however the connection is sometimes does not working well and international calls are expensive. There is pre-paid call systems. The e-mail services and internet access can be available in Yangon and major hotels in big cities except some remote areas.

Food

Rice is the staple food in Myanmar and served with a variety of side dishes; curries with cooked meat or fish, vegetables, salads, soups and etc. Curries taste less chili hot than Thai Cuisine. Myanmar, Chinese, Thai and Indian style restaurants can be found in major cities but European cuisine is available only in major hotels and some outstanding restaurants in Yangon.
The restaurants used by Orchestra travels are carefully selected from the gastronomical and hygienic point of view. But at some districts where only poor dining opportunities are available, Orchestra travels will arrange the best possible.

Restricted Areas

Even though Myanmar has opened most areas of the country to foreign visitors, few areas still require government permission. Orchestra Travels will try its best to get the required permission in time but advance procedure is a must. We would like to suggest to enquire the updated situation in advance.

Transportation

Orchestra provides air-conditioning sightseeing cars and coaches where available. But in some remote areas, the mean of transportation will be basis and for these exceptional places, Orchestra travels will arrange the best available. The road conditions are good for the highways and but driving duration may takes longer than expected in rainy season.
Public train, ferryboat and express buses are available to major towns, however, these services are generally basic, but comfortable. The boat trip between Mandalay and Bagan is operated by a local Chinese-built ferry (except in summer season) is used and takes about 8-10hours. The type of transfer by boat (between Sittwe- Mrauk U/ Bagan - Pakokku/ Mandalay- Mingun) will be by local private boat and the standard will be basis.

Currency and Exchange

There are three currency used in the country. Kyat which official rate is 900 kyat for USD 1.00, the market rate is 1150 Kyat for USD 1.00 (as for July 2015). USD can be changed in Kyat and used by everyone at Money exchange counter at International Airport and downtown area in Yangon and Mandalay. Euro money are accepted only by international hotels in Yangon and Mandalay.
We strongly recommend to bring along cash USD also in small denomination with good conditioned bills. Credit cards can be used in Myanmar at CB Bank, KBZ Bank and AYA Bank in Yangon and Mandalay. Only a few hotels/shops and restaurant can accept them but usually the transaction has to be done via Singapore or Thailand and at a 3 – 5% surcharge. Traveller’s cheques are not accepted.

Domestic Airport Tax

Departure tax for domestic flights is 3000 kyats in big cities (Yangon, Mandalay, and Naypyitaw) and the rest of the cities will be charged 2000 kyats (subject to change).

Climate

The country has a tropical monsoon climate. November to February is the coolest months (15-25 C). March to May if the hottest months (25-33 C). May to September is the Monsoon, rainy season. Rain is not heavy in the central plain.

Local Time

GMT + 6 ½

Tipping

Tipping is practiced widely in addition to the service charge shown in the bill of restaurants and hotels and also to the drivers and boat men. There is no exact limit but depends upon the generosity and the satisfaction of their services. Portage fees at airports are more or less 500 kyats per bag (In our package tour prices -the portage fees are already included for maximum 20kg per person).

Shopping

Myanmar is one of best counties for shopping. All varieties of souvenirs including -lacquer ware, silver ware, wood and stone curving, hand -woven silk and cotton, precious and semi precious gems, tapestries, puppets and traditional are available throughout the country. Jewellery should be purchased through an authorized dealer who will issue a receipt so that the items can be exported. Export of antiques and archeological objects are prohibited. Visitors are advised to purchase only the allowed items of handicrafts and art objects from the registered souvenir shops asking the official certified receipt from the shops. Any illegal trade of prohibited items will result in heavy penality. Bargaining is an elemental part of Myanmar life in small shops and markets.

Power supply and electricity

Almost all the types of accomodation recommended by Orchestra Travels have 24hr electricity supply (with a generator if needed) but in some isolated areas, like sittwe - mrauk u and kengtung- generated power will not always be available. (for example, operate between 6-10pm only) especially in the low season.

Clothing

Being a tropical country closed to Equator, light cotton and cool fabric are most appropriate throughout the year. But it is advisable to bring sweater or jacket and socks when visiting to the hilly regions especially in the cool season since the temperature is sometimes below 0 degree centigrade.

Insurance

We would like to recommend all our clients to obtain necessary personal baggage, medical and accidental insurance before arrival. The insurance which is reliable commercially for vehicles are available in Myanmar only at world-chain hotels and international organization. But most of the  vehicles we used are of local private own and they insured their property according to the local regulation only and not reliable for commercial use.

Language

Myanmar is national language whereas there are different tribal languages and English is widely used.

Religion

Buddhism is the major religion although Christianity, Islamic and Hinduism are also practiced among the minority.

General Advice

Myanmar is a very devoted Buddhist country. Visitors are requested to dress appropriately when visiting pagodas, temples, monasteries, religious buildings as well as in open public areas. Shoes and socks must always be removed before entering temples, pagodas and monasteries. Shorts, shorts skirts, bare shoulders or bra-less T-shirts are not appropriate. Photography in airports, railway stations and near any military installation is forbidden. We would like to recommend asking the permission before taking photographs individually, especially with tribal people.

contact us

Orchestra Travel

201, Bo Myat Htun Road,
Botahtaung Township,
Yangon, Myanmar.

Call Us: (+95-1) 294612, 200883, 201271

Review

“The best service of Myanmar!”
John & Amy

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