I've heard that entry into Myanmar (which is only by air?) needs $200US in non refundable travellers cheques.
I'm really keen to go, but am going solo with not a huge amount of cash, certainly not budgeting on $200US for a week or 2. I hope there aren't too many restrictions on travel, once you get in, as it sounds like a fantastic place to visit.
If anyone has travelled into MM lately, any info on the entry into/visa's etc would be great thanks.
That regulation - which required visitor to buy $200 worth of FEC notes - is no longer enforced. No worries at all. Just don't change any money at the airport; the exchange rate there is the worst you'll get. Wait until you get to your hotel or try some money changers on the street (but be careful they don't shortchange you!). You can use US dollars for taxi fare into town.
Great news Buzzard,
Can you therefore recommend MM? I'd be travelling alone too, and am comfortable with this, but am aware that certain cultures aren;t as flexible with this as others, especially those not as used to tourism.
Any thoughts anyone?
I can recommend Myanmar without any doubts. I've had zero problems during my 3 trips there. It's safe, friendly, beautiful and very different - even from other Asian countries. I talked to one Australian woman that was teaching there and she said that Myanmar was the safest place she had ever lived. Of course, part of the reason for that is the military government. They certainly keep things in line and freedom of expression and a free press have suffered as a result. But as a tourist I've never had my bags checked, never been interrogated, nor have I felt like I was being watched. The ordinary people there just go about their daily lives and seem like those in any other country I've visited. Go there and enjoy the sights and meet some of the sweet Myanmar people. I'm sure you will love it!
I dont see anything in my shoe string book, about a $200 entry fee.
I assume u are not a former Myanmar citizen or from Asean country, China, Bangladesh or Russia. If u are not the visa requirement for u is as follows.
A tourists visa validity expires 90 days after issue and only allows 28 day, single entry visit. It costs $20 US. U will need 3 passport sized photos. It does not say, in my book,if u must apply for the visa, before arriving in Myanmar.
I suppose u are aware of the political situation in Myanmar. The authorities are a bit touchy, about foreigners being political activists, so be careful what profession u put on your visa application. Dont put down, any of the following,or your visa application may be rejected.
Motion picture director
Yes, you MUST get your Myanmar visa before going on your trip (if you go to Bangkok first, you can get it at the Myanmar embassy there). There is no visa on arrival like in Laos, Cambodia, or Thailand. That make it difficult but it's still a worthwhile trip. Mel has a good point about listing your occupation. A friend of mine does video production work, totally harmless stuff, but he had to list a different occupation on his visa application after the travel agent told him it might be rejected otherwise.
I have not been to Myanmar,but i have done some reading about the history and todays culture.
I would love to go there, because it is such a pure place. Dont know if that makes sense. But like going back 50 years, compared to other parts of Asia. The reason i am not going yet, is because of the politics. The people of Mayanmar would prefer if tourists boycott the corrupt government, by not bringing outside money, into the country.
However, i think u will be very welcome,in Myanmar, so long as u show sensitivity for their political situation. Ie, show an interest by doing your best, not to look like a tourist there only to snap photos of them.
Sensitivity to the politics
Find out who Aung San Suu Kyl is. There should be info on the web.
Thanks for all the info guys!
I am always amazed at the places, presumed more dangerous due to a higher political/cultural isolation/predicament than surrounding counties, can often be the most peaceful and 'in tact' cultural and environmental places you might ever visit.
Great points about the occupation thing and getting a visa, maybe easier to get one in the UK, before i leave (i've navigated my way around BKK on a visa run before and it was a real pain in the ass)?
I can't wait to experience this country, as although i am sensitive to the history of the political situation and some of the negatives i may experience because of this, pure selfishness to see somewhere that hasn't been completely bastardised by tourism, is what's kinda driving me at this stage.
If any one else has other comments on MM or 'must see's' please post a reply - thanks again!
I don't think it is accurate to say the people of Myanmar want tourists to boycott the country. I believe, for the vast majority of the people in Myanmar, it is just the opposite: they WANT people to come and visit their country. I have been to Myannmar 3 times and have always been welcomed enthusiastically. People will stop you in the street and thank you for coming to visit their country. Forget the politics, talk to the people.
The most negative things I hear in Myannnar are the people complaining about santions that western countries, such as the USA, have levied against their country. And I agree. I don't think they are helping the situation at all. Yes, the country would be better with more freedom of the press, free elections, Aung San Soo Kyi out of jail, and no political prisoners. But that's not an overnight process, and it won't happen by isolating the country even further. The political empass needs dialogue and communication, not sanctions or stubborn and arrogant western polticians who constanly condemn and threaten the ruling junta.
This whole political controversy gets distorted by both sides, but the bottom line is that everyone should go and see for themselves what the country and the people are like. check out Ron Gluckman's website for some very good articles about Myanmar/Burma, including a look at the boycott controversy:
Buzzard is right, the people here love tourists to come and spend their money here. This is the safest country I have ever lived in or visited and the least expensive also. Violent crime in the city is almost unheard of and a woman or man for that matter can walk on the streets any time of day or night without worrying about being robbed or assaulted. Do not change money in the airport as you will usually be offered about half of what you can get it for on the street or in the markets. I Changed dollars today and got 1350 to one for U.S. dollars. A taxi ride from the airport to downtown shouldn't cost more than 3000 or so Kyat. They will of course want more but you need to bargin before getting in. I usualy tip as much as the ride costs if its a short ride, but thats just me. October to Feb. are the peak tourist months but the weather is very nice then and it is seldom crowded with tourists from out of country. Some national holidays can leave you searching for a place to stay so plan ahead. The airport in Yangon is slow to get baggage out and is not airconditioned but you have to take into consideration where you are. Enjoy your holiday here, its a great place to visit.