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Myanmar's capital until 2005, Yangon is still one of the country's main hubs and likely to be your point of entry if you are planning a trip to Myanmar. Some of the most authentic British colonial architecture in the region is found in the city, and the combination with newer high-rise gives the city a unique feel.
Yangon has a hot and humid tropical climate. Temperatures are well above 30 °C during the day and mostly around 20 °C at night. Temperatures from mid March to May can reach 40 °C making this time rather unpleasant for visiting the city. This time is often called the hot dry season. From June to October is rainy season. There is massive amounts of rainfall this time of year. The best time to visit is during the cool dry season which is December to February. During this period there is still warm and pleasant weather with pleasant nights around 18 °C. It usually is dry and rather sunny during these months.
Yangon International Airport (RGN) is where most travellers start their trip in Myanmar. It has good connections in the region but does not have direct flights from North America or Australia, but a few direct flights from Milan in Europe.
Myanmar Airways International, the international airline of Myanmar, flies to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. While they do not operate any aircraft, they are on code share with Jetstar Asia, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways and Thai Airways. The Bangkok-Yangon route, the most commonly used one, is serviced by Thai Airways and AirAsia.
Other international airlines flying into this airport include Air India, Air Bagan, Air China, Air Mandalay, Bangkok Airways, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways, Singapore Airlines and Vietnam Airlines.
Domestically, Air Bagan, Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways all offer flights between Yangon and Mandalay, Bagain and Heho (for lake Inle) as well as flying to more remote places like Sittwe at the west coast, Kawthoung in the south (for onward travel to and from Thailand) and Kengtung (also for onward travel to and from Thailand).
The most often used train ride is the one between Yangon and Mandalay with many overnight trains and one train during the day as well. The journey takes between 12 and 15 hours.
There are several budget options near the city centre. Although during high times they can book up fast. Almost all places include free breakfast.
Internet is now widely and cheaply available in Yangon, Mandalay, and Bagan, but more limited elsewhere. However access can be slow although now unrestricted. Rates are around 300 kyat/hour in Yangon and 1,000-3,000 kyat/hour elsewhere. Some hotels, although rare, allow free access to the internet.
The government records screenshots every five minutes from PCs in Internet cafés to monitor Internet usage. If you don't want your privacy violated in this way, save your surfing for Thailand or wherever you head next.
See also International Telephone Calls
Myanmar's country code is 95.
International phone calls can be arranged at the Central Telephone & Telegraph Office at the corner of Ponsodan and Mahabandoola Streets in Yangon. International Direct Dial calls are also possible from most hotels and at many public call offices (often a phone in a shop), but they are expensive, e.g., a call to the US costs USD6–7 per min.
The MPTGSM mobile phone network is provided by the Myanmar Government's Post and Telecommunication agency. This works on the GSM900 band, so is visible to multi-band GSM phones. Roaming is available onto MPT's GSM 900 network, subject to agreements between operators; check with your operator before you leave to be sure. Unfortunately, MPT only has international roaming agreements with operators from a limited number countries and territories. Nevertheless, if your own mobile telephone can detect the MPT GSM network, then you may be able to buy a USD20 SIM card which will work for 28 days.
As of October 2014, Telenor and Ooredoo, two international companies, have entered the market. Sim cards are cheap and widely available (1500 kyats for a Telenor sim). Nevertheless, connectivity can still be limited to urban centres, Yangon and Mandalay in particular. Telenor seems to have a better connection and plans to improve nets massively in the next years. Although MPT has the widest coverage, it is also the most expensive.
International mail out of Myanmar is reportedly quite efficient, despite what some hotels might tell you.
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