All foreign visitors to Myanmar must have a valid passport, which will remain valid for a minimum of six months after the date of arrival. Visas are also required, and a tourist Visa for Myanmar can be obtained from any Myanmar embassy or consulate office world-wide . Visas are valid for 28 days after entering Myanmar and can take from one day to two weeks or more to obtain, depending on the embassy involved and the current regulations. Visa On Arrival is possible with a pre-approval letter from the Ministry of Hotels & Tourism. Visa regulations have been known to change, and it is recommended that you secure your visa prior to travel.
The main language is Burmese. The minority people have their own languages, for example, Karen, Shan, and Mon. English and Chinese are also spoken.
The official currency used is called Kyat (pronounced “chat,” abbreviated as Ks). The FEC (Foreign Exchange Certificate) used alongside the chat is valued at 1 to 1 with the U.S. dollar, and can readily be used. As a result of the US sanctions, credit cards and travelers checks are not accepted in Myanmar at most hotels or at any banks. Therefore it is imperative that travelers bring enough U.S. dollars for all expected expenses, with larger bills getting a slightly better rate. Please also note there are no ATM machines.
Mobile phones & Communications
In general outside mobile phones do not work in Myanmar, although some travelers have been able to connect recently as coverage has increased. It is best to assume the former however. IDD lines are usually available in the hotels, but check rates before use as costs can be very high. The best cities for overseas communication are Yangon and Mandalay. Internet cafes are not widespread, but there are some in Yangon and Mandalay.
There are three seasons in Myanmar. The hot season lasts from March to mid-May, with average temperatures ranging from 80-100F. The rainy season begins mid-May and goes through September, with average temperatures of 76-95F. The winter season is from Oct-Feb, with average temperatures of 66-78F. Consequently, the main season for tourism is the winter.
The voltage in Laos is 220V. A converter is required for U.S. appliances rated at 110V. There are different plug types found around the country, so bring along a universal adaptor.
The time zone is G.M.T. +6.5, or 11.5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time. No daylight saving time is practiced.
Tipping is not required in Myanmar but is widely appreciated to recognize good service. It is customary to tip your tour guide and driver.
There are no required immunizations to enter Myanmar. However, it is recommended to consult with your physician prior to travel. Malaria prophylaxis is commonly recommended, and on occasion typhoid, hepatitus, tetanus, and Japanese encephalitis vaccinations. Any essential medication should be brought along. Drink only bottled or boiled water and avoid eating food sold by sidewalk vendors. Use an insect repellent against mosquitoes if you are traveling up-country or in wooded areas.