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The use of credit cards is not common in the country, and only a few tourist sites accept cards. It is imperative to bring cash. Nowadays the ATM machines can be found easily in many parts of the country and travellers can withdraw money in local currency. Both U.S. dollars and Euros can be changed easily throughout the country.
The dollar exchange
You may change currency at the airport, but the official exchange counters that have opened in many towns offer better rates than you can find at the airports.
The dollars that you bring with you must be new. The Myanmar people are very sensitive to the condition of cash. Dollars that are even slightly damaged, such as with a small fold, a dot of ink, etc. will not be accepted, which often causes problems.
Some mobile phones do not work in Burma. Phone calls to Europe from your hotel will be very expensive (with charges of about $3 U.S. dollars per minute), and can be interrupted. Today you can buy local SIM card at every street corner. It is 1$ for SIM card and top up card are available starting from 1$. You can top up your sim cart starting from 1$.
The internet is available in almost all hotels. Nowadays, some hotels offer this service for free, while others may charge a small fee. You can buy a SIM card that will allow you to use the internet easily. It costs only about $2 U.S. dollars, and you will need to present your passport to purchase.
Tipping is appreciated in the tourism industry by drivers, guides, waiters in restaurants, porters, etc. If you are satisfied with your trip, the custom is to give at least $3 U.S. dollars per day for the driver and at least $5 U.S. dollars per day for your guide, on behalf of the whole group of up to four persons.
Health and insurance:
It is strongly advisable to take out travel insurance before coming to Myanmar. Ensure that medical evacuation by air in an emergency is also covered and included in your benefits. Be aware that not all travel agencies and transport companies in Burma are insured. You are also responsible for maintaining coverage for injuries, personal expenses, or cancellation of the trip. Vaccines, and some health advice: No vaccinations are required for Burma, but it is better to be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B and against typhoid fever if you are planning a long stay in rural areas. Also, be sure to look into options for prevention of malaria before your departure.
What to pack for your trip to Myanmar:
Disinfectant cream for mosquito bites, minor wounds, and burns
Bandages and band-aids
Personal medications needed for the duration of the trip, as most are not available in Burma
Sunscreen with strong protection
If your final destination is Burma, you must register your luggage until Yangon, even if you change airlines during your trip.
It is best if the cards are stamped at the post office and sent at Yangon. Mail takes about two weeks to arrive in Europe.
What to take in your luggage
Slippers or easily-removed sandals to visit pagodas. You must be barefooted when you enter the pagodas.
A hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, as the sun is very strong!
Light clothing that is not see-through, preferably cotton. Both women and men should avoid shorts and tops that are too short. Skimpy clothing is frowned upon by the Burmese people, especially for visiting the pagodas (sacred temples).
A sweater or fleece jacket for the mountains, a windbreaker, closed shoes or walking shoes for trekking.
Disinfectant cream or gel to clean hands without water
A flashlight, as electricity can cut off sometimes
A backpack for the day (if you go to the Golden Rock or trekking)
A first-aid kit that includes your usual medication
A camera and memory cards with sufficient memory
Do’s and don’ts in Myanmar
Do not drink tap water throughout the country
Do not eat raw vegetables during the trip, except in high-class hotels and restaurants
Do not enter a pagoda or a monastery while wearing shoes or socks. You must be barefoot even in private houses, because most houses will also have an altar dedicated to the Buddha.
Do not kiss in public
Do not use your feet to point to show something
Do not turn your feet towards monks when sitting
Do not take pictures of government buildings and military, such as barracks, some bridges, etc.
Purchases (do’s and don’ts)
If you forgot to buy something during your trip, you can still do your last-minute shopping at the Bogyoke Market in Yangon before leaving. You can find artisans throughout Burma, especially in tourist areas.You’ll find crafts from all over the country, but it is best to buy souvenirs at the place they are made because each town has its specialties:
Arts and crafts such as puppets and sculptures, small statues of Buddha in bronze or marble, fabrics, and collections of jade are found in Mandalay
Lacquerware and paintings on sand and cotton in Bagan
Jewelry in Yangon
Umbrellas made of Shan Paper in Pindaya
Cigars and cotton blankets and Monywa, Pakkoku
Silverware at Sagaing
Silk and lotus fabrics, school bags and silverware at Inle Lake
Indian Spices at the Theingyi market in Yangon
Oil and watercolor paintings in Mingun
Obviously, the quality of goods is higher in department stores than in the streets. But you should consider buying from small vendors in order to help them make a living. In addition, if the price that small vendors offer is reasonable, it is better not to haggle too much to let them earn a living. However, if the price seems too expensive, do not hesitate to haggle.
It is forbidden to leave the country with antiques made before 1885. For replicas and antiques that date after 1885, you must obtain a certificate. This certificate must be presented to Customs in order to be able to leave the country. This is especially important for Buddha statues made of bronze, wood or lacquer. You must at least have the business card of the store to be sure that these statues are not very old antiques.
You can transport these items by sea in containers to Europe. It takes about two months and the cost varies between $400 and $500 U.S. dollars for one cubic meter. The process can be quite complicated because of customs penalties in Europe.
Do not forget that credit cards are not generally accepted in Burma, so remember to take enough cash.