Voltage: 230V, Frequency: 50Hz
Kyat (MMK) exchange rates
UTC +6:30 hours
What to expect
Travelling to Myanmar (Burma) with Insider Journeys is a journey into the Asia of days gone by. Your mobile phone may not work, there are very few ATMs and primitive transport modes, such as horse and cart, are still in operation. This will change now that Aung San Su Kyi, among others, have begun to tentatively encourage travellers to experience this beautiful country, but for now you should expect infrastructure and facilities to be somewhat limited. Bring and open mind and a flexible approach and you will be rewarded by some spectacular scenery, like the serene Inle Lake, and stunning sights like the striking Buddhist temples of Bagan. Meeting the people – warm, curious, gracious and friendly – is sure to be a highlight.
approximately 7 hours
approximately 9 hours
From Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
approximately 10.5 hours
Banks, public offices and some tourist sites will be closed on the holidays listed below. As many major holidays are set according to the Buddhist lunar calendar, dates change every year. Please check with our Australia-based Asia specialists for details.
Independence Day. Commemorates gaining independence from the British in 1948.
Union Day. Marks the historic Panglong Agreement in 1947.
Peasants Day. Marks the anniversary of Ne Win's coup in 1962.
Tabaung Full Moon Day. An important Buddhist festival.
Armed Forces Day.
Thingyan or Water Festival. The Burmese take to the streets with hoses and buckets of water, dowsing each other to usher in the new year.
Burmese New Year.
Kason Full Moon. Celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
Waso Full Moon. Marks the start of Buddhist Lent.
Martyrs Day. Marks the assassination of Aung San, father of modern Burma, in 1947.
Thadingyut Full Moon. End of Buddhist Lent.
Tasaungmon Full Moon. Marks the end of the wet season.
National Day. Anniversary of student strikes in 1920.
Health & Fitness
As with travelling to other parts of Asia, you need to take precautions when visiting Myanmar. Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are endemic in Myanmar. You should talk to your doctor about prophylaxis, and ensure you bring clothing that covers your arms and legs as well as a good quality repellent. Some other diseases known to exist in Burma include hepatitis A and B, tetanus, typhoid, tuberculosis, diphtheria, rabies and HIV/AIDS. We strongly recommend you consult your doctor with regards to vaccinations and up-to-date health advice at least a month before you depart.
Medical facilities outside Yangon are extremely limited. In the event that you require any surgical treatment, you will likely need to be evacuated to Bangkok.
Australian citizens travelling to Myanmar need a tourist visa to enter the country. You must apply for your visa from your closest Burmese embassy or consulate prior to departure. Visa processing normally takes at least 14 days so you will need to plan well in advance. The application process can take up to 30 days, particularly for travel during high season from October to March. Please check with the Embassy in your country for up-to-date information regarding the visa application process.
In most cases, you will need to supply a detailed itinerary, including your international flights, along with a covering letter from Insider Journeys or your travel agent.
Note: It is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct visa in time to travel. Regulations do change from time to time so please check with your closest embassy or consulate well in advance of your planned travel date.
Safety and security
Myanmar (Burma) is a generally a very safe country to travel in and crime targeting tourists is rare. Nonetheless, you should apply common sense as you would when travelling anywhere. Make sure your spending money is out of sight and near your body, and keep jewellery to a minimum. You may wish to use a money belt, especially if you are travelling on trains during your stay.
In major cities, we recommend travelling by taxi if you are out at night. Make sure you negotiate and agree to a price before you get in. It is always a good idea to carry a hotel address card with you to show your driver.
'The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
- a historical novel spanning a century, from the fall of the Konbaung Dynasty in Mandalay to modern times. It explores issues from the changing economic landscapes of Burma and India to national identity.
Burmese Days: A Novel by George Orwell
- first published in 1934, this novel explores the last days of British colonialism, with an emphasis on its dark side.
Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin
- a political travelogue chronicling a year spent travelling in Myanmar (Burma) following in George Orwell's footsteps, revealing the struggles of life in modern day Burma.
Golden Earth: Travels in Burma by Norman Lewis
- a colourful travel narrative written in the 1950s after the author explored Burma by any means possible, including hitchhiking on various transport modes.
The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason
- a fictional account of a middle aged piano turner commissioned by the British War Office to venture into the remote jungles of Myanmar to repair an army surgeon's rare piano, exploring the country in the process.
Letters from Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi
- a series of 52 poignant letters written by Burma's leading voice for human rights and democracy. Her letters reveal insight into the effect of political decisions on ordinary citizens' lives.
Useful words & phrases
How are you?
K'amya (m)/shin (f) ne-kaun-yeh-la?
Thank you very much
Jay su be
It's nothing (You're welcome)
What's your name
K'aya(m)/shin (f) na-meh beh-lok'aw dhaleh
My name is...
Canaw (m)/cama (f) ... lo k'aw-ba-deh
Do you speak English?
K'aya(m)/shin (f) in-galeiq-zaga lo pyaw-daq-thala?
I'm glad to meet you
K'aya(m)lshin (f) neh twe-ya-da wun-thaba-deh
Arrival and departure transfers
Arrival transfer: If you have booked an arrival transfer for your holiday in Myanmar, you will find your driver waiting for you at the airport in Yangon. He or she will be wearing an Insider Journeys t-shirt and carrying an Insider Journeys signboard with your name on it.
Road: For six travellers or more, we use air-conditioned 20-30 seat buses when travelling by road in Myanmar. If you are travelling in a smaller group, travel will be by air-conditioned minibus or modern sedan car. In some areas, where road conditions require it, we may use 4WD vehicles.
Air: Domestic flights are on local carriers including the privately-owned Air Bagan, Air Mandalay and Yangon Airways. Schedules can sometimes change at short notice and could affect your travel plans.
Boat: Like elsewhere in Asia, Burma offers some opportunities for river travel. On our Myanmar Revealed Small Group Tour, you will take a half-day boat ride on the Irrawaddy River in Mandalay.
Other: Bicycles and your feet.
Internet: Internet access is becoming more widely available in Myanmar, both in hotels and at internet cafes. Some offer WiFi. It is usually more cost-effective to use a service outside the hotel. Some sites may be blocked.
Telephone: International Direct Dial (IDD) services are available at most hotels but can be expensive. There is a mobile phone network in Myanmar (Burma), but you probably won’t be able to access it via roaming.
Mail: The cost of sending international mail is less than in Australia. Postcards and letters will take around 2 weeks to reach Australia.
Food & drink
Burmese cuisine is a blend of Chinese, Indian and local influences. Rice is staple and stir fries and curries are popular, though you will find they are less spicy than Indian and Thai curries, relying instead on ginger and garlic for flavour. There are regional variations: seafood is more popular on the coast, and preserved meats are more common inland. At many restaurants, you will also find a range of Thai, Chinese and Indian dishes on offer.
One must-try is the national dish, mohingal. It is very popular for breakfast and features vermicelli noodles in a spicy fish broth, along with boiled egg and fritters.
Tropical fruits are readily available.
You should not drink the water from the tap, and use bottled water even to clean your teeth. Bottled drinking water is usually provided free of charge in hotels and is readily available for purchase elsewhere.
Tipping is a personal matter, and you should never feel obligated to tip; however when travelling in Myanmar (Burma), a tip is often an appropriate way to show your appreciation for great service.
If you are joining one of our Small Group Tours, your Western tour leader or local guide or will ask for a small sum at the beginning of your stay in Burma. This will be used to tip hotel porters and boat crews during your trip. This means that you do not have to worry about having small change on hand, and helps to prevent over-tipping.
You may also choose to show your appreciation for Insider Journeys guides, drivers and tour leaders with a tip; however, it is not compulsory to do so.
Many of our hotels in Myanmar (Burma) feature a swimming pool and there may also be a chance to swim if you are travelling to Myanmar’s coast. Please remember that beaches are generally unpatrolled and pools may be unfenced. You should exercise vigilance when swimming in Myanmar (Burma) especially if you are travelling with children.
Insider Journeys is committed to responsible travel in Myanmar (Burma) and is committed to creating opportunities for you to engage meaningfully with the people and culture, in ways that are sustainable for local communities and the environment.
Our local experts are constantly seeking ways to achieve this. One activity that we currently offer is a horse-cart rides with local owners in Mandalay and Ava. This not only provides you with an insight into a means of transport that is still in use throughout the country, it also gives the owners a chance to share in the newly-created and expanding tourism market.