Because Burma / Myanmar wasn’t officially open to tourism until very recently, I found things are still a bit behind, or even backward compared to its neighboring countries. Here are some information you might find useful while planning your trip there.
Sites I booked from
- For domestic flights: www.visitmm.com.
- For accomodations: www.agoda.com.
- For bus, you can just book through your hotel / hostel.
- For tours, just book when you get to destination.
Visa – YES, You need one!
As of January 2015 Burma has only allowed citizens of six countries to visit without visa, so chances are you probably need one. Check if you need a visa here, I recommend applying for e-visa ahead of time if you can.
Bring new note of USD. And by this I mean crisp, unbent USD notes. Read Legal Nomads’ Burma Crash Course for more information on this.
Domestic Transportation Tips
Here is what I’ve learned about transporting yourself domestically in Burma. There are three options: Air, Bus and Trains.
1. By Air
Flying is your best bet and the most comfortable, but not the cheapest. In January 2015, it costed me US$150 for two-hour flight. It’s also owned by government so it’s up to you if you wanna support that.
There were reports of plane crashes but my personal opinion is that they are no more dangerous than other air travel. You can check out some domestic carrier flight safety record info first if you want.
Many websites take foreign credit cards these days and the process is still a bit manual (your itinerary isn’t immediately confirmed). I used www.visitmm.com to book my flights with my Singapore credit cards and have good experience.
2. By Bus
Bus is generally ok, but only and ONLY if you get VIP. If you are traveling out of bigger cities like Yangon or Mandalay you should be able to get on nicer buses, but some routes do not have this VIP option – in which case please read legalnomad’s post and decide for yourself if you are up for it. Everything she said pretty much still runs true on January 2015 – I experienced it firsthand on a bus ride from Bagan to Inle Lake on a non-VIP bus.
You don’t really need to book ahead for bus. Just ask your hotel and they’ll hook you up.
I don’t have a picture of the actual bus itself which looked like a regular bus, just really old and has weird smells. That is, until they make extra stops and pull temporary seats in the middle of the aisle so MORE people can be packed in. Needless to say, it was one of the roughest bus trips I have had.
3. By Train
Don’t take the train in Myanmar. I didn’t do it, but from what I’ve read, the trains are very old and may even take you longer than bus. This is true as of January 2015.