Myanmar is surely the true “land of smiles”. Reforms and a national elections are promised and President Obama and Google have now visited. All for the good? Our advice is to visit this beautiful country as quickly as you can. It is amazing how those that have been treated so badly can raise their heads and smile with such frequency. Nowhere else in Asia have I heard of a population that is so warm and welcoming... and always smiling. You simply cannot walk along a street without an adult or a child waving to you and shouting either "Hello" or "Goodbye". They are a deeply religious nation with many amazing sites to see. Let's hope that tourism doesn't ruin the face of Myanmar.

You’ll need crisp and perfect US$ bills to pay for most accommodation (all tourist accommodation must be government registered), trains and most tourist sites/ tickets.

ATM’s are now available, though there is a hefty 5,000Ks (US$6) charge for withdrawals. International SIM cards don’t work, but if you look around you may be able to pick up a local SIM for around 5,000Ks (US$6) or a government registered SIM from UUS$20.

Costs are similar to other countries in this part of Asia, though hotels are more expensive due to government tax.

All of that said, it is one of the most rewarding places to visit in Asia..

Elli Murr xx

PS - Looks like we'll be publishing an update to "A Travellers Guide to Myanmar" in September ready for the new season. And already we have Peter and Anne from Balmain, Sydney Australia on board to give us updates for their pending trip in October.

So we have "
Fish out of Water" and "Powered by Noodles" and now "Cool for Cats" set to update us in Myanmar. Can you get any more up-to-date?


At the time of writing, a maximum of a 28 day visa is possible. You can apply for this in your country of domicile or pick it up quite easily in either Bangkok or Malaysia, both of which offer low-cost flights into Myanmar with AirAsia. Bangkok is that little bit cheaper. More information is available in our main guide. It can also be applied for in the UK for £14 by sending your passport and application to the Myanmar Embassy in London.

The visa is issued with a 90 day window and a 28 day validity. You can apply for another visa as soon as you wish.

Visa Extension/ Overstay

This is not possible at the moment and a levy of $6 per day is charged if you overstay. You are also most likely to have any (near) future visa applications rejected as well. 

Climate: When to go?

The dry season lasts from October to March, and is marked by sunny days and pleasant temperatures. The hot season, from April to June, is marked by very high temperatures, particularly inside the country. Monsoon is permanent in Yangon from June to October. The inside of the country is slightly less rainy at that time.

The best moment to visit Myanmar is between the months of November and February, as it rains least and temperatures are moderate. The south-west monsoon, which usually starts between mid-May and mid-June, lasts until October with peak from July to September and roads can become impassable due to abundant rains.


 Fast Facts

Myanma Kyat (pro. chat)

Exchange Rates
$1 = 980Ks
€1 = 1,290Ks
£1 = 1,480Ks
Check for latest rates

Capital City

Main religion
Theravada Buddhism.

Main Language

Telephone code 

Time zone
GMT + 6.5 hours

Emergency numbers
Ambulance 199
Fire 191
Police 199

Where to go?

"The big four"

Yangon – home to the impressive Shwedagon Pagoda and much more. Many people use this simply as a travel hub, though the city has much more to offer.

Bagan – it is so easy to spend 2-3 days cycling around the temple area of Bagan. It is truly impressive and without a doubt will be the source of some of your best sunset photographs if you visit. Splurge out and take a balloon ride over this amazing region.

Inle Lake – this has long been one of the biggest tourist attractions in Myanmar. The lake is a fantastic day out, full of sights, sounds and smells. The floating gardens, the fishermen balancing on one leg, the small manufacturers and of course temples make for a memorable day. Well worth a second day to cycle around the lake and visit the Red Mountain vineyard for a wine tasting session as you watch the sun set.

Mandalay – the second largest city after the former capital, Yangon, Mandalaya has so much to offer… U Biens bridge, the temple of the books, Mandalay hill, Royal Palace, Mahamuni Pagoda housing one of the most revered idols in the country, city walks…. okay, so the city is more sprawling than Yangon but it is still worth a few days here. Day trips out to Mingun, Anapura, Saiging and Innwa make it a great destination for us.

Other cities

Bago – done as a day trip from Yangon or on the way south towards Mawlamyine or Hpa An, Bago is worth a day on the bike to see it’s various Payas, reclining Buddha’s and the gigantic temple python!

Mawlamyine – not too far from the coast, the former British sea-port offers cool breeze and a ridge of temples down it’s spine. Take a river boat to/ from Hpa An or arrive by train from Bago.

Hpa An – cave temples, river life, monasteries perched on high mounts. Amazing. Or take the river ferry across to Hpa Pu and climb the temple there.

Kalaw – day walks or the start of a 2 or 3 day hike across country to Inle Lake. Or take the 3 hour train Nyaungshwe just north of the lake?

Pyin Oo Lwin – the botanical gardens really stand out here. Most people travel here to start the train journey to Hsipaw for more hiking and the journey across the Gotiek Viaduct.

Hsipaw – a quiet town for lovely hill walks. Or visit “little Bagan” a series of small temples to the north of the town.

  • Myanmar: The true land of smiles?

    Powered by Noodles

    "Trip report March 2013" 
    Chelsea & Laim
     give us a factual report on Myanmar. Read there blog for the finer points and this report if you want the hard facts. Great report. [more]

    Time Travel Turtle
    "An unexpected journey to Twante"
    Michael Turtle 
    is a journalist turned traveller; and it is clear in his writing. One of the best travel bloggers we've ever read. [more]

    Pia Regan
    "Teaching English in Lasio"
    Pia really gives some inspiration to get off of the beaten path and to just get stuck in and help where you can. Thanks to Pia for allowing us to re-publish this blog. [more]


    Cycling in Inle

    "A return trip to Inle" 
    Daniel Fisher returns to Inle to take to the bike and investigate the local temples, vineyard and villages. [more]


    Back again!
    "Travellers report February 2013"

    Martin Clarke's second trip to Myanmar in 6 months and once again we're getting hard facts with a few opinions. Useful and solid information. [more]


    Honeymooning in Myanmar?
    "Travellers report February 2013"
    We weren't at the wedding but we're really pleased that we could help with their honeymoon planing. Thanks for the report. [more]










    Yangon City Calling!

    "Visiting Yangon but not the temples?"

    Wendy Merrett reflects on visiting Yangon again but without visiting the temples? [more]


    Maing Thuak Orphanage
    "Exploring the countryside of Nyaunghswe" 
    Steve Lyons takes a cycle ride of off the beaten track to visit an orphanage. [more]


    18 Days

    "A travellers report"
    Suzanna Clarke shares her 18 days of solo travel with us from December 2012.[more]









    Biking in Bago

    "A day trip from Yangon to cycle around Bago."

    Daniel Fishers's first proper blog took that many hits we managed to talk him into writing another one for us.

    City Maps
    The map for Bago follows the route described above for cycling. And now the "map man" is back from Myanmar all of our others will be updated soon.

    To go or not to go? 

    "Myanmar, or Burma as it's known in old money"

    Wendy Merrett writes about her thoughts about visiting Myanmar with the current political wranglings that
    pose a question for us all.


    Inle Lake, Myanmar 

    "Slouching kittens, Hidden (jumping) cats"

    Join Martin Clarke and friends as they take to the waters of Inle Lake for a day of fisherman, gardens, temples and some lazy cats... [more]

    Must see!

    Want to see the world through someone else's eyes, or at least their lens? Check out our Must see! pictures of Myanmar. [more]

    Trekking from Kalaw to Inle.

    "4 non-blondes on the way to Inle”

    Ruby Hood decides to walk to Inle rather than taking the bus? Two days and one night... [more]


    Posted 23 Jul 2013, 18:21 by Elli Murr
Showing posts 1 - 1 of 1. View more »
  • Myanmar Charities: The Leaping Lemur Group
    There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.
    Elli xx

    The Burma Children’s Fund supports orphanages and pre-schools in various parts of Burma in order to provide shelter, health care and education for orphans and children. We will only support orphanages, clinics and pre-schools for infants and younger children where we know that the staff are dedicated and that the money they receive is spent on the children and for the direct benefit of the children. Children in Burma cannot control their own destiny and this is why our goal is “To Support their Future". [more] 

    Burma Campaign UK
     works for human rights, democracy and development in Burma.Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading Burma campaign organisations in the world. We play a leading role in raising awareness about the situation in Burma, and pressuring the international community to take action in support of the people of Burma. Founded in 1991, Burma Campaign UK is one of the leading Burma campaign organisations in the world. We play a leading role in raising awareness about the situation in Burma,  and pressuring the international community to take action in support of the people of Burma. [more]

     works with marginalised urban children and youth, their families and communities to become productive, independent citizens of their country. We do this by listening to and being guided by those who matter the most to us - the children and youth we work with everyday. Friends-International has been assisting marginalized urban children and youth across the world since 1994. We now run and support projects for these children and their families in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Honduras, Mexico, Egypt and Myanmar. Friends-International and its partners reach out to over 50,000 marginalised young people -particularly street children and youth – each year. We offer a range of comprehensive services as part of our holistic approach to assisting children and their families to improve their lives. [more]
    Compassionate Hands is a home-grown charity, founded by Snow Aye after the cyclone Nargis struck the southern delta region of Myanmar on 2nd May 2008. Since the start of Compassionate Hands, many people have volunteered to help realise various projects, ranging from emergency relief efforts after the Cyclone, to digging wells and helping children with AIDS. Many volunteers are from Myanmar itself, but also foreigners from other Asian countries, the United States and Europe are involved.... [more]
    Posted 27 Jun 2013, 20:17 by Elli Murr
Showing posts 1 - 1 of 1. View more »
  • A sample from our facebook page. Follow us for regular updates.

    Garden of Reflection,
    Chiang Mai, Thailand:
    There is no glory for a lazy person however good looking

    Krabi Thailand:

    Solitude and silent reflection seems to be moving with the times

    Almost Famous,
    Pai, Thailand:

    Toilet humour, bar humour and a great quiz.
    Posted 26 Jun 2013, 21:11 by Elli Murr
Showing posts 1 - 1 of 1. View more »

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Over 1,000 downloads of "A travellers Guide to Myanmar". 
We've had over 27,000 hits in just 7 months! For some, that's nothing, for the charities we support, approx. 2% of our visitors visit on.Which means all of our hard work is worth it. 

Thanks if you've visited one of  the many charities that we promote.

We're always working on our next update for Myanmar, but also busy writing for Thailand, Malaysia and getting ready to hit Cambodia! Can you help? 

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Definition of Charity: 
"Generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy and suffering"

This is all about giving something back to the people of the countries that we've visited, to thank them for the wonderful experiences that we've had. There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. You'll also note, there are no pop-ups or sponsored links to businesses. So, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted on our charities page, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've received, then look into some of these worthy causes. Otherwise we'd gladly accept any support to help keep this site alive.

You will be directed to an Email window. 
If not, then email: volunteer@

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