As I lay by the pool at the hotel in Yangon, I thought these tips might be of use to anyone considering travel to Myanmar, but also will apply to many developing countries.
Once you are out of the main cities you will need kyat (the local currency), the locals may accept US dollars but it is of little use to them and they may struggle to turn it into kyat.
Don’t believe what you read about ATMs, they are everywhere. (More about money coming up in a future post.)
Dress modestly, I recommend pants. Shorts (or skirts) above the knee are not appropriate. T-shirts are ok but singlet tops are too revealing. This applies to men and women.
Watch the hot water at your hotel if travelling with children, it’s screaming hot!
Its a very dusty and smokey, if you have asthma or a respiratory condition, you may wish to reconsider.
Wear slip on shoes or flip-flops when visiting pagodas for easy on/off at the entrance.
Wear throw away socks if visiting pagodas. Your feet will be filthy and it saves washing them (I like reusing the airline socks for these visits.)
Do not buy from children selling anything – they should be in school. Buying from them encourages the parents to keep them out of school in order to earn a living.
Likewise, never give to beggars, it creates a begging culture. If you want to do something to help, consider a donation to a charitable organisation in the area.
Do not give sweets or chocolate – the last thing someone on a limited income needs is bad teeth.
Do not touch the animals – rabies isn’t a souvenir you want to take home.
Ask before taking a photo or at least be discrete about it.
Do not make comments about how “cheap” everything is. Most people are likely living on less than we pay for a coffee at home. It’s disrespectful and rude.
Take a reusable bag or say no to plastic when shopping. Plastic bags are littered everywhere and it will only get worse😟
Toilet paper goes in the bin next to the toilet, not in the toilet. Infrastructure isn’t set up to accept it, so it will likely cause it to back up.l
Earplugs and eyemasks are essential, it’s noisy and blackout curtains haven’t been invented in Myanmar. 😊
A torch (flashlight) is essential if you are planning on dining anywhere other than your hotel at night. Roads are poorly lit and uneven. Power outages are also apparently common.