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Myanmar (Burma)

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Visa: Required.

Myanmar Visa Fee: $60 per person. Additional $20-$40 Rush Fee for visa application received within 45-21 days of departure. Note: Visa processing through Ampac Tours only available in conjunction with booking one of our Myanmar tours.

Principal Airport: Yangon Airport
Airport Tax: U.S. $10, payable in U.S. currency or FECs only. No tax for domestic flights.

Local Time: GMT + 6:30 hours / Pacific Standard Time + 14:30 hours.
No daylight saving time at the moment

Customs: 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 1/2 pound of tobacco; one quart of alcoholic liquor; one pint bottle of perfume or Eau de Cologne.

Declaration: All jewelry, electrical goods and cameras must be declared to the Customs at the airport. Please list these items in detail to avoid problems when departing the country.

Travelers Checks & Credit Cards: Travelers checks and credit cards are no longer accepted anywhere in Myanmar. The U.S. dollar (in actual currency form) is the only foreign currency accepted for exchange within the country of Myanmar.

Currency: The unit of currency is the kyat (pronounced ‘chat’), divided into 100 pyas. Notes: K1000, 500, 200, 100, 90, 50, 45, 20, 15, 10, 5, 1. Coins: 1 kyat; 50, 25, 10, 5 &1 pya.

The official exchange rate is approximately US$1 = K6 or K7. The unofficial black market exchange rate is as high as K400 but changing money via unauthorized channels is strictly illegal. A compromise on exchange rates is possible for foreign visitors, who may exchange their U.S. dollars for Foreign Exchange Certificates (FECs) at the rate of 100 Kyat to the dollar. FECs are issued in three denominations; the FEC equivalent of U.S. dollars 10, 5 and 1. Small amounts of money should be changed at a time and to avoid standing in long lines, it is better not to exchange money at the airport.

The U.S. dollar is also widely used. It is best to carry dollar bills, however, $100 dollar bills will get you the best exchange rate. Many hotels will only accept U.S. currency as a form of payment.

Compulsory Currency Exchange: If your entry visa reads: E.V.T. FIT (meaning: entry visa tourist, foreign independent travel) you will be required to exchange the equivalent of U.S. $200 upon arrival at the official (compromised) exchange rate. If your entry visa reads: E.V.T. PACKAGE TOUR, you are exempt from the compulsory currency exchange.

Electricity: 220 volts. Three prong plugs.

Tipping: Widely practiced, in addition to hotel and restaurant service charges shown on bills. Porters, Kyat 5 to 10 per bag. The customary gratuity to tour guides and bus/car driver is appreciated.

Taxi: Taxis are not available. Hotel car/van and drivers can be hired.

Water: Never drink tap water. Bottled water is available everywhere. Make sure they open the bottle in front of you. Avoid ice in drinks.

Telephones: International Direct Dial telephones are available in some hotels in Yangon and Mandalay. In other cities like Bagan, telephone communication is not available or by satellite telephone only.

Film: Take plenty of film, locally available supplies are NOT reliable. Carry all of your film in a X-ray proof bag or container.

Health: No vaccinations are officially required for a visit to Myanmar but malaria prophylaxis is recommended and depending on where you will visit and the time of year, inoculations against typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis may also be prudential. We highly recommend that you check with your doctor or a travel immunization clinic regarding your personal health requirements prior to leaving home.

Medical Facilities: Medical facilities in Myanmar are inadequate for even routine medical care. There are few trained medical personnel because the universities were closed for several years and have recently reopened. Common drugs for sale, such as insulin, are often adulterated products and unsafe to use. HIV/AIDS is rampant in the country, as is malaria and hepatitis. Hospital and medical services are available in Yangon; elsewhere, medical care is limited.

AIDS: AIDS is posing a major health, social and economic problem for Burma. Infection with HIV (the virus that leads to AIDS) has spread rapidly in the country since 1989. Burma now has the third highest HIV rate in Asia after India and Thailand.

Weather
Myanmar has 3 seasons similar to many other parts of Southeast Asia. The southwest monsoon starts at the end of May or beginning of June and lasts until the end of October. This season brings frequent and heavy downpours of rain, mainly in the afternoon and evening. All this rain makes the weather very humid and this can make travel quite unpleasant. The rains give way to dry weather in November and the temperatures are generally lower and more pleasant at this time. A second monsoon passes the southeast of the country in December and January resulting in cool breezes throughout Myanmar. In February the temperatures start to climb again leading up to the next rainy season at the end of May. Temperatures between March and May can be very hot reaching over 90° F in many places.
City Average Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Yangon Temp. °F 77° 80° 84° 87° 85° 81° 80° 80° 81° 82° 81° 77°
Rain (Inch) 0.00 0.39 0.55 0.67 9.21 22.95 24.06 23.98 14.21 7.05 1.89 0.08
Mandalay
Bagan
Temp. °F 71° 76° 83° 89° 89° 87° 87° 86° 85° 83° 78° 71°
Rain (Inch) 0.00 0.20 0.31 1.14 4.17 5.71 5.35 6.61 6.14 4.41 1.77 0.16
Inle Lake
Shan State
Temp. °F 60° 63° 69° 72° 72° 70° 70° 69° 69° 68° 64° 60°
Rain (Inch) 0.12 0.39 0.67 2.13 5.35 7.36 8.94 10.16 8.50 6.30 3.35 0.47
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