At a difficult period in the nation’s history, Myanmar reveals just why grassroots travel is so important.

Despite recent unrest, Myanmar’s stunning gold pagodas, ancient towns and forested landscapes are still worthy of your attention. We believe there has never been a more important time to be fostering real exchanges between travellers and locals, whether that’s visiting a family-run workshop in Bagan, learning from a community project in Pakkoku, or simply mingling with villagers in Kalaw. Come and see why, even when the country’s reputation might have chilled, Myanmar still has the ability to stir.  

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Myanmar (Burma) travel FAQs

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.

We understand there has been a lot of discussion about boycotting travel to Myanmar in light of recent events, but we believe there’s a good deal to be said about continuing to operate our trips in Myanmar.

While the intention behind a boycott is to do the right thing, the reality is boycotts often impact the wrong people. Diminishing tourism impacts not just the government or military’s bottom line, but also tightens the belts of local families who rely on travellers to purchase their goods.

Travel boycotts also tend to isolate vulnerable people even more and reinforce binary world views. At Intrepid, we believe travel has the ability to be a force of good. To connect people and begin a dialogue between cultures that can propel change. This is especially so in places where censorship restricts the free flow of ideas in the media, resulting in an echo chamber that only an outsider can break.

We respect the decision to travel or not travel to a country is an individual choice, but we choose to believe in the positive impact that tourism can continue to have in countries like Myanmar.

You can read more about our decision to continue travelling in Myanmar here

Resuming trips in Myanmar isn't a decision Intrepid has made lightly. In 2003, we responded to the call for a boycott on travel to Burma by the then democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose National League for Democracy (NLD) party was denied the right to govern the country by the military dictatorship.

After recent positive events within the country including the elections in November 2010, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest and the subsequent call to end the travel boycott by the NLD, Intrepid has been prompted to consider returning to Myanmar (Burma).

By reintroducing our grassroots style of travel, we can contribute to improving the circumstances of the Burmese people by way of initiating a two-way exchange. Firstly, resuming trips will give them a chance to interact with visitors from other countries, thus giving a rare glimpse into life and governance in other parts of the world.

Secondly, taking passengers to Myanmar will help to build awareness of the complex issues this country continues to face, as well as positively contributing to the economy.

Internet can be accessed at most hotels, but be aware, the speed may be slower than what you are used to, particularly in rural areas.

Locals typically earn low wages, so while tipping isn’t mandatory, leaving porters, drivers, restaurant staff and other service workers a small 5-10% tip is a gracious way to show your appreciation.

International roaming in Myanmar is now possible with a growing number of mobile network providers. Check with your service provider before leaving home.

Squat toilets are most common in Myanmar, although Western-style flushable toilets can be found in larger hotels and some tourist areas. Always carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer, as they are usually not provided.

Street food snack = 500-1000 MMK
Bottle of beer in a bar or restaurant = 2000-2500 MMK
Banquet in a small, locally-run restaurant = 3000-5000 MMK
Dinner in a high-end hotel restaurant = 15,000+ MMK

Drinking tap water isn’t recommended in Myanmar. Remember to avoid drinks with ice and peel fruit before eating it. Help the environment and try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle with filtered water. Your leader or hotel can tell you where to find filtered water.

Some hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards but Myanmar is largely a cash economy. It’s best to carry cash for purchases.

ATMs are widely available in larger cities, though they can be unreliable. It is not uncommon for ATMs to run out of funds or not work due to power cuts. You may need to try several ATMs before having success withdrawing funds.

It's advisable to still bring US dollars to exchange.

Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of your trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.

For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance

 

  • 4 Jan: Independence Day
  • 12 Feb: Union Day
  • 2 Mar: Peasants’ Day
  • 27 Mar: Armed Forces Day
  • 1 May: Workers’ Day
  • 19 Jul: Martyrs’ Day
  • 2 Dec: National Day
  • 25 Dec: Christmas

For a current list of public holidays in Myanmar go to: https://www.worldtravelguide.net/guides/asia/Myanmar/public-holidays/

 

No vaccines are required in order to enter Myanmar but some are recommended for protection against disease. Visit your doctor or travel clinic for advice and make sure to schedule vaccinations 4-6 weeks before your departure date, as some require time to become effective.

Discretion is advised for LGBTQI-travellers visiting Myanmar. Though most local are tolerant, homosexuality is a cultural taboo and gay and transgendered people are rarely out. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, regardless of sexual orientation. Travellers should be aware that, although it is almost never enforced, same-sex intercourse is legally punishable with up to 10 years in prison in Myanmar.

For more detailed and up-to-date advice, we recommend visiting Equaldex or ILGA before you travel.

Responsible Travel

Intrepid is committed to travelling in a way that is respectful of local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It's important to remember that what may be acceptable behaviour, dress and language in your own country, may not be appropriate in another. Please keep this in mind while travelling.

 Responsible travel in Myanmar

Top responsible travel tips for Myanmar (Burma)

  1. Be considerate of Myanmar’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
  2. Dress modestly and respectfully. Shoulders to knees should be covered, this is a requirement when entering places of worship.
  3. Myanmar’s political situation is rapidly changing, but may still be sensitive at times. Respect the wishes of locals at all times and avoid starting conversations involving politics or the government. It is possible to discuss politics if welcomed to do so.
  4. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
  5. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
  6. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face. It's meant to be fun!
  7. Learn some local language and don't be afraid to use it - simple greetings will help break the ice.
  8. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
  9. Refrain from supporting businesses that exploit or abuse endangered animals.
  10. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
  11. When on community visits or homestays, refrain from giving gifts or money to locals.

The Intrepid Foundation

The Intrepid Foundation provides travellers with an opportunity to give something back to the many wonderful communities we travel to. By donating to The Intrepid Foundation you can make a difference in local communities - in health care, education, human rights, child welfare and the protection of wildlife and the environment.

In Myanmar (Burma), The Intrepid Foundation proudly supports:

ActionAid Myanmar

ActionAid Myanmar

ActionAid Myanmar engages young community members as change-makers to empower their own villages. They have established women-led “revolving loan funds” allowing villagers to take out low interest loans and develop or set up their small business.

Photo provided by ActionAid

To learn more or donate, go to: www.theintrepidfoundation.org