Information: General Information

For visitors coming to Myanmar for the first time there are so many unanswered questions - what do we pack, what are the entry requirements and so on. To make your visit truly relaxing and well-prepared, here are answers to some those questions. If you have any more queries that are not addressed below, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Climate

Myanmar has three seasons: a hot season (March to May), rainy season (June to September) and cool season (October to February). The temperature could run to a high of 40 C during the hot season and could drop to 10 C at night in the Inle Lake area during the cool season.

Myanmar’s off-season (Monsoon Season) is from May to September. The advantage of arriving during this time is better rates at hotels, meeting few travelers, and seeing the country at its greenest in the best visibility. The major sites – Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake, are located in upper Myanmar and are good areas to visit during the Monsoon Season because of the relatively low rainfall that occurs in these areas.

Currency

There is normally no restriction on the amount of currency that may be imported. Shops will accept US dollars and Kyat (the local currency), but not credit cards. They also will not necessarily have change in US dollars, and it is therefore recommended that you bring US dollars as required in small denominations.

No credit cards or travelers cheques are accepted anywhere in Myanmar even at hotels and up-market shops in Yangon. Clients must bring enough cash for any contingency expenses and shopping.

Zarmani Creative Tours bears no responsibility for any loss or theft of money or valuables.

ATM machines have just been introduced in Yangon and accept VISA and MASTER card to withdraw cash.  One can withdraw cash in local currency equalvant to 1,000USD per day

Time Change

Myanmar is 9 hours 30 minutes ahead of Eastern Standard Time (8 hours 30 minutes during Daylight Savings Time), and 6 hours 30 minutes ahead of GMT.

Communications and Contact Numbers

The luxury hotels that you use during the holiday have conventional phones on which it is possible to make international calls. Many also have internet facilities. Any important mail can be routed through our office in Yangon, and forwarded to you anywhere in the country.

Language

The official language throughout Myanmar is Myanmar, although English is widely spoken in the city centers.

Dress codes and local customs

Shorts and briefs are defined as disrespectful dress to visit the temples and any religious site. Visitors are requested to remove footwear when entering the precincts of religious monuments.

Luggage

As no formal clothes are needed, it is recommended that you keep your luggage to the basics. For safety and space reasons there is a 20kg limit on luggage per person. (Please see clothing list). We recommend that you pack in a duffel bag as this helps when loading and unloading planes and vehicles.

It is also convenient to have a small bag to take with you in the vehicle. Sometimes we will be out all day from near dawn to evening.  It could contain your camera gear and binoculars, sunscreen and hat.  Of course a small bag that is good as hand luggage on flights would also be suitable in the vehicles.

Recommended packing lists

Long trousers/slacks for evening wear Long sleeved shirts and short sleeved cotton shirts Walking shorts or skirts Pullover Sweater Warm jacket Anorak or Parka (as it can be cool in the mornings and evenings) T shirts Bathing Suit Good hat with brim for sun protection Good walking shoes (running/tennis shoes are fine) Heavy hiking boots are not necessary (unless we are preparing mountain climbs or forest walks)

Other Essentials

Handkerchief (for those particularly sentimental moments!) Toothbrush and paste Shampoo is provided in most hotel rooms Sunglasses, good quality preferably polarized, as tinted fashion glasses are not good in strong light Eye glasses if worn, as some people have problems with contact lenses and dust Sunscreen / Suntan lotion Anti-histamine cream and Piriton for those who suffer from allergies Disposable moist tissues Insect repellent – preferably the lotion rub on sort for the body Flashlight Zip lock bags Film and Camera bag * see under Photography Batteries Razor and shaving cream Appropriate toiletries

Laundry

Laundry can be done in all hotels depending on the weather. It cannot be done when we stay in monasteries.

Tipping

The gratuity of staff is not included in the price of your trip. Our general recommendation is to tip in accordance with the level and quality of service provided. As a guideline we recommend about US$5 per guest per day for the guide. In restaurants and for taxi drivers the customary tip is approximately 10%. Tipping in US$1.00 bills for porters and waiters at lodges is greatly appreciated, so it is advisable to bring some US$ notes in smaller denominations with you.

Photography – General

Make sure that you are thoroughly conversant with all your equipment before coming on holiday and that you have an ample supply of film (2/3 rolls per day) or memory cards, video cassettes and spare batteries and lens papers with you. Out of respect for the local cultures, seek the advice of your guide before photographing people. Note that certain Government, military and police buildings may not be photographed. Video and digital cameras can be recharged at most hotels.

Photography – Stills

For real enthusiasts, one or two camera bodies (one for high speed film or black and white is useful) with 28mm, 80-200/300mm zoom. Wide angle and macro lenses are also useful. An ultra violet filter should be fitted to each lens. A polarizing circular filter is advisable on a wide angle when photographing pagodas in bright sunlight. There are some good 1•4 teleconvertors which are suitable for zoom lens that work very well. Bring a flash for evening scenes and flashfill. Allow for at least two to three rolls of 36 exposure film per day, some of which should be high-speed film for early morning and late afternoon shots. ASA 100 & 200 should be the bulk with some 400 for poor light (evening and indoor) conditions. Remember to bring spare camera batteries.

Video

A 12v car power adaptor for running the video, and charging its spare batteries, is always useful. A 12V DC to 115V AC portable power inverter is an alternative. Our vehicles are negative-ground 12 volt systems and the local mains supply is 220/240 volt, 50 Hz, so bring a good quality transformer if you have a 110V (US) system. Hotels are of course 220V.

Binoculars

Binoculars are optional and by no means essential in Myanmar.  However if you would like to bring some along, the best field binoculars are lightweight with central focusing and good light-gathering capability.  Do not get them too powerful as these are hard to hold steady:  7 x 50, 8 x 42, 8 x 32 or 10 x 32 are excellent sizes.  Avoid the zoom variety, as clarity is often poor.

Electric current

Electricity is 220V AC, so with 110V appliances, you will need both an adapter for the proper plug configuration and a converter for the correct current. Round two pronged plug sockets are used.

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