TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

1. Visa & Passport

The Government of Myanmar controls travel to, from, and within Myanmar. To enter Myanmar, you must have a valid passport with at least six months remaining validity and a valid visa. You should apply for your visa at a Burmese embassy or consulate abroad before you arrive in Myanmar. In Myanmar, you will be required to show your passport with a valid visa at all airports, train stations, and hotels. Security checkpoints are common outside of tourist areas.

Visa Information: The Government of Burma's eVisa program allows tourists and business travelers to apply for a visa online rather than physically applying at an embassy or consulate:

  • You are generally notified within a few days whether you have been pre-approved for a visa.
  • You must present the approval letter at Immigration when you enter Burma.
  • Once you are approved for the visa, the visa needs to be used within three months.
  • Apply at: Myanmar eVisa (Official Government Website). Be aware that non-official websites may be scam websites. 

The Government of Burma has a visas-on-arrival program for certain business travelers. The program is available only to those with a formal letter of invitation from a business registered with the Burmese Ministry of Commerce, NOT to tourists. (Source: State.Gov)

2. Weather & Best Time to Go

  • Low Season (May–Sep): The southwest monsoon starts mid-May and peaks from July to September. The dry zone between Mandalay and Pyay gets the least rain. Rain can make roads impassable in the more remote areas.
  • Shoulder (Oct & Nov, Mar & Apr): March to May, Yangon often reaches 104ºF (40ºC). Areas around Bagan and Mandalay are hotter. It's cooler in the hill towns of Shan State. All forms of transport are booked solid during Thingyan in April.
  • High Season (Dec–Feb): The rainy season is over and it's not so hot. Book accommodation and transport well ahead for this busy travel season.

3. Best time to go

The most comfortable time to visit is during the cool season from Nov to Feb, which is also the least humid time of year and has the clearest air – however, this is also the peak tourist season. If you can put up with the heat and/or rain, then you will find it easier (and often cheaper) to book accommodation outside the cool season, and there will be less crowds at popular destinations.

From February until the beginning of the rainy season, much of the country (particularly north of Yangon) can be dusty and hazy, sometimes hindering long-distance views.

Myanmar is a large country and temperatures can vary significantly. As a general rule, temperatures and humidity become lower at higher altitudes; in Chin State in the west and parts of Shan State in the east, temperatures can get close to freezing, and in the Himalayan far north they may drop below zero.

Monsoon rains are the most persistent in Yangon and the south and west; in the centre of the country, around Mandalay and Bagan, showers will generally be more sporadic in the rainy season (and you are likely to experience more sunshine).

3. Getting there

The cheapest way to reach Myanmar from outside the region is usually to fly to a regional hub such as Hanoi, Bangkok or Singapore. Current routes within Asia include flights to Yangon from Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Bangkok. Connections with Mandalay are limited to Dehong, Kunming and Bangkok.