Myanmar (Burma) still has a bit of a bad reputation. As such I was faced with lots of exclamations of “You’re not really going to travel there on your own are you?” before I went. Well, I did and it was great. I never at any point felt unsafe whilst I was in Myanmar. The country is really not that touristy yet, so it does mean a lot of places don’t have hostels and there aren’t as many backpackers to join up with but it’s incredibly well set up in terms of comfortable, efficient and cheap busses between towns and cities making it a backpackers dream to travel around.
How to travel into Myanmar (Burma)
I debated for a long time between taking a bus into Myanmar from the North of Thailand or taking a flight. Everything I’ve read about the bus journey though suggests it may not be the wisest way to travel. The bus enters Myanmar via a one-way road, which allows traffic going in on certain days of the week and going out on others since it’s not big enough to fit two way traffic. This extremely narrow road runs along a cliff edge and is thought to be one of the most dangerous roads in the world. It was just after an Air Asia plane had crashed in 2014 that I was making this trip though so I wanted to avoid flying with them if possible (I later learnt if you’re spending any period of time travelling round Asia you will not be able to avoid flying with them) so I put it out to my friends on Facebook. The vote was unanimous, flying was the better option.
Essential Information for Traveling to Myanmar
It used to be that there were no ATMs in Myanmar that would accept international bank cards. That is no longer the case, however ATMs are few and far between so take cash. Just to be safe, take as much as you think you need for the whole time you are there and then take some more.
In order to be able to exchange money in Myanmar you need to take American dollars, but all the bills must be new notes and must not have any markings, tears, or folds. I mean any. I knew this when traveling there and so had checked the bank notes I was given and yet still found myself with three $100 bills that no one would exchange.
Where to go in Myanmar
Yangon – Shwedagon Pagoda, Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple aka The Reclining Buddha Yangon, Sule Pagoda, Botataung Pagoda
Bagan – Bagan Old Town - Town of 2,000 Buddhist Monuments
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I'm Chantell. I quit my job to travel in 2014 and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know first hand how hard it can be to get everything in place in order to be able to travel, to know what to pack and where to go, let alone how best to go about your travels once on the road. Here I share everything I've learnt so far so you don't have to learn through as much "trial and error" as I did.
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