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  • Accommodation | About Myanmar (Burma) | Rough Guides
    Guide to Beijing View Guide The Rough Guide to First Time Around The World View Guide The Rough Guide to Bali Lombok View Guide Myanmar Burma Accommodation Just a few years ago accommodation in Myanmar was considered among the most affordable in Southeast Asia This is no longer the case thanks largely to a combination of steeply rising tourist numbers and a lack of new budget and mid range places to stay While international companies are rushing to build luxury hotels things are stagnant at the lower end of the scale where profits are smaller and getting a permit to accommodate foreigners is still a hassle The upshot is that it s difficult these days to get a double room in a guesthouse for less than 15 or 20 in the main tourist areas this will usually include a shared bathroom although you might get an old air conditioning unit rather than a fan If you re looking for hotel facilities then the prices quickly rise to more than 30 Note that there are hardly any dormitories open to foreigners in Myanmar single occupancy rates range from fifty to eighty percent of the cost of a double Power cuts are commonplace in Myanmar even in Yangon and Mandalay and most but not all accommodation will have a generator to ensure that fans and air conditioners work through the night Avoid leaving gadgets plugged in during a power cut as there may be a surge when the supply is restored With demand exceeding supply when it comes to budget rooms in places such as Yangon Mandalay Nyaungshwe Inle Lake and Nyaung U Bagan it s wise to book ahead particularly in peak season November to February It is not uncommon to see backpackers trudging around looking for an affordable room and

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/accommodation/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Food and drink | About Myanmar (Burma) | Rough Guides
    hugely popular places to meet friends family or business associates over tea and affordable snacks which depending on the owners might be Burmese noodles Muslim samosas or Chinese steamed buns Teahouses have long had a reputation for being places where politics can be openly discussed although there have always been rumours of government spies observing Some teahouses open early for breakfast while others stay open late into the night Burmese food As in other Southeast Asian countries in Burmese food it s considered important to balance sour spicy bitter and salty flavours this is generally done across a series of dishes rather than within a single dish A mild curry for example might be accompanied by bitter leaves dried chilli and a salty condiment such as fish paste The typical local breakfast is noodle soup such as the national dish mohingar catfish soup with rice vermicelli onions lemongrass garlic chilli and lime with some cooks adding things like boiled egg courgette fritters and fried bean crackers Alternatives include oùn nó k auq s wèh coconut chicken soup with noodles raw onions coriander and chilli and pèh byouq fried boiled beans served with sticky rice or naan bread All of these dishes are served in teahouses or available to take away from markets Noodles also feature strongly at lunchtime many locals will have a small bowl at a street café teahouse or food court Various Shan noodle dishes are popular including mì she rice noodles in a meat sauce accompanied by pickle Other common dishes include various ăthouq which translates to salad but rarely includes vegetables they are cold dishes usually with noodles raw onions gram flour chilli and coriander served with a watery vegetable or bone soup One variety worth trying is nàn gyì thouq made with thick rice noodles that look like spaghetti Lunchtime is also when you should try Burmese curries if you re worried about hygiene since they are usually cooked in the morning then left in pots all day Local people however would typically have curry in the evening at home A meat fish or prawn curry will be accompanied by rice t ămìn a watery soup and fried vegetables A great deal of oil is added to Burmese curries supposedly to keep bacteria out but like locals you can skim the oil off At the best restaurants the meal will also include a selection of up to a dozen small side dishes plus fresh vegetables and herbs with a dip such as ngăpí ye a watery fish sauce Green tea will usually be thrown in as will a dessert traditionally lăp eq or lahpet fermented tea leaves with fried garlic peanuts toasted sesame and dried shrimp which is much tastier than it sounds You may also get t ănyeq jaggery unrefined cane sugar There are plenty of regional variations to discover as you travel the food of Rakhine State for example is influenced by its proximity to Bangladesh so curries are spicier and many dishes

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/food-drink/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Culture and etiquette | About Myanmar (Burma) | Rough Guides
    and women wear a traditional skirt like garment called a longyi These days though it is also common for locals to wear Western style clothes and you ll very occasionally see men in shorts People will be too polite to say anything but they may be offended by the sight of tourists wearing revealing clothes This would include shorts cut above the knee and particularly for women tops that are tight or show the shoulders It s especially important to dress conservatively when visiting temples and some travellers carry a longyi for such situations Most women and girls as well as some men and boys use thănăk à a paste made from ground bark on their faces traditionally thought to improve the skin and act as a sunblock it is often applied as a circle or stripe on each cheek Avoid touching another person s head as it is considered the most sacred part of the body feet are unclean and so when sitting don t point your feet at anyone or towards images of the Buddha Remove your shoes before entering a Buddhist site or a home Always use your right hand when shaking hands or passing something to someone as the left hand is traditionally used for toilet ablutions however locals do use their left hand to support their right arm when shaking hands Most people in the country are Buddhist although there are significant Muslim and Christian minorities Men are expected to experience life in a monastery twice in their lives once when a child and once as an adult although this is only for a short time unless they become a novice Most Buddhists also believe in nats spirits rooted in older animist traditions which are now considered to be the Buddha s disciples These supernatural

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/culture-etiquette/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Sports and activities | About Myanmar (Burma) | Rough Guides
    developed in Myanmar although with tourist numbers soaring this can be expected to change For now with the notable exception of trekking any activities tend to be arranged through travel agents and prohibitively expensive Trekking Opportunities for treks are limited by two main factors One is that many of the most appealing areas are in the mountainous border regions which tend to be closed to tourists The other is that foreigners are generally expected to stay in licensed accommodation for every night of their visit Camping is illegal as in most parts of the country is staying in local homes As a result day hikes are the limit in many places In Kengtung for example there are some excellent walks to ethnic minority villages but you cannot stay in any of them overnight There are exceptions however with the most notable being around Kalaw Inle Lake Pindaya and Hsipaw In these areas it s possible to stay in either homes or monasteries by prior arrangement through a tour agency and therefore do multi day treks It s still unusual for people to trek for more than three days A guide is strongly recommended for most hiking although the trails around Hsipaw are often undertaken without one In some places such as Kengtung a guide is obligatory Biking and motorbiking Both mountain biking and motorbiking tours are available in Myanmar through specialist agencies There are many advantages to getting around in this way not least the chance to interact with people in villages and rural areas disadvantages include having to put up with the poor state of many roads plus the requirement to sleep in licensed accommodation which means that you cannot be as flexible or spontaneous as you might like Some cyclists have used camping as a back up but

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/sports-activities/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Festivals | About Myanmar (Burma) | Rough Guides
    Guides The Rough Guide to Myanmar View Guide The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia On A Budget View Guide Rough Guide Audio Phrasebook and Dictionary Japanese View Guide The Rough Guide to Shanghai View Guide Kyushu Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Rough Guide to Bali Lombok View Guide Kansai Rough Guides Snapshot Japan View Guide The Yellow River Rough Guides Snapshot China View Guide The Rough Guide to Bangkok View Guide The Rough Guide to Tokyo View Guide Myanmar Burma Festivals Most festivals in Myanmar are based on the lunar calendar check the official Ministry of Hotels Tourism site for a more extensive list w myanmartourism org festivals htm Shwedagon Festival Feb March The country s biggest paya pwèh temple festival takes place at Shwedagon Paya in Yangon Thingyan April 13 16 The water festival is the most popular in the calendar marking New Year with a good soaking as temperatures soar It also has a spiritual side as it s when the nat king visits the human world to record good and bad deeds Hotels and transport are often booked solid Fire Balloon Festival Nov Daytime parades at this three day event in Taunggyi east of Inle Lake include impressive animal shaped hot air balloons At night balloons are released with huge gondolas full of fireworks strapped underneath them sometimes with predictably explosive results Shan New Year Dec Keep an eye open for the different ethnic groups new year celebrations around Dec and Jan This one rotates between different Shan towns and includes live bands traditional dancing and on Shan New Year s Eve itself fireworks and an inclusive party atmosphere Ananda Pahto festival Dec Jan The paya pwèh at Ananda Pahto is the biggest in Bagan running for the fortnight leading up to the full moon

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/festivals/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Travel essentials | About Myanmar (Burma) | Rough Guides
    value you are likely to encounter is the K50 note At the time of writing the exchange rate was K860 to 1 K1300 to 1 and K1120 to 1 high value notes particularly 100 bills attract the best exchange rates so bring those to change Although at one time the official rate was artificially low and most people changed money on the black market today banks offer a realistic rate and it is not worth using the black market It is never a good idea to change money in the street even if the rate sounds good as scams are common Note also that kyat cannot be bought or sold overseas so you should change any leftover currency before leaving the country Kyat are used to pay for food bus tickets taxi journeys and items in ordinary shops or markets but US dollars and possibly euros although don t rely on it must be used for government services including train tickets and entry fees for major tourist attractions There are also some circumstances in which US dollars are preferred but not required notably at hotels and guesthouses but also in some tourist oriented shops In these cases prices are quoted in dollars and if payment is made in kyat then it is usually at a poorer rate than you d get in a bank It s a good idea to bring plenty of low denomination dollar notes for these situations Note that it is essential that any currency which you intend to change within Myanmar is pristine and that US dollars were issued in 2006 or later Notes that are creased torn or marked in any way however minor may not be accepted by banks hotels or any other outlets if they do take them then it is likely to be at a reduced rate Reject US dollar change unless it is in perfect condition For many years up until late 2012 Myanmar had a cash only economy as far as tourists were concerned it was impossible to withdraw money from ATMs within the country travellers cheques were not accepted money transfer services such as Western Union were unavailable and only a handful of top end hotels accepted credit cards The only option therefore was to bring a stack of cash and exchange it for kyat as necessary With a relaxing of international sanctions however at the end of 2012 some ATMs mostly in Yangon and Mandalay started to accept overseas debit and credit cards It looks like this trend will continue and other changes may be on the way but you should check on the current situation before travelling At the time of writing it was still impossible to recommend arriving in Myanmar without enough cash in euros Singapore dollars or preferably US dollars to cover your entire trip The availability of money via ATM was simply too unreliable particularly outside of the major cities In addition at the time of writing only kyat were available from ATMs Opening

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/travel-essentials/ (2016-02-16)
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  • Yangon (Rangoon) Guide | Myanmar (Burma) Travel | Rough Guides
    and barbecue in Chinatown visit Hindu temples or take an eye opening ride on a commuter train Yangon s streets provide a vibrant and engaging introduction to the country Most travellers spend most of their time downtown in the grid of streets north of the Yangon River that has Sule Paya at its heart The main reason to head out of the downtown area is Shwedagon Paya although there a number of other attractions further north including the shady shores of Kandawgyi Lake busy but almost tourist free Hledan Market and the enormous marble Buddha at Kyauk Taw Gyi Brief history There is a long history of settlement in this part of the delta with the Mon village of Dagon growing up around Singuttara Hill on which Shwedagon Paya is located during the sixth century AD After the area was conquered by King Alaungpaya in 1755 the village was renamed Yangon and its importance as a port grew In 1852 it was seriously damaged by the invading British who called it Rangoon and rebuilt it to their own plans in 1885 the British made Rangoon their capital after expelling the last Burmese king from Mandalay The city was occupied by the Japanese during the World War II but bomb damage was relatively limited The decades of international isolation since then have meant that most of the city s heritage buildings have been neglected and in 2005 many were abandoned completely as the government moved its ministries north to new capital Nay Pyi Taw Despite this Yangon is still Myanmar s commercial centre and has started to attract developers following the recent easing of international sanctions It remains to be seen to what extent the city s architecture will be revitalized Read More More about Myanmar Burma Features Where Next Check

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/yangon/ (2016-02-16)
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  • The delta region and western Myanmar Guide | Myanmar (Burma) Travel | Rough Guides
    rush straight through its lush green rice fields and sleepy towns on their way to the beaches at Chaung Tha and Ngwe Saung If you don t mind roughing it a bit one good way to see more of the region is to travel by public ferry to Pathein famous for its handmade parasols before carrying on to the beaches The west coast of Myanmar lies to the north of the delta region First comes the long and thin stretch of Rakhine State separated from the plains to the east by mountains then Chin State and its border with Bangladesh The most touted destination in this part of the country is Ngapali Beach but it s a long hard journey by bus and rising hotel prices have squeezed out anyone on a very strict budget Of more interest to most budget travellers is Mrauk U capital of Rakhine when it was a separate country but it was closed to tourists following violence in 2012 Until this situation changes it is also impossible to take boat trips from Mrauk U into Chin State which had previously been the easiest way to see the rarely visited state without a permit Read More More about Myanmar Burma Features Where Next Check out Southeastern Myanmar Travel Offers Travel insurance Hotels Hostels Car hire Tours Explore Pathein Chaung Tha beach Ngwe Saung Ngapali Beach Find out more Recent violence in Rakhine State Recent violence in Rakhine State The Rohingya a Muslim minority in Rakhine State have been described as one of the most heavily oppressed groups in the world Stripped of their citizenship in 1982 the Rohingya have long been discriminated against by members of the state s majority Buddhist ethnic group the Rakhine and tensions have simmered for decades They boiled over in June

    Original URL path: http://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/myanmar-burma/delta-region-western-myanmar/ (2016-02-16)
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