Burma, or Myanmar as it is today officially known as, is a nation that is understandably somewhat afraid of the truth regarding its past but has made significant inroads over recent years in terms of regeneration.
Following its independence from British rule in 1948, a period of intense political unrest has plagued the nation including a coup in 1962 which saw the country be taken over by a military dictatorship; one that has only been dissolved in the last few years. Over this six-decade period, extensive human rights violations occurred and even today, since democracy has been restored, Burma is influenced significantly by military leaders and their money.
Signs of Change
Thankfully, there are real signs of change in Burma and the landmark 2015 election saw Aung San Suu Kyi win a majority in both signs; this has been regarded as a huge win for democracy and human rights for the region and a boost for Burma travel. When looking at the chequered past Myanmar has experienced, it is easy to forget just how extraordinary this part of the world is from the perspective of natural beauty. From the Irrawaddy River to gilded pagodas and the Bay of Bengal, there has never been any doubt about the region’s status as one of the most breath-taking places on the planet. Rather surprisingly, given the hardship they have had to endure over the years, the locals of the Burmese region are also humorous, welcoming and engaging; making any journey to Myanmar an absolute pleasure. Burma tours have started to really take off since the 2015 elections and those who have visited since then have already started to notice the air of optimism and excitement which now exists in the country.
When Should I Travel To Burma
Due to its location, Burma is obviously blessed with sunshine all year round but there are times you should avoid going if you want to take full advantage of your time there. There are two things you want to avoid when visiting locations such as Myanmar and these are intense rain and intense heat. The monsoon season usually takes place between May and August and although there is a chance you will get lucky, going to Burma during this period could mean you having to endure tropical storms so intense, you may rarely be able to venture from your accommodation. March and April invariably see the temperatures in Burma hit the 40 degree Celsius mark and although some of the more seasoned travellers out there may well be able to ensure this heat, it isn’t usually conducive to being able to roam around freely, not something one really wants when on holiday. We recommend that you plan your trip to Burma around January and February as you are very unlikely to see much rain fall and the temperatures will be moderate enough for you to do as you please. November and December are comfortable but due to the fact that these months fall around holiday season and are the start of the more bearable weather, you may find that areas such as Yangon are intensely busy.
Other considerations for Burma Travel
If, having read our guide, you feel that one of the increasing number of Burma tours is for you, then there are some final considerations for you to bear in mind before you start planning your trip.
– You can now apply for an e-visa to enter Yangon by air from 67 countries. This will last for 90 days and will cost you roughly $50. You can see if you are eligible for an e-visa by clicking this link.
– If you are travelling to Burma from Thailand overland, then you must apply for a traditional visa. In order to obtain one of these, you must apply directly through the Myanmar Embassy by calling 020 7449 4340 or head to myanmarembassylondon.com. You should make postal orders payable to Myanmar Embassy. Postal processing takes around 10 days or you can apply in person at the Embassy (19a Charles Street, London W1J 5DX) 10am-noon weekdays.
– Due to forgeries, the Burmese can get a little disgruntled if you try to use tired or disfigured bank notes so we recommend you use dollars when visiting the country and also make sure these are in as close to mint condition as possible.
– Finally, Burma is still a very conservative country. Therefore, the locals regard garments such as shorts and t-shirts as underwear and you are likely to get into a spot of bother if you wear revealing clothes when travelling around the country. Keep cleavages, shoulders and legs covered, even if it is with thin clothing to keep as cool as possible.
As you will have noted, Burma is an unbelievably exciting country to visit and one that despite being afraid regarding the truths of its past, is fast becoming an enthralling destination for travellers from all across the world.