Travel Info & Tips - Do's and Don'ts
As visitors to a new destination we must continue to demonstrate that we manage ourselves efficiently and exhibit integrity and respect at all time. Like in every foreign country, it is necessary to know the customs of the land and the "do's and don’ts" while travelling. As well as in Myanmar, Respect is the main word.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, Myanmar created a little booklet "Dos and Don'ts for Tourists" to provide suggestions on how tourists can visit Myanmar responsible.
Mingalaba - Welcome to Myanmar
Bridge to cultural gap
- The people of Myanmar are friendly, helpful and polite
- Approach your visit with the desire to explore and participate. Open your mind to Myanmar’s diverse cultures and traditions.
Be mindful of our current situation
- Interact with people in a respectful manner. Look for cultural exchange and respect the diversity you encounter
- When in Myanmar, da as the Myanmar do. Treat your hosts as you would like to be treated in your own home. For example, in Myanmar it is customary to remove shoes before entering a house
- Public display of excessive emotion, whether prompted by anger or by love, are frowned upon.
- The people of Myanmar love festivals and ceremonies. Join the celebrations at Thingyan (Myanmar New Year / Water Festival), Thadingyut (Light Festival) or Kayin New Year. Check the festival calendar mach ein link zu festivals.
- Learn the names of guides and hosts, and perhaps some word of the local language. People will be delighted to meet visitors who are trying to immerse themselves in the language. Although Myanmar is the official language, there are hundreds of other spoken languages.
- Body language speaks. The head is considered the most esteemed part of the body. If you touch someone on the head – even children – it will be a sign of aggression. Use pillows only to rest your head – don’t sit on them. Your Feet, please don’t point with your foot. In Myanmar pointing with your feet shows great disrespect. When you sit, your legs should not be stretched out in front of you, so please tuck away your feet. Your feet should never face towards a family shrine or the Buddha. Your hands, when you are giving or accepting items, use your right hand to receive whilst holding your forearm with your left hand. This shows respect and courtesy to your hosts.
Engage in better communication
- Review travel restrictions and stay away from restricted areas. Some regions are off-limits for personal safety.
- Visitors may experience electricity outrages. Please be patient if you experience a power outage – catch a breeze, bring a book, or simply take a stroll and relax in the streets. Everyone is in the same situation, join in the cheers when the power comes back on!
Help us preserve our culture and religious heritage
- Do smile, Encourage conversations with local people and try to learn about their life/ Educate yourself about culture, geography, customs, and the history of the destination.
- Interact! Thanaka is a distinctive feature of Myanmar. It is made from tree bark, gives a cooling sensation and provides some protection from sunburn. Ask local women to show you how they grind Thanaka, and if they could apply Thanaka on your face, or learn how to tie a Myanmar longyi.
- Hire a local tour guide, get your nose out of the guidebook, put your phone away and hire a local licensed guide. N one knows a destination better.
- Bargaining is okay but keep it reasonable. Bargaining is part of Myanmar culture. It is about respect so that no one loses face during the transaction.
- Tipping is not expected in Myanmar, but tips are warmly welcome for a job well done
Be Aware, Be Caring
- Removal of cultural artifacts is a threat to the local culture. Do not buy protected historical and archeological artifacts or accept them as gift. Myanmar loses its heritage every time antique items are taken out of the country.
- Don’t go climbing over the fragile ruins of the temples to find the perfect sunset viewing position.
- Show respect towards historical sites and ask for permission before accessing local archeological culturally, and spiritually important areas. For example, nearly all villages have certain items that ought not to be touched, climbed or sat on. Show your respect for these restrictions.
- Religious sites are subject to strict dress codes. Keep shoulders and knees covered, and remove shoes and socks before entering any shrine, pagoda or monastery.
- Practice responsible photography. Always ask before taking photos or videos of people, especially of children, homes, ceremonies or sacred sites. Respect locals and remember not to simply treat as subject for your holiday pictures.
- Be a child-safe visitor. Children are not tourist attractions, so please don’t treat them like they are. Think twice before visiting an orphanage. A better way for tourist to support vulnerable children and their families is through vocational training and community-based initiatives.
- Think before your give. Contribute to communities, not to individuals. Giving directly to children encourages them to skip school and continue begging, locking them into a cycle of poverty
- Sexual exploitation regardless of age is against the Myanmar law
- Using drugs is illegal in Myanmar. Set a good example. Don’t drink excessively and don’t use drugs.
- Buy locally produced food, products and services. The money you spend makes an important contribution to the community. Spend on fresh produce at daily wet markets, purchase locally produced handicrafts, get a haircut, or buy a newspaper from the corner store.
- Reduce waste, bring your own reusable water bottle to help reduce plastic waste, Turn down plastic bags if offered when shopping. Set an example to the communities that you visit – dispose of rubbish in waste bins, or if not available, take it away with you.
- Tr alternative modes of transportation, such as side cars, horse-carts, oxcarts or bicycles. These are sustainable and benefit the locals. In Yangon, hail a sidecar to whiz through the traffic jam. In Pyin Oo Lwin, hop abourd the train to cross the highest bridge in Myanmar, the Goteik bridge. In Mandalay, pedal a bike to ecplore locl villages on the way to U Bein bridge (teak). At Inle Lake, look for a canoe boat ride as an alternative option. Hop onboard the local bus to Hpa-An. Join in the onboard karaoke or latest Myanmar soap opera as you pass daily countryside life. In Bagan, float above the temples in a hot air ballon at sunrise. At Indawgyi Lake paddle up close to wildlife in a kayak. Cross the river to Dala frm Yangon in the local ferry. In Kalaw lace up your hiking boots and enjoy a hike through the rural countryside of Shan state.
- Water is a limited resource; some areas face moderate or severe water shortages. Inquire if there is enough water as your activities should not limit the availability of water to local communities.
- Help us protect our Myanmar wildlife by refusing to purchase such products. Buying or consuming products from endangered species destroys the environment and encourages illegal wildlife trade.
- Experience wildlife in the natural environment, be sure to always keep appropriate distance. Do not feed monkeys or other wild animals. Take art in active eco-tours that do not disturb nature and wild animals. Look for encounters that promote animal welfare and where experts work permanently.
Relax and enjoy you holiday in our country.