FAQ

Domestic Airlines & Flights: Air Mandalay, Yangon Airways, Air Bagan and Mann Yadanarpon Airlines are privately operated airlines flying throughout Myanmar. We also use Air KBZ, Asian Wings and Myanmar National Airways occasionally. There is a 20 Kilo limit for baggage per person and excess baggage fees may be charged. We suggest you leave items not needed upcountry in Yangon and collect them upon your return.

The condition of roads and highways has greatly improved and road trips are much more pleasant than some years ago. Grand Lotus uses air conditioned vehicles for clients through their trip.

Our Grand Lotus office opens 9:00 Am to 5:30 Pm Monday through Friday and 09:00 AM to 12:30 PM on Saturday. We are closed for every gazette holiday. All Government offices close on Saturday and Sunday. Banks are open from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

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The local time in Myanmar is GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) + 6:30 hrs hours or EST (Eastern Standard Time: East Coast of USA and Canada) +12:30 hours. Subtract 1 hour for daylight savings.

You can enter Myanmar with two bottles of liquor, two cartons of cigarettes or 100 cigars and half litre of perfume per person.

Tipping is becoming more customary in Myanmar. If you would like to express your gratitude to a waiter, porter, guide or driver, feel free to show them your appreciation by giving them a small tip – you can be sure that they will be very grateful for it.

If you should choose to cancel your booking, the following policy applies:

  • More than 45 days prior to scheduled arrival: full payment refundable (less bank fees and charges).
  • 31-45 days prior to scheduled arrival: 70% of the total balance is refundable.
  • 21-30 days prior to scheduled arrival: 50% of the total balance is refundable.
  • Fewer than 20 days’ notice: 20% of the total balance is refundable.

Once you have selected or designed a tour, a 30% deposit is required to secure your booking. The balance must be paid in full at least 45 days prior to arrival.

Being a Buddhist country where people are devoutly religious, visitors should feel assured that they are safe in Myanmar. Although petty theft is extremely rare, we still advise our clients to exercise caution and take care of their belongings as they would in any other country. We also ask that our clients refrain from discussing political matters with local people, especially in public places, as this is deemed by the government to be a sensitive matter.

Myanmar offers a wide variety of cuisine, each ethnic group having their own traditional dishes. However at the heart of any meal in Myanmar you will almost inevitably find rice. Rice is the staple of the diet in Myanmar and is eaten with meat, fish and vegetable curries (which tend to be mild), and is also used to make noodles, sweet cakes and other dishes. Chinese, Thai and Indian foods are also available at most major tourist destinations period and Western and International foods also available at major hotels. Vegetarian meals can be requested in advance.

Myanmar is the predominantly Buddhist country, and it is always important to have respect for the country religion. As in India, the head is thought to be “seat of the soul”. Avoid touching anyone’s head, even those of small children. While the head is “the seat of the soul” , the feet are the least sacred part of the body and it is considered offensive to point with the feet or even show the sole of the shoe or foot to another person. Make sure to take of shoes and socks before entering the grounds of any Theravada Buddhist shrine, zedi, temple, phaya, or monastery. Even at the most dilapidated building, visitors must go barefoot in every part of a Buddhist compound, not just in the shrine buildings as in other Buddhist countries. Shoes, not necessarily socks, should be taken off before entering private homes as well.

People in Myanmar are predominantly Buddhist, and it is important to respect religious and cultural norms. In Buddhist culture, the head is deemed to be the seat of the soul, so it is important to avoid touching people’s heads (even those of small children). The corollary of this is that the feet are somewhat less sacred, and it is considered offensive to point your feet at someone or even to push things around with your feet. From time to time, our tour guides may remind you to remove your footwear (including socks) before entering religious sites such as pagodas and monasteries. Shoes, but not necessarily socks, should also be taken off before entering private homes as well. People in Myanmar are deeply religious, and many of the traditions and customs that have been passed down over many generations are quite conservative. Please dress with respect for the local culture by avoiding suggestive or revealing attire, and refraining from public displays of affection. Special customs also apply to monks and novices, who must at all times avoid physical contact with women.

Credit cards and traveler’s’ checks are not widely used in Myanmar. Some major hotels accept credit card payment but (high) surcharges often apply. As for Traveller’s cheques, they are not accepted in Myanmar. we recommend using cheque

Myanmar’s currency is the Kyat (pronounced ‘chyat’), which can be purchased using US dollar. Visitors are no longer required to exchange their money at the airport, and our experienced tour guides are happy to assist you to obtain the best possible exchange rates. Please be aware that torn, marked and creased US dollar bills are not accepted in Myanmar. Please ask your bank or money changer for brand new bills, and remember to carry some notes of smaller denominations for miscellaneous spending.

Myanmar uses 230-volt AC (50 Hz) electricity, and 24-hour electricity is available in most of the hotels that we use. Hotels have some adapters to lend clients however, you may want to bring your own. We suggest bringing a universal power adapter with a surge protector like this one.

Mobile phones from other countries will only operate in Myanmar if you have them unlocked prior to your departure from home. Please contact your home service provider to assist you in this operation. Once in Myanmar, you can purchase a SIM card from any Myanmar telephone service company for about USD $1.50 and buy top up cards to enjoy more use. If you require a cell phone, please contact Grand Lotus and we will organize to hire one for you while you are in Myanmar. (Please give at least 7 days’ notice). Please note that internet is still quite unreliable and sometimes painfully slow. At hotels and some restaurants, you will be able to use free Wi Fi.

All of the hotels we use provide international telephone, fax and postal services. However these can be quite expensive. Internet access (free Wi Fi) is readily available in major cities and we can recommend to use applications like Skype or Viber to do your international calls. If you ever require assistance, Grand Lotus staff will always be ready to assist you.

Generally, all valuable items (e.g. jewellery and cameras) must be declared upon arrival and taken home upon departure. Similarly, all foreign currency in excess of USD $2,000 must be declared. Export of handicrafts considered to be antique or of artwork of archaeological significance is prohibited. Gems and other valuable items purchased in Myanmar may be exported if accompanied by an official dealer’s receipt. Grand Lotus is happy to answer any questions that you may have before your arrival.

As with travel in all countries, we recommend that clients make travel insurance arrangements before departing. SOS Worldwide has a local office in Yangon, with a 24-hour on-call service for emergency evacuation and medical assistance.

Vaccination certificates are generally not required to entry Myanmar. However we advise our clients to consult their doctor to discuss travel vaccinations, ideally 4-6 weeks before embarking on their journey. We also suggest that you speak with your doctor if you have any other health concerns, are pregnant or would like further information about health-related travel matters.

Only drink purified bottled water. Bottled water is readily available and some hotels provide complimentary. Grand Lotus will provide you with plenty of purified water bottles throughout the day.

Warm weather clothing is quite adequate for most of Myanmar, although the up country mountain areas of Inle Lake and other higher elevation areas may drop to near freezing at night during the ‘winter’ season. Travelers should bring appropriate cold weather clothing in such cases. However, even after a cold night, by mid-morning the temperature is again quite pleasant. Suggestive or revealing clothing is never a good idea in this conservative and largely Buddhist culture. When visiting religious shrines and temples, modest dress is required and easily removable footwear is highly recommended as sacred grounds must be visited only in barefeet (no socks). Hats and sunglasses are usually appreciated, as is an umbrella for the rainy season.

  • Light, casual cotton wear because of hot weather
  • A cardigan or light jerkin, when visiting northern Myanmar in the cold season
  • An umbrella during the rainy season
  • Sandals or slippers
  • Quick drying clothes are recommended if you visit during the rainy season or Thingyan

Myanmar offers a wide variety of cuisine, each ethnic group having their own traditional dishes. However at the heart of any meal in Myanmar you will almost inevitably find rice. Rice is the staple of the diet in Myanmar and is eaten with meat, fish and vegetable curries (which tend to be mild), and is also used to make noodles, sweet cakes and other dishes. Chinese, Thai and Indian foods are also available at most major tourist destinations period and Western and International foods also available at major hotels. Vegetarian meals can be requested in advance.

When you come to Myanmar you may want to bring:

  • Sun protection for your face and body (e.g., hat, sunglasses and sunscreen).
  • Insect repellent. We recommend using a cream that contains DEET.
  • A small flashlight
  • Extra passport photos
  • Power adaptor (see below)
  • Traveler’s’ first-aid kit: although Grand Lotus ground staff are equipped with first-aid supplies, some people may still like to bring their own.
  • And during the rainy season, you may want to bring quick-drying clothes and an umbrella.

The weather in Myanmar will vary according to where you go and when. In places such as Yangon, the weather can be a little hot and humid, so light, comfortable clothing is appropriate. However in some of the mountainous regions, the temperature can drop to near freezing during the night. In such cases, we suggest that our clients bring warm clothing. When you book your itinerary, Grand Lotus will provide you with further information about clothing you should bring.

For convenience, when visiting religious sites such as temples and monasteries, we suggest that our clients wear light footwear that can easily be removed (e.g., sandals or thongs). Also, people in Myanmar are devoutly religious and we ask that you remember to dress conservatively by avoiding suggestive or revealing attire (e.g., tank tops, tight clothing, shorts and short skirts.) Women can wear sleeveless blouses, but should try to avoid tight or low cut tank tops. All visitors should avoid beach attire or sloppy clothing when walking around town as it is viewed as a sign of disrespect.

Welcome to Myanmar! On your arrival, Grand Lotus will greet you at the airport and provide you with an information package and some small souvenirs. This will all be contained in a traditional Burmese bag, exclusive to Grand Lotus. Your bag will contain: • a copy of the itinerary you have chosen or designed; • information about Myanmar customs and culture; • maps for the destinations you have chosen; • a small travel journal for you to write about your most memorable experiences. We are always at your service and would love to hear from you if you have any questions or concerns (we’re only an e-mail or phone call away ! )