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Khiri Travel’s 10 Tips for President Obama in Myanmar

November 14, 2012 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under:

BANGKOK, 14 November 2012 – Since Khiri Travel Myanmar opened its office in Yangon in July 2011, they’ve seen many visitors get it right — and a lot get it wrong. Here are Khiri Travel Myanmar’s ten points of practical advice for President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, and everyone visiting Myanmar this high season.

Get Your Visa and Book Accommodation Before Arrival

Get your Myanmar visa before arrival in the country. There is only a pre-approved visa on arrival and it takes two weeks’ advance application. Demand for Myanmar hotel rooms during high season (November to March) outstrips supply. Rooms are not cheap. If you don’t pre-book and arrive in a town in the evening, you’ll end up paying over the odds for a mediocre room — if you can find one.

Bring Cash

There are no ATM cash points in Myanmar. Bring dollars — preferably hundred dollar bills. But not old ones, as vendors won’t accept notes that are torn, shabby, have a stamp on it, or a fold in the middle. They may not accept ones with “CB” in the serial number either.

Forget Your Mobile Phone

There are no roaming mobile phone agreements with other countries in Myanmar. So relax. Enjoy your holiday. Instead of staring at a hand-held screen, feast your eyes on the real thing — amazing monuments and temples.

Your Credit Card is Useless

Fewer than five places accept credit cards in Myanmar. Three local banks are said to have signed an agreement with Visa. But it will take a while time before credit card acceptance and ATM access is possible. Until then, avoid such hassles by pre-paying for your accommodation, tours and transfers with a respectable tour operator before you go to
Myanmar.

Behave Like a House Guest

In Myanmar there is no word for “tourist”, only the word for a “guest”. So behave like a guest when visiting the country. Be polite, don’t yell when things don’t go to plan. Use the Burmese word “jabade” which means “it’s ok!”

Dress Appropriately

When you visit places like Shwedagon Pagoda or Bagan dress appropriately for entering a place of Buddhist worship. Ladies, despite the heat, no plunging necklines please. Wear a long lightweight sarong. Cover your shoulders. Flaunting sexuality is a no-no. Modesty is key. Guys — wear t-shirts or shirts, not a sleeveless one. And it’s not Bondi Beach. Don’t go bare back. Everyone should wear sandals as you’ll be taking your shoes off a lot.

Know a Few Words

Mingalaba — hello/greetings! (used any time of the day); nà-mǎleh-ba-bù – I don’t understand; diha balao leh?– how much is this? cè-zù tin-ba-deh — thank you. Ta-ta — goodbye!

Body Language Counts

You can’t speak Myanmar’s languages. Make up for it in body language. Smile a lot. Don’t be loud and physically domineering. Don’t point at stuff with your feet — the lowest part of your body, literally and figuratively. Don’t put your feet up on chairs, tables, or on temple structures.

Barter When Shopping
The objective is not to relentlessly chase the cheapest price, but to secure a fair price. A bit of good natured back and forth on the price of some lacquerware, wood carvings or a longyi in a market or shop is acceptable, indeed expected — but always with a smile. Both parties should finish the transaction happy and grateful for the interaction.

Mohingar, Not McDonalds

There are no McDonalds, Burger King, Starbucks, or international fast food or drink outlets in Myanmar. Go local. Help local vendors. Try mohingar (delicious thick fish soup often eaten for breakfast), ohne kyaukswe (coconut noodle soup), leh pet thauk (pickled tea leaf salad).

You’re travelling now. Welcome to Myanmar!

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Editors can download high resolution images of Khiri management and travel destinations here.

About the Khiri Travel Group
Khiri Travel, established in 1994, is an independent destination management company with its own regional network. It has eight offices in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cambodia. The company’s detailed knowledge shows in its innovative itineraries, precise operations and in its commitment to responsible travel throughout the Indochina region. Visit www.khiri.com

Contact the Khiri Travel Group
Corporate Office
252/13 Ngamwongwan Soi 3
Nonthaburi 11000 (Greater Bangkok) Thailand
Tel: (+66) [0] 2953 5398
Fax: (+66) [0] 2957 5717
Email: [email protected]
www.khiri.com

Media queries:
Ken Scott
ScottAsia Communications
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: (+66) 86 397 8814

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