Myanmar cuisine uses rice or noodles as staple dishes, usually served with a variety of side dishes: curries with meat or fish, vegetables, salads, soup, condiments etc. Curries tend to be less chili-hot than those served in Thailand. Chinese, Thai and Indian restaurants are also found in major cities, but European cuisine is mostly confined to major hotels at present.
In order to give travelers a true feeling for the country and its diverse regional gastronomic variations, These are carefully selected, for hygiene as well as gastronomic considerations. In some country areas, however, dining opportunities are still very limited. Travelers are advised against eating from street or market stalls, however tempting these may seem.
Never drink tap water. Purified, bottled water is available everywhere.
Use an insect repellant against mosquitoes, especially in upcountry and forested areas. A hat and high-factor block cream is advisable as protection against the hot tropical sun when sightseeing.
Casual and light clothing (preferably natural fibers) is required year-round, but a sweater or jacket is useful in hilly areas, particularly during winter months when evenings can be quite cool. A windproof jacket is essential when touring Inle Lake from November to February. An umbrella or raincoat is essential if visiting during the monsoon months from June to September.
Travelers should take adequate supplies of any prescription medicines they may need, as supplies may not be available locally. A spare pair of glasses, if worn, is also advisable. Useful, as well, is a flashlight, for exploring caves or details of temple interiors, which are often not properly illuminated.
Extra personal insurance is recommended for possible cases of illness, or situations where medical evacuation by air is required, as Myanmar hospitals are generally not up to international Western standards.
Take plenty of film, as locally available supplies are not always reliable. Photography in airports, railway stations and near any military installation is forbidden. Please use discretion when photographing people, especially with tribal people, who may have superstitions against this. For close-up shots, always ask first.
Visitors are required to dress decently, especially within the precinct of religious buildings. Ladies should not wear shorts or bra-less T-shirts in such places. Shoes and socks or stockings must always be removed at pagodas and monasteries. Shoulders and knees should be covered. Disregard of these rules causes serious cultural and religious offence to the devout Myanmar people. Visitors are advised to ignore touts who may approach them to exchange foreign currency, or to sell gems of dubious quality. Such offers, although apparently attractive, are breaking strict laws.
Begging is not widespread in Myanmar and visitors are requested not to encourage development of this practice by giving money or sweets to children. If travelers wish to contribute to, say a village community, gifts should be directed to the local schoolteacher or headmaster. Contributions can also be arranged through recognized local charity organizations.
No vaccinations are officially required for a visit to Myanmar. Malaria prophylaxis is no longer recommended, but travelers should check with their doctor or a travel immunization clinic regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, hepatitis, tetanus and Japanese encephalitis.
Accommodation standards in Myanmar still vary widely, especially in quality and (during high season) availability. New and refurbished hotels meeting international standards are available in Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake and Ngapali Beach.
Accommodation in remote locations can be very basic and simple.
Direct flights to Yangon are available from Bangkok, Calcutta, Chiang Mai, Dhaka, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Singapore and Taipei. Airlines currently serving Yangon are:
Air Bagan, Air Asia, Etiad, Air Mandalay, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Air China, Indian Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Mandarin Airlines, Myanmar Airways International, Silk Air and Thai Airways International.