Visiting Myanmar – 5 things not to forget and 3 questions I want to ask

Since the US lifted the embargo on Myanmar last September, it’s become the it destination

We’re going there in March and the trip’s been one of the conversation topics at every Chinese New Year visit. As with all newly emerging countries, everyone who’s just gone has tips.

Here are the 5 things I’ve been told not to forget  –

1: My visa.  Yes, even citizens of ASEAN (like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam) need visas into this formerly closed country.

2: Cash. The country’s banking system isn’t very sophisticated. Even the 5-star hotel I’ve booked (part of a Singapore chain) has told me it can only take credit cards on weekdays!

3: An extra mobile phone for the Myanmarese SIM card I’ll need to buy. Apparently, there is no global roaming in Myanmar.

4: Hat, sunscreen, something to carry your bottled water in. It’s hot in March.

5:  A bag of little toys to distribute to children. It makes them happy!

And 3 questions I want to ask –

1: Cash. What kind of cash? Do I get kyats at the airport or do I just bring USD or do Singapore dollars work as well?

2: Phone. Why can’t I use my regular phone and just change the SIM cards?

3: Toys. Aren’t toys a bit useless? I don’t want to encourage begging too? Is there something more useful I could do?

I’m psyched. I’ve been wanting to go to Burma for ages, and more so since I saw “The Lady”, the movie about Aung San Suu Kyi. I can’t wait to share what I’ll be seeing. Meanwhile though, enjoy the trailer – 

Is there anything I’ve forgotten? Leave a comment to let me know soon… I’m leaving in March.

6 Responses to “Visiting Myanmar – 5 things not to forget and 3 questions I want to ask”
  1. Joe Bunting says:

    This sounds fun, Audrey. You’ll tell us how it was, I hope.

  2. Janelle says:

    Sounds like a wonderful trip. And those are good questions.

  3. How did I miss that movie, it looks so good! I love Michelle Yeoh. Is Aung San Suu Kyi married to an Englishman?

    • Audrey Chin says:

      Kahtleen, it’s a really sad story. Aung San Suu Kyi like Michelle Yeoh, went to boarding school in England. She met her husband there and was a housewife for years, never returning to Myanmar till her mother was dying. By then she had 2 teenage sons. After her decision to take part in politics, her husband and boys went home, expecting her back any time. But she was put under house arrest and wasn’t released till many years later. She wasn’t allowed to leave the country to receive her Nobel Prize. She wasn’t allowed to return to UK to say goodbye to her husband when he was dying of cancer. She just met the teenage son who left her in Burma a few years ago. He was a man in or near his 30’s. If she could have seen what came after, I wonder if she would have taken that step into politics that she did. My heart hurts when I think about the cost. But yes, now the country’s becoming more free… Whateer they say about her suitability to be a politician, Aung San Suu Kyi is a heroine in my book.

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