Myanmar Open to Tourism: WATCH
Watch the awakening as Yangon, Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda, Heho, Inle Lake, and Taunggyi come to life!
Previously known as Burma, Myanmar is a Southeast Asian nation that’s encountered significant change. Following the recent historical elections, Myanmar is open to the outside world after decades of isolation. For the well traveled, it’s also a final frontier for tourism.
Yangon is Myanmar’s largest city and commercial capital. For most travelers, Yangon will serve as the gateway to explore this exotic nation. As travelers explore the country, they’ll encounter remains of the British colonial era, especially in Yangon. In fact, there’s a giant Anglican Cathedral in Yangon and it’s hard to miss the Victorian designed offices. The country is full of history, food, and culture and much remains to be uncovered.
Once you’re on the ground you’ll know you’re in one of the final frontiers.
Getting into Myanmar
Travel to Myanmar is becoming easier. However, a visa is still required for most travelers with a few exceptions. There’s less red tape today since many visas are issued electronically. Nationals from 100 countries qualify for the e-visa program. This includes citizens of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and United States. At the time of this writing, the cost is $50 USD for a tourist visa.
Thankfully, most major Southeast Asian airlines fly non-stop to Yangon (RGN) from their respective hubs in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, and Singapore.
The Myanmar Ministry of Labor, Immigration, and Population issues electronic visas.
Transportation Within Myanmar
There’s established air service between Yangon and other major cities such as Mandalay. Likewise, it’s easy to catch flights to regional airports such as Heho (HEH), the gateway to Inle Lake, operate daily. Mann Yadanarpon Airlines offers domestic flights to major markets with modern ATR-72-600 aircraft.
Despite change, some areas are off-limits to foreign visitors. Myanmar Ministry of Labor, Immigration, and Population publishes the restricted area list online.
Myanmar Recent History
A quick overview of recent history is useful to understand modern day Myanmar.
Burma was under British control from 1824 to 1948 as a colony. Afterwards, Burma declared independence in 1948. However, an extremely dark period of history started in 1962 with a military a led coup. Nationalization of business and a system of central controls swept across the country. Another coup followed in 1988. A year later, the country officially changed its name to Myanmar.
Free elections were held in 1990, but the military refused to turn over control. Finally, historic elections were held in 2015. The result brought the National League for Democracy into power, led by Aung San Suu Kyi. For the first time since 1962, the first non-military president took control of the country in 2016. In October of 2016, the United States essentially dropped all remaining sanctions against the nation.