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Travel tips

Customs and Formalities on arrival
Regulations are now generally relaxed for tourist Travellers arriving by air in Yangon (Rangoon). Visitors should have completed immigration and customs declaration forms during the flight and must submit these on arrival. Duty free allowance is 200 cigarettes and one litter of wine or spirit. Note that export of antiques, Buddha images and gems without official dealer’s receipt, is strictly prohibited. Baggage may be X-rayed or inspected before departure.

Airport Tax: When leaving Myanmar by air, an airport tax of approx: USD10.-p.p.must be paid.

Typical Character
- Friendly, helpful, honest but proud.
- Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected.

Speaking
- When addressing people don't leave out U (which stands for Mr) or Daw (which stands for Ms/Mrs).
- Speak slowly and clearly.

Manners
- Not always necessary to shake hands
- Don't hug or kiss in public
- Don't touch any adult on the head
- Don't step over any part of a person as it is considered rude
- Accept or give things with your right hand
- In Myanmar unlike the Indian continent nodding means YES and shaking head means NO.

Eating
- For hygiene reasons, eat only in decent restaurants when not available always eat heated food.
- Don’t eat food purchased from street vendors.
- Don't drink tap water.
- Drink only bottled water and soft drinks that haven't been opened yet.
- Let the oldest be served first.
- Chinese food is common and suggested.
- Myanmar food is often complained as 'oily'.
- To try good Myanmar food goes to decent restaurants in Yangon area where they cook Myanmar food according to international standards.

Shopping
- Best buys include lacquer wares, silver, wood and stone carvings, hand-woven silks and cottons, gems, ‘Kalaga’ embroidered tapestries, traditional puppets and tribal handicrafts. All gems and jewellery purchases should be made through a government authorized dealer. Please ask licensed voucher from shop to show at the airport at departure time. (This voucher will also guarantee for real gems.). Bargaining is essential for all souvenirs shopping.
- When buying gems, sculptures or any expensive souvenir make sure it comes with an export permit.

Safety
- Don't leave expensive items in your room, use safe deposit box at your hotel.
- Beware of cheats, swindlers and imposters.

Health
- Stay away from narcotic drugs
- Carry some medicines for diarrhea
- If sick don't worry. All doctors are English literate
- Health insurance is not available

Traveling
- Accept that facilities may not be the best.
- On trains keep windows shut.
- Speed or distance descriptions are in miles not in kilometers.
- Carry toilet paper in your bag.

Visiting
Most Myanmar does not wear shoes in their homes, please take off when visiting.

Religion
- At religious places remove footwear but to remove headwear is not necessary.
- Avoid shouting or laughing.
- Avoid being a nuisance when taking photographs.
- Treat Buddha images with respect.
- Tuck away your feet, don't point it toward the pagoda or a monk.
- Don't play loud music in these areas, note that Buddhist monks are not allowed to listen to music.
- Do not put Buddha statues or images on the floor or somewhere inappropriate.
- Don't touch sacred objects with disrespect, hold them in your right-hand or with both hands.
- Leave a donation when possible.
- Show respect to monks, nuns and novices (even if they are children).
- Don't offer your hand to shake hands with a monk.
- Sit lower than a monk and elders.
- Don't offer food to a monk, nun or a novice after noon time.
- A woman should not touch a monkey.

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