Family Destination Guide: Burma
Burma: Why You’ll Love It
Now that Burma has opened its doors to tourism, the country has leapt to the top of every traveller’s must-get-there-before-things-change list. It truly is an incredible destination with spectacular ruins, ancient golden-spired temples, stunning countryside and some of the friendliest people in Asia.
There is plenty to do here from trekking the ruins at Bagan (few experiences can beat watching the sun set from a temple roof), exploring beautiful Inle Lake by long tail boat or discovering the 2,000 kilometres of coastline, home to some of the finest stretches of sand in the region.
The country will continue to change as more and more visitors arrive, however for the time being Burma remains much like how Rudyard Kipling remembered: “it is quite unlike any place you know about”.
Burma: Why The Kids Will Love It
Although the number of visitors to Burma has increased in recent years, visitors with children are still a rarity and are welcome with open arms. The Burmese people are some of the friendliest in the world and they simply love children.
There are plenty of family-friendly activities on offer including boat rides on Inle Lake where you can have a go at “leg rowing”, hiking to hill tribe villages and even a balloon trip over the temples of Bagan. The best times to visit are between October and March, however don’t discount the Water Festival in May, which is a wonderful – and wet – event!
Burma can be visited with children of all ages, however be aware that although there is a growing range of child-friendly accommodation, it is not yet in the same league as other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand.
Take a look at our sample Burma itinerary and remember that this can be adapted to suit the needs of your family.
Scroll down to see our recommended family holidays in Burma.
When To Go
The best time to visit is between November and February when it seldom rains and is not too hot either.
Temperatures rise from March onwards and daytime temperatures in Yangon (Rangoon) can reach 40C; areas around Mandalay can be even hotter. Monsoon rains fall between mid-May and mid-June and last until October.
Capital: Nay Pyi Taw
Time: GMT +06.30
Language: Burmese, minor languages
Voltage: 230 Volts
Visas: Contact your nearest Burmese embassy or consulate for up-to-date information for your nationality. In the UK, the Myanmar Embassy is in Mayfair at 19a Charles Street, London W1J 5DX. Visa applications must be made by post or in person. You can download the application form from its website.
Tourist visas are valid for 3 months and you must enter Myanmar within this period. Duration in Myanmar is restricted to four weeks from the date of arrival. Visitors must obtain a visa prior to travel.
Health & Vaccinations: Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before travelling and consider the following before holidaying in Burma; Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and Typhoid.
Check with your doctor and make sure to leave enough time before travel to get any necessary vaccinations.
Be wary of mosquitoes, which are prevalent and make sure you bring decent repellent as reliable stuff is hard to come by in Burma. Speak with your doctor about whether or not you need to take malaria tablets.
Burma reportedly has one of the highest incidences of death from snakebite in the world so watch where you step.
Getting There: All international flights arrive at Yangon (Rangoon) airport (RGN). The exception to the rule is the one flight that arrives in Mandalay (MDL) from Chiang Mai in Thailand.
There are few direct flights within Burma itself and those that are available get snapped up quickly, be prepared to make a stop if flying internally.
Money: Myanmar’s national currency, the kyat (pronounced chat) is divided into the following banknotes: K1, K5, K10, K20, K50, K100, K200, K500 and K1000. However, you’ll find that you pay for most things in US dollars.
Make sure you arrive with enough US dollars to cover your entire trip as ATMs are hard to come by. Many guesthouses and hotels as well as archaeological sites, museums, ferries and flights should be paid for in US dollars. Make sure that your bills are crisp, clean and tidy – moneychangers will not accept damaged or torn bills.
Safety: Burma is a relatively safe country to travel in. Crime against foreigners is rare as punishments are harsh. Please check your local government advisory service for up-to-date information such as the fco.gov.uk.
Family Holidays in Burma
Although the number of visitors to Burma has increased significantly in recent years, tourists with children are almost unheard of and are welcomed with open arms. Walking through the market will take three times as long as normal as each stall holder comes out to greet you and give the kids fruit, sweets and cakes. The children will love boat rides on Inle Lake, hiking to hilltribe villages, following small goat tracks through the countryside around Bagan and exploring the crumbling temples.
Family Hotels in Burma
We have not yet reviewed any hotels in Burma. If you have a hotel recommendation and/or would like to review a hotel for globetotting we’d love to hear from you. Contact us.