How to get to Myanmar
Due to its recent appearance on the world tour radar, some travelers may not know how to get to Myanmar. As this country is emerging as one of the hottest travel and river cruise destinations, we will spend a bit of time detailing the best way to get to Myanmar and enjoy its river cruises and travel assets.
In Myanmar, there are many spectacular sites to see, and cultures to experience. Being in the heart of Southeast Asia, and bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, and Thailand, the region is ecologically rich, boasts a very deep and interesting history, a culture rooted in Buddhism and local tradition, and many ancient architectural marvels throughout.
Although travel to Myanmar (Burma) continues to grow and open-up to the world, the tourism industry is still in its infancy. A single-entry visa is required for all foreign citizens traveling to Myanmar, with a passport that is valid for at least six months after your return date. Travelers who do not have a visa or an approval letter are generally not allowed to board a plane with a destination in Myanmar. Those traveling to Myanmar should check the embassy website for your home country, or use an experienced local visa service to acquire the proper visas. Myanmar has also begun to offer an “e-Visa” that can be applied for online on their visa webpage.
Myanmar (Burma) has two main international airports located in Yangon (RGN) and Mandalay (MDL), with a third less used international airport located in Nay Pyi Taw (NYT). Yangon International Airport, located 9.3 miles (15 km) from downtown Yangon, is the primary and most active international airport of Myanmar. All domestic airlines and around 30 international airlines operate out of Yangon International Airport.
Currently, there are no direct non-stop flights from North America or Europe to Myanmar (Burma); however, international carriers such as ANA, Cathay Pacific, China Airlines, China Southern, Emirates, Korean Air, Malaysia Airlines, Qatar Airways, and Thai Airways operate single-stop flights out of major cities such as Atlanta, Berlin, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Seattle, and Toronto.
Traveling within Myanmar (Burma), from Yangon to Mandalay for example, can be done by an Irrawaddy River Cruise or by a local domestic airline that operates within the country. If you have a set travel itinerary, domestic airline tickets should be purchased before you arrive in Myanmar because popular flight times tend to fill rather quickly. Since these domestic flights are operated by smaller local airlines, tickets generally must be purchased from local agents on the ground in Myanmar. It is recommended that you work with a local travel agency, tour operator, or local hotel concierge to ensure you find a flight that works best for you. Expect to be charged for the base ticket fare, a booking fee, and 4% to 7% surcharge for using a credit card which usually costs between 80 USD to 150 USD per person per flight; however, prices do vary by demand. If you do decide to purchase your local airline tickets upon arrival in Myanmar, make sure you have plenty of cash, since local agencies are almost always cash only. Other destinations frequented by travelers are the ancient city of Bagan just off the Irrawaddy River – via the Nyaung U Airport (NYU) or an Irrawaddy River Cruise – and the unforgettable Inle Lake in the mountainous ‘Shan’ state– via Heho Airport (HEH).
All airlines, international and domestic, impose restrictions on both size and weight, and many airlines restrict the number of bags per person. Travelers who exceed an airline’s luggage restrictions may be asked by the airline to pay the airline’s overweight/oversized luggage fees. Within Southeast Asia, including intra-Asia and domestic flights in Myanmar (Burma), the checked luggage standard is typically 44lbs (20 kg) per person (not per bag). One carry-on is allowed per person, in addition to one personal item (purse, camera bag, laptop bag, etc). Your carry-on should not exceed 17” x 14” x 8” (43 cm x 35 cm x 20 cm) and should not weigh more than 15 lbs (7 kg). An airline’s limitations on the weight and size of checked and carry-on baggage are usually found on their website, or may be obtained by calling the airline directly. Always remember that international and domestic restrictions may not be the same.
For more information on traveling to Myanmar (Burma) check out our Myanmar Travel Guide or Contact Us to speak with our Travel Specialists. We also recommend taking a look at our selection of Myanmar River Cruises, which let you see Myanmar in comfort and style.