transportation in Myanmar

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transportation in Myanmar

Transportation in Yangon is much easier and have more choice than other area of Myanmar. But in other area of Myanmar, you will have more control over your transportation type as you can use your own transport in other area than Yangon. Here is the  different option of transportation in Myanmar and Yangon.

Taxi

Travel by taxi within cities and towns is relatively safe. Though the condition of vehicles varies widely, serious accidents are uncommon. Note that a taxi stationary and waiting will usually cost more than one flagged down from the road.

Long distance taxis are quicker and more comfortable than buses, though more expensive. Road quality varies widely and Myanmar drivers will often travel at uncomfortably high speeds. When choosing a long distance driver ensure the car is in good condition, and that you are able to communicate with the driver – you may need to request he slow down.

Note that cars with right hand drive have much more limited visibility when overtaking. You should not make long distance journeys by car outside of daylight hours.

In the past, most of taxi service in Myanmar operated as a privately owned business, but nowadays there are ride hailing companies battling in Myanmar. Grab becomes the most popular and mostly used ride hailing company after Uber existed south east Asia. It is now more safer and convenient to take Grab.

Grab Taxi in Yangon

Grab Taxi in Yangon

Seatbelts are often not accessible in the back seats of taxis, but will more often be available in the front seat. Compulsory seatbelt policy is set in Myanmar since 2017, so you will be asked to use seatbelt by some of the responsible taxi drivers.

Bus

Inner-city bus travel is generally safe, but chaotic, and during peak travel times will often be very over-crowded. Bus routes are also confusing and changeable, and all signs are in Myanmar. Foreigners travelling by bus are unusual and will attract a lot of attention and generous offers to take peoples seats.

YBS (Yangon Bus system) is the newly developed transport system in new democratic Yangon government. Old buses are replaced with newly imported buses under YBS, so it becomes more comfortable to take a bus in Yangon.

Buses from YBS

Buses from YBS

Long distance travel by Bus

Bus travel is usually the best way to travel long distances in Myanmar. The quality and comfort of buses varies; less popular routes will likely only have basic buses, often full of cargo and market goods. More commonly travelled routes will have multiple bus companies running services, and may include premium ‘VIP’ buses.

Air conditioned buses will often be relatively cold, especially on overnight buses; it is recommended to bring a warm layer to wear (Some of the buses provide light blanket for passengers, but it may not be washed everyday). Overnight bus travel on most routes is relatively safe, though accidents do happen.

Motorbikes

Motorbikes are currently illegal within Yangon, and it is only the police, Myanmar Teleport and some delivery agencies can use motorbikes.

Outside of Yangon, travel by motorbike is common and even motorbikes are the main mean of transport in some of the area. As with regular taxis, check the condition of both machine and driver before travel. If you take a motorbikes taxi, always ask for helmet.

If you want to drive motorbike by yourself, you need to convert your existing license into the one valid in Myanmar. To process this , you need to travel to Naypyidaw to present an existing license and payment of a fee. We are not clear yet that which country’s driving license are valid without this process. (We will update this information later)

Bicycles

Bicycles are not allowed on the main roads of Yangon, though they do see regular use in quieter areas. Outside Yangon they are the most common form of transport, though in some larger towns have been generally superseded by motorbikes.

Visibility of cyclists is often poor due to a lack of street lighting – bring reflective clothing from home if you intend to cycle. And always use protective helmet while using bicycles.

Train

Myanmar has an extensive rail system, sometimes reaching into areas not accessible by road. However, long distance travel by train is usually slower and more uncomfortable and unpredictable then by bus.

Long distance trains are sometimes equipped with first class and sleeper sections, though these will come with increased expense.

Air travel

You can reach to most of the major cities in Myanmar by air route. Air ticket price is quite expensive in Myanmar than other countries. Local air ticket price is amazingly higher than some international route. Air travel is relatively safe despite of some accidents record in Myanmar air line history.

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Eat in Myanmar (Food and Drink in Myanmar)

Food in Myanmar is a blend of South East Asian, Chinese, Indian and various internal ethnic influences, with rice the key component of most meals. If you are planning to stay in Myanmar for longer time, here is our guide on how to eat in Myanmar.

Myanmar has a myriad of dishes largely unique to the country, such as mohinga, a fish based soup normally eaten at breakfast and considered the national dish, laphat thote, a tea leaf salad, and the ever-delicious Shan noodles.

A bowl of Mohinga

A bowl of Mohinga

You can buy cheap meals on the street at very low cost all over the country (from 30 cents upwards). The majority of restaurants in Myanmar have a selection of pre-cooked dishes displayed, which makes indicating your choice easier. You just need to point out the dishes you want to eat. If you like some dishes, you can ask your local friend about it’s name.

And some of the restaurants have a menu in English which also display dishes in images, so it will be easier for you to choose what you want.

One of the Myanmar customs is “tea shop”. You will find many tea shop within your area in Myanmar. These tea shops are not the same like coffee shop in other country. They serve variety of foods range from breakfast to dinner set. Most of the time, tea shops are crowded with local people, watching football match at television screen or chit chatting with each other. Tea shops are one of the best place to enjoy Premier league football match in Myanmar.

back of Myanmar typical Tea shop

back of typical Myanmar tea shop

In the larger cities upscale restaurants are available serving all varieties of food, including good Western, Japanese and Korean food. Quality of food and standards of hygiene in all types restaurants is variable and Myanmar food can be very oily – ask for recommendations where possible.

Cooking at home

For cooking at home, most common foodstuffs are available at local markets, including meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, along with various condiments and dried goods. Again, hygiene is an issue, but goods are usually fresh. Imported western goods are available from some larger supermarkets in Myanmar, though costs are often higher other countries.

The diversity of products on offer, particularly the range of dairy products available, decreases outside of the larger cities.

Tap water is not safe to drink – you should drink bottled and filtered water, which is available in high capacity containers very cheaply. You can ask the shop to arrange to deliver these water bottle to your home at some small cost. Tea and coffee is widely consumed, though the latter will often be instant.

Alcohol and Beverage

Alcohol consumption is increasing, with beer and whiskey the two most popular drinks. Myanmar beer fares well in comparisons with other beers in the region. Cheap local whiskey is less pleasant, though imported bottles of whiskey and other alcohols are available at a premium. Wine from local wine industry is also famous with amazing taste.

New bars and pubs are opening in most of the places especially in Yangon. Most of the bars and pubs in Yangon are expat friendly, some of them are intentionally attract expat community at their place.

Vegetarians in Myanmar

Myanmar has a good selection of vegetarian food, though it requires knowing how to ask for it and where to look. In many areas people are too poor to afford meat so they live in a mostly vegetarian diet anyway.

Vegetables from Myanmar local wet market

You are guaranteed to find vegetarian food in areas populated largely by Myanmar of Indian origin. In the larger cities establishments in these areas are often referred to as chetty restaurants. Otherwise, the most basic form of vegetarian meal you will find is fried rice – htamein gyaw – with beans or fried egg. This is common breakfast food.

In addition, it is often possible to request sautéed vegetables – a seing gyaw.

Myanmar food also has a rich variety of salads, which are served with raw onions, peanuts and peanut oil and often a little bit of chilli. They can occasionally have small dried prawns in them and so check before ordering if you do not eat fish. The word for prawns is ‘bezoun’. Because hygiene standards in Myanmar are not very high, you should be careful while eating salads especially from street side shops.

The word for vegetarian is ‘that that loot’ which means ’without meat and fish’ . And you can ask “that that loot hinn” for vegetarian curry.

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Expat guide for living and working in Myanmar

Employers and investors in Myanmar are willing to hire skilled and experienced foreign workers to meet international standards. There are limited number of local skilled workers, therefore more foreign specialists are hired in different fields. Therefore, many expat are choosing to living and working in Myanmar. Myanmar is still developing and improving their work permit system for foreign workers. However, there are many paths for expats to acquire work-permit in Myanmar to work and live legally in the country. You can also visit job board on our website.

Resident visa and work permit

Visiting to Myanmar is not difficult because visa-free-policy is planned for ASEAN nations and visa-on-arrival is available for many countries. Nationals from ASEAN countries who got visa exemptions to visit Myanmar can stay up to 14 days in Myanmar. Visa-on-arrival is available for the nationals from EU, USA, Canada, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Singapore, and many others. Other nationals who are not included in the exemption and visa-on-arrival provision, must apply for a visa through Myanmar embassy. Tourist visa, entry visa, business visa, multiple journey entry visa and diplomatic or official visa are available for foreigners.

Business Visa

Business visas are valid for up to 70 days. Foreigners must leave the country after staying 70 days and they can return. Many expats choose this option because Myanmar has many neighboring countries that can easily enter and return back to Myanmar. Myanmar borders India, Bangladesh, Laos, China, and Thailand, and Thailand is the easiest country to go among them. You can take a night bus from Yangon to Myawaddy, and you will get there in the morning. Then, you need to cross the Myanmar-Thai friendship border bridge to the Thailand border city Mae Sot, and return. The whole trip only takes up to 2 days if you don’t spend some days on Thailand side.

Documents required:

  • Valid passport, minimum 6 months
  • Completed application form (1.5 in x 2 in, white background)
  • Copy of flight itinerary
  • Recommendation letter of employer address to Visa Section, Embassy of the Republic of the union of Myanmar. This document describes briefly the occupation, purpose of visit, arrival and departure dates of the expat.
  • Invitation letter from a Myanmar individual or organization
  • Visa fees

Stay Permit and Multiple Journey Special re-entry visa

If you wish to extend the stay further, you may apply for a stay-permit and multiple journey special re-entry visa. This is valid from 6 months to one year but more expensive. The stay permit is only valid for one entry, therefore you need to obtain multiple journey special re-entry visa. This way, your stay permit will not be invalid after leaving the country and you can do multiple entry. But it is quite difficult to apply for the multiple journey special re-entry visa. Because the applicants need to obtain previous 3 visits to Myanmar with business visa.

Documents required:

  • A recommendation letter from the employer, including details about the type of business, purpose of visit, applicant’s name, passport details, position in company, and intended entry and exit dates;
  • Invitation letter from a Myanmar registered company on its official letterhead;
  • Applicant’s CV;
  • Authorization letter notarized and legalized by the relevant Myanmar Embassy or Consulate;
  • Company documents, including certificate of registration, permit, company affidavit;
  • Visa application form;
  • Two recent color photographs with white background size 35mm x 45mm; and
  • Passport valid for at least six months and a copy of the passport details page.

For more information visit the Myanmar Embassy >>

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High Paid Jobs in Myanmar for Expats

Myanmar’s economy is growing and foreign investments are flowing into the country since the country opens its door. Since many foreign investments are increasingly entering the country, the number of job opportunities for foreigners also increase. The living expenses in Myanmar is quite low compared to other western countries and developed countries. However, the salary rate for foreigners is quite high in most of the job industries in Myanmar. Moreover, many employers straggle to find the candidate with the right skillset among locals. Therefore, international job seekers have more opportunities to get high paid jobs in Myanmar. If you wish to find new work experiences in Myanmar, there are wide range of career choices for international job-seekers. The following jobs are the most popular and high-paid jobs for expats in Myanmar.

Teaching English and Languages

If you are an English native-speaker, you can easily get a teaching job in international schools or other language academies. If teaching is your specialty, there are plenty of English teaching job opportunities in Myanmar. Even if you are not a native-speaker but you have qualification to teach English, you can get high-paid teaching job. The number of international-schools are increasing and teaching-jobs at those schools are one of the highest opportunities for expats in Myanmar. Japanese, Korean, Thai, and many other languages are also popular languages that locals wants to learn. Therefore, there are many teaching language jobs available in Myanmar as well.

International NGOs (International Non profit organization)

There are many jobs available in International NGO fields for foreigners. Those are well-paid jobs and you can easily apply for senior positions in any INGOs. The country is developing slowly and many sectors still need supports from International INGOs and CSOs. Moreover, many INGOs which operated at the border area now moved back inside the country since the country open it’s door and change to democracy. Therefore, there are plenty of job opportunities for foreigners in many different INGOs and CSOs. The salary rate of CSOs is not as high as INGOs but still relatively high compared to other jobs.

Freelancing in Myanmar

Freelance opportunity is now becoming popular in Myanmar. Myanmar employer are hiring online freelancers both from local and abroad. Any kinds of freelance work you can do for Myanmar, but the most demanding tasks are digital marketing, content writings, web and mobile application development and creative design. Myanmar people are now starting to use some website which can generate instant result like design or logo maker.

Business Development

The increase of foreign direct investments increases job opportunities for international job seekers in business sector. Myanmar economy is developing but the country lacks of qualify human resources. Therefore, more foreigners are hired with high salary to lead the companies and develop the country’s economy. Most of the jobs for foreigners are for management levels, therefore it is better if you obtain a business related degrees.

IT

IT development of Myanmar is still very low and there isn’t enough skillful IT workers in Myanmar. Therefore, there are more IT job opportunities such as software development and programing for international job seekers. You can either be a freelancer or a full-time employee at IT companies. Salary rate for IT professionals is one of the highest in Myanmar for the expats.

Digital Marketing

As digital marketing trend also hits to Myanmar, there is an increasing demand for digital marketing service in Myanmar. Now Myanmar has both local and International digital marketing agencies and both offer jobs for expats to work with them. if you are digital marketing professional, you can find quite high paid DM jobs in Myanmar.