After a long embargo period, Burma, a deeply spiritual place, an extraordinary land, is now well and truly open to tourists but only a certain kind of traveler – those who journey responsibly. In other words, the irresponsible tourist is not welcome in Myanmar. Without a doubt, it is indispensable to travel in a way that is respectful local people, their culture, local economies and the environment. It means that what behavior, dress and language may be acceptable in your own country, may not be appropriate in Myanmar. So how to be a supper responsible traveler?
Please read on to see what we do as part of travelling responsibly in Myanmar.
1. Be considerate of Myanmar’s customs, traditions, religion and culture.
2. Avoid wearing shorts, three-quarter or full length trousers are the best. Shoulders and upper arms should also remain covered.
3. Be sensitive when taking photographs. Please ask and receive permission before taking photos of people, including children.
4. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water.
5. Always dispose of litter thoughtfully, including cigarette butts.
6. Don’t travel in huge groups, and if you are travelling in private vehicles do step out of them from time to time, and make your way around on foot, bike or horse cart. Individuals are far less threatening than large groups, and you’ll have the chance to meet Burmese people and discover how they live.
7. Myanmar’s political situation is rapidly changing, but may still be sensitive at times. Respect the wishes of locals at all times and avoid starting conversations involving politics or the government. It is possible to discuss politics if welcomed to do so.
8. Learn some local language – simple greetings will help break the ice.
9. Do not buy rubies or gold.
10. When bargaining at markets, stay calm, be reasonable and keep a smile on your face.
11. Shop for locally made products. Supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive.
12. Refrain from giving gifts or money to locals when on community visits or homestays.
Please keep these tips in mind while visiting in Myanmar to become supper responsible travelers.