The easiest way to get a visa to Myanmar is to apply for it in Bangkok, at least in November of 2013.
I had discovered this site, which although from 2012, was super helpful about what to expect at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok : http://twotravelaholics.com/2013/04/07/how-to-get-a-myanmar-visa-in-bangkok/
I have just a few things to add from our trip in November 2013. (The dates are there as things are changing rapidly as Myanmar prepares itself for an influx of tourists…)
The lineup at the Myanmar Embassy was full of information and misinformation: you had to get the form at the photocopy place (you didn’t), you had to have a photocopy of your return ticket (we didn’t have a return ticket), you needed to list your work history for the last 10 years…
There’s lots of information out there, most of it wrong. Kind of like the internet. So here are two helpful hints.
- You have to pay in Thai baht, cash only. It’s not cheap so allow at least $60 worth of baht per person.
- The Myanmar Embassy web site doesn’t work that well but it does contain a link to a pdf their form: http://www.myanmarembassybkk.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/APPLICATION-FOR-ENTRY-TOURIST-VISA.pdf
- I would advise printing and filling it out at home to avoid being freaked out by the misinformation in the line. Then just hand it in there, along with two photos, which they will cut down if they are too big. You also to give them your passport – have an extra photocopy of your passport for yourself.
UPDATE: As of September 1st, 2014 they are hoping to allow you to apply for a Myanmar Visa online : http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/index.aspx
More Misinformation About Flights and Hotels
We waited until we had our visas in hand before we tried to organise a flight to Myanmar. Some of the travellers in the visa lineup had purchased tickets from AirAsia for $50 but the travel agent we went to quoted us $300 each. That was for a return ticket, another thing she insisted that we needed in order to land in Myanmar. This was more misinformation although we didn’t know it at the time.
We found the same AirAsia tickets online but I have no idea where the other tourists got their $50 tickets – the online (return) price was $285 each.
We decided to let her book the flight as it was probably easier. But then she demanded cash, so it wasn’t so easy after all – we had to go to a bank and wait a long time to get the money, and then when we went to pay for the tickets, the price had mysteriously gone up! I was feeling a bit ripped off – we probably should have done this online after all.
We also booked a hotel online through AGODA, and this too turned out to be a problem. The hotel, supposedly in ‘North Mandalay’, was actually in the next township and cost a small fortune to taxi back and forth from. AGODA doesn’t allow cancellations, which really got our trip off to a negative start.
So some more advice: book your flight online, and your hotel with someone other than AGODA.
The Good Nitty Gritty
Our fabulous hotel in Bangkok, the Sathorn Grace Serviced Residence, was only a few blocks away from the Myanmar Embassy, and it had a pool, something I considered a major plus because I don’t adapt very easily to extreme heat and humidity, something you can pretty well expect in Bangkok.
The Myanmar Embassy offered same day service which meant that we could go out in the morning, apply for the visas, come back and cool down by the pool, and then go out again and pick up the visas in the afternoon.
Sathorn Grace Serviced Residence 81/1 Soi Sathorn 11, Sathorn Tai Road, Yannawa, Sathorn, Sathorn, 10120 Bangkok, Thailand
We booked this hotel on booking.com, and the rates there were cheaper than what we could get at the front desk, when we tried to book it again for the end of our trip. The cost was approximately $37/night in November 2013.
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