Plugs, phones & digital Myanmar
See below for a few tips on what to take to Myanmar as the country rapidly embraces the digital age.
Phones & Internet connections
For many years telecommunications in Myanmar lagged behind most other countries but there is a wind of technological change in Myanmar at the moment and it is quite likely if you are travelling with a mobile phone you will be able to use it to make calls as an increasing number of international mobile providers offer coverage here. However if you can’t use a mobile network whilst in Myanmar you will still be able to make calls when you are in a Wi-Fi zone (e.g. hotel lobby or room) by using applications like Viber, Skype and WeChat etc.
Alternatively you can purchase a local sim card sold by any of the following companies: Telenor, Ooredoo and MPT (Myanmar Post & Telecommunications). These sim cards can be bought for around K1500-3000 and work on a top-up basis, with K1000, K3000, K5000 and K10000 cards available. Please note if you intend to purchase a sim card you may be asked to produce photocopies of your passport photo page and the Myanmar visa page, as well as one passport photo – so be prepared.
As with phone coverage, there is improving access to the Internet & Wi-Fi throughout much of Myanmar. The exception to this is in remote areas which will have little or no coverage. Increasingly hotels will offer Wi-Fi access in the lobby, or in your room. Larger hotels may make a charge for this, but many smaller hotels include Wi-Fi in their rates. However everywhere you will find that coverage can be subject to bandwidth restrictions, poor connections and / or power cuts.
Electricity sockets in Myanmar vary from place to place. In some hotels you will find the traditional British 3 pin sockets and in others you will need two pin plugs (either flat or round). As a result it is best to travel with an adapter. If you are travelling with multiple devices then you may wish to take a second adapter to facilitate overnight charging of your phone or camera battery, although bear in mind sometimes there can be power cuts.
Tablets and other devices
If you are taking an iPad or other sort of tablet then you will be able to download a range of applications that offer assistance with learning Burmese or that provide country guides & maps of Myanmar. If you choose not to take your mobile or tablet most hotels will have access to a PC, or a business centre, for online communication. Failing that there are Internet cafes all over Myanmar and rates for Internet access range from K500-K1000 per hour. Please note that connections speeds in rural areas can be painfully slow.