The Hitchhikers Guide To Myanmar
When I told to the other travellers that I will hitchhike in Myanmar, they thought I was nuts. I can’t blame them; I’ve never hitchhiked before and Myanmar is not hitchhike oriented yet. Myanmar was a long-closed country, it has been open to the public for almost 25 years now, though the tourism only started to boom in 2010. Despite the fast growth of tourism, Myanmar is still has a long way to be developed like its neighbouring countries. I had really great time hitchhiking in Myanmar, I hope this hitchhikers’ guide to Myanmar will be useful for you.
Luckily, my friend, Morgan asked me if I want to travel to Myanmar together, I agreed and told him we have to hitchhike, although he has hesitation with the idea, he agreed. I didn’t read a lot about Myanmar or places I should visit whilst I’m there, maybe it’s just not my thing. But boy, how astounded I was when Morgan and I landed. >>Read my personal letter to Myanmar.
After we arrived, it took me a week to convince my friend that we should really hitchhike; he kept pushing the idea aside until we met a friend of mine that I met in Vietnam who has been hitchhiking in Myanmar for quite some time at that time. He gave great tips which persuaded my friend to go hitchhiking.
Since we only hitchhiked for 400 kilometres; 4 pickups in total. I have to ask some other travellers to share their tips for this article.
Hitchhikers Guide To Myanmar
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FORGET ABOUT THE THUMB RULE
As I mentioned before, hitchhiking is not as popular as in Europe. Burmese doesn’t understand the thump you put up when looking for a ride. Instead, wave to them like you are asking them to come to you. This might feel weird in the beginning but this is the first step to getting to your next destination.
MYANMAR IS SAFE
This is the first thing you need to know. It’s safer than you thought. Burmese are the friendliest people I ever met. We were once dropped in the middle of nowhere, but we didn’t feel unsafe. Instead of suspicious stares, we were greeted by waves, big smiles and warm hellos from the locals.
WALK OUT OF THE CITY
As a general rule of hitchhiking, you have to go out of the city to narrow and specify your target drivers. The good thing about Myanmar is, the roads are quite straightforward; most roads are driving right straight to its destination, you don’t have to worry that the driver might turn left or right at some crossroad.
Make sure that the drivers could see you easily; wear a colourful hat, hold a sign and stand by the road. The chances that you will wait for too long, is not that high, but keep your work together and don’t sit around and hope that someone will just pick you up.
SPOT THE BLACK PLATE CARS/PICKUPS
Black plate cards are for private cars, these have enough space to accommodate you. Moreover, pick-ups are usually had black plates which are the best for hitchhiking in Myanmar.
LEAVE EARLY IN THE MORNING
You don’t want to be out of anywhere in the evening, make sure to leave between seven to eight in the morning. This will give you enough time to arrive at your destination. It is also a good way to avoid raging heat from the sun during the hot months.
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PLAN YOUR ROUTE
Sure it’s exciting to be spontaneous, however, planning is a good idea. Plan B could also be handy at times. However, I don’t suggest to plan too much. Because you will never know if you will be at your destination on time. Be flexible as much as possible.
PHRASEBOOK IT IS
I wouldn’t say it’s needed, however, phrasebook will useful at times. It has been handy during my stay in Myanmar. The internet is not reliable, you cannot Google translate whenever you need to. I had fun and memorable stories with the locals because of it.
Don’t forget to have water bottles with you. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere is no fun especially when it’s too hot and no store to buy one.
My friend and I have the internet on our phones, even though the internet is pretty slow, it works enough when we use google maps to see where we are, where we are heading, or if we are heading in the right direction.
DON’T BE AN IGNORANT
Myanmar is indeed a special country to discover, locals are thrilled to show you their country. But never ask them to go to the closed areas or dangerous roads. Put aside your stupidity and selfishness, because a small mistake would cost him more than your precious I-am-cool story.
Anything to add? Let me know through the comment section.
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