Do’s And Don’ts

Meeting People

  • Myanmar people are generally friendly, helpful, honest and proud.
  • Treat everyone with respect and you will be respected.
  • Speaking slowly and clearly.
  • When addressing people, don’t leave out U (which stands for Mr) or Daw (which stands for Ms/Mrs).


  • It is not always necessary to shake hands.
  • Don’t touch any adult on the head.
  • Don’t hug or kiss in public. Open displays of affection in public are not considered polite.
  • Don’t step over any part of a person, as it is considered rude.
  • Accept or give things with your right hand.
  • In Myanmar (unlike the Indian sub-continent), nodding means YES, and shaking the head means NO.


  • Let the oldest be served first.
  • For hygiene reasons, eat only in decent restaurants. When not available, always eat heated food.
  • Only eat fruit that you can peel yourself and avoid prepared salads unless you are sure of its source.
  • Don’t ask for ice to be added to your drink unless you are sure of its source. It may be local tap water.
  • Don’t eat food purchased from street vendors.
  • Don’t drink tap water.
  • Drink only bottled water and soft drinks that haven’t been opened.
  • Chinese food is readily available and commonly suggested.
  • Myanmar food is often regarded by westerners as being ‘oily’.
  • To try good Myanmar food, go to decent recommended restaurants in Yangon, where they cook Myanmar food according to international standards.


  • When buying gems, sculptures, or any expensive souvenirs be sure to request an export permit.
  • It is illegal to export any antique item without the appropriate, authorised export permit.
  • Only buy artworks (paintings, sculptures etc) from authorized dealers and be sure to obtain a certified receipt.


  • Don’t leave expensive items lying unattended in your room. Use the safe deposit boxes.
  • Beware of cheats, swindlers and imposters.


  • Avoid all internationally restricted drugs (especially narcotics).
  • Carry some personal medications for diarrhoea, allergies etc.
  • Don’t drink tap water. Ideally do not even brush your teeth with tap water, rather use the bottled water provided.
  • If you do get sick, don’t worry. All doctors are English literate and the standard of medical care for foreigners is excellent.
  • Do obtain your own travel health insurance before you leave home as it is not available locally in Myanmar.
  • Do carry toilet paper in your own daily travel kit.


  • Whether it be the standard of roads, cars or hotel rooms please accept that some facilities may not always be perfect.
  • When travelling on trains please keep the windows shut.
  • Speed or distance descriptions are in miles, not kilometres.


  • Do not photograph any military installations or military people.
  • Do not photograph any strategic installations such as bridges, police compounds, airports etc.
  • Please ask people for permission to take their picture BEFORE you do so. Usually a smile and a point to your camera will be sufficient to gain permission from people.


  • Most people in Myanmar do not wear shoes in their homes. So please be sure to remove them when visiting.
  • Entrance fees are applicable and payable at many sites and locations throughout the country. These are usually small amounts. Be aware that these fees and charges may not always have been included with your tour cost. Please do not be offended if your guide asks you to pay these on demand at some locations.

Moving About

  • Watch where you walk and what you step on.
  • Don’t jay walk.
  • The city speed limit is 30 mph and cars drive on the right side of the road.


  • Please be thoughtful and respectful of the people and the facilities at all times.
  • Wear decent, respectful clothing to all religious sites.
  • Do not wear short dresses, or brief t-shirts when visiting any religious sites.
  • Ideally visitors should be loosely covered from neck to knee (short sleeves are fine).
  • Please remove footwear at all religious sites (it is not necessary to remove headwear).
  • Avoid shouting or laughing in religious areas.
  • Avoid being a nuisance when taking photographs.
  • Treat all Buddha images with respect.
  • When sitting, tuck away your feet. Don’t point them towards the pagoda or a monk.
  • Don’t play loud music in these areas. Please note that Buddhist monks are not allowed to listen to music.
  • Do not put Buddha statues or images on the floor or somewhere inappropriate.
  • Don’t touch sacred objects with disrespect.
  • Don’t pick up a Buddha statue (sacred objects) by the head.
  • Hold sacred objects in your right-hand, or with both hands.
  • Leave a donation when possible.
  • Show respect to monks, nuns, and novices (even if they are children).
  • Don’t offer to shake hands with a monk.
  • Sit lower than a monk and elders.
  • Don’t offer food to a monk, nun, or a novice after noon time.
  • A woman should not touch a monk.
  • Some areas within a religious compound are restricted where women are not permitted to enter.
  • Please remember at any time, if you are not sure, please ask your guide.