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Any tips on Mynamar in December?

I'm going to be spending much of December in Mynamar. Is the weather hot, muggy,? or what? Any tips on being there? Want to visit the vineyards while there. Friendly? Money exchange?

Posted by
6223 posts

Seriously - vineyards? You talking about the same country - Myanmar/Burma?

The weather in Myanmar is hot and muggy pretty much all year - it ranges from uncomfortably hot and humid, to oh-my-god-I-can't-believe-it's-so-hot-and-humid, with some occasional torrential rains to drop the temperatures a little but make it even more humid. Rainy season is going to be August-September. In December it'll just be plain old very hot and very humid. I think Rangoon was the hottest, most uncomfortable heat & humidity I've ever experienced.

Now, admittedly, it's been a while since I traveled in Myanmar (probably about 12 years) and I'm sure some things have changed a little, but...vineyards? With all due respect, I don't think I would waste any of my time in a Burmese vineyard. I have never had any wine from there, and to be honest I'm a bit shocked that a vineyard might exist there (are you SURE there is one?) - it's not a country with much history of alcoholic consumption, and no wine culture. It is the wrong kind of climate for vineyards. I have had wine from Thailand, at a Thai vineyard, and even though you could see they were making a big effort, to be honest, the wine was horrible (even my Thai brother-in-law, who loves wine, admitted the local wine was ghastly and undrinkable).

I found Burma utterly fascinating: frozen in time, it felt like I had stepped into China in the 1950s (occasionally the 1850s). There were very few motorized vehicles on the streets of Rangoon (Yangon) or anywhere else, some Chinese trucks but very few cars, tons of bicycles. Not much electricity, things got very dark at night. Big red Stalinist billboards along the roads put up by the government saying things like "resist the efforts to interfere in the state's affairs!" and "the people's desire - crush all imperialist stooges!" in giant, block letters (both English and Burmese versions).

Aside from the time-warp politics, the country is filled with amazing sacred temples and other historic sights. I loved the place, but I can not imagine any winery there that I'd bother with - too many amazing historical and cultural treasures.

I know Myanmar has modernized a bit since I was there and the political system has loosened up a little. Friendly? Very much so, from the people. The government, IME not so much, although I'm sure that's getting better. You should research the current situation with money very carefully, as I suspect my experience was not typical and options for getting money have probably changed (I hope). When I was there, the government had a running scam requiring every foreign tourist (there weren't many) to exchange several hundred dollars upon arrival into an artificial currency used just for tourists, at a very unfavorable rate. It was difficult to get around that (I did, but nearly got arrested for making a scene and refusing to play along - I ended up negotiating for a reduced amount, but it was clear everyone I was dealing with was freaked out because I wouldn't just do as expected - I don't recommend this, what I did was crazy, not to mention impolite). Once away from the goons at the airport, it was easy to exchange money on the street, but be very careful, that was highly illegal - probably no longer needed. There were no ATMs there at all, even in the capital - I bet that has changed.

It was like going to another planet. Amazing, frequently inconvenient, occasionally frustrating, sometimes shocking (the "rental toothbrush" on the main street...eewwww!) and wonderful. The most amazing country I have been to.

Posted by
10 posts

There are 2 vineyards around the lake. If you look on the Internet you will find them listed and their website. Yes, surprising..there are vineyards in Burma!