My wife and I are planning a trip to Southeast Asia over a long period (~5 months). One of my goals of this trip is to try and engage with locals, to learn about their language, culture and just generally socialise in a comfortable environment. I know that this won't be the case in many situations; as English-speaking Westerners I know we stand out significantly and I'm not looking to downplay any differences. But where possible, I would like to understand what life is like from most locals' perspective, for instance being able to visit a home and share a meal with a family.

My question is, how would I go about organising something like a homestay or a meal with a local family in Myanmar? I'm doing as much research as possible, but given its history as a relatively closed-off nation until a few years ago, there isn't much advice on how best to organise something like a homestay or share a meal with a local family.

Any advice would be appreciated.

(FYI - I have travelled to India and Indonesia before, so I have some idea of the cultural differences that exist. But I'm certainly open to any feedback, tips, advice.)

  • 1
    This is going to be extremely difficult regarding the requirements that you stay in a government registered accommodation. Jul 22 '18 at 19:08
  • Not been to Myanmar so can't post an answer. Generally if you do tourist research, you will find a set-up for tourists. My approach to discover a country, is to travel around using the typical means of transport that the inhabitants use. That allows me to engage with them, and from time to time, I get an invitation to visit their home. But even then, it won't be their "normal" meal - it will be a special meal for guests, and might even stretch their resources. Jul 22 '18 at 19:11
  • @RoddyoftheFrozenPeas is that still a requirement? I thought perhaps those restrictions had been relaxed in the past few years. Jul 22 '18 at 19:55
  • @ptikobj It was as of two years ago when I was there last, and I've not heard otherwise. But I welcome hearing from someone who has visited since to contradict me. :) Jul 22 '18 at 21:02

It isn't possible. I go to Myanmar every two months, and the visa application mentions this clearly. You need to stay in government-approved lodgings, and staying with locals is forbidden.

While Myanmar is a great place to visit, it is still a dictatorship, and the government still holds a tight grip on the country.


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