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Mandalay International Airport

Travel and Local Information Guide

Mandalay International Airport is the largest and most modern airport in Myanmar able to accommodate up to 3 million passengers annually. Located 35km south of Mandalay city project was first devised by the Burmese military government in the mid 1990s as a means to increase levels of foreign investment and spur tourism in Burma. It was hoped that the airport would become a major hub for flights to other Asian capitals including Beijing, bangkok Calcutta and Hanoi.

Sadly the airport has never lived up to its high expectations and is normally a deserted, cavernous shell servicing only a couple of scheduled flights each day to Yangon. Seasonal services are also operated between Mandalay and Chiang Mai, Thailand. Most of the facilities and services built into the airport are unused and unattended due to such low passenger numbers.

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Arrival

When you land head straight for the immigration counters. Myanmar immigration officers are said to be very friendly. The visa-on-arrival option was suspended in Myanmar in 2010 until further notice so you should have your visa from a Myanmar embassy before you travel. After immigration head to the baggage claim area. Don’t be surprised if the lights have been turned out - this airport is greatly under-used and power-saving efforts are employed throughout.

Once you enter the arrivals hall you will find a travel agent and tourist help desk to help you with accommodation and sight-seeing options. There is a car rental desk in the arrivals hall as well. There is also a currency exchange located here.

Departure

Once you check in go to the departure tax window show your boarding pass, passport and pay the US$10.00 fee to receive a coupon. Hand this coupon to the guard when you pass through the security checkpoint. Go through to immigration after which you’ll come into the departures lounge. You may find the air conditioning is turned off due to the lack of people. You might also find that the shop, and restaurant are deserted as services are not reliable at this mostly uninhabited airport.

Transport Options

Due to the lack of traffic at the airport it is advised that you should arrange a pick up from your hotel as taxis are not always dependable here. The journey into Mandalay should take approximately one hour by car.

Eating & Drinking

The departures area has one restaurant and a VIP lounge for business and first class passengers. Depending on the number of flights scheduled you may find the restaurant is closed. If you are lucky to be there when it is open you’ll have a choice of some western dishes and local cuisine, coffee, tea and soft drinks.

Entertainment/Activities/Facilities

There is a post office, bank and currency exchange present in the airport. Tourist information is accessible in the arrivals hall. There is very little in the way of entertainment available.

Shopping and duty free

Mandalay International Airport houses a duty free shop which sells the usual items such as cosmetics, perfumes, confectionary and alcohol. The departures area also has a newsagent where you can buy magazines, some books and postcards. The newsagent also sells tobacco and cigarettes.

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