Myanmar

Widely known as Burma, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar is a state in Southeast Asia counting more than 100 ethnic groups. It has borders with India, China, Laos, Thailand and Bangladesh. Although the flow of tourists is significantly lower than in neighboring countries, annual growth of new visitors is faster than its neighbors. Myanmar is a wonderful wild Asian country with a rich heritage and incredibly authentic mix of cultures. Numerous national parks with unique flora and fauna will impress every visitor with a great variety of endangered species. Heavily influenced by Buddhism and some Chinese, Myanmar’s culture combines the best features of both, which is evident in its architecture, even for non expert eyes. Pagodas and temples are the key symbols and main destinations for tourists in Myanmar. Its magnificence amazes even experienced travelers. This country is an all year round tourist destination, where the hospitality of locals has no boundaries, though the infrastructure is still in developing after years of restricted inbound tourism. Generally, the level of crimes is moderate. Violent crime in the country is rare. Petty crimes such as bag, purse snatching, pickpocketing and other types of petty crimes prevail. In order to make your trip safe, SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources to help you make sure you have a safe trip to Myanmar and be aware of all potential dangers. Myanmar is the 132nd safest country in the world, based on the safest and most dangerous countries ranking. 

SAFETY INDEX

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Is Myanmar a Safe or Dangerous Country?

Unsurprisingly, Myanmar is the safest of the developing countries in the world, primarily thanks to its strict Buddhist culture. In addition, the government severely punishes those who trouble tourists. The level of crimes is moderate, although the police do not issue crime/arrest statistics. In Yangon (formerly known as Rangoon) locals experience robberies, homicides and petty crimes. However, tourists have never faced with any such violent crimes. At night, it is recommended that visitors explore the city destinations in groups. Constant vigilance is important. Keep an eye on your belongings in public areas. Thieves regularly attempt to distract a victim by asking a question, money or bumping. Be aware of your surroundings. Financial frauds are on the rise. Be vigilant while exchanging money, as there are known numerous scams. It’s highly recommended not to drive outside of Rangoon after dark. Due to religious tensions, some areas outside Rangoon are off – limits. Be aware that travelling to remote areas without an interpreter might cause significant inconveniences.

Other areas of concern:

  • Insurgent groups operate in Shan, Chin, Mon and Karen States, near the Thai and Chinese borders. Travel to this zones is dangerous and requires a special permission. Due to the continued conflict between the officials and ethnic armed groups in the north, northeast, and southeast, landmine incidents are on the increase. Special permission must be obtained in order to visit these sensitive areas.
  • LGBT travellers need to take into the account that homosexuality is illegal, and penalties include sentences of up to 10 years.
  • Be aware of dogs wandering on the streets and other stray animals as most of them are infected with rabies. Local medicine is poor and hospitalization in nearby Thailand is costly.
  • Hygiene is terrible. Never drink tap water and check twice that it’s originally sealed, wash your hands and regularly use antibacterial gel.

Warnings & Dangers

Mid Priority-96 OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM

Myanmar is a relatively safe country. Tourism is the main source of income for the State and private economy, therefore tourists’ security is number 1 priority. Myanmar is ranked 132nd out of 162 in our ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries. However, it is probably the safest of the developing countries.

Mid Priority-96 PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH

This is a real pain in Rangoon. It’s worth being vigilant on the overnight trains and paying attention to any suspicious activity. Do not leave your belongings unattended.

Mid Priority-96 MUGGING RISK : LOW

There have been accidents involving attacks and muggings by taxi drivers.

Mid Priority-96 SCAMS RISK : HIGH

There are a lot of scams known at money exchange. Always count the money, do not allow your currencies to be taken away from your sight, as sometimes your good banknotes can be swapped for damaged, which you won’t be able to use or exchange anywhere in Myanmar as currency exchange offices are very strict as to the quality of the banknotes.

Mid Priority-96 TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM

  • Many roads are unreliable. After heavy rains, some roads may be inaccessible.
  • Public transport is more or less in good condition in Rangoon. However usually overcrowded and poorly maintained.
  • When taking a taxi you should negotiate the fare in advance.
  • During the rainy season (May-October) tourists may experience additional challenges while traveling.

Mid Priority-96 NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : MEDIUM

During rainy season between May to October, flooding is common. Typhoons and Tsunami are also common. Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Mid Priority-96 TERRORISM RISK : LOW

The possibility of terrorist attacks in Myanmar has a moderate probability, however, you should watch out for suspicious activity. Terrorism is a threat throughout the world.

Mid Priority-96 WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW

Due to the absence of the official police reports, there are no known assaults among tourists or expatriates. However, we advise thatwomen travelling alone do not use the overnight trains and buses. Also, they should avoid poorly illuminated streets and not leave Rangoon at dusk.

Carte

Useful Information

An e-Visa service is available to citizens for more the 100 countries. The cost of the ordinary tourist visa is 50USD for 3 months. Full list of the countries available on the following link: https://evisa.moip.gov.mm/NoticetoTourists.aspx
The official currency in Myanmar is Kyat. Locals use only cash, however the major hotels and restaurants accept Credit/ Debit cards. ATM’s is available, but due to common power outrages it’s not reliable. There is usually an ATM fee of 5 USD for a transaction. The best place to exchange money is the airport upon arrival. Surprisingly the exchange rate is reasonable.
The weather in Myanmar differs from region to region. In Northern regions, May to October is hot and humid, lots of rain falls. November to April is cool and dry. Central Myanmar has a hot, dry weather from January to August, weather may reach the level of 30°C. September – October is a rainfall season.
The busiest airport of Myanmar is Yangon International Airport. More information about the flights, can be found on its official website – http://yangonairport.aero/
As in any country, we advise travelers to get a travel insurance that covers not only medical problems but also theft and loss of personal items. Learn more on our travel insurance page