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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
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
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.
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.
MUGGING RISK : HIGH
There have been accidents involving attacks and muggings by taxi drivers.
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.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : HIGH
- 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.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
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.
TERRORISM RISK : HIGH
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.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : HIGH
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.