Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
- Safety and security
- Local laws and customs
- Natural disasters and climate
- Additional information
We advise you to exercise a high level of caution when traveling in Burma/Myanmar.
We advise against non-essential travel to Rakhine State.
We advise against non-essential travel to the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China, and against non-essential travel to Kachin State.
Because there is no Irish Embassy or Consulate in Burma/Myanmar, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Bangkok on +66 201 61360 (out of office hours please leave a clear message).
We suggest you learn as much as you can about Burma/Myanmar before your trip from travel agents, tour operators and guide books and websites. The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems when you're in Myanmar, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Add an alert for your destination within the TravelWise App
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency. You can register through the TravelWise App
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise and @irlembbangkok for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical 'Know Before You Go' guide
Safety and security
Safety and security
The political situation in Burma/Myanmar remains uncertain. There are restrictions on freedom of expression and political activities. Irish citizens in Myanmar should exercise caution and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings. You should avoid taking pictures of demonstrations, police or military, including any police stations or military installations, as this may be prohibited by the authorities.
There have been demonstrations and protests in the past provoked by tensions between the Buddhist and Muslim communities, which have resulted in some injuries to bystanders, and some violent incidents and damage to property. We advise all travellers to take care to avoid any such demonstrations, and to avoid areas where large groups of protestors are gathering.
We advise against non-essential travel to Rakhine State due to tension from serious civil unrest in several locations and the risk that the situation could worsen. There are restrictions on access to certain areas and a curfew is in force. If you must travel to this area, check the situation and curfew timings locally and follow any instructions.
We also advise against all but essential travel to the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China, and against non-essential travel to Kachin State. We recommend that you avoid sectors affected by instability entirely. There have been military clashes in parts of Kachin State and Shan State and you should be aware of the risks associated with insecurity in parts of Karen State.
There is an ongoing possibility of small bomb explosions in the major cities. On 17 and 20 November 2016, there were 3 small explosions in Rangoon. On 24 November 2016, there were 4 small explosions outside the Immigration Office in Rangoon. There were a series of explosions in Mandalay and Yangon/Rangoon in October 2013, and explosions in Naypyitaw, Mandalay, and Pyin Oo Lwin in 2012. While there have been no casualties in these attacks, a number of people have been injured, and the attacks themselves appear to be indiscriminate, possibly linked to the ongoing ethnic tensions across the country.
Landmines pose a threat in conflict areas so exercise extreme caution if you are travelling in these areas. Don't stray off main routes, particularly in rural areas, and always check with your local contact before travelling to affected regions.
You should take sensible precautions to protect yourself from crime while in Myanmar:
- Don't carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don't carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Be aware of your surroundings and have situational awareness at all times.
If you're a victim of a crime while in Myanmar, report it to the local police immediately.
If you're planning to drive in Myanmar, you should be extremely careful. Road safety is poor and traffic is heavy and chaotic in urban areas. Poor road conditions, poorly maintained vehicles, and inadequate street lighting can make driving dangerous. Potholes, pedestrians, animals, abandoned vehicles, and vehicles travelling and parked at night without lights also pose risks.
If you want to drive, bring your full Irish and international drivers licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance.
If you're hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you're allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Local laws and customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, ranging from a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment. Do not use, share or distribute drugs.
Myanmar is a majority Buddhist country and Myanmar people take religion very seriously. There have been recent cases of foreign tourists being arrested for being disrespectful of religious practices, so we advise you to be cautious and sensible. Respect religious custom when visiting Buddhist religious sites – shorts, short skirts and sleeveless tops will cause offence. Shoes and socks should be removed before entering a pagoda or monastery. Using the image of the Buddha for decoration, including tattoos, is considered very offensive.
Homosexuality is technically illegal in Myanmar, although these laws are rarely enforced in practice.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters and climate
Myanmar can experience extreme weather conditions and earthquakes. A strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck northeast India near the border with Burma/Myanmar and Bangladesh, on 4 January, 2016. A 6.8 Magnitude struck in the Bagan region in August 2016 and 4.7 most recently on the border with China in April 2017. If you're travelling to or living in Burma/Myanmar, make sure you know what to do in the event of an earthquake.
Myanmar/Myanmar is prone to cyclones, which can be devastating in their strength. Burma/Myanmar's rainy season generally runs from the end of April to October, during which time cyclones may be frequent. Monitor local and international weather updates during your stay, particularly if you're planning to travel throughout the country and always follow local authorities' instructions about security and evacuation. Be aware that certain areas or roads, including major roads between towns, may become impassable due to localised flooding in this period
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
If you are unsure of what the entry requirements for Burma/Myanmar are, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Burma/Myanmar. Your passport must be valid for at least six months from date of entry into the country.
You must leave Myanmar by the same border crossing you entered. Don't enter restricted areas without the appropriate permissions from the authorities. The Ministry of Hotels, Tourism and Sport maintains a list of approved destinations.
Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for Burma/Myanmar. The health services in Myanmar are of a much lower standard than Irish hospitals and services. Ensure you have good travel insurance before your journey.
More travel advice
Foreign Ministries with resident Embassies in Burma/Myanmar may be able to provide more detailed and current information as follows:
- UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- New Zealand: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- USA: Department of State