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).
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 15:01:26 BST