The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Burma. You should check any exclusions and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
Anyone who may have concerns for Irish citizens in Burma can contact the Department of Foreign Affairs at Tel No. 01-4082000.
The Department of Foreign Affairs does not have a resident Mission in Burma. Irish citizens are currently advised to exercise extreme caution when travelling to Burma. We also recommend against all but essential travel to the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China.
Safety and Security
Risk of terrorism
We are aware of reports of a small explosion at the Traders hotel in Rangoon on Monday 14 October. Reports are that one US citizen was injured. There is a high threat from terrorism. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners. Past targets have included commercial premises and public transport. Take care in public places and regularly review your security arrangements.
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 in force. Any persons who must travel to this area should check the situation and curfew timings locally and follow any instructions.
Travellers must exit the country at the same border crossing at which they entered. Restricted areas should not be entered without the appropriate permissions from the Burmese authorities. The Ministry of Hotels, Tourism and Spot maintains a list of approved destinations and can be contacted through www.myanmartourism.org
The political situation remains uncertain. There are broad restrictions on freedom of expression and political activities. Irish citizens in Burma should exercise caution and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings. You should avoid taking pictures of demonstrations, police or military as this may be prohibited by the authorities.
We recommend against all but essential travel to the border areas with Thailand, Laos or China. Sectors affected by instability should be avoided entirely. There have been military clashes in parts of Kachin State and Shan State. Travellers should also be aware of the risks associated with insecurity in parts of Karen State. Land mines also pose a threat in conflict areas.
There have been several small bomb explosions in Burma recently. For example, in late December 2011, there was an explosion in a public toilet to the north of central Rangoon, which killed at least one person, according to press reports. There were bomb explosions on the morning 24 June 2012 in Naypyitaw, Mandalay, and Pyin Oo Lwin, which caused injuries.
Local Laws and Customs
Respect religious custom when visiting Buddhist religious sites –
shorts and sleeveless tops will cause offence and shoes and socks
should be removed before entering a pagoda or monastery.
Penalties for drug trafficking range from a minimum sentence of 15 years imprisonment and can include the death penalty.
Homosexuality is technically illegal in Burma, although these laws are rarely enforced in practice.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Burma can experience extreme weather conditions and earthquakes. An earthquake of 6.8 magnitude took place on the Thai/Burma/Laos border area on 24 March 2011. Cyclone Nargis devastated parts of the country in 2009. Travel throughout Burma should be carefully planned.
Additional Country Info
You may also wish to check the travel advice provided by other countries:
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs
The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
You are also advised to read our “Before You Go” and “Stay Safe Abroad” sections before travelling abroad.
Please note: In countries where the Department of Foreign Affairs does not have a resident Mission, consular assistance can be provided by another EU Mission.