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Is is safe to visit Myanmar as a tourist


watgate

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I have a trip arranged and paid for to Myanmar for 1 week the last week in October and I was wondering if it is safe to go there considering what is currently going on with the Rohingya and the Myanmar military? I have read where Al Qaeda is asking for Islamic terrorists to go to Myanmar to fight the infidels and things seem to be escalating. What do you think about the current situation and would you be reluctant to visit Myanmar in the foreseeable future considering what is currently going on there?

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Myanmar people have high regards for America generally,  I see no issue there for travelling Americans.    Business as usual in Myanmar,   it's big news internationally but locals can't  pay much interest in it.   It's a poor place,    people are just too busy  struggling with their daily lives.                 

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On 10/3/2017 at 12:17 PM, LongThaimer said:

Myanmar people have high regards for America generally,  I see no issue there for travelling Americans.    Business as usual in Myanmar,   it's big news internationally but locals can't  pay much interest in it.   It's a poor place,    people are just too busy  struggling with their daily lives.                 

True. It's not particularly relevant for most people because the only area affected is northern Rakhine state near the Bangladeshi border, which has been a forbidden area for foreigners for years and even Myanmar citizens with nothing to do there are discouraged from going there.

 

Elsewhere it's business as usual.

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On 9/19/2017 at 8:15 AM, Halfaboy said:

No problem for you. If an area is dangerous they don't let you go in.

Correct. Also, there is absolutely nothing of interest in the affected areas for international tourists anyway. The closest tourist attraction is Mrauk U, which may or may not be accessible atm but otherwise few tourists go any further than Ngapali beach, which despite also being in Rakhine state is hundreds of kms away from the area currently under siege by militants and very safe (it also has an airport so no need to go overland if you don't want). The vast majority of tourists who've never been to Myanmar will go to the usual places like Yangon, Mandalay, Inle Lake and Bagan without even expressing the slightest interest in going off the beaten track anyway. For many tourists, especially the fly-in, fly-out types, even Hpa-an, Kyaitiyo (Golden Rock), Mawlamyine, Hsipaw and Pyin Oo Lwin are "roughing it" despite these and many other secondary destinations being very popular and easily accessible these days.

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2 hours ago, phuketrichard said:

For Mrauk U the airport is in Sittwe,  you need travel by water or land ( 3-4 hours) to get there.

But its safe, if it was not you would NOT be allowed to travel there

Good to know. I haven't been there but sounds like you have. I have read on various travel fora that Mrauk U has been periodically closed to tourists over the years - the reason being instability along the way to the site.

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5 hours ago, dfdgfdfdgs said:

What's the situation with checkpoints in Myanmar, similar to Thailand?  Also carrying passport at all times?  Similar or different?

I've been Yangon, Mandalay and Began.  Never saw a checkpoint except for some serious looking barbed wire barriers and soldiers with machine guns outside of Insean Prison, but that was back a few years after the vote was negated and things were a lot tenser.  Beautiful people with warm hearts.  Enjoy.  And you're going at the right time before it gets smokey.

 

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Guess you're in Thailand. Bit off topic here but stay here give money to a junta, go to Myanmar give money to a junta, go to Philippines give money to a maniac, go to Cambodia give money to what is now or about to be a dictator. This part of the World's not looking good.

Have a good time. You'll be fine. 

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18 hours ago, geisha said:

I've been to Myanmar a few times have travelled to all the major attractions/ cities and have never been through a checkpoint or been asked for my passport .

been 6 times in the last 3 years from the far north ( khamti) to the far south ( Kwathoung) east (lashio) to west (Chin state) and have been asked for my passport at some northern airports and buying tickets for boat travel , and a few checkpoints ( i traveled by motorcycle)  also u need show it whenever u check into a hotel

http://phuket.zenfolio.com/f125862719

 

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You need to carry your passport if you visit Naypyidaw - the number of police checks has increased since the recent violence in Rakkhine.

 

I get stopped regularly at police checkpoints and my passport checked and a photo taken of it, all with a smile. 

 

But never had issues anywhere else in the country (I just got back from a dirt-bike trip to Taunggyi in Shan State).

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On 10/6/2017 at 11:10 AM, dfdgfdfdgs said:

What's the situation with checkpoints in Myanmar, similar to Thailand?  Also carrying passport at all times?  Similar or different?

You don't need to carry your passport with you in Thailand and westerners generally won't be asked to show it. I go through checkpoints all the time - usually without a passport. No problems. Police aren't immigration officers and on the rare occasion they ask to see the travel document of someone they suspect to be a Myanmar citizen they aren't even able to read it because the visa stamps are all in English. In the majority of cases they ask, they just want to check the information page.

 

Once e-visas become the norm even asking for a passport will become pointless, because all the information can only be checked via an electronic database.

 

In Myanmar however, you are much more likely to be asked to show your passport, but it's not as bad as it was say 10 years ago where passport checks were made on buses, at ferry terminals and airports. I have never flown on a domestic flight within Myanmar so can't say whether or not they check your passport, other than for identity purposes at check-in.

 

There used to be 2 checkpoints at the beginning and end of the mountain pass on the old road between the border town of Myawady (which is the busiest of the 4 legal overland checkpoints between Thailand and Myanmar) and Kawkareik but that road has now been replaced by a new Thai-built bypass road with no checkpoints. There are other checkpoints in the country generally in places which don't see many tourists, for example between Mon and Thanintharyi divisions (Dawei and Mawlamyine) if traveling by road but generally you won't be asked for your passport. Even if you are, as a tourist you would have all your belongings with you including your passport. All hotels will require your passport and visa details, although an increasing number are asking guests to fill in these details themselves without necessarily taking photocopies.

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On 10/8/2017 at 10:17 AM, phuketrichard said:

true, not all hotels can take non Burmese.

This is only the case for very cheap and basic guesthouses. All "decent" hotels will take foreign guests, which in many cases are the mainstay of their business. Any hotel that charges around 10,000-15,000K or more per night and is at least of 2 star quality will take foreigners. So only backpackers roughing it will need to worry about this.

 

The one exception are small towns that aren't used to receiving foreign guests and only have one or two guesthouses - so even if you wanted to stay somewhere nice you don't have an option. In this case, you might be allowed to stay anyway or could stay at a monastery instead. Anyway, out of all the travellers that visit Myanmar, 99/100 won't be in this situation as they'll be spending their time in either primary or secondary tourist destinations, all of which have plenty of accommodation options.

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On 10/7/2017 at 6:13 PM, simon43 said:

You need to carry your passport if you visit Naypyidaw - the number of police checks has increased since the recent violence in Rakkhine.

 

I get stopped regularly at police checkpoints and my passport checked and a photo taken of it, all with a smile. 

 

But never had issues anywhere else in the country (I just got back from a dirt-bike trip to Taunggyi in Shan State).

Thanks for the tip but Naypyidaw is hundreds of km away from Rakhine state.

 

I've never seen any checkpoints within Naypyidaw, are they new? What I do is I carry my passport with me when I'm travelling around the country (obviously, where else would I stash it otherwise?) but if I'm staying somewhere more than one night I'll keep it in my hotel safe. Never had any problems with this arrangement.

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have stayed in 30-40 different hotels/gh's throughout Myanmar (price range 5,000 kyat to $75)
have yet to have an in room safe   :-)

My passport stays with me always/

 

as to all places accept tourists, well i travel alot in country and dont just stay in the big cites (and its wrong for you to assume 99% of people do)  an more than once  i have been refused to check  in places and not just back packer places.

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5 minutes ago, phuketrichard said:

have stayed in 30-40 different hotels/gh's throughout Myanmar (price range 5,000 kyat to $75)
have yet to have an in room safe   :-)

My passport stays with me always/

 

as to all places accept tourists, well i travel alot in country and dont just stay in the big cites (and its wrong for you to assume 99% of people do)  an more than once  i have been refused to check  in places and not just back packer places.

Well because you stay in cheaper places - most mid range and upper class hotels have room safes especially $75 places. And yes 99% of travellers stay in primary and secondary destinations. Yangon and Mandalay are examples of primary tourist destinations. Hpa-an is an example of a secondary destination - I think your comprehension skills need some work.

 

There are no mid range or upper class hotels that don't accept foreigners.

 

Guesthouses in places like Hseni, Kutkai, Waw, Pyinmana (know where these places are? Thought so...) and dozens and dozens of smaller towns may have hotels that don't accept foreigners at all - but none of these hotels are what I would call of an "acceptable" standard. There are also cheaper hotels mainly in the suburbs of larger cities like Yangon that may not have a licence to accept foreigners. Without exception, these places are what I would call "dumps".

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I've never seen any checkpoints within Naypyidaw, are they new?

 

No, not new at all.  Almost all roads in and around Naypyidaw are 'toll roads' for lorries, with either a barrier that is dropped down, or a toll kiosk for the larger roads, or police standing by the side of the road.

 

Motorbikes can drive around the barriers without payment, but the police who man those barriers will stop a foreigner and check their passport.  I am stopped every Saturday at the same checkpoint and my passport photo 'verified' against the photo that the police officer has on his phone (he snapped a copy of my passport some months ago).

 

If I go down a new road, I have to show ny passport and my school ID photo, and explain where I am going and why (I often have these details written down in Myanmar language).

 

The new police check points are typically near to the shopping centres, and were implemented a few weeks ago after the increase in tension in Rakhine - there is some concern that Naypyidaw and Yangon and Mandalay could be targets for terrorism

 

But at  all these police checks, the officers have been friendly and smiling!

 

Phuketrichard is quite correct about the hotels. When I plan a trip into Shan or Kayah State I have to check hotels on booking.com to ensure that they allow foreigners to stay - this makes it rather difficult to travel into east Shan or Kayah near the Thai border because there seem to be no hotels with a foreigner licence....

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