Is It Safe To Travel To Myanmar Now?

A local’s insight on the safety of Myanmar in light of the Rohingya conflict.

In light of the recent Rohingya conflict happening in Rakhine, Western Myanmar, some travellers are concerned whether it’s safe to visit the country or not. As a local, I’d like to shed some light on this issue and assure travellers that it is, in fact, safe to visit Myanmar now.

Here are some things to take note of:

Accommodation and transport

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Image credit: Neville Wootton

In terms of transportation, you can travel to Myanmar either by air, land, or sea; and none of these transportation routes is dangerous. Although travelling by air is by far the most common and convenient way to visit Myanmar, some travellers choose to drive in from Myawaddy, a bordered area near Thailand or the Muse border near China.

Upon arriving at Yangon, travellers have the option of either taking the bus, train, or water bus (which was recently launched in October 2017) which are all safe for travellers. To get around, I highly recommend taking the taxi, a cheap and convenient way of exploring the city.

explore, travel, is it safe to travel to myanmar now?

Image credit: Neville Wootton

Should you choose to visit surrounding areas such as the towns of Pansodan and Pabedan where the majority of Muslims reside, you can be assured that you won’t encounter any riots or political conflicts as the locals there live peacefully. Even in some states where riots have occurred, the touristy cities such as Mandalay, Bagan, Nyaung Shwe and even Mrauk U are completely safe to travel to. Just don’t venture into areas of conflict and restricted zones.

Also, if you’re looking for accommodation in larger cities such as Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan, not only will they be easy to find, but you can be assured that the staff will not be hostile towards you, even if you’re a Muslim traveller.

Burmese people

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Image credit: Neville Wootton

Burmese people are known to be one of the friendliest ethnic groups in Southeast Asia. Do interact with them because it is a good way to discover the truth about Myanmar’s political climate and the country’s happenings. Besides making new friends, it’ll also give you a local insight about the Rohingya conflict which the media may not have covered.

For Muslim travellers worried about being shunned and not being able to find Halal food across Myanmar, your worries are unfounded. Just in October 2017, in an attempt to encourage religious harmony and cohesion, the government yet again organised an event called  “All Religions To Stay Together” in Yangon. This popular event usually attracts as many as 15,000 participants, speaking volume about the number of locals who are in support of religious harmony.

Areas to avoid

It’s also important to keep in mind that there are still some areas in Myanmar (including the main conflict zones of Rakhine State such as Maungdaw and Bu-thee-tuang) that are best avoided during your trip to Myanmar.

Certain areas in the country are also off-limits to visitors due to the ongoing civil wars. For example, a civil war is currently ongoing in the Laukkaing area (the northern part of Shan State) and in the state of Kachin, especially near the Hpakant Township areas where there are some clashes between the ethnic groups and the army.

These are the major areas to be avoided when you travel to Myanmar. The other regions are safe to visit and explore.

explore, travel, is it safe to travel to myanmar now?

Image credit: Neville Wootton

I would like to reassure you that the internal conflicts in Rakhine State and the ongoing civil wars in Myanmar will not impact your travels in my country. With the exception of these areas, Myanmar is absolutely safe to travel to and I recommend that you visit this beautiful country to see what it has to offer with your own two eyes.

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