Myanmar is increasing in popularity amongst tourists looking for a destination offering something a little more untouched and non-commercialised than, say, neighbouring Thailand. The new democratic government gave the country an optimistic outlook and it was beginning to open up to the outside world.
Recently however, the worlds media have reported genocide and ethnic cleansing incidents has been reported amongst Rohingya muslims. Attacks by the military have seen villages burnt down and civilians targeted. It is thought that up to 300,000 Rohingya muslims have fled Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh.
So the question many are asking, is Myanmar still safe for travellers? Well, the answer in short is yes, in certain parts. The area that is effected by the fighting is in the North-West of the country, around the Bangladesh border. It is best to avoid travelling to this area at all costs. The border area with China can also be dangerous so best avoided. Do not involve yourself in any political rallies or demonstrations that could potentially turn violent. The south of the country and the main cities are generally safe, however it is advisable to join a guided tour and travel in groups where you can. It is vital to obtain comprehensive travel insurance if travelling to Myanmar.
To keep up to date on developments in Myanmar, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website.
Health in Myanmar
As a developing country, Myanmar still poses a risk of contracting a number of nasty diseases. Visit your travel health specialist at least 6 weeks before your trip to ensure you can receive all your vaccines before you go to ensure best protection. The most important vaccinations for Myanmar are Diptheria, tetanus and polio (DTP for short), Hepatitis A and Typhoid. If you are travelling for longer periods or heading off the beaten track then a course of Hepatitis B, Rabies and Japanese Encephalitis may be advisable. Much of Myanmar has a risk of malaria so be sure to check your destinations and obtain prescription strength anti-malarials before you go.
Be sure to pack plenty of mosquito repellent, and apply liberally. Mosquitoes in Myanmar can carry a variety of other diseases, not just malaria. There can be outbreaks of dengue fever, chikungunya fever and zika virus and as there are no vaccinations for these diseases, bite prevention is the only way to fully avoid getting sick.
Be sure to only drink bottled or sterilised water. Tap water in Myanmar is not safe to drink and can be full of bacteria. Ensure all foods you eat are cooked thoroughly. The safest foods are foods that have been boiled, because boiling kills all bacteria. It is best to avoid salad and cold foods that could have been washed in local tap water and avoid ice in drinks at all costs.
Contact us now to book an appointment with one of our specialist travel health nurses to discuss everything you need for your trip.