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Burma (Myanmar)

Stay safe & healthy

Stay safe & healthy


Stay safe

Crime

The government severely punishes crime, particularly against tourists; As a result, in terms of crime and personal safety, Myanmar is extremely safe for tourists, and it is generally safe to walk alone at night on the street. In fact, he is less likely to be a victim of a crime in Myanmar than in Thailand or Malaysia. However, as in any other place, little crime does not mean there is no crime and it is not yet an excuse to abandon your common sense. As a foreigner, the most common crime you should worry about is petty theft, so keep your belongings insured. Physical and verbal harassment towards foreigners is rare, even in urban walks near bars.

Since 2005, Yangon and Mandalay have seen a barely perceptible increase in the very low level of street robberies. Several years ago, there were isolated bombings: on April 26, 2005 in Mandalay; May 7, October 21 and December 5, 2005 in Yangon; January 2, 2006 in Bago.

Begging

Despite traditional taboos, begging has become a major problem in major tourist areas such as Bago and Bagan. Children and "mothers" carrying babies are often the ones who beg because they are more effective in soliciting pity. Note that most beggars are part of larger beggar unions or just after easy money, as tourists are usually considered wealthy. In addition, the poor can still get free food from the nearest monastery if they can not afford to pay for it, so begging is not necessary for their survival. If you choose to give, note that most Burmese only earn $ 40 a month doing manual labor and giving a beggar $ 1 a month is very generous.

Fake Monks

Theravada Buddhism is the main religion in Myanmar, and it is customary for monks to perform alms rounds in the morning. Unfortunately, there are also many fake monks who spend their time in the main tourist attractions that take advantage of unsuspecting visitors. Keep in mind that alms rounds have the sole purpose of collecting food and that genuine monks are prohibited from accepting or even touching money. Monks are prohibited from eating after noon, nor are they allowed to sell items or use high-pressure tactics to solicit donations. Authentic monks are often found in single-file lines with their alms bowls. If you see a single monk asking foreigners for money, it is a fraud.

Corruption

Myanmar is one of the most corrupt countries in the world. Officials and other officials may discretely request a bribe or invent problems (missing forms, closed offices, etc.) for you to suggest one. Pretending not to understand or asking to speak with a superior can work. However, visitors of Caucasian descent are rarely targeted, while those of Asian descent (including South Asians and East Asians) may be forced to give bribes, but the worst part of the problem is normal Burmese.

Westerners are rarely asked for bribes, although most bribes are US $ 1 or less, and are requested by people who earn as little as USD30 / month.

Driving Conditions

The poor road infrastructure and a mixture of extremely old vehicles on the roads of the country are those that best describe the conditions of the road. However, driving habits are not very aggressive compared to say, Vietnam, which makes road safety comfortable for almost everyone. Although it is rare, young people sometimes compete with each other on the roads, which has caused some casualties in recent years. Bus drivers are among the worst hazards, although this is somewhat less problematic since 2010 due to new and harsh penalties imposed on bus drivers involved in accidents.

Surprisingly, Burma has a mix of vehicles with steering wheel to the right and to the left, and most are right-hand drive, but driving is usually done on the right side of the roads.

Unless you have experience driving in countries with poorly disciplined drivers and very old vehicles, avoid driving in Burma.

Civil conflict

Several insurgent groups continue to operate in Mon and Chin (Zomi), Myanmar states, along the Thai and Chinese borders. Traveling to these regions usually requires a government permit. The government also sometimes restricts travel to the Kayah state, the Rakhine state and the Kachin state due to insurgent activities. However, the trips are not restricted to the districts of Yangon, Bago, Ayeyarwady, Sagaing, Taninthayi, Mandalay and Magwe. Some areas that have been reported as closed have been opened without prior notice, and areas previously considered open may be closed without notice. In addition, local immigration offices may have their own interpretations of the regulations.

Internet

The price of computers and an Internet connection at home are prohibitive, so most people surf cybercafés. However, recent mobile operator licenses have allowed many people in cities to connect online for the first time. Facebook and Viber are the most used apps and services in Myanmar. The government records screenshots every five minutes from PCs in cybercafés to monitor Internet usage. If you do not want your privacy to be violated in this way, record your navigation for Thailand or elsewhere. And the speed of the internet is terribly slow, so forget YouTube or any video streaming.

Politics

Myanmar has been under a strong military regime for the past 40 years and ended in 2012 with the reputation of suppressing dissidents, as in the case of the former house arrest of democracy fighter Aung San Suu Kyi. There were more than 1,500 political prisoners (prison sentences of 65 years and hard work in remote camps were given to the leaders of the Saffron Revolution). Some have been published more recently. If you are in Myanmar, do not participate in political activities and do not insult the government.

Discuss the policy with people who have had time to get an idea of ​​you. However, the danger is mainly with those you talk to and, therefore, you should pay attention to their safety. Let him lead the conversation. Also keep in mind that many telephone lines are tapped. And if you need to wave a democratic banner in front of a police station, you will be on the next flight.

In recent months, however, freedom has generally increased by a small but noticeable amount under the new government. Some politically critical articles have been published in government newspapers, and a satirical film has been launched that denigrates the government's censorship policy, which was not possible in 2010. The return of visitors to Myanmar could lead to locals become more open to discussions about politics.

However, avoid doing things at all costs that make the military or police feel uncomfortable, such as: B. Recordings of buildings or vehicles of the police and the police.

Stay healthy

Hygiene in Myanmar may seem terrible to the average Westerner, but it is possible to stay healthy with some basic precautions, such as prophylactic medication, care of food and water, and antibacterial ointment. Never drink tap water. Restaurants are legally required to use ice made and sold by bottled water companies, so requesting ice is generally safe in the most important places. Always drink bottled water and verify that the lid is sealed, not simply screwed. Diseases such as dengue, Japanese encephalitis and malaria are endemic. Drug-resistant strains of malaria and tuberculosis are common in many areas. Vaccines against hepatitis are highly recommended and the oral vaccine against cholera is useful. At the table, the Burmese use a spoon and a fork, or the fingers when it is more convenient. It may feel better to rinse them all before meals. Antibacterial wipes or alcohol rubbing by hand are a good idea at regular intervals.

As in any other developing country: "if you can't fry, roast, peel or boil it - then forget it".

HIV

the HIV rate in Myanmar is high. (0.7% of the Population 2014).

Healthcare

The health system in Myanmar is poorly funded. If you get sick in Myanmar, you can visit the doctor in major cities to treat minor illnesses such as coughs and colds. However, for more serious medical care, hospital conditions tend to be unhealthy and there is often a shortage of medical supplies. The only hospital that comes close to modern standards is Pun Hlaing Hospital, a privately owned hospital located in a remote town of Yangon called Hlaing Thar Yar, and one should expect very high expenses there. Most hospitals are owned by the government, which means that funds are low. Most government officials and wealthy locals go to Thailand or Singapore for more serious medical treatment and hospitalization, and they'd better do it too. Just make sure your insurance is in order, since arranging a drift in an emergency can be quite expensive.

 

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Burma (Myanmar) - Travel guide

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