Crime and Safety in Myanmar

Our local guides are here to make sure you can safely navigate Myanmar’s popular destinations and attractions. There are some parts of the country that are not suitable for tourism, but these are easily avoided. Most of the drug-related violence takes places in Myanmar’s mountains and rural areas, far away from the temples and pagodas that draw visitors.

Petty Theft and Burglaries

Myanmar is still a poor country, and some petty theft is to be expected. Socialism has kept wages stagnant, but the cost of living has risen in recent years. As in any economically depressed country, it is inadvisable to make any unnecessary displays of wealth. That being said, popular destinations for tourists are generally safe. Exercise some common sense precautions and you can easily avoid being the victim of any crime in Myanmar.

Violent crime involving foreign visitors is rare. Burglaries and petty thefts are on the rise, although still relatively infrequent for this part of the world. Yangon has a particular reputation for theft. Most theft takes place at night, so take special precaution when traveling after sunset. Travel in groups, or with at least one other person.

Myanmar has mines of precious and semiprecious stones, and some travelers come to Myanmar looking for a deal. Because of this, there are scammers who sell fake gems on the street. Make sure to only make these types of purchases from a licensed vendor.

Drug Problems

Myanmar’s eastern edge forms a side of what is known as the “golden triangle,” an area of mass opium production in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is the largest producer of methamphetamine in the world, and the second-largest opium producer. The money made from the sales of these drugs often goes to local rebel groups. These rebel groups then help keep the remote countryside free of government interference and safe for drug cultivation.

Unfortunately, there are parts of Myanmar where it is inadvisable to travel because of drug conflicts as well as clashes between ethnic groups and the Burmese military. Travelers should avoid Shan State and Kachin State. There are also parts of Rakhine and Chin State that are not recommended for visitors.

Weather and Safety

Cyclones are most likely to occur during the rainy season, which takes place between June and October. Tropical storms are also common. Lakes and rivers are more likely to flood during this time, so travelers should make sure to plan accordingly.

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