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Myanmar - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Myanmar due to the unsettled political situation and the possibility of civil unrest. Myanmar suffers from prolonged internal conflicts, and acts of politically motivated violence can occur at any time, including in areas frequented by tourists.
Areas along the borders with Thailand, China, Laos, Bangladesh and India, including towns along the border and land border crossings - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to areas along the borders with Thailand, China, Laos, Bangladesh and India, including towns along the border and authorized land border crossings due to clashes between the military and armed groups, ethnic and religious conflict, banditry and unmarked landmines.
Chin (Paletwa Township), Kachin, Rakhine, and northern Shan States - Avoid non-essential travel
Avoid non-essential travel to the following areas, due to the risk of serious civil unrest:
- Paletwa Township in Chin State
- Kachin State
- Rakhine State, except for the tourist resort of Ngapali and travel between the resort and Thandwe airport
- northern Shan State
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Myanmar. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Border areas with Thailand, China, Laos, Bangladesh and India, including towns along the border and land border crossings (see Advisory)
Clashes between the military and armed groups are ongoing in several border regions. This has caused the displacements of hundreds of thousands of civilians to neighbouring countries. The security situation along the border varies and can change quickly. Unmarked landmines can be found in many border regions and pose a significant risk to your safety. If you travel to border areas despite this advisory, exercise extreme caution, avoid concentrations of police and security forces as well as large gatherings and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Chin (Paletwa Township), Kachin, Rakhine, and northern Shan States (see Advisory)
Mobile Internet services to several central and northern townships of Rakhine State as well as Paletwa Township in Chin State have been unavailable since June 20, 2019.
Fighting between military forces and non-state armed groups is occurring in these areas and has resulted in a significant number of deaths as well as the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. In August 2017, there were coordinated attacks on police and security forces in northern Rakhine state. Since December 2018, serious armed clashes between ethnic armed groups and the military have been occurring in parts of northern and central Rakhine State, including in the tourist destination of Mrauk U. Detonations of improvised explosive devices have taken place in Sittwe Township and on the road between Sittwe and Mrauk U.
Violence in the area is ongoing and the situation is volatile. The security situation can deteriorate suddenly and unexpectedly. Be vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Travel to parts of the country, including to and from land border crossings, are strictly controlled by the Government of Myanmar. As such, there are some parts of the country where Canadian Embassy officials are not allowed to travel freely without permission from the Myanmar government. The Canadian Embassy’s ability to deliver consular assistance, including in an emergency, may be limited or delayed in these areas.
The Ministry of Hotels and Tourism maintains a list of permitted and restricted areas. Consult this list prior to travelling to Myanmar, especially if you plan on travelling outside of popular tourist destinations.
The political situation is volatile and there is always a possibility of civil unrest. You may find your security unexpectedly at risk. Acts of politically motivated violence may occur at any time, including in areas frequented by tourists and expatriates such as shopping centres, supermarkets, restaurants, markets, hotels, transportation hubs, and public transit (even taxis). Exercise a high degree of caution, avoid concentrations of police and security forces, avoid gatherings and remain informed of current issues.
Demonstrations can occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities, and remain vigilant at all times.
Inter-communal violence occurs. More than 200 people have been killed in religious violence since June 2012, and more than 140,000 have been displaced (mostly in Rakhine State). Attacks against religious buildings, shops, and homes have taken place in several areas, including the regions of Bago and Mandalay, resulting in injuries, deaths and displaced persons. Tensions remain high, and further violence is possible. Curfews and restrictions may be imposed or changed on short notice.
Incidents of violence, which resulted in injuries and damage to property, occurred in Mandalay in early July 2014. In late March 2014, violent protests targeting the staff and offices of international organizations took place in Sittwe, Rakhine State.
Bomb explosions have occurred throughout the country, including in major cities such as Yangon (Rangoon), Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw. Further attacks could occur at any time.
There have been incidents of violent crime against foreigners. There is also a risk of street crime, such as pickpocketing and mugging. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
In known scams involving gems and jewellery, merchants sell lower-quality items at inflated prices with promises that the items can be resold at a profit. The guarantees that merchants offer are not always honoured. Carefully consider all purchases if you are not knowledgeable about gems and jewellery. The Government of Canada cannot assist in obtaining refunds for purchases made.
Travel is restricted outside major cities to designated tourist areas only. Permission from local authorities is required to visit certain areas. Military checkpoints on roads are common.
The general condition of automobiles does not meet minimal international standards. There is a combination of both left-hand and right-hand drive vehicles in use throughout the country. Driving can be hazardous, especially after dark. Some roads can become impassable, particularly during the rainy season. Drivers have little regard for traffic regulations and do not follow safe-driving practices. It is common for pedestrians and livestock to walk on roads. A driver involved in any accident with a pedestrian is always at fault and is liable to be detained.
Public transportation within Myanmar, including air, rail and sea travel, often does not meet international safety standards. Railway equipment tends to be outdated, and fatal accidents have occurred. Boat and ferry accidents causing deaths are common. Vessels may be in poor condition and overloading is a common problem.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Local flight schedules can change without notice.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are adequate in Bagan, Inle Lake, Mandalay, Ngapali Beach, Yangon and Taunggyi, but limited elsewhere. Good hotel facilities exist in Naypyidaw, but transportation is limited. Foreign tourists rarely visit Naypyidaw and may be viewed with suspicion. Foreigners can expect to pay several times more than locals for accommodations, domestic flights and entry to tourist sites throughout the country.
Telephone services are unreliable in Yangon and are difficult to find in other areas. Long-distance calls can be extremely expensive. There are Internet cafés in Yangon; identification is required, access to certain websites is restricted and records of which websites users have visited are kept. While some websites were unblocked in 2011, many remain inaccessible. Electronic communications, including email, may be monitored by local authorities.
The presence of police and security forces is likely to increase in Yangon and elsewhere in Myanmar on significant dates, including the anniversary of demonstrations led by monks to protest for political reform (September 26) and the anniversary of the 1988 uprising (August 8).
Landmines are a danger, particularly in border areas.
Exercise caution at beach resorts in Ngwesaung, Chaungtha and Ngapali as there are strong underwater currents and riptides. There are no lifeguards and drownings have occurred.
Exercise caution when considering diving excursions in Myanmar. Rented diving equipment may not meet internationally acceptable safety standards and may not be maintained adequately.
Tourists trekking in remote parts of the country have experienced difficulties with military authorities, even after obtaining prior permission.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Myanmar authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave from Myanmar.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
A visa is required for tourism and business purposes. It should be obtained prior to travel at a Myanmar diplomatic mission. An eVisa option and multiple-entry business visas are available.
The Myanmar government has created a visa-on-arrival program to allow select business travellers, including Canadians, to obtain a business visa upon arrival at the Yangon International Airport. Travellers are encouraged not to rely on this option, however, as the program’s requirements and eligibility criteria remain unclear. It is strongly recommended that all travellers, including business travellers, carefully verify visa requirements and options with the nearest Embassy of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar before travelling.
Foreign journalists have had difficulty obtaining visas, and some have been denied entry upon arrival despite having received a visa. In the past, journalists, and tourists mistaken for journalists, have been denied entry when travelling on tourist visas, have been harassed and have had film and notes confiscated upon leaving the country.
Travel to parts of Myanmar is strictly controlled by government authorities. Foreigners have been deported and detained for visa offences.
Tourist visa: Required (valid for 28 days)
Business visa: Required
Port of entry
You should use the same port of entry (e.g. Yangon International Airport) to enter and exit Myanmar to avoid problems with immigration services.
There are few land border crossing points, and permission to cross these borders may be required in advance, through a process separate from the required visa application. Some government-authorized tour companies may be able to secure the appropriate permission from the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism.
Border crossings may close with little or no notice, and entry may be restricted to the nationals of the bordering states and/or to the immediate area or border town. Although travel to or from Myanmar via a land route is possible, Global Affairs Canada advises against travel to the border areas with China, Laos and Thailand. See Safety and security for more information.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - January 17, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending a large amount of time outdoors) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has identified this country as no longer poliovirus-infected but at high risk of an outbreak. Polio can be prevented by vaccination, which is part of the routine vaccines for children in Canada.
- Be sure that your vaccination against polio is up to date.
- One booster dose of the polio vaccine is recommended as an adult.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (e.g., are children, have an occupational risk, or in close contact with animals, including free roaming dogs in communities).
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Southeast Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southeast Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas of Southeastern Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Lymphatic filariasis, also known as elephantiasis, is caused by filariae (tiny worms) spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can cause a range of illnesses. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for lymphatic filariasis although drug treatments exist.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country.
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms correctly or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country or after onset of illness due to Zika (whichever is longer) before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 3 months after returning from this country or after onset of illness due to Zika (whichever is longer) before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in some areas in Southeastern Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
There have been human cases of avian influenza in this country.
Avian influenza is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds. In rare cases, it can infect people.
- avoid high risk areas such as poultry farms and live animal markets
- avoid areas where poultry may be slaughtered
- avoid contact with birds (alive or dead)
- avoid surfaces that may have bird droppings or secretions on them
- ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs, are well cooked
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Limited medical facilities are available in Yangon but may not meet Canadian standards and are very limited elsewhere in the country. Foreign prescription drugs are often counterfeit and are unsafe to use. There are no emergency neonatal services in Myanmar.
Medical evacuation is necessary for cases of serious illness or accident. Ensure that your travel health insurance covers medical evacuations. Doctors and hospitals may demand immediate cash payment for health services and medical evacuation. Make sure you have adequate/accessible cash to cover the cost of emergency needs.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
Travel health and safety
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
The Canadian embassy does not normally receive timely notification of the detention, arrest or deportation of Canadian citizens in Myanmar. If you are arrested or jailed you should request immediate contact with the Embassy of Canada to Myanmar. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
A foreigner who has broken the law is subject to deportation upon payment of fine or completion of prison sentence.
Illegal or restricted activities
Under Myanmar law, insulting religion is a prosecutable offence. This includes any disrespectful treatment, depiction or image (including tattoos) of Buddha or other religious representation, or wearing any tattoo of Buddha anywhere below the waist. Foreign nationals have been sentenced to prison, fined and/or deported for breaking this law.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect imprisonment or a death sentence.
Under Myanmar’s immigration act, tourists are required to stay in registered hotels, motels, inns, guest houses or resorts. You must show your passport and valid visa at domestic airports, train stations, hotels and security checkpoints. It is illegal to enter restricted areas without authorization.
Political activism (including the dissemination of printed materials), protests, demonstrations and unauthorized assemblies are not tolerated in Myanmar. Freedom of speech and political activities are restricted, and the Myanmar government is very sensitive to any expression of opposition to its rule. Foreigners criticizing the regime in public may be arrested or detained.
A permit is required to purchase or possess cultural or archaeological artifacts. It is illegal to export gems. Foreigners have been arrested, searched and imprisoned for attempting to take Myanmar gems out of the country.
Photography of scenes or people that could be considered politically sensitive, such as military installations, security personnel or demonstrations, is prohibited. Offenders could be arrested, deported and have their equipment confiscated. It is also illegal to fly a drone over certain religious installations.
Missionary activities and the importation of religious materials are illegal without the written permission of the Myanmar authorities.
International driving permits are not recognized in Myanmar. It is illegal to drive without a Myanmar driver’s licence.
Imports and export
Customs officials strictly limit what is brought into and out of the country. Baggage is examined and may be searched upon arrival. It is illegal to enter or exit Myanmar with religious materials. Foreign currency in excess of US$10,000 must be declared upon arrival; failure to do so could result in imprisonment. Importation of communications equipment such as mobile phones and laptop computers has been restricted. Laptop computers have been taken from tourists and held at the airport until their departure. Customs regulations on prohibited imports and exports are often unclear and further advice on this subject should be sought from the nearest Myanmar embassy or consulate.
The laws of Myanmar prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Myanmar.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Myanmar.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Myanmar, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize the risk of your Canadian citizenship being denied. You may also need to carry and present a Myanmar passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country. See Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements.
Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. If you are a Canadian citizen, you will require a valid Canadian passport to re-enter Canada.
See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Exercise common sense and discretion in dress and behaviour, particularly when visiting religious sites. Dress conservatively and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities or breaking the law.
Learn more about local customs from the Myanmar government.
The currency of Myanmar is the kyat (MMK). U.S. currency is widely accepted; however, only new, unmarked and undamaged bank notes are accepted. Other foreign currencies are not accepted. There are a few official currency exchange offices in Yangon, including one at the Yangon International Airport. It is illegal to exchange currency at unauthorized locations.
Carry enough cash to cover all of your expenses while in Myanmar. Credit cards are not widely accepted. Even where credit card facilities do exist, Internet connections may be too slow to enable credit cards to be a reliable payment method. Traveller’s cheques are never accepted and debit cards are not used for direct purchases. It is possible to find some internationally linked ABMs in Myanmar, but the daily withdrawal limits are low and the machines are often out of service. Neither cash advances via credit or debit card nor cheque-cashing services are available.
Natural disasters and climate
Myanmar is located in an active seismic zone and minor earthquakes are common.
Monsoons and Typhoons
The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from May to November. Severe rainstorms can cause flash flooding and landslides.
Cyclones usually occur between April and October. Severe rainstorms can result in significant loss of life, extensively damage infrastructure and hamper the provision of essential services.
Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the instructions of local authorities.
More about hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 199
- medical assistance: 192
- firefighters: 191
Yangon - Embassy of Canada
Bangkok - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada to Myanmar, in Yangon, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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