Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 23 December 2019, 10:47 NZDT
  • Still current at: 26 February 2020

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Do not travel

Do not travel to the northern Rakhine State areas of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung and Paletwa township in southern Chin State due to ethnic tensions and the potential for armed conflict and violent civil unrest.

Avoid non-essential travel

Avoid non-essential travel along the borders with Laos, Thailand, India, Bangladesh and China and we advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel in the vicinity of these borders, including official border crossings. Military activity, ethnic militias, armed drug smugglers and the presence of landmines pose a particularly high risk to your safety.

Avoid non-essential travel to Kachin State (excluding Myitkyina), northern Shan State and along Highway 3 from Pyin Oo Lwin to Shan State due to ethnic tensions and armed conflict and the potential for violent civil unrest. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these areas. 

Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution elsewhere in Myanmar, including in the Mandalay region due to the readily changeable political situation and regular civil unrest.

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Ethnic tensions
Myanmar has experienced prolonged internal conflicts involving a number of ethnic and non-state armed groups. Most of these groups have signed bilateral ceasefire agreements with the government, and a number of groups, mainly those located along the Thai border, signed the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in October 2015.

However the security situation in some border states remains volatile and unpredictable. In February 2019 active armed conflict between ethnic groups and military forces escalated in Paletwa township in southern Chin State.

There are sporadic outbreaks of armed violence between government forces, ethnic armed groups, and militias in Kachin and Shan. In November 2019, mis-directed rocket fire landed in civilian areas and on the runway at Lashio airport. There is an ongoing threat from improvised explosive devices and unmarked landmines in conflict areas. In November 2019, a foreign tourist was killed by a landmine while travelling outside of Hsipaw township in Northern Shan State.

Active fighting between government forces and a local ethnic armed group in Rakhine State continues. These clashes sometimes result in the death or injury of civilians, security forces, and non-state armed fighters. In December 2019 three small explosions took place on Manaung Island in Rakhine State, coinciding with a high level government visit to the area. There are no reports of casualties.

There is a risk of kidnapping in or nearby conflict areas. In October 2019, ethnic armed groups kidnapped travellers on a public bus in Mrauk-U and on a public ferry in Ratheduang, resulting in civilian casualties. Foreigners were also caught up in an abduction between Paletwa (Chin State) and Kyauktaw (Rakhine State) in November 2019.

Civil unrest/political tensions
Myanmar is a country in transition with many political and structural reforms underway. In Myanmar, civil unrest could occur with little warning, often with associated violence, including in main centres.

Attacks by armed groups on police outposts in northern Rakhine state in late August 2017 were followed by large-scale security operations that have seen civilians killed, villages burned and more than 700,000 people displaced across the border into Bangladesh. Tensions remain in Northern Rakhine State and further  intercommunal violence is likely. Curfews and restrictions on movement may be imposed at short notice, in addition to those already in place, including to tourist destinations due to security concerns.

In the past, there has been politically-motivated violence on or around public holidays such as Armed Forces Day (27 March) and Martyrs Day (19 July). Significant anniversaries, such as the 8 August 1988 uprising and the September 2007 protests, may be accompanied by an increased security presence in Yangon and elsewhere.

New Zealanders in Myanmar are advised to monitor the media for any developments that may affect the security situation. We recommend avoiding all protests, marches and demonstrations, as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. We also recommend complying with any instructions issued by the local authorities, including any curfews.

Small scale bombings in November 2016 targeted government buildings and supermarkets in Yangon, resulting in several fatalities. Further small-scale bombings targeted public places in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin States, which have resulted in injuries and sometimes death. Further incidents cannot be ruled out. New Zealanders in Myanmar are advised to be security conscious in public and crowded places.

Border areas/crossings
There are a limited number of legal land crossing points into Myanmar, and these are subject to closure without notice. Permission to cross these borders may be required in advance through a separate process to a visa application. Travel restrictions placed by the Myanmar government apply for most border areas. We advise New Zealanders against attempting to cross any border illegally or enter restricted areas without the appropriate permission from Myanmar authorities.

General travel advice
New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social/cultural traditions in Myanmar to avoid offending local sensitivities and potentially breaking the law. Shorts and sleeveless tops will cause offence when visiting Buddhist religious sites.

We advise against taking photographs of any protests, demonstrations or government or military installations, as this could result in arrest and/or detention. This includes the use of drones.

Travellers visiting Myanmar have experienced difficulties accessing their money. Myanmar remains a predominantly cash-based society and although credit and debit cards are increasingly accepted in major tourist areas some cards do not work.

New Zealanders travelling to Myanmar are advised to check with their bank before travelling to confirm that your debit, credit or ATM cards will allow them to withdraw cash or make payments in Myanmar. You should take enough cash (US dollars in pristine condition) to last throughout the duration of your stay in Myanmar.

New Zealanders travelling or living in Myanmar should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air.

New Zealanders in Myanmar are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Yangon, Myanmar

Street Address No. 43 (C), Inya Myaing Road, Shwe Taung Kyar (2) Ward, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar Telephone +95 1 230 6046 Alternate Telephone +95 1 230 5805 Fax +95 1 230 5805 Email Web Site Hours Mon-Fri 0830-1230, 1330-1630 hrs Consular - legal and Notarial service: by appointment, Monday to Friday

See our regional advice for South East Asia

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New Zealand Embassy Myanmar

Street Address
No. 43 (C), Inya Myaing Road, Shwe Taung Kyar (2) Ward, Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar

Telephone: +95 1 230 6046

Alternate Telephone: +95 1 230 5805

Fax: +95 1 230 5805



Hours: Mon-Fri 0830-1230, 1330-1630 hrs Consular - legal and Notarial service: by appointment, Monday to Friday

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