For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
23 March 2021
There's a ban on overseas travel from Australia. You can’t leave Australia unless you have an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs, or are travelling to a destination that is exempt from the ban.
Our global travel advice remains at 'Do not travel' due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel. Some destinations were already set at Do Not Travel prior to COVID-19 due to the extreme risk to your safety.
If you’re overseas and wish to return to Australia, be prepared for delays and read our advice on trying to get home.
When you arrive in Australia you must quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities in your port of arrival, unless you have an exemption or are travelling on a quarantine-free flight from a green zone destination. At this time, vaccination against COVID-19 does not change this quarantine requirement. You may be required to pay for the costs of your quarantine. View State and Territory Government COVID-19 information for information about quarantine and domestic borders.
If you're staying overseas, make plans to stay for an extended period. Follow the advice of local authorities and minimise your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Stay in touch with family and friends so they know you're safe.
Our network of embassies and consular posts around the world will provide you with up-to-date local advice and support throughout this difficult period. Be aware consular services may be limited due to local measures.
Do you or someone you know need help?
For urgent consular assistance call
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 from within Australia
For information about COVID-19, read our article.
Do you or someone you know need help?
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
The Myanmar military has assumed control of the country and declared a state of emergency. There has been a significant increase in the level of violence with many deaths, injuries and arrests. Martial law is in place in areas of Myanmar, including Yangon.
Protest activity is frequent with security services responding. Maintain heightened security awareness, including for reactions to calls for popular revolt against the military. Avoid all protests and areas of known or possible unrest, facilities and vehicles linked to security forces and the military administration.
There have been widespread detentions, including of foreigners. Australians may be at risk of arbitrary detention. Do not take photos of protests or security forces.
If it's safe to do so, leave Myanmar by commercial means on one of the limited international flights departing Yangon. Contact airlines directly. Staff and dependants at the Australian Embassy in Yangon have been offered the option to voluntarily depart Myanmar. This will not affect the provision of services to Australians.
A curfew is in place from 10pm to 4am in the Yangon region. Curfew timings may differ in other regions and may change at short notice. Daily internet outages and restrictions may occur unexpectedly in Yangon and other parts of the country.
Some townships remain under martial law and should be avoided.
The embassy continues to review security incidents in Yangon. Protocols are in place for embassy staff movements. Staff have been advised to minimise all movements. Embassy staff may move without official approval within central Yangon, bounded by Pyay Road (West) Parami Road (North), Kabar Aye Pagoda Road (East), and Bo Gyoke Road (South).
There are disruptions to basic services including ATMs, communications and public health; and more may follow. Have arrangements in place for your essential needs. Services such as transport, travel and fuel may be affected.
If you're remaining in Myanmar, you should minimise movement during the day, stay at home during curfew hours, follow stay-at-home orders, and shelter-in-place with essential supplies, documents and funds. Maintain heightened security awareness, register with DFAT, monitor the media, and keep in close contact with friends and family.
Australians in need of emergency consular assistance should contact the Australian Government 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 in Australia or +61 2 6261 3305 outside Australia.
Protests often happen in Myanmar, including in tourist areas. Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.
Protests and organised assemblies of people are not permitted. However, these rules are sometimes ignored.
Significant events often see an increase of police and security forces in Yangon and elsewhere:
To protect yourself during unrest:
There are several active conflicts between armed groups and security forces following the military takeover. Fighting between armed groups occurs in a number of areas in Myanmar, including in areas previously unaffected by violence such as Sagaing, Magway and northern Chin States. Attacks have resulted in civilian and military casualties and are often unpredictable in their location and intensity. Authorities may set curfews, turn off telecommunications and close roads.
Armed conflict includes;
If you choose to travel to higher risk areas:
Rakhine and southern Chin State
Armed conflict between armed groups and military forces remains an ongoing threat in Rakhine State (across northern and central Rakhine) and Paletwa Township in Chin State, notwithstanding an overall reduction since an informal ceasefire was agreed in November 2020. Movement restrictions and curfews are in place. Internet services are uncertain and may change at short notice.
The conflict has not affected the resort areas at Ngapali Beach although COVID-related restrictions including stay-at-home orders may inhibit travel.
Risks to civilians due to the conflict have included being kidnapped, detained and killed by armed groups, and killed or injured in clashes and artillery and air strikes, including in Sittwe. Explosive devices have been reported in Rakhine State, including on main roads. Travellers have been kidnapped from public buses and ferries. Familiarise yourself with local curfews and travel restrictions.
Fighting between rival ethnic groups in east, south and northern Shan State has increased since February 2021, resulting in civilian casualties and displacement.
Fighting and clashes between Myanmar security forces and armed groups in northern Shan State since August 2019 has intensified since the military takeover in February 2021. In the past, civilians including foreigners have been attacked along main roads, displaced, and killed or injured by landmines.
Since the military takeover in February 2021 the active conflict in Kachin State has been steadily increasing. There has been an influx in troop numbers and violent clashes have occurred in Momauk, Shwegu, Inndawgyi, Bhamo and Hpakant townships. Some routes from southern Kachin towards the state capital, Myitkyina, remain extremely dangerous due to the presence of large numbers of military forces. Civilian infrastructure including roads and bridges are often targeted.
Kayin and Kayah States
Localised conflict and violence has also increased in parts of Kayin and Kayah States with increased troop numbers, violent clashes, and in some cases the deployment of airstrikes and heavy artillery. Some attacks and have occurred in urban areas with damage to civilian infrastructure, including religious buildings.
Sagaing, Magway and Chin States
Localised conflict and violence has also increased in parts of Sagaing, Magway and northern Chin States affecting urban areas and resulting in civilian displacement. Instances of violence and attacks are unpredictable in location, scale and severity.
Myanmar’s Border Areas
Security along Myanmar's large border varies. Armed groups operate in these areas including at land border crossings. Several border crossings have been closed.
Previous terrorist attacks in Myanmar have targeted government buildings, hotels, shopping centres and public transport.
Since the military takeover the incidence of small blasts has progressively increased across most parts of the country. Although most blasts have targeted security forces or administrative elements appointed by the ruling council, the threat to the public remains high. There is a high threat of clashes between armed groups and the military in major urban centres.
To stay safe:
If there's an attack, leave the area as soon as it's safe. Avoid the affected area in case there's a secondary attack.
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Crime rates in Myanmar are lower than many countries in the region. However, you could encounter:
To help protect yourself against theft:
When using credit cards or ATMs:
Report any theft straight away to local police. See Local contacts
The monsoon season is from May to October, bringing:
Disruptions to services are likely during severe weather events, including:
Cyclones can happen between April and October. Confirm the location of your local shelter as soon as possible.
Check the Myanmar Department of Meteorology and Hydrology for news on conditions.
Earthquakes can happen in Myanmar.
Past earthquakes have damaged major cities in Myanmar, including Yangon and Bagan.
Myanmar's exposure to earthquakes makes destructive tsunamis more likely.
If there's a natural disaster:
Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance for the whole time you’ll be away. A ban on overseas travel from Australia remains in place. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
Confirm what your policy covers, including in terms of activities, care, and health and travel disruptions. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
If you travel to high-risk parts of Myanmar despite our advice, you'll probably need a special insurance policy that covers this travel. Most Australian policies won't cover you for travel to places noted in this travel advice as 'do not travel'.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition. Consider whether you may be in a vulnerable category for COVID-19.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
If you need counselling services while overseas, contact the Australian Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 and ask to speak to a Lifeline telephone counsellor.
COVID-19 infection rates remain high across Myanmar. Stay-at-home orders have been imposed across Myanmar, including townships in Yangon, to curb transmission. Penalties may be imposed if you breach the restrictions.
There's a public website in Burmese and a hotline (067-3420268) that provides some advice in English.
Due to civil unrest, there is very limited testing and reporting of COVID-19 cases.
If authorities assess you have COVID-19, you may be required to isolate at home or be quarantined at a local facility, possibly for an extended period.
Limited medical facilities in Myanmar are severely stretched by COVID-19, particularly outside Yangon. Medical evacuations may be delayed or not possible.
You should consult your local health professional for advice on vaccine options, including assistance that may be available locally. The Australian Government cannot provide advice on the safety, quality and efficacy of vaccines that have been approved for use outside of Australia's regulatory process.
Check the Australian Immunisation Handbook (Department of Health) before you travel to Myanmar.
Make sure you're up to date with recommended vaccinations, including polio (Department of Health). You may need a booster.
Speak with your doctor about your travel plans. If you're not sure if you're vaccinated for polio, ask. Also check your need for vaccines for:
If you're staying longer than 4 weeks, you'll need to show proof on exit that you've had the polio vaccine or a booster within the past 12 months. If you don't, you may need to be vaccinated before leaving Myanmar.
In many areas, insect-borne diseases are widespread. These include:
To protect yourself from disease:
HIV/AIDS (WHO) is common in Myanmar. Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to the virus.
Rabies (WHO) can be fatal. It's found in various animals in Myanmar.
Never feed, pat or tease dogs or monkeys.
If a dog, monkey or other animal bites or scratches you, get treatment as soon as possible.
Waterborne, foodborne and other infectious diseases are common and include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
Get urgent medical help if you think you have food poisoning, or if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to take medication, check if it's legal in Myanmar. Take enough legal medication for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating:
Get advice from a Myanmar embassy or consulate on quantity restrictions that may apply.
Be aware that medications for sale in Myanmar are often fake.
The standard of medical facilities in Myanmar is extremely limited, particularly outside Yangon.
Avoid any surgical procedures, including dental work. Unclean medical instruments can cause infections such as:
Emergency medical care, including ambulances, is not often available. There's an ambulance service (often without a paramedic) attached to most private hospitals. Each has its own phone number.
Private hospitals may not be able to accept foreign patients. You may need to pay cash up-front before receiving medical treatment.
If you become seriously ill or injured, including with COVID-19, a medical evacuation may be delayed or not possible.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Myanmar authorities don't always notify consular staff about Australians who've been arrested, detained or deported from Myanmar. If you're quarantined, arrested or jailed, ask to contact the Australian Embassy straight away.
Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty.
It's illegal to leave the scene of an accident. Drivers involved in an accident with another vehicle are usually detained if there are injuries. A driver involved in an accident with a pedestrian is always at fault, regardless of what happened. Authorities will probably detain the driver.
Legal cases to resolve traffic disputes can be long. They can affect your visa status. Drivers often expect a cash payment to settle the matter at the time of the accident.
You could be charged costs for injuries or damaged vehicles. The embassy can't help you negotiate. However, they can give you a list of lawyers who can help.
Myanmar has the death penalty for serious offences, including:
These activities are illegal in Myanmar:
It's also illegal to:
Don't post negative comments about individuals or Myanmar on social media.
Customs laws on banned imports and exports can be unclear and change without notice. Ask a Myanmar embassy or consulate about the latest rules.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
People in Myanmar are deeply respectful of their religious and cultural traditions.
Standards of dress and behaviour are modest.
It's considered offensive to touch or pat anyone on the top of the head.
Respect local customs and take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.
Avoid wearing sleeveless tops and shorts in Myanmar, especially when visiting religious sites. It may cause offence.
Always take off your shoes and socks before entering religious sites.
Visa rules may have changed since COVID-19. Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. Check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. If you don't meet the conditions, the Australian Government can't help you.
You need a visa to enter and stay in Myanmar. Entering without a visa can result in a prison sentence.
Apply for a visa at your closest Myanmar embassy before you travel.
Online applications for an e-Visa is currently suspended due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Monitor the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population website for updates.
You can't use e-Visas at seaports. Cruise passengers must arrange visas in advance.
Be aware of unauthorised websites that claim to offer e-Visas. Some websites will provide a genuine visa for an extra fee, but some others are fake.
Australians who were born in Myanmar are not eligible for visa on arrival.
Be careful about using links in emails or other websites to access the official site. To avoid a scam, use official Myanmar Government services to arrange your visa.
The local government strictly controls travel to parts of Myanmar, including through visa conditions. Authorities have deported or detained Australians for visa offences.
You should maintain a valid visa at all times.
If you overstay your visa, authorities won't let you leave until you pay a fine. You might also be:
If you break other visa conditions, authorities could arrest or deport you.
Meet your visa conditions at all times.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
There are limited international flights departing Yangon. Book directly with airlines or through your travel agent.
Myanmar authorities have directed airlines that all bookings to depart Myanmar must have been made at least 10 days prior to the intended date of departure and be shared with Myanmar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Passengers transiting Malaysia must be able to show a negative COVID-19 (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of departure from Myanmar.
Australians returning from Myanmar are exempt from the Australian Government requirement to obtain a pre-departure COVID-19 (PCR) test, though transit countries and airlines may have separate testing requirements in place.
Movement restrictions, including stay-at-home orders, curfews and building quarantines, may be imposed at short notice.
If you're remaining in Myanmar:
Due to COVID-19, Myanmar is not issuing visas for visitors. Contact a Myanmar embassy if you want to submit an application. The Australian Embassy is not able to support individual visa applications.
If you are in Myanmar, contact the nearest Immigration Offices to extend your visa.
The Myanmar Government must approve passengers on any incoming flight, even if passengers already have a valid visa. Seek support from relevant ministries in Myanmar and permission through a Myanmar embassy. The Australian Embassy is not able to support your request to board an incoming flight.
Incoming travellers need to present evidence on arrival of a COVID-19 PCR test completed within 72 hours prior to the date of departure. Travellers also need to complete 10 days hotel quarantine and undergo COVID-19 testing at the direction of the Ministry of Health and Sports.
Incoming travellers identified as COVID-19 positive will be immediately isolated and a transferred to government medical facility. Travellers may need to meet all of the costs of isolation and treatment at the facility.
You can't travel to or from Myanmar by land border crossing due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Since November 2016, foreigners have not been allowed to travel to the Muse (Shan State)-Ruili (China) border crossing. This is due to civil unrest in the area.
Travellers must stay in registered hotels and guesthouses.
If you plan to stay for more than 90 days, you must register your address with immigration authorities. You must also get a Foreigners Registration Card.
Let Immigration know if you change hotels or will be away from your registered address for a while.
Customs regulations are restrictive. Officials limit what you can bring into the country.
Declare foreign currency over USD10,000 or equivalent when you arrive and leave. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash. If you don't, you could be jailed.
Customs authorities are sensitive about some communications equipment such as:
If you don't declare restricted or banned items, customs may confiscate them. You may be able to collect undeclared items when you leave the country.
Strict rules control the export of:
If you plan to take something home, check it's legal before you buy it.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Myanmar Kyat (MMK).
Cash is widely used. Foreign currency is sometimes refused because of people using fake notes.
Shops and other businesses often accept US currency. Notes with pen marks, folds or tears are often refused.
Other foreign currencies and traveller's cheques are rarely accepted.
It's illegal to exchange foreign currency except through authorised money changers. Find official money changers at Myanmar's international airports and in banks.
There's a growing number of ATMs that accept international cards.
The banking sector is presently experiencing severe disruption. Availability of cash at ATMs is limited or non-existent. You may find some ATMs are not working. Long waiting lines, for functioning ATMs, are frequent.
Some bank branches may be closed and some banks have imposed limits on daily withdrawals. Electronic payments and transfers are working.
Ask your bank if your card will work in Myanmar.
Credit cards are accepted in a growing number of:
If intending to pay for hotels or restaurants with a credit or debit card, you should confirm prior that it will be possible. Vendors often charge additional fees for transactions by credit or debit card.
Power cuts and unreliable internet can affect credit card services.
International money transfers are available through many banks in Yangon.
The government controls travel within parts of Myanmar, including to and from land border crossings.
If you plan to visit areas other than popular tourist areas with local authorities, check the list of restricted areas. Visit the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population website.
A curfew is in place across Myanmar, stay at home during curfew hours and shelter-in-place. See Safety
Australian Embassy officials need to seek approval to travel a number of areas in Myanmar, and approvals can take a long time. Emergency consular help in remote areas may be delayed.
Unmarked landmines make parts of Myanmar dangerous. This is especially the case:
Landmine locations may not be marked. Stick to established roads.
In November 2019, a foreign tourist was killed by a landmine while travelling outside of Hsipaw town in northern Shan State.
Myanmar's Water Festival (Thingyan) and New Year is celebrated in April each year. There's an increased risk of road accidents due to:
In past years, crime has increased during the festival. Pay attention to your personal security.
Many services close down for Thingyan, including:
Roads are sometimes closed in Yangon and other regional centres. Plan ahead.
Travellers are often asked to show their passport and visa to authorities. This often occurs:
Foreigners who stay in Myanmar for more than 90 days have to show their Foreigners Registration Card.
The safety standards you might expect of service providers are not always met. This applies to:
Operators may not provide enough safety equipment. Maintenance and safety standards may be poor or non-existent.
If you plan to do an adventure activity:
If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.
Communication services in Myanmar are improving.
Internet services are available but are unreliable outside cities and large towns. Restrictions on internet access apply.
The phone network is also unreliable and limited outside of cities and large towns.
You can send and receive text messages only from some Australian mobiles to mobile phones inside Myanmar. Many travellers buy a local pre-paid SIM card. If you're subscribing for urgent travel advice updates by SMS, remember to provide your best number.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications has in the past, suspended telecommunications services in response to the security situation without prior notice.
It's illegal to drive cars or motorbikes using an Australian or international driving licence.
You must have a valid Myanmar driver's licence.
You can apply for this through the Road Transport Administration Department Myanmar.
You're 4 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Myanmar than in Australia.
Roads in Myanmar are dangerous because of:
Roads in mountainous border areas can be particularly poor. Many drivers in regional areas don't use their headlights at night.
Vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. However, both left-hand and right-hand drive vehicles are used throughout the country. This adds to the dangerous driving conditions.
Australian Embassy staff are advised to avoid travelling by car in the countryside at night. This includes travelling on the Yangon-Naypyitaw-Mandalay highway.
Outside of major cities, military and immigration checkpoints on roads are common.
If you plan to drive:
Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when riding a motorbike.
Companies that hire motorbikes often don't supply helmets. Most helmets bought locally don't meet Australian safety standards.
Always wear a helmet.
Registered taxis have red licence plates and are easy to find.
Agree on the fare with the driver before your trip.
Take extra care if using taxis at night.
Registered rideshare services operate in Yangon.
Public transport doesn't meet international safety standards. This includes:
Fatal accidents have occurred, especially on overnight trips.
Search and rescue resources are very limited.
Domestic airlines have imposed travel restrictions due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Changes may occur at short notice.
The safety record of domestic airlines is not available. There is no data about how well local planes are maintained. This lack of transparency raises concerns about airline safety.
Airlines operating in Myanmar sometimes use aircraft from outside their own fleet. When this happens, passengers are not told in advance.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Myanmar's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 192 (Yangon General Hospital).
Call 199 or contact the local police.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Check the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in Yangon.
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.