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?
12 January 2021
There's a ban on overseas travel from Australia. You can’t leave Australia unless you get an exemption from the Department of Home Affairs.
All our 177 travel advisories on Smartraveller are set at 'Do not travel' due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.
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. 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?
Do not travel to Myanmar.
Do not travel overseas due to the health risks from the COVID-19 pandemic and the significant disruptions to global travel.
Do not travel to:
Due to ongoing armed conflict. See Safety
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Full travel advice: Travel
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 allowed with prior permission. 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. Fighting between armed groups occurs in a number of areas in Myanmar. Attacks have resulted in civilian and military casualties. 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
There's ongoing armed conflict between armed groups and military forces in Rakhine State (across northern and central Rakhine) and Paletwa Township in Chin State. The conflict has not affected the resort areas at Ngapali Beach.
The government now restricts the movement of people. Internet services are uncertain in wide areas of northern Rakhine State and in Paletwa, where blocking and lifting of restrictions could change at short notice.
Civilians have been kidnapped, detained and killed by armed groups, and killed or injured in clashes, including in Sittwe. Explosive devices have been reported in Rakhine State, including on main roads. Familiarise yourself with local curfews and travel restrictions.
Northern Shan State
There's ongoing armed conflict between ethnic groups and military forces in Northern Shan State.
There has been sporadic fighting between Myanmar security forces and armed groups in northern Shan State since August 2019.
Active conflict has been limited in Kachin State recently, though clashes can and have occurred, the latest on 29 June, 2020 where an ethnic armed organisation and the military clashed in central Kachin State.
Myanmar’s Border Areas
Security along Myanmar's large border varies. Armed groups operate in these areas including at land border crossings.
Previous terrorist attacks in Myanmar have targeted government buildings, hotels, shopping centres and public transport.
There were reports that Myanmar security forces were investigating possible attacks by armed groups in Naypyitaw on 16 and 26 September, and 16 and 26 October 2019, and on unspecified dates in Naypyitaw, Yangon and Mandalay. In November 2016, several small explosions targeted government offices and shopping centres in Yangon. No casualties were reported. In October 2013 a series of small bombings occurred including in Yangon, 2 people were killed. In April 2010, there were 3 bomb blasts in Yangon that killed 11 people during the annual Thingyan Water Festival period.
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:
This advice pre-dates COVID-19 and the Australian Government's travel ban for all Australians.
Make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance for the whole time you’ll be away. 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.
If authorities suspected you have COVID-19, you'll be quarantined at a local facility, possibly for an extended period.
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.
If you're travelling for tourism or business, you can apply for an e-Visa online.
Apply for an e-Visa through the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population website. Print out the e-Visa approval letter for your arrival.
Use an e-Visa to enter Myanmar at:
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 citizens can apply for a tourist visa on arrival at Yangon, Mandalay and Naypyitaw airports. 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.
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.
International commercial flights aren't currently allowed to land in Myanmar.
There are limited flights departing Yangon. Book directly with airlines or through your travel agent.
Movement restrictions, including stay-at-home orders, curfews and building quarantines, may be imposed at short notice.
If you're remaining in Myanmar:
Visas during COVID-19
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.
Entry during COVID-19
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 may need to complete up to 28 days quarantine and undergo COVID-19 testing at the direction of the Ministry of Health and Sports.
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, 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 to 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. Damaged or folded notes 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. These ATMs provide limited cash advances on credit and debit cards.
Ask your bank if your card will work in Myanmar.
Credit cards are accepted in a growing number of:
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, check the list of restricted areas. Visit the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population website.
A curfew is in place for some townships in Rakhine and Southern Chin States. 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.
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 late 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.
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.
The Foreign Minister has decided to direct departures of all remaining non-essential staff and dependants from the Australian High Commission. This will not affect the provision of services to Australians.
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.