How to stay safe in Myanmar2019-09-25edit Ye Naung
Myanmar is often called the Golden Land, an undiscovered treasure of Southeast Asia, a cultural wonderland, a huge mix of ethnic groups, rich history, and her astonishing nature definitely make it a favorite of yours, guests from international.
Myanmar people know that tourism as a very important sector of the country's economy, therefore, people, in fact, care about safety of the Tourists. On the other hand, Myanmar citizens are naturally sociable and generous and good-hearted persons.
Due to the country’s strict penalties it imposes on criminals, and also subtle and profound influence of the Buddhism, pick-pocketing and purse snatching is rare, in Myanmar.
But it’s not COMPLETE heaven for the tourists. There has been an ongoing, over 70-year-long ethnic civil war tragically and some places are restricted by the Government for your safety. Myanmar may not APPEAR safe at times, because of on-going ethnic “issues”, but, as a tourist, these hardly affect you.
However, Standard safety measures should be exercised, such as keeping valuables concealed and a firm grip on bags, just in case. Police presence is prevalent, with many stations boasting large signs in English that read, "May I help you?" and police don´t allow foreigners to go to areas where there is even a small risk of violence.
Tourist police were introduced to Myanmar since 2013, with the creation of a Tourist Police Department within the Myanmar Police Force. One of the aims of the department is to provide security for the country’s growing number of foreign tourists. They are also arranging to increase the number of Tourist Policemen.
But, you can still face some crime such as your belongings were stolen, unfortunately. If so, what should you do?
Firstly, you should inform your case to the tourist polices, which are deployed to help international guests like you. Here is complete official list of their phone numbers to contact; the phone numbers you should contact are depended on where you are.
Furthermore, there are some Touts, Pests, and Scams, which you can expect to face in Myanmar. As you know, it is a third world country and job opportunities are still something scarcity. For that reason, there are some people who work as the touts, it isn’t necessarily dangerous but you may find it is disturbed. Even if you say them that you had already stayed at certain hotels, they try to dissuade you, and say the place you've chosen is "no good" or that "foreigners can't stay there".
The touts make their money by collecting commissions from the hotels they direct visitors to. If you know where you want to go, politely but firmly tell them, and they'll back down and let you carry on your way.
Compared to other parts of Southeast Asia, this really is a minor problem in Myanmar – you may not ever come across a tout in your travels here.
First of all, I would like to request that just don’t let these scammers change your view on the lovely and sociable people of Myanmar.
At the tourist hotspots such as Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan or Inle Lake, you would find that vendors will likely increase their prices, trying to scam tourists into spending more for what they buy. But, when you are traveling through remote areas, the prices of the same commodities will be really fair. And the locals will frankly reveal about prices and recommendations transparently.
Regarding this, by far the most touristic area in Myanmar, the Bagan, which is recently enlisted as the World Heritage site by the UNESCO, is the worst of these places. You might find a few rude and pushy locals who make hard sells, trying to guilt-trip you, just to get a few extra dollars.
Even though this will make you feel uncomfortable while you’re at the Bagan, there is no threat to your safety. Simply walk away without playing their games.
Finally, I would like to remind that please make sure that you had bought local SIM cards, which are very cheap in Myanmar. Anyway, letting know your closed friends and family members, by posting your photos, location or some information on social media or something like that, where you are and with whom is a good security measure while you are in Myanmar or wherever you are.
Here, we would present some important contacts of tourist police it will be needed when you think of your safety is violated, in case.
No. Location & Phone Number
- The Head Quarter (067-414303, 067-414364)
- Naypyitaw (067-414226)
- Yangon (01-379991)
- Mandalay (02-67382)
- Pyin Oo Lwin (09-422527811)
- Bagan (061-65474)
- Popa (09-256261413)
- Shan (081-209911)
- Pindaya (09-49355319)
- Kalaw (09-428313074)
- Tachileik (09-428003877)
- Ayarwaddy (09-250236373)
- Srikhittayar (09-250188328)
- Bago (09-250343438)
- Beikthano (09-250471372)
- Beikthano (063-51148)
- Hanlin (09-2560167729, 09-47061503)
- Mingon (09-797399188)
- Mawlamyaing (09-8548090)
- Kyaikthiyoe (09-428206641)
- Ngapali (09-403714839, 043-42191)
- Mrauk-U (09-253448499, 09-78719105)
- Myawaddy (09-43200250)
- Kanpatlat (09-73056986)
- Dawei (09-250477105, 09-47053133)
- Loikaw (09-420153119)