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Burma Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Union of Burma
Capital City: Rangoon (Yangon)
Language Spoken: Burmese, minority ethnic groups have their own languages

Burma Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

22 00 N, 98 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Andaman Sea 0 m highest point: Hkakabo Razi 5,881 m

Land boundaries

total: 5,876 km border countries: Bangladesh 193 km, China 2,185 km, India 1,463 km, Laos 235 km, Thailand 1,800 km

Natural hazards

destructive earthquakes and cyclones; flooding and landslides common during rainy season (June to September); periodic droughts

Natural resources

petroleum, timber, tin, antimony, zinc, copper, tungsten, lead, coal, some marble, limestone, precious stones, natural gas, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 14.92% permanent crops: 1.31% other: 83.77% (2005)

Environmental current issues

deforestation; industrial pollution of air, soil, and water; inadequate sanitation and water treatment contribute to disease

Climate

A monsoon climate with three main seasons. The hottest period is between February and May, with little or no rain. Rainy season exists from May to October and dry, cooler weather from October to February. Required clothing Lightweight cottons and linens throughout most of the year are required. A light raincoat or umbrella is needed during the rainy season. Warmer clothes are advised for coolest period and some evenings.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+6.5 note: Nay Pyi Taw is administrative capital

Population

47,382,633 note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 26.4% (male 6,335,236/female 6,181,216) 15-64 years: 68.5% (male 16,011,723/female 16,449,626) 65 years and over: 5.1% (male 1,035,853/female 1,368,979) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 27 years male: 26.4 years female: 27.6 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

0.81% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

17.91 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

9.83 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.76 male(s)/female total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 60.97 years male: 58.07 years female: 64.03 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.98 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Lightweight suits are recommended during the day and jackets needed for top-level meetings. Most commercial business transactions will be conducted in English. Business cards in Burmese script can be useful. Handshaking is the normal form of greeting. Full names are used, preceded by U (pronounced oo) in the case of an older or well-respected man's name, Aung for younger men and Ko for adult males; a woman's name is preceded by Daw. When sitting, avoid displaying the soles of the feet, as this is considered offensive. Small presents are acceptable and appreciated, although never expected. Office hours are normally 0930-1630 Monday to Friday.

Crime

Security in tourist areas is generally good. The level of violent crime is exceedingly low and crimes against property are modest. There are occasional reports of pickpocketing and petty theft. Travel to the main tourist areas of Pagan, Inle Lake and the Mandalay area is generally safe. Travel to nearly all other parts of Myanmar is permitted, although transportation is difficult.

Hotels

Since the privatization of the hotel industry in 1993, a large number of new hotels and guesthouses have been completed or are under construction, particularly in Rangoon. There are also hotels at the resorts of Sandoway, Taunggyi and Pagan.

Communications

Telephone direct dial services is available to the main cities. Country code: 95. Outgoing international code: 0. There is a limited public internal service. Telegrams may be sent from the Central Telegraph Office on Maha Bandoola Street and there are further facilities at the Post and Telecommunications Corporation in Rangoon. Telex facilities are available to businessmen at main hotels but not to the public.

Electricity

is a 220/230 volts AC, 50Hz. Electricity 230 volts AC, 50Hz.

Plug Types

C,D,F,G

Food And Dining

The regional food is hot and spicy. Fish, rice, noodles and vegetables spiced with onions, ginger, garlic and chillies are the common local ingredients. Local dishes include lethok son (a sort of spicy vegetarian rice salad), mohinga (fish soup with noodles) and oh-no khauk swe (rice noodles, chicken and coconut milk). The avocados by Inle Lake are very good. Delicious fruits are available in the markets and food stalls appear on the corners of most large towns. Chinese and Indian cuisine is offered in many hotels and restaurants. Tea is a popular drink; the spices which are added to it can make the tongue turn bright red. Locally produced soft drinks are generally of poor quality and rather expensive. Coffee is not common. Locally produced beer, rum, whisky and gin are generally available.

Tipping:
It is usual to give 5 to 10 per cent on hotel and restaurant bills. Taxi drivers do not expect a tip.

Nightlife
Western-style nightlife is almost non existent, although there are occasional performances in Yangon?s three theaters as well as a number of rock and pop groups gaining in popularity. Cinemas are popular and seven of Yangon?s 50 cinemas regularly show English-language films.

Entry departure requirements

Entry restrictions Holders of passports issued by the government of the Chinese Taipei, if not holding a special affidavit issued by a diplomatic representation of Myanmar abroad.

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months beyond date of intended departure required by all.

Visas

Required by all except transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft, provided holding valid onward or return documentation and not leaving the airport.

Note

A separate visa is required for each child over seven years of age, even if traveling on their parent?s passport.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist (Foreign Independent Travelers - FIT): US$24 Business and Social: US$34

Validity

Tourist visas are valid for two months from the date of issue for stays of 28 days in Myanmar. This can be extended for an additional 14 days. Business visas are valid for three months from date of issue for stays of 10 weeks, extendable for up to 12 months on an individual basis. Transit visas are valid for 24 hours.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy; see General Info section).

Application requirements

(a) One application form. (b) Two passport-size photos. (c) Valid passport. (d) Fee (cash accepted if applying in person; cheque or postal order only if applying by post). (e) Self-addressed, stamped enveloped for postal applications with sufficient postage (registered post is recommended). Social Visit (visiting friends or relatives in Myanmar): (a) Two application forms (can be photocopied). (b) Three passport size photos. (c) Valid passport. (d) Fee (cash or postal order). (e) Self-addressed stamped envelope for postal applications with sufficient postage (registered post is recommended). (f) Letter of invitation from friends or relatives in Myanmar. Business: (a)-(e) and (f) Company letter explaining purpose of visit. (g) Letter of invitation from company in Myanmar.

Working days required

Normally three.

Temporary Residence

It is possible to get a stay permit once in Myanmar at the Immigration Department.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

US$10, payable also in FECs (Foreign Exchange Certificates; see also Money section for details). Passengers in direct transit are exempt.

Embassies

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in the UK

19A Charles Street, Berkeley Square, London W1J 5DX, UK
Tel: (020) 7499 4340 or (0906) 550 8924 (recorded visa and tourism information; calls cost ?1 per minute).
Website: http://www.londonmyanmarembassy.com/
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0930-1630.

Embassy of the Union of Myanmar in the USA

2300 S Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008, USA
Tel: (202) 332 9044/5.
Website: www.mewashingtondc.com or http://www.londonmyanmarembassy.com/

Travelers should exercise caution on visits to Myanmar, and avoid all but essential travel to the Myanmar side of the Myanmar/Thai border.
Travelers should be aware of the threat from terrorism in Myanmar. There have been a number of recent bomb explosions in public places, targets have included commercial interests and places tourists may visit as well as public transport.
The political situation in Myanmar remains unsettled, there are stringent restrictions on freedom of movement and speech.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Website: www.fco.gov.uk

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html

Currency

Kyat (MMK) = 100 pyas. Notes are in denominations of MMK1000, 500, 200, 100 and 90 pyas. Coins are in denominations of MMK1, and 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 pyas. MMK100,000 is known as a lakh, and MMK10 million as a crore. Kyat is pronounced like the English word ?chat?. To combat the black market and limit the financial power of dissident groups, currency denominations are occasionally declared invalid without prior notice. Limited refunds are usually allowed for certain sectors of the population.

Currency restrictions

The import and export of local currency is prohibited. There are no import limits on foreign currencies, but any amounts must be declared on arrival and the declaration certificate kept safe ? on departure, foreign currencies are checked with the amounts declared on entry. There are regular customs checks at Yangon airport, aimed at curbing black-market activities; this makes it essential to keep all receipts in order to account for money spent while in the country.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 1000-1400.

Currency exchange

FECs, which are printed in China, are Myanmar?s second legal currency and are issued by the Bank of Myanmar specifically for visiting tourists. They come in denominations equivalent to US$20, 10, 5 and 1. Payment for FECs is only accepted in US Dollars. One US Dollar equals one FEC. FECs can be exchanged into Kyats at officially authorized banks, bureaux de change, hotels and Myanmar Travel and Tour offices and can be spent anywhere in the country. Cash payments can also be made in US Dollars, but only at establishments (eg hotels, railway stations, airlines) that have an official license allowing them to accept dollars. Wherever possible, it is advisable to change US Dollars into Kyats rather than FECs, as FECs usually have a poorer exchange rate than Kyats. However, US Dollar travelers cheques can only be exchanged into FECs and not directly into Kyats unlike US Dollar cash. It is also recommended to carry small change as large notes may be difficult to change. Euros are now also accepted in all banks and currency exchange bureaux. There are no ATMs.

Credit cards

It is unlikely that credit or debit cards will be accepted; it is best to check with your card company prior to travel.

Travellers cheques

Accepted, although probably not by all establishments. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Pounds Sterling.

N/A

  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Generally the quality of medication cannot be guaranteed in Myanmar, as heat damaged and out of date supplies may be stocked

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe in Myanmar

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Burma are inadequate for even routine medical care. There are few trained medical personnel because the universities were closed for several years and have recently reopened. Common drugs for sale, such as insulin, are often adulterated products and unsafe to use. HIV/AIDS is rampant in the country, as is malaria and hepatitis. Hospital and medical services are available in Rangoon; elsewhere, medical care is limited.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

A new strain of cholera (Bengal cholera) has appeared in Myanmar. Disease caused by this new strain is characterized by extremely rapid onset of severe symptoms. The current cholera vaccine affords no protection against this new strain; therefore, particular caution should be taken with food, beverages and personal hygiene. Persons becoming ill should seek immediate medical care and rehydration therapy. AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured.

Immunization

Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Japanese Encephalitis: Consider vaccination if staying a month or more from May to October when transmission is presumed to occur, especially if travel includes rural areas. Also consider if staying less than 30 days during that period and at high risk (in case of epidemic outbreak or extensive outdoor exposure in rural areas). Repeated outbreaks are reported from Shan State in the Chiang Mai Valley. Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: considered an important cause of disease in this area. Chikungunya fever - occurs Dengue fever - occurs Dengue Hemorrhagic fever - occurs Encephalitis (Japanese type) - common (endemic/hyperendemic countrywide) Filariasis - prevalent in rural areas Leishmaniasis (visceral) - common Malaria - common Plague - occurs Typhus (mite-borne) - occurs in deforested areas Food-borne and water-borne illness: these diseases are common. Cholera - occurs Dysentery (amoebic and bacillary) - occurs Fasciolopsiasis (giant intestinal fluke) - occurs Hepatitis - occurs Melioidosis - occurs Trachoma - occurs Typhoid fever - occurs Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends throughout the year. Rabies - occurs

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers coming from infected areas. Nationals and residents of Myanmar are required to possess certificates of vaccination on their departure to an infected area.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Academy Private Hospital335 Lower Kyee Myin Daing Road Htar Nar Ward Yangon
Australian Embassy Health Clinic62 U Wisara Road Dagon Tsp Yangon
Home Medicare Service ClinicNo. 30 Shwe Taung Tan Street Lanmadaw Township Yangon
International SOS ClinicThe New World Inya Lake Hotel 37 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road Yangon
Mandalay Children's HospitalCor. of 30th Street & 74th Street Mandalay
Mandalay General Hospital30th Street between 74th Street & 77th Street Mandalay
Mandalay Orthopaedic Hospital30th Street between 74th Street & 77th Street Mandalay
Pacific Medical Center81 Kaba Aye Pagoda Road Bahan Yangon
Pun Hlaing International HospitalHlaing Tha Yar Yangon
Sakura Medical Centre23 Shin Saw Pu Road Sanchaung Township Yangon
Universities HospitalAung Mingala Ward University Estate Mandalay

Media

Press: The only English-language newspapers are the Guardian and the New Light of Myanmar. Myanmar Travel & Tours also publishes a tourist publication, Today, in English.
Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

 

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