An Asia Highlights team has just returned from a 10-day Myanmar(Burma) Inspection Trip early in 2017. From our personal experience and up-to-date information from our local offices, it is definitely safe to travel to all key Myanmar destinations – Yangon, Bagan, Inle Lake, Kalaw, Ngapali and Mandalay.
But we do understand concerns about safety. Myanmar just opened in 2010 and is still an unknown destination to most people, especially westerners. Recent (2016) negative news and reports in international media about bombings in Yangon and civil unrest in other parts of the country seemed to depict Myanmar as unsafe.
Such news represents just a tiny fraction of the facts about Myanmar, however! It is unfair to classify Myanmar as unsafe simply because of those incidents. Actually travelers to Myanmar should be more concerned about pickpockets in crowded areas than about their physical safety.
Civil conflict in some parts of eastern and northern Myanmar has been reported. Most no-go zones are in Kachin and Shan States, close to the border with China and Thailand. Those areas are closed to foreigners and far away from the main tourist destinations.
The United Kingdom and Australia still recommend travelers to avoid Rakhine (Rakhaing) State in western Myanmar, but Mrauk U in northern Rakhine has been embracing more and more travelers in recent years.
For first-timers, the most famous destinations – Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan, Kalaw and Yangon – provide more than enough substance for visiting, experiencing and knowing the real Myanmar. Side-trips to Ngapali Beach, the Golden Rock or Hpa are also optional.
These places will provide first-timers with an enjoyable time in Myanmar. On the safety front there is nothing to worry about if you stay within these boundaries.
Excellent planned and executed Myanmar excursion
Asia Highlights and their local Myanmar partner "mAsia" did an excellent job in planning and execution of a one week trip to Myanmar.The various tour guides and drivers had good knowledge and good command over English.More
Gerd, Jan 2018
My experience in Thai
All of this was well organized by the local office. The holiday was wonderful. Our guide, Mr. Longdy（ Siem Reap）were exceptional. He shared his extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions. Thank you so much .shared their extensive knowledge of the many wonderful places we visited, and were flexible to take us to additional places along the way based on discussions.More
kelli, Jul 2023
From the day I submitted an inquiry request, I instantly received a response from Monica asking my preferences for my trip. She has been attentive and responsive to our every needs and we very much appreciate it. Looking forward to our trip in November but many thanks to Monica for making this experience to seamless thus far.More
Sana Samhouri, Jul 2023
Very professional agency for a memorable trip to Asia
A special thanks to Albee who worked with us and helped to tailor the itinerary to our taste, she was amazing and always available for whatever we needed. The trip would not have been the same without her and her team. Thank you!More
Daniela, Jul 2023
It was our first time in Cambodia and …
It was our first time in Cambodia and we had a wonderful time. The accommodations, food, and sites were really beautiful. We ended our trip with a relaxing massage. Sam was very accommodating to our needs and knowledgeable. Thank you for the laughter and for being so kind.More
Amy Oakes Moon, Jun 2023
Our guide Borin - never boring!
Our guide Borin, in Cambodia, was knowledgeable, understanding and thoughtful in every aspect of the plan he put together for our trip to Siem Reap and in its execution. He can read the room, and knew exactly how to pace the tour, when to pause, when to break, and how to prepare us for the maximum benefit. He is extremely kind and caring, and it showed at every turn. He also is a dab hand with the camera, and we have a lot of great pictures to show for it. Kudos to my Asia Highlights coordinator - Cathy Chen, for picking Borin. Borin works with a driver (007) who was also very kind and caring. Whenever we returned to the car, he would have cold towel rolls and chilled water to refresh us. So amazingly considerate. It was an unforgettable experienceMore
David Muliyil, Jun 2023
Our guide, Anna, was fantastic! She was highly informative and a delight to spend our days with. Would request her again if we were to return!More
Alejandra M Almonte, Jun 2023
We've had such a great experience…
We've had such a great experience planning our honeymoon with Alisa at Asia Highlights! We gave her our dream itinerary, thinking that it might be impossible to do all the things we wanted, but Alisa made our dreams a reality! She's gone so far above and beyond to answer ALL of our questions and make little adjustments that will make a huge impact on our experience.More
Lauren, Jun 2023
Alisa knows how to work fast and please a customer.
Alisa is very helpful and works very fast. I am a very difficult client because Inknow what I want in therm of hotels and comfort. She had a lot of patience with me, and moved a lot the plan of the trip, always following my requests. It was a pleasure organizing my trip with her. I recommend her a lot! Thanks Alisa. Malala from Argentina.More
maria laura artola, Jun 2023
In addition, I want to specifically mention the guides provided in certain locations. Rum, in Siem Reap, made the most memorable experience possible. His positivity was contagious - even when it felt like 1000 degrees and we were tired. He brought it all to life, and created a couple days of Ankor Wat, etc. that we will never forget! He heard my daughter's request for specific Cambodian food, and changed our itinerary to go to a village and eat at a locally known shop. He brought the dessert she asked about to us in the car! Overall, he and his driver "Lucky" were a reason to go to Siem Reap. In addition, the other guides (minus one which was switched out immediately) were stupendous. Mon in Bangkok was friendly and provided a great day there; Eak in Chiang Mai gave us a world-class food-tour and day touring the city and its surrounding temples with lots of laughs; Tommy in Hanoi kept us from getting killed in the traffic and gave a stupendous food and architecture/history tour - so very friendly and funny; the fishing village tour in Hoi An, as well as the side-car tour in Saigon, were both unforgettable! Thank you Sharon, and Asia Highlights. Would definitely use again for future trips!More
Teri Simpson, Apr 2023
Cambodia and Vietnam adventure!
Our guide in Cambodia, Meas Darapolaith (Pol), was absolutely amazing. He was knowledgeable, friendly and so helpful. His English was excellent and he shared important insights about history and the magnificent sites we visited. We highly recommend him!More
Jennifer Roth Krieger, Apr 2023
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE…
My daughter and I wanted to discover SE Asia. Being the first in that region, we wanted to use a tour service company. We ended up using Asia Highlights. From the beginning we were impressed with their services. We left home with of mind because all the pre-travel arrangements were taking care and communicate to us efficiently. All our questions were answered promptly. Once in the countries, we were welcome by our excellent tour guides. Everything was taking care for us. We did not have one issue. They selected the right tours guides for us, they were highly knowledgeable and so much attentive to our needs. We had Dhat in Vietnam and Borin in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I highly recommend Asia Highlights. I came back home so much rested, and with plenty of wonderful pictures and memories. I will definitely use Asia Highlights again for my next trip to Asia.More
Isabelle Dessaux, Apr 2023
Fabulous tour and guide in Cambodia
We have been touring Cambodia, guided by Borin ( and driver 007) for the last 2 days. What a fabulous experience! Borin has been a wonderful guide, the best so far in Southeast Asia, explaining the history and culture of Cambodia through his tours of the temples in and around Angkor, as well as the Landmine museum. He has answered all our questions, made sure we were comfortable, and that we have had great food. 007 made sure we always had enough water and cool towels for our face/neck.We highly recommend Borin as a tour guide for Cambodia!!More
Monica, Mar 2023
Best Travel Service for Asia Travel
Alisa Liu was in charge of making the arrangements and she helped us from the start to make all of the arrangements and also helped us when we had questions and requested some adjustments. Her service is of the highest professional level. We are 100% confident that our trip will be perfect. We’re also 100% confident that, if anything comes up during our trip, that Alisa will be there to guide us through and take care of us. We won’t even consider using another agency for travel around Asia and we would like to have Alisa work for us again.More
Leo Pospichal, Mar 2023
Tour of Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand
The tour guides and drivers were another high point. All were very good, friendly, knowledgeable and spoke English well. There were two that I want to call out for their excellence. Chan Sovannarith in Siem Reap was our guide in Cambodia. He really made the experience special. His knowledge, willingness to answer all my questions, helpfulness and general attitude made him fun to be around. In order to praise the second exceptional guide I have to explain about an unfortunate occurrence that I had. I'm normally a very active senior, but after leaving Cambodia for Laos I was suddenly struck by the most intense back pain I've ever experienced, couldn't even roll over in bed (turned out to be sciatica). The guide, Mr. Sonophet, really went the extra mile. He went with my traveling companion and bought a back brace and medications for me. When that didn't help much he took me to a clinic where I was seen by a doctor, given a shot and pain meds. He hand-made a walking stick for me that I'm still using! He made it possible for me to somewhat participate in the activities, i.e. a bed on the boat down the river. When it was time to move on to Bangkok he got me a wheelchair at the airport. I can't thank him enough for these kindnesses! This problem lasted for the remainder of the trip, through Bangkok and Phuket and these guides were also very helpful getting wheelchairs, etc. It was a terrible disappointment to have this wonderful trip disrupted, but it would have been SO much worse without the great help that I received from the guides and my poor travel companion!More
Deb M, Mar 2023
In good hands with Sam
Sam Ol took very good care of us - lots of information, listened to and answered all our questions, was passionate about the places we visited and about his people and country. He was kind, had a great sense of humor, and made sure we felt safe and comfortable at all times. He helped us to fall in love with Cambodia in 3 short days.More
Carol Jones, Feb 2023
Best tour guide in Cambodia
When we first arrived at the airport in Siem Riep it was so nice to be greeted by Mr Sam Ol. We instantly fell at home when we saw his friendly smile. We were impressed by his great English and knowledge of the temples. On the tour to the temples Sam took care of us every step of the way. He took awesome pictures of us. It felt like we were on a tour given by our brother who is also a professional photographer. Also, we appreciate his humor as well as the fact he had an answer for every question we had. I give Sam 5 stars, best tour guide ever :)More
Len S, Feb 2023
Mr. Sam our guide in Cambodia, he and the driver out standing service they went above and beyond touring, my wife so amazed beautiful country, we're planning back here near the futures. Thank Mr. Sam,We'll feedback the whole trip next week when we be home in USMore
Pho Lover, Feb 2023
We are still in the middle of our trip, but we are just finishing up our time in Cambodia and our guide, Borin, has been AMAZING!!! He has truly made our time here unforgettable and I plan on referring all of my friends and family to come visit this beautiful country! Thank you, Borin, for everything you did to make our trip so fantastic!More
Danielle Blount, Feb 2023
Excellent service and Wonderful Guides
All of our guides have been terrific. Mr. Sam in Siem Reip was especially wonderful. Both he and our driver were polite, safe knowledgable and informative. Sam made our trip memorable and enioyable. We will definitely recommend Sam and Asia Highlights to our friends.More
Kaaren, Feb 2023
Low Levels Of Crime In Myanmar
Strict Buddhist culture, with low levels of crime, makes Myanmar a safe country in which to travel. According to our observations, the areas we visited (Mandalay, Inle Lake, Bagan and Yangon) are just as safe whether in the country or in the city! We never heard of any violent crime during our stay.
Myanmar people are about the friendliest we ever met! Be prepared for smiles all round and for people who are always willing to help out when needed.
Routine precautions should nevertheless be taken, such as depositing valuables in a hotel safe. Pickpockets have been known to turn up in both tourist and non-tourist areas. It is always sensible to keep an eye on your wallet.
Hygiene, avoidance of disease and the availability of medication are major concerns for travelers in Myanmar. As long as routine precautions are taken, you should stay healthy during your trip.
Choose Food and Water Carefully
To the average western traveler, hygiene in Myanmar is terrible.
Bottled water is always best for drinking. Tap water is okay for washing hands, but you'd better never drink it! Keeping hand-sanitizer nearby would be a good way of trying to avoid germs.
Street food is believed to be the main cause of stomach upsets. If you really want to sample the street food, choose the cleanest stalls. It would be a sensible precaution to bring diarrhea remedies, such as lomotil, with you, since most westerners' bowels are not used to such food.
Busy restaurants are generally much better, with food thoroughly cooked and relatively good standards of hygiene. Rinsing spoons and forks before meals may help.
Ice cream and all non-packaged dairy products, which are often not pasteurized, are not recommended, for fear of stomach upsets.
Vaccines recommended for reducing the risk from eating street food: up-to-date Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B and typhoid.
Precautions Against Dengue Fever and Malaria
Dengue fever and malaria are the most serious concerns when traveling to Myanmar. Prevention is absolutely the best medicine, as adequate medical care cannot automatically be assumed there. First consult your doctor about vaccines which should be taken when traveling to Myanmar.
We recommend a tetanus vaccine. Malarone is recommended against malaria and doxycycline for issues like tick bites. On taking doxycycline, some people may become more sensitive to the sun, but its effect will not be too serious.
Dengue fever is the main concern. It does not kill you but it will make you feel miserable during your trip and even after the trip. Covering up with long pants and using mosquito repellent are the most effective ways of dodging dengue.
Rabies shots may be necessary, as there are many stray dogs and cats along the street. Lissy in our team was bitten by a stray dog but luckily she was not bleeding. She was quickly taken by our local guide in a private car to the biggest hospital in the provincial city.
A doctor who formerly worked in Malaysia for 7 years, quickly and professionally helped Lissy deal with the bite. She is now in perfectly good health.
Public Medicine Remains Poor While Private Charges Are High
The public health-care system is poorly funded and so is medical education. Yangon has the easiest access to hospitals while Bagan, Inle Lake and Mandalay have clinics. Most accommodation is equipped with an emergency medical kit.
Western medicines can easily be bought in a supermarket or pharmacy. But we would still suggest you bring a full supply of prescribed medicine, according to your personal health situation.
If you need to see a specialist doctor in Myanmar for any emergency, try to look for a doctor with a postgraduate degree from a developed country or who has had work experience in a relatively developed country. Information about doctors can be checked from doctors' list in clinics.
In case of serious illness, transport to Bangkok or Singapore might be advisable. Private hospitals in Yangon are available only at great expense.
Choose to Fly between Destinations
Though there are many and various means of transportation within Myanmar, some strange and others amusing, we suggest you stick to flying!
You may choose to try out some land transportation for the experience, such as a local train or bus. Derailing of trains, however, is still common in Myanmar!
Make Sure Your Insurance Is in Order
You are recommended to take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel, especially when traveling to Myanmar or other Southeast Asian countries. The insurance should cover all items planned in the itinerary, along with emergency medical evacuation.
Visit Myanmar with Asia Highlights
We provide interesting tours to Myanmar. Tours typically start or end in Yangon or Mandalay and last approximately 9 days; visiting Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.
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Why Travel with Asia Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)
- Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
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- Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.
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