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Travel & leisure reports Burma as one of most dangerous countries to visit

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Sep 20th, 2014, 07:37 AM
  #1
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Travel & leisure reports Burma as one of most dangerous countries to visit

My husband found this article on travel & leisure's website today. Listed along with Myanmar were countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.
I've copied the article below.

Burma (Myanmar)
The Allure: Play Kipling on a cruise down the Irrawaddy River, enjoy hot-air ballooning over ancient Bagan, and wander the market stalls in Yangon, the capital.

The Warning: Burma is ruled by a ruthless military junta that is suspicious of foreign visitors. Travelers should assume their activities are being watched. Routine medical care is inadequate. There is no State Department warning on Burma, but U.S. Treasury sanctions ban the import of Burmese souvenirs or gifts. Burma is a cash society, so don’t plan on using credit cards, ATM cards, or traveler’s checks.

Go or No? This place is for the very adventurous traveler only. The Myanmar Tourism Promotion Board in Yangon can provide a list of tour operators.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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Travel & Leisure. Well, remind everyone not to get their news from that source!

Burma/Myanmar has been ruled by a junta for decades. In the last few years things have changed, they have released thousands of political prisoners, held elections and even elected Daw Ang San Suu Kyi, who had spent the previous decades under house arrest. By no means is the government now warm and fuzzy, but the reforms have been remarkable. Medical care is inadequate, no question. And bring along any medications you might need, as even over-the counter meds are not reliable (often Chinese counterfeits). The US Treasury department has lifted the sanctions as of a couple of years ago. Remember Hillary Clinton's trip to Yangon? Wee were in Yangon at the same time she was. There are now ATMs, and some places accept credit cards. Still, one should carry clean, pristine US dollars for exchange to kyat.

Even in the darkest days of the junta, however, Burma was perhaps the safest place for westerners (who were not journalists) to travel.

To compare the situation in Burma to traveling to Iran, Iraq or Afghanistan is laughable.

Many here can recommend travel agents in Yangon.

My recommendation: upgrade the quality of your reading material.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 08:06 AM
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PS Burma is one of the most fascinating places we have visited. I have two trip reports here, from 2009 and 2011. Photos are at www.marlandc.com We love it so much we are considering a third trip.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 08:22 AM
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Ditto Kathie's comments. We were there for 3 weeks 2 years ago and loved it. We felt very safe and would consider returning there some day.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 08:26 AM
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The most dangerous situation we encountered in Myanmar was the possibility of falling through one of the gaping holes in the sidewalks of Yangon.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 11:18 AM
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lol, John, so true!
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Sep 20th, 2014, 01:29 PM
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Agree with Kathie. I visited 2 years ago and found the people most friendly and the country wonderful a wonderful destination to visit.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 01:44 PM
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That's just crazy. I visited in 2004, before the recent changes, and felt perfectly safe. Admittedly, I was carrying medical evacuation insurance (but I always do that), and I had to take all the money I would need in with me in nice crisp $100s, and I did what I could to keep said money out of the hands of the junta (no flights, no ferry, only local guesthouses, driver who had been "adopted" by someone I knew). I wouldn't hesitate to go back.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 03:54 PM
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Well said Kathie. I believe your description of Myanmar, its history and current conditions are accurate. We visited last year and it was one of the best vacations we've ever had. Dangerous? Absolutely not! The person who wrote this article has probably never experienced the hospitality of this amazing country. The people of Myanmar are some of the kindest, gentlest and most generous we've met anywhere. I'd return in a heartbeat!
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Sep 20th, 2014, 06:43 PM
  #10
cwn
 
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The article is at least 4 years old! Google it..it is part of a 16 dangerous countries article. There are comments about the various countries mentioned that date to 4 years ago. The comments on Myanmar mirror what is being said here.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 07:04 PM
  #11
 
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Djunbug, I've been to Myanmar twice in the last 14 months.

I've never felt the kindness of locals/strangers more in any other country, out of about 20 or so countries I've visited.

As usual, Kathie's advice is spot on.
With others I concur, and yes, the biggest danger is probably a broken ankle.

As cwn says, the information is old, ATMs are plentiful in most areas that you would visit. You won't even notice the military.

Don't let this outdated article put you off visiting Myanmar, it is a worthy destination.
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Sep 20th, 2014, 11:52 PM
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Agree with Kathy and everyone else who have visited Myanmar. I had a terrific time and never felt unsafe as a single woman traveling alone. It is probably one of the most fascinating places I have been to.
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Sep 21st, 2014, 01:40 AM
  #13
 
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Danger is relative to the situation and your immediate environment.

I don't care where I am, I've got into a habit of continuous personal risk assessment.

Sh*t can happen anywhere, and you should never completely let your guard down.
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Sep 21st, 2014, 02:34 AM
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I first visited Myanmar in 1995 and have travelled back most years,sometimes twice.
Even in the dark days when ones luggage was searched for electrical goods (fax machines had to be surrendered at Customs) and you had to buy 200FEC's (Effies) with $' on entry, I have never felt anything but safe.
Times have changed dramatically and the Burmese now talk openly about politics but don't be deceived.The Military may not now be in uniform but all they have done is become businessmen and invest their illegal gains into hotels and apartments.Most developments are fronted by the families of Generals and when I enquired about new hotel developments in Bagan and Ngapali Beach I was told every single one was by Companies and Families of Generals.
Having said that, I feel more relaxed and safe in Myanmar than any other country in SE Asia and IMHO the "democracy" there is far superior to Laos and Cambodia, and the blatent corruption much less.
There is so much rubbish on the web - Google Syria and there are detailed reports of what a great tourist destination it is.
Myanmar is developing quickly-get there in the next few years before it changes and do try to see some of the countryside and its people, not being cocooned in luxe+ hotels and cruise boats.(I exclude Pandaw from that list!)
The Burmese people are very special and there is a gentleness, a quiet serenity and a brilliant smile always near the surface,although I am obviously not blind to what happens when religions class,as has happened in the Rakhine.
SS
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Sep 21st, 2014, 05:50 PM
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Thanks for all your feedback. I have to convince my husband...I'd pack my bags and do in an instant.
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Sep 21st, 2014, 06:33 PM
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Should I get my husband to talk to your husband ? Ha ha.

We went together in July 2013, and he was comfortable enough to see me travelling solo there in March 2014. Maybe that helps.

Good luck !
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Sep 21st, 2014, 06:33 PM
  #17
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Go in an instant. (Sorry for the typo)
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Sep 22nd, 2014, 11:47 AM
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So out of date it's laughable. We were there in July. No problem with credit cards and ATMs are almost everywhere there are tourists.
If we were watched (which I doubt), so what?
Critical medical care might be the only thing to be concerned about, but there are dozens of other places where that applies as well.
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Sep 26th, 2014, 06:11 PM
  #19
 
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Strange,I felt very safe. They say that about Mexico to.Ugh!
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Sep 27th, 2014, 05:36 AM
  #20
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Sartoric - if I thought it would help, i'd welcome your call, but I'll continue to read him these comments and hope that he comes around eventually. Fodors trip reports and comments helped me convince him to travel to India several years ago after he told me he would never go there. It was one if our favorite trips and we look forward to returning. Thank you all and continue to inspire us!
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