Travel to Rakhine off limits

BANGKOK, 30 August 2017: Fatal attacks on security forces in northern Rakhine State and ongoing violent clashes with militants prompted updates to travel advisories  this week warning visitors to avoid Rakhine State.

Smarttraveller, the travel advisory service of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was the first to issue a caution on travel to the west Myanmar coastal state.

Trouble focused on Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships in northern Rakhine State.

There is a dusk to dawn curfew in place for Maungdaw township in northern Rakhine State.

There are also reports that the Myanmar government may impose further restrictions on movement at short notice.

The advisory urges travellers who are visiting  Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung townships, to leave if it is safe to do so.

There is currently an increased level of anti-United Nations and anti-international non-government organisation sentiment in the State.

There may be further protests against the presence and activities of United Nations agencies and international non-government organisations in Sittwe and elsewhere in Rakhine State.

The advisory cautions travellers to avoid all protests and large gatherings as they could become violent.

Foreigners are being warned that it is not safe to visit Maungdaw, Buthidaung and Rathedaung.

It warns travellers to exercise a high degree of caution in Myanmar overall and reconsider travel to most of Rakhine State.

However, travel to popular tourist destinations elsewhere in the country is not an issue, but travellers should avoid political discussions related to the state of emergency in Rakhine. It’s a sensitive issue that could lead to disagreements and confrontation.

Myanmar’s most popular tourist destinations are Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan and Inle Lake, a considerable distance from the hot spots of northern Rakhine, which shares an international border with Bangladesh at its northern tip.


  1. Foreigners haven’t been allowed to travel to Maungdaw in years (if ever) and any visible foreigners will be caught at checkpoints leading up to the town and turned back. The travel advice from the Australian government is a good idea, but it’s the Myanmar government that prevents foreigners from traveling to unstable areas of the country rather than a foreign government giving advice to it’s citizens.

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