Restricted Areas in Myanmar

Restrictions, questions and solutions

Myanmar has a lot to offer and ethnic minorities and their fascinating ways of life draw many to the most remote areas just for one peek on their bustling local market. If you are planning such an adventure, make sure you understand where you are going and not allowed to.


4 Things to Know about Restriction…

  • Most of the tourist destinations are free to roam. Restriction only applies to foreigners.
  • Some regions are entirely forbidden for foreign entry but some are semi-restricted, it also applies to transportation means.
  • Permits to the restricted areas shall be handed in at least three months before your travel. No last-minute application is encouraged.
  • Application for permits and tour arrangements shall be handled by locally-licensed travel agents . Independent traveling to these restricted areas will cause serious problems.

List of The Restricted Areas in Myanmar

Burmese government locks down some certain areas mostly based on political consideration. Be it any case, it's still quite sensitive traveling in these areas even with the more foreigner-friendly policy by the new government. Here is a list of the most common areas under restriction and we will keep an eye on any updates ( * Last updated on 21/Feb/2019, data based on Ministry of Hotels and Tourism ).


Restricted Areas in Myanmar

State / RegionFree-Roaming AreasPermit-Needed Areas
Kachin StateDowntown areas of Putao Township, Machanbaw Township, Mansi Township, Momauk Township and Waingmaw TownshipRemote areas of the free-roaming townships
And other areas: Naungmoon Township, Khaunglanphoo Township, Sumprabum Township, Phakant Township, Tanaing Township, Ingyanyan Township, Chiphwe Township and Hsotlaw Township
Kayah StateDowntown areas of Dimawso Township and Phruso TownshipRemote areas of Dimawso Township and Phruso Township;
And other areas: Shardaw Township, Parsaung Township, Bawlakhe Township and Meisi Township
Kayin State Downtown areas of Kawkareik Township, Kyondoe Town, Hlaingbwe Township, Paingkyon Town, Shanywathit Town, Thandaunggyi Township, Leiktho Town, Bawgali TownRemote areas of the free-roaming areas;
Other areas: Kyarinseikkyi Township, Payarthonezu Town, Kyaidon Town, Pharpon Township and Kamamaung Town
Sagaing DivisionDowntown of SagaingNanyun Township
Tanintharyi DivisionDowntown areas of Bokepyin Township, Pyigyimandaing Town, Karathuri Town, and Kyunsu TownshipAnywhere besides the permitted areas
Bago RegionDowntown of Shwegyin TownshipAnywhere outside the downtown of Shwegyin Township
Mon StateDowntown areas of Bilin Township, Thaton Town and Ye TownshipRemote areas outside the permitted townships;
Other places: Kyaikemaraw Township and Thanbyuzayat Township
Shan StateDowntown of:
Yatsauk Township, Loilin Township, Panglong Town, Namhsam Township, Kholan Town, Kunhing Township, Karli Town, Lechar Township, Linkhe Township, Mone Township, Lashio Township, Theinni Township, Tantyan Township, Kunlon Township, Mineye Township, Kyaukme Township, Hsipaw Township, Naung Hkio Township, Namtu Township, Namhsam Township, Momeik Township, Mabane Township, Minesat Township, Mine Tung Township and Makman Township
Places outside the permitted areas;
Other permit-required areas: Kehsi Township, Mongkai Township, Mineshu Township, Minepan Township, Maukme Township, Manton Township, Laukine Township, Kongyan Township, Minelar (Special region – 4), Naphang (Special region – 2), Panwine (Special region – 2), Pansan (Special region – 2) and Minemaw (Special region – 2)
Rakhine StateDowntown of SittweAnywhere outside downtown of Sittwe

Your Burning Questions about These Restricted Areas

After you get a rough understanding of where not to go, you might need something more specific. We have dealt with a fair amount of special cases traveling to these restricted areas, and these answers might help you. If your own travel plan goes beyond this, please contact us anytime. Also, keep in mind that policy might change at any time

  • How to Apply for Travel Permit?
    In theory, the permit must be obtained in Yangon at least two months ahead. However, it's a rare case that any traveler would stay that long a time. Thus, the procedure shall be handled by a local travel agent.
    Please be noted that a Myanmar visa is not valid for a travel permit. Materials needed: copy of your passport and a detailed itinerary. No telling of how long it will take, so we'd suggest application comes three months ahead.
  • Do I need to apply for a permit if I enter Myanmar by an international cruise?
    Yes. The most common scenario is that cruise excursions only extend to certain permitted areas and all the visa/permit formalities will be pre-handled by the cruise company. However, if you plan to go to some restricted areas after the cruise, the same rule applies as common travelers.
  • How long can I stay in these restricted areas?
    There is no strict rule on duration per se. Your travel duration in these restricted areas comes in part of your visa, which is up to 90 days.
  • Do occupation effect on permit application?
    Technically speaking, occupation doesn't matter. However, just to make things easier, we wouldn't suggest you write down journalist or anything relating to political issues.
  • With the travel permit in hand, is it possible to travel on my own?
    That depends on the region. For some certain areas, such as Myanmar Himalaya or near Putao, foreign travelers are required to be in an organized trip offered by an agent.
  • Do border-crossers need to apply for travel permits?
    It depends. At some checkpoints, such as near Kewthaung, overland border-crossers are not allowed to travel further beyond Kewthaung by land (by air is okay). You might ask for more detailed information regarding to your own itinerary. Either way, it will be great trouble save to let some travel agent handle your trip.
  • Any specific rules on different transportation means?
    Burmese government requires for specific permits for entry made by certain transportation means, such as by car, motorbike or bike. Such a permit doesn't, however, cover the permit for restricted areas and you should do applications separately.

Save Up Your Time and Trouble with Gatsby

Myanmar is not North Korea and there's no reason to hold back your wanderlust. Such a pickle can be dealt with easily with Gatsby's one-stop solution: send us your passport copy and itineray. we will have the traveler permit ready for you. Talk to us to find out more!

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