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Myanmar Driving Guide 2021

Myanmar is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-28 · 9 mins

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, resides in the western portion of mainland Southeast Asia. The country was known as the Union of Burma since 1885 and changed to the Union of Myanmar in 1989. Myanmar resides between: Bangladesh and India to its northwest; China to its northeast; the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea to its south; and Laos and Thailand to its east and southeast.

Covered with lush forests that decorate the green mountains and magnificent bodies of water housing the endemic species, the country is becoming one of the tourist destinations globally.

Myanmar has an impressive list of cultures and traditions that mark the local citizens’ lives and contains critical religious sites for Buddhist tourists. Travel to Myanmar and discover all the country has to offer through its regions and states.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Traveling to a foreign country and not knowing even a little information about the country you’re visiting could lead to a hassle. This guide aims to provide you with the necessary information you need to have a hassle-free adventure when visiting Myanmar. This guide includes history, landmarks, and people in Myanmar, driving in Myanmar now, driving rules in Myanmar, how to get a driving license in Myanmar, and how to renew the driving license in Myanmar.

Going on a road trip is one of the best things to do when you visit Myanmar. Aside from saving you from the hassle of transportation, you have the power to stop and what places you would like to stopover to get some rest, relax, and enjoy the scenery. To make driving to Myanmar possible, you will first need to take a driving test in Myanmar to have a driving license in Myanmar.

General Information

Myanmar has a population of 52.83 million, and even though this country is the largest mainland Southeast Asian state, its population is lower than its neighboring countries. Myanmar has ranked the 26th most populated country globally, and its capital city Yangon is the country’s most populous city. Throughout recent years, the country’s rural population has been decreasing while the urban population has increased.

Geographic Location

Myanmar, a country in Southeast Asia, is bordered by Southeast Asian countries and seas: the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal to its south and southwest, China to its northeast, Laos and Thailand east and southeast, and Bangladesh and India to its northwest. The country is formerly known as Burma and is called the Golden Land.

With the country so dispersed and containing tourist attractions, driving through Myanmar is one of the best things you could do when visiting the country for a trip. Going on a road trip in the country lets you see some of the most popular destinations outside the country’s main attraction, Bagan. Some of the popular destinations include the country’s holy monastery, river cruise, lakes, and the Pagoda.

Languages Spoken

The official language in Myanmar is Burmese; it is the language spoken by the people of the plains and a second language by most people of the hills. English was the official language during the colonial period, but Burmese became the primary language in other settings. English and Burmese were taught in schools and colleges; however, English ended as the official language after independence.

The primary ethnic groups that live in the seven ethnic minor states of Myanmar are the Karen, Chin, Mon, Shan, Rakhine, Kachin, and Karenni. Other prominent groups include Nagas. Nagas are groups of local citizens in the country who live in the Northern part of Myanmar and are estimated to number more than 100,000, composing another complicated family of Tibetan-Burmese language subgroups.

Land Area

The country has a total land area of 676,578 square kilometers, containing the 50th largest exclusive economic zone of 532,775 kilometers squared, including more than 16 islands and the Mergui Archipelago. Myanmar slants from north to south, from an elevation of 19,268 feet at Mount Hkakabo located in the extreme north reaching the deltas of Irrawaddy and Sittang river.

Having travel medical insurance is not required by the Myanmar government; however, travel health insurance can cover medical treatment and evacuation costs when visiting the country. Myanmar’s health care’s general state is low, so you are responsible for shouldering all medical expenses incurred during your stay in the country without the insurance. Even so, observe health protocols and social distancing.

History

Colonial historians of Myanmar stated that its earliest civilizations started under Indian influence. However, recent research claimed that civilization in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy valley is ancient - 3,500 years ago, its inhabitants were raising livestock, using bronze tools, and farming rice. In the fourth century, the country adopted South India’s Theravada style of Buddhism, so today, over 80% of Myanmar’s citizens are Buddhist.

Modern Myanmar’s nationality is a mixture of Indo-Aryans, who began pushing into the area around 700 B.C. The Mongolian invaders under its leader, Kublai Khan, entered the region in the 13th century. During the Anglo-Burmese in 1824-1826, and two successive wars, the British East India Company expanded to the whole land of Myanmar. By 1886, Myanmar joined India, then became a separate country in 1937.

Government

Myanmar’s first constitution started on January 4, 1974, the 26th anniversary of its independence. The body got suspended following a military takeover on September 18, 1988. The military junta led the country, known first as the State Law and Order Restoration Council, and became the State Peace and Development Council between 1997 and 2011.

Myanmar is divided administratively into seven states mainly based on ethnicity - Chin, Kayin, Kachin, Mon, Kayah, Rakhine, and Shan. Another seven more truly divisions of Myanmar proper include: Irrawaddy, Magwe, Bago, Mandalay, Sagaing, Yangon, and tenasserim. These divisions and states are subdivided further into urban wards, townships, and village tracts. The military retained its level of influence on the government after January 31, 2011.

Tourism

Famous for its cultural beauties of indelible excellence, having buddha and scenic beaches, Myanmar is Southern Asia’s recommended tourist place. What makes Myanmar influential and advantageous among other tourist destinations is its thousands of Buddhist temples and white beaches. The growth in visitor spending rose from $135 per day in 2012 to $150 in 2015 and $170 by 2020.

The average annual increase in international tourists was 6.6% between 2003 and 2012, with year-on-year growth, which increased sharply to 29.7% in 2012 when the country surpassed 1 million yearly visitors’ historic milestone. Myanmar has 787 hotels, guesthouses, and motels, with 28,291 rooms divided across 48 locations. There are 3,353 licensed tour guides, of which 2,058 speak English, with several Japanese, Chinese, French, and German speakers.

IDP FAQs

When you visit the country, you can see many locals and tourists driving in Myanmar now. When going to Myanmar, you must know the driving rules in Myanmar, how to get a driving license in Myanmar, the driving side in Myanmar, and the driving law in Myanmar. To drive in the country, you must have an international driving license in Myanmar, enroll in a driving school in Myanmar, and pass a driving test in Myanmar, so start driving on the Myanmar map.

Is a Local Driver’s License Valid in Myanmar?

Myanmar does not recognize a local driver’s license from other countries unless accompanied by an International Driver’s Permit, acting as your driving license in Myanmar. If you have a local driver’s license and want to drive a vehicle in the country, you must apply for a driving license in Myanmar through online booking. Just like your local driver’s license, your International driver’s permit contains information such as your details and a photo.

Before starting your journey, you must know about important things such as: driving law in Myanmar, the types of driving licenses in Myanmar, and self-driving in Myanmar to avoid unwanted attention from the uniformed authorities and have a hassle-free adventure in the country.

Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of Myanmar?

Tourists with a valid local driver’s license and an international driver’s permit are allowed to drive in Myanmar’s cities and districts. The fastest way to get a driving license in Myanmar is to apply for an international driver’s permit to start driving through Myanmar. Visit our pricing page if you want to know more about our IDP’s cost and carefully fill out the necessary information, mostly the driving in Myanmar zip code, to avoid shipment delays.

Does an IDP Replace Your Native Driver’s License?

The International Driver’s Permit serves as your international driving license in Myanmar for language differences. You need your IDP for renting and driving in the country. When driving around the city, your international driver’s permit acts as a validation during checkpoints. For new drivers, you can visit the driving school in Yangon, Myanmar, to learn about self-driving in Myanmar and the types of driving licenses in Myanmar.

How Long is an IDP Valid?

A permit from the International Driver’s Association is valid for one to three years. However, your international driving permit in Myanmar is valid for up to a year and is not renewable. If you’re planning to stay in the country for more than a year, you must know how to renew the driving license in Myanmar. To do this, you have to visit a driving school in Yangon, Myanmar, or other driving schools in the area to convert your driver’s permit to a valid Myanmar license.

Renting a Car in Myanmar

Public transportation in Myanmar is not in bad condition, but there are times when you’d rather not deal with driving on the Myanmar map. Driving your car or renting a car is the best thing to do when you plan on going on a road trip alone or with company. You can visit the driving school in Myanmar if you need some tips. There are several car rental companies you can find in Myanmar. If it’s your first time renting a car in the country, here’s the complete guide to help you.

Car Rental Companies

There are several car rental companies in the country, from the famous car brands to lower-budget cars. If you’re a little tight on budget and still somewhat rent a luxurious car, you’ve got many options to choose from while driving to Myanmar. Before renting a car, you must know the essential things to keep in mind: getting a driving license in Myanmar, legal driving age, driving in Myanmar visa, and driving in Myanmar zip code.

Myanmar Rent a Car company has high-end models like Honda, Toyota Hiace, and Corolla to rent on a lower budget. This company has multiple budget options for as low as $22 for a half-day rent and is known for high reliability. Myanmar Rent a Car company has been popular and reliable to many tourists, locals, and ex-pats staying in Myanmar.

Documents Required

To rent a car in Myanmar, you must be at least 18 years old. Unlike other countries, there are no extra charges for younger travelers under the age of 25. You must also present a driving license with a minimum of one year of driving experience issued by your home country in English or an International Driving Permit endorsed by authorized bodies. Keep in mind the driving side in Myanmar before hitting the roads.

Vehicle Types

Myanmar is one of the popular tourist destinations for people on the different sides of the world, so it’s no wonder if various car companies allow you to rent a car while you’re in the city. The type of car model you will rent affects the price you pay. In Myanmar, car rental companies have various vehicle types that you can rent, depending on the car rental company you choose. You can also select vehicles for 2-4 persons, five persons, 6-8 persons, and 9-14 persons.

The vehicles you can rent in Myanmar include:

  • Honda Fit
  • Toyota Mark
  • Toyota Hiace Custom
  • Toyota Commuter
  • Toyota Alphard
  • Toyota Wish
  • Toyota Crown
  • Mitsubishi Pajero
  • Toyota Belta
  • Lexus
  • Hyundai Bus
  • Nissan Cedric
  • Toyota Land Cruiser
  • Toyota Vigo
  • Toyota Harrier
  • Hyundai Aero Queen
  • and Mitsubishi Fuso

The Volkswagen Polo is the most commonly booked rental car type in Myanmar.

Car Rental Cost

Owning a car in Myanmar is quite expensive but is highly encouraged since it is an investment. However, if you are a tourist staying in the country for a few days or months, renting a car would be the best option. If you have the requirements needed, vehicle rental can be the ideal solution to exploring the country. When renting a car, one thing to consider is the cost, so here are some cars with their respective general price to give you an idea.

  • Honda Fit - 50,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Hiace Custom - 80,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Commuter - 120,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Alphard - 90,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Wish - 70,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Crown - 70,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Mitsubishi Pajero - 100,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Belta - 55,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Lexus - 330,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Hyundai Bus - 66,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Nissan Cedric - 60,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Land Cruiser - 120,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Vigo - 200,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Toyota Harrier - 80,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Hyundai Aero Queen - 180,000 Ks/10 hrs
  • Mitsubishi Fuso - 120,000 Ks/10 hrs

Age Requirements

The minimum age to rent a car in Myanmar is 18 years old, and you must have held your license for one year. Unlike other countries requiring at least 25 years old to rent a car, Myanmar car rental companies do not charge an extra fee for tourists below 25 years old who want to rent a car. Driving has an age requirement since underage drivers may cause uncontrolled accidents on the road.

Car Insurance Cost

Insurance provides financial protection against physical damage resulting from traffic collisions and against liability that could arise from vehicle incidents. Exploring and driving on new roads in a different country can be worrisome, especially for first-time tourists, so it is highly encouraged to rent a car from a company that includes insurance in the rent package. Although, most car rental companies would consist of car insurance in their extra service fee.

Car Insurance Policy

Car rental companies in Myanmar include Collision Damage Waiver in their extra service fee. Some companies have the other three insurance as: Liability Coverage, which protects against any potential lawsuit from a car accident; Personal Accident Insurance covers medical expenses incurred from a car accident; and Personal Effects Coverage, which covers your belongings you can keep in the rental car.

Myanmar Road Photo by Alexander Schimmek

Road Rules in Myanmar

Learning and understanding a country’s road rules is very important when driving around a foreign country. Following the country’s road rules saves you from paying fines, picking fights, and getting into accidents. Road rules differ in every country, so take note of the regulations imposed in the country you’re visiting. Below are the essential road rules you must keep in mind when driving in the cities of Myanmar.

Important Regulations

Before you start hitting the road and start your road trip in a foreign country, you must know the country’s driving rules to avoid accidents or unwanted situations. Most driving directions in Myanmar are familiar to you since they are general rules in most countries. You must follow Myanmar’s driving rules to prevent getting into accidents and have a smooth and free road trip.

Drunk-driving

Drunk-driving is considered illegal in Myanmar. The country’s legal drink-driving limit for the general population is 0.07% blood alcohol content or 70 micrograms per 100ml of blood, and zero tolerance for young drivers. If you are found with more than the legal limit or even if you are within the limit, the police authorities have the right to arrest you and make you face the penalties for breaking the law. You are liable to pay $2000-$10,000 and 1 year in jail if caught.

In 2015, The government reported more than 4,000 deaths due to Myanmar’s roads, which has an average of more than ten deaths a day. In 2015, Myanmar ranked as having the second-worst road safety record in the World Health Organization’s Southeast Asia region. The number of deaths per 100,000 people has tripled in the country over the past decade.

Turning Signals at an Intersection

Drivers in the country alerts other drivers that they intend to stop, slow down or change the car’s direction to the left or the right by turning on the vehicle signals. In intersections, you must turn on your sign to alert the drivers behind you that you will be taking this side of the road, thus, avoiding collision.

Using of Cellular Phones While Driving

Myanmar takes road safety matters lightly, and there are traffic laws regarding the use of mobile devices on the road, but they are not that strict. Drivers caught holding any mobile device while driving can be found guilty of committing an offense. Using your cellular phone becomes an offense if your car is in motion and you are holding on to any mobile device in one hand for purposes such as: making a call, typing on the keyboard, and using the internet.

Drivers in Myanmar caught using a mobile device while driving can be liable to a fine of up to $1,000 or a jail term of up to 6 months and will face suspension from driving. A driver convicted for breaking the law can be liable to a maximum fine of $2,000 and a jail term of up to 12 months.

Parking

Before parking, make sure that the area allows cars to park and is safe. Myanmar implements a no parking at any time rule unless parking signs are indicating seasonal restrictions. Watch out for these things before parking your vehicle: Parking while facing the wrong side, road markings, parking enforcement cameras, various spots to avoid, yellow line parking, and abreast of another vehicle. Checking if pedestrians or cyclists are coming your way before opening your car door is a must.

Ensure you and your vehicle are in good condition before driving.

Before hitting the roads in Myanmar, ensure that your vehicle is in good condition. Double-check your tires, side mirrors, windows, and brakes. To avoid unwanted checkpoint issues, always bring your passport, car insurance documents, local driving license, and your international driving license in Myanmar. Get enough sleep and avoid drinking before driving.

General Standards of Driving

Before driving in Myanmar, you must learn the general standards of driving to avoid getting in trouble. In Myanmar, locals follow the government’s rules to avoid paying a fee and getting demerit points in their license. Cars in Myanmar are either manual or automatic, depending on the vehicle you want to rent.

Speed Limits

The general speed limit in the Myanmar expressway is 100 kilometers per hour, unless stated otherwise. In urban areas, the speed limit is 48 kilometers per hour, while in rural areas, the speed limit is 80 kilometers per hour due to less traffic. Drivers must avoid roads that are under construction or in harmful conditions. You must report to the authorities when there is a dangerous road condition.

From 2013 to 2015, the number of road deaths increased rapidly from 2,464 to 3,612. If you exceed the speed limit by 1 to 20 km/h, you must pay $150. If you exceed by 21 to 30 km/h, you must pay a fine of $200. If you exceed 31 to 40 km/h, you must pay $300. If you exceed 41 to 50 km/h, you must proceed to court for prosecution. If you exceed by 51-60 km/h or more than 60km/h, you must go to court.

Seat Belt Laws

The World Health Organization Global Status Report on Road Safety reported that vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for children between 5-14 years old and young adults between 15 and 29. One of the most critical safety measures to prevent road accidents and fatalities is by wearing seatbelts. Seatbelts are straps found in the car seats to prevent injury during accidents.

Drivers caught not wearing seatbelt must pay K30,000. The decision to enforce a Motor Vehicle Law provision in the country requires passengers under 1.35m to have an appropriate child restraint or a booster seat, or an adjustable seat belt.

Traffic Road Signs

Road signs are essential to ensure your safety while driving. These signs allow drivers to know their required speed limit on specific points, where and when to turn so that you will not hit any car from the opposite direction. Road signs help avoid accidents on the road, and you will find a lot of these when you drive around Myanmar’s cities. This section will find the types of road signs you may encounter when you visit the country.

Myanmar road signs are in their primary language - Burmese. However, there are some signs at certain places written in English, which is their second language. Before traveling to Myanmar, it would be advisable to learn the road signs in Burmese to understand the signals of driving a car and avoid accidents.

Regulatory signs have two sets: Mandatory signs and Prohibitory signs. Mandatory signs give positive instructions to drivers, while Prohibitory signs indicate prohibition. Mandatory signs are generally circular with a white border and symbol on a blue background. Mandatory signs include:

  • Ahead only
  • Turn left ahead
  • Turn left
  • Keep left
  • Split way
  • Route to be used by pedal cycles only
  • Stop and give way signs.

Prohibitory signs indicate drivers what they must not do and mostly circular and have a red border. These signs include:

  • No entry for all vehicles
  • No left turn
  • No right turn
  • No lorries
  • No pedal cycles
  • No waiting
  • No stopping
  • No overtaking
  • No sounding of the vehicle horn
  • No jaywalking
  • No vehicles with three axles or more
  • No vehicles carrying explosives
  • No jaywalking in the bus park
  • No vehicles over height shown.
  • No vehicles over width shown.
  • No vehicles overweight shown.
  • Maximum speed limit in kilometers per hour

Information signs indicate a particular condition or nature of the road ahead the drivers need to note. These signs are independent of existing mandatory and prohibitive signs and are usually white or blue and rectangular. These signs include:

  • Indication of a U-turn lane
  • One way traffic ahead
  • One-way traffic in direction indicated
  • Zebra crossing
  • Pedal cycle crossing
  • Parking Area for all vehicles
  • Parking area for motorcars
  • Parking area for motorcycles
  • No through road
  • No through road on the left ahead.
  • No through road on the right ahead
  • Keep a safe distance.
  • Left turn on red
  • Right turn on red
  • Right turn lanes ahead
  • Watch out for traffic from a side road.
  • Red light camera
  • Dual Carriageway ahead

Warning signs indicate possible dangers or unusual conditions ahead to alert drivers, so they can make the appropriate actions to take. These signs are usually shaped as triangles with a red border and placed on a borderless white backing board. Warning signs include:

  • Danger Ahead
  • Restricted Zone Ahead
  • Other Dangers
  • Electronic Road Pricing Ahead
  • Road Hump
  • Uneven Road
  • Road Narrows on Right
  • Road Narrows on Both Sides Ahead
  • Two-way Traffic Crosses a One-way Road
  • Two-way Traffic Ahead
  • Lanes Merge Ahead
  • Double Bend First to Left
  • Dual Carriageway Ends
  • Crossroads
  • Side Road on Left
  • Side Road on Right
  • T-junction
  • Traffic Merging from Left Behind
  • Road Slippery When Wet
  • Staggered Junction
  • Steep Ascent
  • Steep Descent
  • Pedestrians on Road Ahead
  • Elderly or Blind People Ahead
  • Slow Down
  • Maintain a Slow Speed
  • Quayside or River Bank Ahead
  • Tunnel Ahead
  • Traffic Signals in Use Ahead
  • Low Flying Aircraft
  • Roundabout Ahead
  • Zebra Crossing Ahead
  • Bend to the Right Ahead
  • Advance Warning of a Height Restriction Ahead
  • Children Ahead
  • Animals Crossing Road Ahead
  • Bridge with Low Headroom Ahead
  • Curve Alignment
  • Sharp Deviation to the Left
  • Extended Curve

Temporary work-zone signs are signs placed to ensure roads keep a free flow of traffic despite being affected by roadworks in the area. These signs are orange diamond, orange rectangular, or yellow rectangular-shaped signs. The signs include:

  • Advance sign of road works ahead.
  • Indication of road stretch affected by road works
  • Entry to works area
  • Heavy vehicles are turning ahead.
  • Layout of lanes ahead
  • Road narrows on right ahead
  • Temporary mandatory speed limit
  • Traffic lights in use ahead
  • Bend to right
  • Supplementary plate to specify direction
  • Single lane traffic
  • Curve Alignment Marker
  • Detour for pedestrians
  • Detour in direction indicated
  • Advance sign of detour ahead

Understanding Road Signs

Myanmar road signs are in their primary language - Burmese. However, there are some signs in important public places such as airports, tourist destinations, and immigration checkpoints, written in English, which is their second language. Before traveling to Myanmar, it would be advisable to learn the road signs in Burmese to understand the signals of driving a car and avoid accidents.

Right of Way

The right of way refers to who has the legal right to go first on the road. This setup is commonly known as the “priority” and indicates drivers who have the right to use the conflicting part of the road and who need to wait until the other vehicle passes. If you or another driver fails to follow this rule, you risk colliding with each other and may involve other cars, cyclists, or pedestrians.

Around 90 percent of imported vehicles in Myanmar use right-hand drive, with steering wheels on the right side. Like most countries, Myanmar also uses the priority-to-the-right rule and priority to cars going straight and turning vehicles to give way to vehicles going directly. This system requires a vehicle’s driver to provide a way to vehicles approaching from the right at intersections. This rule is in Article 18.4.a of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

The minimum age to drive a vehicle in Myanmar is 18 years old, and you must have held your license for one year. Unlike other countries requiring at least 25 years old to rent a car, Myanmar car rental companies do not charge an extra fee for tourists below 25 years old who want to rent a car. Driving has an age requirement since underage drivers may cause uncontrolled accidents on the road.

Any citizen below the age of 18 years old and above 70 years old cannot drive a Myanmar vehicle. However, if a driver between the age of 70 to 74 years of age passes an annual enhanced medical examination and proficiency driving test, they can retain their driving license. Besides that, tourists with no international driving permit are also not allowed to drive in this country, but you can apply for an IDP to drive in Myanmar’s cities and districts.

Overtaking

Whether you’re in a hurry or getting annoyed at the driver in front of you, overtaking another car is one of the most common things most drivers do when driving on the streets. Overtaking in Myanmar is not illegal; however, you must keep in mind that the right lane is the country’s fast lane. You should always overtake on the right-hand side. If you’re not overtaking, remember to keep left. Road hogging in this country is an offense and will result in a fine.

Driving Side

The driving side in Myanmar is on the left side of the road. You should keep this in mind when you’re planning on overtaking. Overtake on the right side of the road and keep left if you’re not overtaking. This rule makes most drivers comfortable driving in the city streets, but you have nothing to worry about since local drivers are safe drivers if you’re a first-timer.

Driving Etiquette in Myanmar

Unforeseen circumstances could happen, whether you are driving in your native country or a foreign country. Not knowing the proper driving etiquette when driving in a foreign country could get you into trouble. Before going to Myanmar, you must know their driving etiquette to avoid the consequences that may happen.

Car Breakdown

One of the worst things that could happen when you are traveling or on a road trip is a car breakdown, which is why you must ensure that your car is in good condition before you start driving in the country. If you’re renting a car, car breakdowns may not happen since rental cars from established companies are regularly checked and maintained. In cases where a car breakdown occurs, try to move your vehicle off the road to avoid hassle to other drivers.

When you experience a car breakdown while driving in the streets of Myanmar, immediately seek help. Avoid staying inside the car as this is considered a dangerous idea, instead wait outside your vehicle and alert other drivers of what’s happening to avoid traffic. If you have the contact number of your car rental, call them to inform them of your situation, and wait for their advice on what you should do next.

Police Stops

When driving in Myanmar, you need to look out for checkpoints that will most likely run. These checkpoints have no indicators or warning signs, so you will need to look out for police authorities on the side of the road. It would be possible also that the police will stop you and inform you that you are in the checkpoint area. There are checkpoints in the country to prevent accidents by checking out for illegal drivers.

Wherever you go in the country, you must always bring the documents needed when driving if there are checkpoints. The documents required are your passport, local driving license, and your international driver’s permit in Myanmar. These are the documents that the police authorities will look for when you are in a checkpoint area. While talking to the officers, you must maintain a polite tone and answer.

Asking Directions

While driving in the streets of Myanmar, you can see several pedestrians walking. If you need help finding the pace you are going to, you can ask the pedestrians, and they will spare you a few minutes to help. When requesting assistance, stop your car at the side of the road and politely ask a random person. The country’s primary language is Burmese, so it would be easier to ask using the same vocabulary.

Checkpoints

While driving in Myanmar, you may encounter random checkpoints conducted by the uniformed authorities for your safety. During checkpoints, remember to present the documents required: your passport, local driver’s license, and international driver’s permit. These checkpoints can happen at any time, so you must watch out for the police and obey the country’s road rules, such as the drunk-driving rule and using cellular phones to avoid paying a fine.

Other Tips

Aside from the driving rules and situations to keep in mind when driving in Myanmar, you must also know what to do in unwanted accidents. Involving in accidents while in a foreign country can be scary and hassle, but knowing what to do at certain times can prepare you mentally and reduce your worries when in an accident.

What To Do In Case of Accidents?

Naturally, you panic, and your anxiety runs high when involved in a vehicle accident. If you are involved in the accident, you should stop your car and never run away from the accident scene, even if it’s a minor one. Communicate with the other driver about what you need to do to settle the incident. Call an ambulance if there are injured victims, and call your rental car company to notify them of your situation.

Driving Conditions in Myanmar

Another critical factor to observe when going on a road trip in Myanmar is its driving situations and conditions. Having knowledge about the country’s driving conditions, driving rules, and driving etiquette could help you prepare for the possible incidents you may encounter on the streets. You must know the driving situations in the country to keep you alert and confident when driving.

Accident Statistics

According to the latest World Health Organization data published in 2018, the number of road traffic accidents in Myanmar reached 10,242 or 2.64% of total deaths. The age-adjusted death rate is 21.51 per 100,000 population, which ranked Myanmar #73 in the world. Road accidents ranked #13 in the leading causes of death in the country. The leading causes of road accidents in Myanmar is overspeeding and drowsy driving.

Common Vehicles

As of December 2019, the number of registered vehicles in Myanmar reached approximately 677.83 thousand, making the total number of registered vehicles in the country 7. 33 million. The companies which showcased through Myanmar’s showroom and service center include famous car brands such as: BMW, Ford, Hyundai, KIA, Mercedes Benz, Nissa, Suzuki, Toyota, and TATA.

Toll Roads

The bumpy rides are significant evidence that the road transport infrastructure in Myanmar requires severe improvement. Studies have estimated that the expenses needed to improve the country’s road infrastructure are $50-100 billion in the next 15 years. The private involvement in Myanmar’s road infrastructure must hit the right balance between financial attractiveness and fairness to the country’s people.

There are toll charges that a driver may come across when traveling around the country. When on a road toll, it is common to pay a small 100-200 Kyat ($0.06 - $0.13) charge when you enter towns and villages by car. There is also a toll for private vehicles using the Yangon-Mandalay Expressway, which costs 5000 Kyat ($3.12) per car for using the road’s whole distance.

Road Situation

Even though Myanmar’s road network is behind the Western World’s standards, its main roads are relatively well-developed compared to some neighboring countries. The country’s government has made a big push over the last few years to extend and enhance the 27,00 km road network around Myanmar. Traffic in the country is relatively high compared to the neighboring countries like Vietnam and Thailand.

Driving Culture

Regular police patrols and brightly-lit roads make it safe to drive in Myanmar at any time of the day. Local drivers in the country are familiar with the streets, yet they still follow the speed limit rule and other road rules. In 2017, overspeeding is the primary cause of road accidents in the country, so the government imposed a strict rule. Since then, local drivers follow the speed limit rule carefully.

Other Tips

There are also important things to keep in mind when driving in Myanmar, such as the legal speed limit, night driving, and unit used. This section contains details about other tips you should know when driving in Myanmar.

Is Sudan Using Kph to Display Speed Limits?

Kilometers per hour, Kph, and miles per hour, mph are units of measurements used to display speed limits. Every country has a different measure of speed limits to use. Myanmar uses the kilometers per hour system for measurement. Countries that use mph as a unit of measure include the USA, Liberia, and the UK.

Is it Safe To Drive at Night?

Driving at night is common in some countries, since several people love going out at night. If you are one of those who love driving at night, you might want to rethink when you arrive in Myanmar. Although driving at night is not illegal, the officials don’t recommend driving at night in this country. The government believes that driving at night can lead to trouble, especially if you are not familiar with the roads, animals randomly crossing the road, and armed bandits.

Are Locals Using Manual or Automatic Driving?

Automatic and Manual driving cars are both present in the country. If you stay in Myanmar for a short period, you might want to consider taking up the automatic car license instead of a manual car. You can find many automated vehicles these days since they are much easier to learn than a manual car. Mechanical car gears move according to the speed you drive, which means there is no clutch and only two-foot pedals.

Things To Do in Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the favorite tourist destination countries in the world. Driving a vehicle as a tourist and visiting the country’s beautiful tourist destinations can be exciting and memorable. If you are looking for other things to do aside from visiting the top attractions such as earning extra cash, planning to be a resident, and buying a property, here are some things you can do in this country.

Drive as a Tourist

Tourists are allowed to drive in Myanmar’s cities and districts as long as you have your local driver’s license, passport, and your international driver’s license with you. You must bring these documents to avoid getting into trouble since you will never know when you will encounter a checkpoint. You can use your Singapore driving license in Myanmar, but it must be presented together with your IDP.

Work as a Driver

Getting a driving job as a tourist in Myanmar requires you to apply for a business visa before entering the country. To do this, your company must have an Investment Permit and receive an endorsement from employing foreign workers from Myanmar Investment Commission. Tourists are allowed to stay in Myanmar for up to 70 days at your company’s rented apartment and will ease processes such as opening a bank account for you.

There are numerous land transportation modes for people in the country. When you look at the country’s busy streets, you will see every type of public vehicle present in your local government. These public vehicles include buses, taxis, and trucks. You may also see tourists working as drivers, as they applied for driving in Myanmar visa and getting their driving license in Myanmar through online booking.

Work as a Travel Guide

Tourists can work as a travel guide in Myanmar, given that they can provide a business visa for working in the country. If you’re planning on working as a travel guide, your company must have an Investment Permit and receive an endorsement to employing tourist workers from the Myanmar Investment Commission.

Apply For Residency

Several tourists become Myanmar permanent residents, but not all go through the same application process. The thought of gaining permanent residence in Myanmar through various programs has convinced thousands of tourists of distinct backgrounds to set up home, find a job, and settle down in the island-state that is one of Asia’s most stable and developed countries.

As a tourist who wants to apply for residency in Myanmar, you must process your initial application for permanent residence by taking an online appointment at the Myanmar Embassy website. You can submit the application form from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm on weekdays at the Myanmar Embassy. After booking the appointment, you must submit the required documents such as: form, photos, passport, identity card, and recommendation letter of registered hospital.

Other Things to Do

Aside from seeking jobs to owning properties, you can do more things when planning to stay for a few years in the country. Myanmar is a developing country, but it is known for its nature boasting a wide range of fish and mammals, elephants, tigers, and leopards.

Can You Convert Your License to a Myanmar License?

If you’re loving your experience in Myanmar and want to stay in the country longer, you must go through a legal visitor process. Your international driver’s permit is valid only for one year from the date of issue in Myanmar. There are random checkpoints in the country, so you might be in trouble if you drive with an expired driver’s permit. You must know what to do with your international driver’s license if you plan on staying longer in the country.

You must convert your driver’s license to a Myanmar driver’s license if you plan on staying in the country for more than a year. To do this, you must have the required documents: International driver’s license, copy of international driver’s license, copy of passport and original, visa letter from your employer. This process does not require you to pass a test, but you must pay the fees to get your Myanmar driving license.

Can You Drive in Myanmar with a Singapore License?

In an arrangement between ASEAN nations, you can use your Singapore driving license in Asean countries such as Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand. However, keep in mind that you cannot drive in Myanmar with just your Singapore driving license; it must come with your International Driver’s Permit.

The Top Destinations in Myanmar

Myanmar is one of the world’s best tourist destinations and is known for its captivating nature and top tourist attractions. The country is famous for being a beautiful, vast country full of rich traditions, mouth watering food, and attractive natural sights. Here are some of the country’s best trip destinations if you visit the country and go on a road trip or explore the tourist attractions.

Bagan Photo by Majkell Projku

Bagan

Bagan is a place in Myanmar that you should take time to visit. This ancient city’s sheer scale is quite similar to Angkor Watt’s leagues since Watt has more massive single structures, while Bagan one-ups it with a landscape filled with thousands of pagodas and temples, which are scenic at sunrise and sunsets.

Tourists with a passion for Buddhist temples, pagodas, and stupas should visit this place since it contains more of these than any location in the world. Bagan was the first capital of the First Burmese Empire from the 9th to the 13th centuries, and this site is what Marco Polo once described as the “gilded city.”

Driving Directions:

  1. Drive to Yangon Road in Central Myanmar
  2. Pass through the Myo Patt Road
  3. Choose the Nyaung U-Myingyan Road
  4. Drive straight until you reach Bagan

Things to Do:

If you want to enjoy the top tourist attraction in Myanmar, here’s a list of top fun activities to do in Bagan.

  1. Visit the Dhammayan Gyi Temple.

    Dhammayangi Temple, which stood since the 12th century, is considered the largest temple in Bagan. Although this temple is not finished and hasn’t received the same restoration attention compared to other temples, it is still known as the most impressive temple. One central pillar of the temple is an inscription that dates 1165, which records the donations a princess made on her mother’s behalf.
  2. Tour the Ananda temple.

    Ananda Temple, which stood since the 11th-12th centuries, is one of Myanmar’s most appreciated sites. The temple has a striking gold umbrella that stands out brightly against the landscape and red bricks and has remained an active worship site for millennia. One of its main highlights is the 1500 stone plaques that tell the story of the Buddha.
  3. Visit the Shwesandaw Pagoda

    Shwesandaw Pagoda, which stood since 1057 built by King Anawrahta, is the tallest in Bagan. The pagoda consists of five terraces, topped with a cylindrical stupa, which has a bejeweled umbrella. Tourists can sincerely feel the pagoda’s sacredness since it looks like an Egyptian pyramid with four sides, five different floors, and a stupa situated at the top.
  4. Visit the Sulamani Temple

    The Sulamani Temple, which stood since 1183 built by King Narapatisithu, is one of the most frequently visited temples in Bagan. This beautiful temple is where the sun’s rays shine through the outer arches to the central core, creating a warming glow. The Sulamani temple is considered the most important temple of the late period of the Bagan monument building.
  5. Visit the Htilominlo temple.

    The Htilominlo Temple, which stood since the 12th-13th centuries, is best known for its ornate stucco decoration, with its patterns on the interior arches’ ceilings. The temple got its name from Buddhism’s core symbols, an umbrella, which denotes protection. The temple features several depictions of the 28 Buddhas during the 14th and 18th centuries.
Mandalay Photo by Mike Swigunski

Mandalay

Mandalay, the second-largest city in the country, is a primary gateway in Northern Myanmar, making it easy to visit. You can see the Mandalay Fort, the Burmese monarchy’s last royal palace, and some of the country’s most sacred Buddhist sites. Built in 1857 by King Mindon, Mandalay was Burma’s final royal capital before the kingdom’s extension in 1885.

The city got its name from the neighboring place, Mandalay Hill. Today, this city is the economic center of Upper Myanmar and is considered the center of Burmese culture. Chinese immigrants caused the city to reshape its ethnic makeup and increased commerce with China.

Driving Directions:

  1. Drive to Mandalay from the Mandalay International Airport
  2. Pass through the Tadaoo - Si Mee Khon Road
  3. Turn left to Yangon - Mandalay Expressway
  4. Turn left to 78th Street in National Highway 1
  5. Turn right to Mandalay City

Things to Do:

Mandalay offers a lot of enjoyable activities that you should try. Here’s a list of top things you can do in this city:

  1. Visit Mandalay Hill

    Visiting the Mandalay Hill is a must-do when you are in Mandalay city. This hill is 240-meter high, but you don’t have to worry about climbing to get to the top because the place has an elevator and escalator on the foot of this highest temple. It is required to take off your shoes when visiting this place.
  2. Reminisce at the Mingun Pagoda

    The Mingun Pagoda is located across the Irrawaddy river, which is a 90-minute drive out of town. The pagoda is square-shaped and can be a bit crowded at the entrance, but you will be the only one there if you walk around it. After exploring the pagoda, you can eat and relax at ‘The Garden Cafe’ beside it.
  3. Breathe fresh air at Hsinbyume Pagoda

    Located just beside the Mingun Pagoda is the beautiful white Hsinbyume Pagoda. This pagoda is not significant compared to Mingu; you can walk up the stairs and explore every pagoda floor. The place got its name from Princess Hsinbyume, the princess of Burma from 1808 to 1812.
  4. Pose at U-Bein Bridge

    The U-Bein Bridge is one of the main attractions of Mandalay. The bridge is 1200 meter long wooden footbridge and is considered the longest in the world. When you visit this place in February, doing a boat tour is not recommended since there was almost no water under the bridge during that month.
  5. Visit the Kuthodaw Pagoda.

    Kuthodaw Pagoda’s size is magnificent since it is the home of the world’s largest book, and an insane amount of small white pagodas surrounds it. This place lies at Mandalay Hill’s foot, and the stupa, which is above its terraces, is 188 feet high. In 2013, a UNESCO plaque inscribed on the World Register’s Memory indicated the Kuthodaw Inscription Shrines for being the world’s largest book’s home.
Yangon Photo by Mg Cthu

Yangon

Yangon is Myanmar’s primary international gateway and capital city, making it a fascinating destination to explore. Yangon’s main attraction is Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s most sacred and famous Buddhist pagoda. The center of the capital city is an exciting place to explore as well.

Yangon is the largest city in the country and boasts the largest colonial-era buildings in Southeast Asia. The town suffered from deeply inadequate facilities, compared to other major cities in Southeast Asia. Most satellite towns that ring this city continue to lack the necessary infrastructure.

Driving Directions:

  1. Drive to Yangon from the Yangon International Airport
  2. Turn right when you exit the Yangon Airport Road
  3. Turn right to Radio Station Road
  4. Turn right to Thudhamma Road
  5. Drive straight to Wai Za Yan Tar Road
  6. Drive straight until you reach Yangon City

Things to Do:

If you want to enjoy the whole place fully, here’s a list of top fun activities to do in Yangon City.

  1. Visit the Shwedagon Pagoda

    The Shwedagon Pagoda is the main attraction that you must visit when you are in Yangon, and it is known as one of the most famous pagodas in the world. The pagoda consists of a central structure covered with gold leaf, precious stones like diamonds and rubies. The pagoda has been in the city since the 6th century AD.
  2. Eat at 99 Shan Noodle

    Many tourists visiting Myanmar don’t realize that the food is merely delicious since Burmese cuisine is not known as other Asian food worldwide. Most people say Yangon has a fantastic food scene, and when you are in town, you need to try the food in this place. 99 Shan Noodle serves up bowls of steaming noodles with herbs, vegetables, and sauces to customize your dish.
  3. Explore Chinatown

    Yangon is composed of the Chinese population, which made their own Chinatown. If you are in Yangon and are looking for local markets or a barbecue and street food options, this is the place to visit. This place is on 19th street in Yangon, making it easy to access and enjoy the food and the stunning architecture.
  4. Visit the Sule Pagoda

    The Sule Pagoda was built around 2,500 years ago and is one of the most famous temples in the city. This pagoda is in the middle of a modern part of the town, highlighting its historical importance, making it the unique one among all the city’s pagodas. The Sule pagoda consists of a 46-meter stupa shaped like an octagon.
  5. Tour the Martyrs’ Mausoleum

    The Martyr’s Mausoleum is near Shwedagon Pagoda. It is a memorial built to honor the Major General, the ‘founding father of modern Myanmar’ Aung San, and six of his cabinet members’ assassination. The mausoleum also contains the tomb of Queen Suphayalat, the wife of the last king of Myanmar.

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