Burma/Myanmar Driving Advice and Car Hire Info
Burma/Myanmar Car Rental
Check your Government’s website for the latest information before visiting Burma, there may be travel advisories in place for certain parts of the country such as the states of Rakhine, Chin, Shan and Kachin. There may also be restrictions imposed by the Maynanmar government on areas that can be visited by foreigners.
Myanmar drives on the right hand side of the road, having changed from the left in 1970. Until recently, most vehicles in the country were right hand drive, making it the only country in the world which drove on the right in right hand drive cars. However, an increasing number of imported vehicles are now left hand drive which should make overtaking easier in future!
I visited Burma in 2009 and at that point it was definitely not possible to rent a car and self drive. I used boats and a car with driver to explore the country. Then when I set DriverAbroad.com up in 2012, Burma was still one of the few countries in the world where it was impossible to rent a self drive car. Fortunately things are changing and I’m now informed it IS possible to self drive here- see Car rental companies below . You will definitely need an International Driving Permit in addition to your own licence and I’ve seen a number of people suggest that you need a Myanmar driving permit. I have however been in contact with people who rented a self drive car using only an IDP. I would suggest contacting the company you intend to use to get a definitive view at the time you plan to travel.
Burma has a high accident rate on its roads, largely due to the number of motorcycles and also the difficulties in overtaking mentioned above. The toll highway linking Yangon and Mandalay via Naypyitaw is also a notorious accident blackspot, particularly in the rainy season when a lack of roadside barriers often causes vehciles to slide off the road. At night, wandering livestock are a hazard on unlit sections of road. Roads in cities are often congested, but driving style is generally better disciplined than in many neighbouring countries. When driving in Burma you should bear in mind the usual rules which apply to driving in Asia – expect driving standards and styles to be different to Europe and the US and minor roads to be unlit and possibly in poor condition, especially after rain. Only around 10% of Burma’s road network is paved,with most roads being a combination of gravel and sand. Dust clouds from preceding vehicles, the risk of skidding and difficulties relating to right hand drive vehicles make overtaking particularly dangerous and to be avoided on gravel roads.
Although I try and keep the information in the site updated as much as possible, in a rapidly moving world, situations can change daily. Therefore please use the site as an approximate guide, and in conjunction with other resources in order to form your view on driving conditions, roads, safety etc.
Myanmar/Burma Car Rental Companies
Avis have two branches in Yangon and publish a long list of rules and regulations which definitely pertain to self drive. They make no reference to anything which prevents foreigners driving a car.
Europcar also have an office in Yangon but don’t seem to offer online reservation. Its therefore unclear whether they actually offer self drive.
If anyone has rented a vehicle and self-driven in Burma, please let me know.