Security Message to U.S. Citizens – Burmese Water Festival

Security Message to U.S. Citizens

March 31, 2015

Burmese Water Festival (Thingyan)

The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Burma that the Water Festival in Burma, also known as Thingyan, will take place the week of April 12.  Revelers have been known to consume large amounts of alcohol, resulting in dramatic increases in incidents of drunk driving and occasional criminal behavior.  In the past, festive gatherings during Thingyan have led to unexpected violence. A bomb attack in 2010 at one of the water spraying platforms, known as “pandals,” killed 10 people and wounded more than 170.

While there are no known specific threats against U.S. citizens, the Embassy advises U.S. citizens to take normal precautions to ensure your safety and security.  When in public areas, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.  If you see something suspicious, report it to the authorities, if possible, and leave the area.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Burma enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  STEP enrollment provides you with the latest security updates and enables the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in the event of an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Monitor the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution on State Department’s website. Read the Country Specific Information for Burma. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist.”

Contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon is located at 110 University Avenue, Kamayut Township, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.  Please note that the Embassy will be closed throughout Thingyan, April 13-17, in observance of Burmese New Year.  The Embassy Telephone is (95)-(1)-536-509.  If you are trying to reach the Embassy after hours or during holidays, please dial:

Duty Officer Phone: (95)-(9)-51-24330
24 Hour Embassy Phone: (95)-(1)-500-547

If calling the 24-Hour Embassy Telephone, explain that you want to speak to the Duty Officer or a Consular Officer.