Security Message to United States – Burmese Water Festival (Thingyan)

Security Message to United States

April 4, 2014

Burmese Water Festival (Thingyan)

Water Festival in Burma, also known as Thingyan, will take place the week of April 13, 2014.  While there are no known specific threats against U.S. citizens, some past Thingyans have been marred by violence.  A bomb attack in 2010 at one of the water spraying platforms, also known as “pandals,” near Kandawgyi Lake killed 10 and wounded over 170 civilians.  Also, increased inter-ethnic and religious tensions have occasionally led to spontaneous outbreaks of violence throughout Burma.

While in public areas, stay alert and be aware of the people around you at all times.  If you see something suspicious, report it to the authorities if possible and leave the area.  Even gatherings like Thingyan that are meant to be festive can become violent and unpredictable.  During the holiday, revelers have been known to consume large amounts of alcohol, resulting sometimes in criminal behavior.  Incidents of drunk driving also increase dramatically during Thingyan.

We 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 gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s Consular Affairs website where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, the Worldwide Caution, and the Country Specific Information for Burma at. For additional information, refer to our Travelers’ Checklist on the State Department’s Consular Affairs website.

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 5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.  Please note that the Embassy will be closed throughout Thingyan and on April 17 and 18 in observance of Burmese New Year.  The Embassy Telephone is (95)-(1)-536-509.  If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, the emergency number for the U.S. Embassy is (95)-(9)-512-4330.  If calling the 24-Hour Embassy Telephone, explain that you want to speak to the Duty Officer or a Consular Officer.