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Using a VPN in Myanmar – How to Unblock Content

Bagan temples along old dirt track at Sunset

Bagan temples along old dirt track at Sunset in 2014

Myanmar is one of the fastest growing tourism destination in all of South East Asia in 2015.  It has some of the highest growth rates in terms of GDP and other measures amongst other Asian countries.  Yet Myanmar also has some of the most undeveloped Internet infrastructure.

Times are certainly changing fast, but a few things you need to be concerned with are the levels of cyber attacks and phishing happening from within the country.  There is also a growing level of crime from online / internet banking and you need to ensure whilst in the country, any transactions you make online are made safely.

Facts about Myanmar and Internet Connectivity / Access:

  1. Since 2012, there have been a lifting of many economic sanctions for Myanmar.  This has meant a wave of investment coming in from China, Singapore, Malaysia and neighbouring Thailand.  However there is now a growing amount of investment coming from the EU and soon the US, given the lifting of sanctions.  You can read about the latest sanctions to be lifted on Sanctions Wiki for Myanmar.
  2. Beginning in September 2011, the government began lifting its blocks on many websites.  Facebook, YouTube and other social media channels are all available whilst in Myanmar.. But remains slow to access because it still has to go through the Burmese firewall.
  3. The country has just 600,000 active internet users out of a country of over 60 million. However when travelling around Burma, you will notice many young people (even those on very very low wages) with smartphones in hand.  These are mostly clone phones, such as Samsung Galaxy S4 that go for $50 or so.  However, because these phones are mostly imported from China, they lack the ability to connect to Myanmar's CDMA 3G network, which means smartphone mobile 3G internet penetration remains low.
  4. SIM Cards used to sell for upwards of $1,500 5 years ago.  Now the government are issuing out them in a ballot process every month for roughly 50 cents.  There is a large black market for SIM Cards in Myanmar, where as a foreigner you can usually pick up a 3G CDMA SIM for $100.  Within the next 12 months, this should come down dramatically.
  5. There are many internet cafe's in Myanmar (Burma), but as with many countries, be careful with your logins as many machines will have software installed aimed at reading and recording users logins.  Our advice is to bring a tablet or laptop and use WiFi connections with a VPN connection.

In our reviews of VPN providers we picked out VyprVPN by GoldenFrog as the most stable in Myanmar, along with being the cheapest by far.

We travelled Myanmar extensively and ventured into areas where internet is a real luxury.  But we always made sure when connecting that our VPN connection was active at all times.  This ensured we were protected when connecting to our emails, accessing secure FTP servers and when doing Internet Banking.

Getting a VPN is as easy as 1,2,3!

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