Health and Safety

in Pyin Oo Lwin

 

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Health

Pyin Oo Lwin is in a healthy area.  Although it's not completely mosquito-free, malaria is rare except in the outlying villages, and its equable and mild climate keeps the worst of the tropical diseases at bay. 

Pyin Oo Lwin's Public Hospital is not equipped for major surgery or the kind of treatment expected by many foreigners.  In case of emergency, patients are likely to receive competent first aid before being taken by ambulance to one of the modern hospitals in Mandalay.  Several private clinics are open 24 hours, with doctors and specialists on call.  As a first resort, however, foreign visitors should seek the help of their hotel staff in finding an English speaking General Practitioner or specialist (eye doctors, dentists, cardiac surgeons, etc) who will make appropriate referrals.

There is a good number of well stocked Pharmacies, mainly around the town centre, and though the trade names of the pharmaceuticals may be unfamiliar, your doctor or chemist will readily recommend appropriate medicines.  Most pharmacists speak some English and/or Chinese.

Most restaurants, as elsewhere in Asia, are quite liberal in their use of monosodium glutamate (MSG), and this poison often results in minor but persistent headaches.  Normal painkillers (paracetamol, aspirin etc) are partially effective.  Visitors who are sensitive to MSG should always specify no MSG, 'no aji-na-moto', when ordering food, though this will not guarantee freedom from this pernicious drug.

Drinking bottled water is essential, without ice except in hotels.  Royal-D re-hydration salts are readily available from pharmacies.

Safety

 

In general, visitors to Myanmar are quite safe and well looked after.  If the worst happens while you are in Pyin Oo Lwin (traffic accident, theft, for example) the police will want to know and will be helpful.  The main Police Station in the town is on Station Road between the Mandalay-Lashio Road and the Railway Station.  Almost certainly a translator will be necessary, and with luck the foreign visitor will not be asked to attend. 

 

Travelling

 

Best to travel by taxi rather than public bus (with the exception of the good express buses to Yangon).  Visitors don't have to travel alone - the most cost effective taxis are shared (4 people to a taxi).  Bicycles are popular with many visitors, but since many of these would be considered valuable antiques overseas, they need a good check before hitting the road.  In Myanmar cyclists take the lowest priority on the road, and there is little attention paid to 'right of way'.  Street lighting is not good in back streets, so it is wise to finish any walking or cycling adventures before dark.