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-   -   Burma (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/southern-asia/burma-41012)

Jelle 20 Feb 2009 22:30

Burma
 
I'm sorry I know Burma has been discussed plenty, but apparently there are borders open at India and Thailand.

Does anyone know anyone who has successfully crossed Burma?

The FCO website says you have to enter and leave by the same border crossing and movement within the country is highly restricted.

My friend is confident that we won't have too many issues getting in and out and the Ozbus crosses every couple of months. (strange their website doesnt have any blogs or photos from past trips but hey-ho)

Any ideas?
Thanks :blushing:

danielsprague 21 Feb 2009 09:34

India Burma border open??

Unless things have radically changed in the last few weeks, I'm afraid you're misinformed. This border has been closed since the late fifties. I think the Oz Bus is probably put on a boat from Kolkata to Singapore or something similar.

Very occassionally people make it across, but not without half a lifetime's worth of political wrangling with both the Indian and Burmese goverments. Forget it.

Daniel

pecha72 21 Feb 2009 11:40

As long as the current government stays in power, it´ll be nearly impossible to get there with your own vehicle, nevermind cross entire Burma with it.

Getting there as a backpacker, joining a guided tour, etc., that should be possible.

I dont get it, why such noble servants of their own people, like the governments of Burma, North Korea, and Zimbabwe seem to remain in power forever. If there was a free election, they know they wouldn´t get a whole lot votes (that´s probably, why there never is - or maybe there once was in Burma, but the military junta ignored the result!!) Taking good care of their personal well-being seems all these so-called leaders are capable of.

Hornet600 22 Feb 2009 06:17

I have heard several reports of the border being open and that it is now possible to move from India to Thailand overland. I am in Nepal at the moment and a few people have commented on it because it is so unusual.

I don't know of anyone trying the actual crossing though and I would expect to get across with a motorbike would be utter hell in which you would be escorted everywhere, not allowed to see the people or the country. You would probably have to follow one road and I suspect, unlike in Pakistan where you are obviously escorted both for your own protection and to keep an eye on you, you would be watched like a hawk by whichever a**hole is in charge of locking people away for a very long time.

If you decide to do it I would speak with professional diplomats, specialists on the country and maybe even consider kidnap insurance. It isn't really in the spirit of exploration but then Burma isn't really into the hospitality thing!

Ride safe,
Ol

Jelle 22 Feb 2009 09:37

Thanks for the replies. We've hit major problems with the trip planning.

The Chinese guide has told us the Chinese Gov't aren't letting people cross the border from Nepal, that the crossing at KKH may also be closed or have huge difficulties crossing there.

The best place to enter would be Krygystan, which is a huge detour.

Last resort is shipping from India to Thailand - just been doing a search and didnt see any mentions of time or cost...

I personally think Burma would be a bad idea, imagine getting there with the paperwork and still not being allowed in :(

Its all very frustrating!

pecha72 22 Feb 2009 11:38

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hornet600 (Post 230121)
I have heard several reports of the border being open and that it is now possible to move from India to Thailand overland. I am in Nepal at the moment and a few people have commented on it because it is so unusual.

I don't know of anyone trying the actual crossing though and I would expect to get across with a motorbike would be utter hell in which you would be escorted everywhere, not allowed to see the people or the country. You would probably have to follow one road and I suspect, unlike in Pakistan where you are obviously escorted both for your own protection and to keep an eye on you, you would be watched like a hawk by whichever a**hole is in charge of locking people away for a very long time.

If you decide to do it I would speak with professional diplomats, specialists on the country and maybe even consider kidnap insurance. It isn't really in the spirit of exploration but then Burma isn't really into the hospitality thing!

Ride safe,
Ol

I read about somebody, an Indian, making it with a bike 3-4 years ago. But not before literally several months of hard negotiations with both the Indian and Burmese authorities (and I believe most of this you´ll need to be able to handle in local languages). And still not allowed to cross the entire country, but needed to put the bike on a truck, and take public transport to get past several forbidden areas. He said it quite simply was not worth the enormous hassle. And for a normal Western tourist with a bike, it just aint going to happen anyway.

I´ve got some friends, who´ve tried quite recently from all possible borders between Burma/Thailand, and failed. Not that they had very high hopes in the first place! But sure, I think we would all appreciate, if someone had the time and the patience to actually give it a go from the Indian side.

DaveSmith 23 Feb 2009 06:58

I'm friends with an Indian who rode Burma a few years ago. He said the fuel and roads sucked. He said Burma was the first time he dropped his bike and that he dropped it 13 times in a 2km section if I remember correctly. I asked how he managed to get the paperwork and he kind of trailed off and said he could do it because he was Indian.

Jelle 23 Feb 2009 21:15

Stop press....

We might be OK by August, something is going on March/Apr time but hopefully we can go ahead with the Tibet-China-Vietnam route by August. We'll know for sure by May.

Back up plan being enter at Krygystan or get a double entry for India and back track for shipping Bay of Bengal to Thailand

Fingers and toes crossed everyone!

CornishDeity 23 Feb 2009 21:58

Jelle, do you mean that China is opening up to vehicles without guides?

monster 23 Feb 2009 22:33

driving burma
 
We looked into this in 2006. We finally tracked down the 'real' reason for not being allowed to enter from India. It seems it's the eastern Indian states that are the stumbling block- the government will not allow access to the region without a permit and you can only get a permit from within the region?!!
We heard that there is a German agency that can 'help' but they are obviously not that good as we've heard no stories of vehicles entering.
We did hear of Americans that drove into Burma from Thailand, did a tour then entered Thailand again. Not sure what registration the vehicles had- maybe Thai plates get allowed in??
On the China front- we also heard rumours that the government were considering changes for foreign vehicles entering. The fact that the Chinese have spent lots of cash changing all their signs to english and chinese is an indication that there may be some truth behind the rumour. Fingers crossed!
:cool4:

pecha72 24 Feb 2009 07:38

Getting permits to the easternmost states in India sure could be one thing. But I find it kind of hard to believe, that if you´d manage that, then foreign vehicles would be allowed to enter Burma from there without a problem. They most certainly are normally not allowed to enter from Thailand, and I dont think Thai plates would help.

I did read about someone entering with a car from Thailand, and then got like to the first checkpoint after the border, and had to make a u-turn. Hope that´s not the same "tour" of Burma, that you referred to.

Got a friend near Bangkok, who did RTW in 1974, and has been riding hundreds of thousands of km´s around SE Asia by bike. He´s never been to Burma with his own bike, so that should give you some idea of how thick a wall you´re looking at. But like I said, if you want it so much, then go to the border and try, then you´ll know. And please do also share the information afterwards.

About China, will only believe there will be any change, when I see it.

Hornet600 24 Feb 2009 08:19

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jelle (Post 230131)
Thanks for the replies. We've hit major problems with the trip planning.

The Chinese guide has told us the Chinese Gov't aren't letting people cross the border from Nepal, that the crossing at KKH may also be closed or have huge difficulties crossing there.

The best place to enter would be Krygystan, which is a huge detour.

Last resort is shipping from India to Thailand - just been doing a search and didnt see any mentions of time or cost...

I personally think Burma would be a bad idea, imagine getting there with the paperwork and still not being allowed in :(

Its all very frustrating!

Yeah Burma is there for the truly hardcore who want to cross. You have to be insane to try. For those of us who are more reasonable with our expectations, shipping from India to Thailand is fine. Another option is Nepal to Thailand which I think is the most common route.

As some said, might be worth going to the Burma border just to see what happens. And my China well.... :censored:

Best of luck,
Ol

pecha72 24 Feb 2009 10:00

Put the bike on a cargo ship to sail the Bay of Bengal, and you should have about 2 weeks spare time, buy a rucksack, get a flight to Yangon, and explore Burma as a backpacker, before you go meet the bike at the other end. That should be fully do-able, and if I had an obsession about that country, that´s what I´d probably do.

Been trying in vain to get into Vietnam with a foreign-regoed bike, and I wouldnt waste my time trying to do the same with Burma. Even if some miracle of biblical proportions happened, and I´d be allowed entry, I would most definitely not be allowed to ride all the way, so what would be the point?

Certain amount of optimism is often ok, but still I would use my time on the trip more efficiently.

ilesmark 24 Feb 2009 12:29

Hi all

FWIW here's my 2 penn'oth.

I drove through India and reached Calcutta in Jan 08.

overlandcruiser.net - India

I would have liked to drive from India into Burma, but didn't even bother trying as I had been told it was impossible. So I stuck the car in a shipping container in Calcutta and jetted off to Burma with a backpack for a couple of weeks before rejoining the car in KL.

Imagine my surprise when I met Thierry and Coralie in Inle, with their French-registered Landrover. They had driven in from Thailand, through the Mae Sai border.

Overland from Mandalay -->Imphal ... - Thorn Tree Travel Forum - Lonely Planet

I tried to find out how they had managed to negotiate the bureaucracy to get into Burma, but they wouldn't tell me - didn't want to open up the floodgates (as if!) I think, or rather I know, that Thierry was very good at talking to people and getting what he wanted without directly asking for it.

But you will be interested to know that even Thierry, having enlisted the help of the French Ambassador to Burma to speak directly to his Indian counterpart, was not able to get a permit from Rangoon to travel through the North Eastern Region of India. This was categorically NOT the Burmese junta refusing him, but the Indians. I am told that this was nothing to do with visa issues, nor where the permit was applied for, but due to a then-imminent crackdown against separatist rebels in the NER, which the Indian government did not want foreigners to witness. So Thierry and Corali had to return to Thailand through Mae Sai.

By all means go to Burma, but I wouldn't get too worried about not taking your own vehicle. If nothing else, you will have a lot of difficulty getting decent fuel for it - Thierry and Corali had to threaten a diplomatic incident every time they wanted diesel from the government filling stations. I remember one time when they ended up buying 5 gallons of government diesel, at the black market price, only to see the government filling station people promptly using their money to buy 5 gallons of black-market diesel from outside the station and pour it back into the government diesel tank! We heard many stories of people's engines being ruined with black-market fuel; government fuel is rationed, and can only be bought with ration books issued to vehicles registered in the same division as the one they are buying fuel in.

I was also told in Calcutta that the border between the NER of India and Burma IS open, but only for Burmese/Indian citizens ie no 3rd country nationals.

Mark

AussieNat 24 Feb 2009 14:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jelle (Post 230337)
Stop press....

We might be OK by August, something is going on March/Apr time but hopefully we can go ahead with the Tibet-China-Vietnam route by August.

AND Burma?
Wow that is some news.

Ill be looking forward to hearing about this journey.
I hope it works out and your time invested pays off.


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