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Motorcycle travel in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, India...

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  #1  
Old 13 Oct 2012
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Myanmar borders open?

Somebody told me that apparantly the Myanmar borders are open for tourists, can anyone confirm that? We're planning to spend five weeks in south east Asia in November/December 2012, so far only Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore but Myanmar would be #1 on that list if a land crossing from Thailand is actually possible.

I've checked the embassy's website and it says tourist visas take an average of four weeks. Nowhere does it mention any special requirements or limitations other than having to stay in hotels/hostels. Can anyone confirm this?
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mj View Post
Somebody told me that apparantly the Myanmar borders are open for tourists, can anyone confirm that? We're planning to spend five weeks in south east Asia in November/December 2012, so far only Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore but Myanmar would be #1 on that list if a land crossing from Thailand is actually possible.

I've checked the embassy's website and it says tourist visas take an average of four weeks. Nowhere does it mention any special requirements or limitations other than having to stay in hotels/hostels. Can anyone confirm this?
In 2010 the visa in Bangkok took us a few days, cannot remember how many, maybe 2-3, but not 4 weeks, that's for sure.

At that time, entering through a land border was possible... but only to renew the Thai visa. They kept your passport and you were not allowed to go far. I'd plainly say NO CHANCE at all. We flew in/out Yangoon from BKK with Air Asia.

Things may have changed, but I doubt any overland travel with a vehicle is possible at all, otherwise I presume HUBB would be now reaching its peak of visitors and the South East Asia subforum would be boiling.

Anyway, the country is beautiful, really worth visiting it, but buses are not very confortable (due to roads), nor very quick (same).

Have a nice trip,

Esteban

PS: We rented scooters in Mandalay and later got them confiscated by Tourist Police and the guy was fined because it was forbidden or he did not pay the correct bribe. At least, it was late in the evening...
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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Myanmar land borders

Yes, you "can" cross land borders now but, as always with Myanmar, "rules" change in a mercurial fashion.

That said, the trend has been pretty astonishing, from the perspective of someone whose been visiting there for over 20 years.

If you go remember that prices have exploded for lodging, electric is nearly non-existent, and that transportation is somewhere between the worst of India and the best of India.

A fantastic place.
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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Has something changed regarding overland-travel with your own vehicle through all of Burma from India to Thailand, or v.v.? I think not, but I could be wrong of course. But that situation has definitely stayed the same for decades, so a real change in it would be big news.

edit.
ok I re-read your post, crossing into Burma as a tourist (on public transport) certainly seems possible, if you have your visa. You´re probably still not allowed to go everywhere in the country.

Last edited by pecha72; 14 Oct 2012 at 12:25.
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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Thanks everybody, after what I've read it should be possible to get into the country albeit only by air. Land crossing from Thailand is doable but apparantly one does not get very far into the country. Then again that particular piece of information is from 2010 and things might have changed, I think we'll just give it a shot.
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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I spoke with the embassy in London a week ago and they said only in and out by air.
I asked about going in by air and leaving via land border and the answer was "not allowed, forbidden".Then they hung up on me. Nice!
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by estebangc View Post
At that time, entering through a land border was possible... but only to renew the Thai visa. They kept your passport and you were not allowed to go far. I'd plainly say NO CHANCE at all. We flew in/out Yangoon from BKK with Air Asia.

Things may have changed, but I doubt any overland travel with a vehicle is possible at all, otherwise I presume HUBB would be now reaching its peak of visitors and the South East Asia subforum would be boiling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Genghis9021 View Post
Yes, you "can" cross land borders now but, as always with Myanmar, "rules" change in a mercurial fashion.

That said, the trend has been pretty astonishing, from the perspective of someone whose been visiting there for over 20 years.

If you go remember that prices have exploded for lodging, electric is nearly non-existent, and that transportation is somewhere between the worst of India and the best of India.

A fantastic place.
Genghis, I'd be really happy to see open borders, if not for vehicles, at least for "walking" (not flying in&out) tourists, but I'm not sure if I understand your post: it's possible to cross to stay and visit the country?? If that's the case, sorry if my old info misled about the current situation. Or just to renew the Thai visa? (=in real terms, no land border crossing yet).

You are in the right place to have 1st hand info, so really appreciated.

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Originally Posted by Bertrand View Post
I spoke with the embassy in London a week ago and they said only in and out by air.
I asked about going in by air and leaving via land border and the answer was "not allowed, forbidden".Then they hung up on me. Nice!
Premise: Embassies and Consulates (especially if far away) are not really to be trusted. Even if it seems impossible, the guy in London may not be officially informed of some changes and just learn them by chance. It sounds impossible, but it is. Of course, the people in the Embassy in BKK issuing visas for sure will know it, but London may not be the case. HOWEVER, as Bertrand says, this would be a too big change for them to miss it. So, probably, not yet. But then again, it's first hand info that really matters.
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Old 14 Oct 2012
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I think we'll just give it a shot.
Hi Martin,

don´t forget to report here after you tried!
Obviously we are all eager to hear about your experience!

Cheers

Panny
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Old 15 Oct 2012
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To see there an open border - would be great to all overlanders!

Then one of my next trips will lead me to thailand overland Please report here!

Surfy
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Old 15 Oct 2012
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Hi!,
So far no chance of land border crossing into Myanmar (Burma) from Thailand with bikes. Not yet. I am going to 'smell the ground' from Thai side next month and see any new development. Will keep you guys and gals up date. Cheers.

Amzah
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Old 16 Oct 2012
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Technically it's possible to ride into Myanmar but just restricted within the border town ... Did it twice .. The first just around Tachileik town ... The second, managed to venture into back roads ... Beautiful ... Untouched ...

http://www.singaporebikes.com/forums...g-into-Myanmar
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Old 17 Oct 2012
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This old chestnut comes up every year or so and merely underlines how odd it was (and lucky) that a French guy I met managed to get his French-registered LR into there via Mae Sai in 2008 - http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hub...ia/burma-54739
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Old 21 Oct 2012
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Tachileik

People have DEFINITELY crossed via vehicle into Burma recently. YouTube has several videos showing them motorbiking around.

But there are definitely issues when crossing internal borders. It seems one can enter the Shan State, for instance, and MAYBE even get to Mandalay via Pyin u Lwin (Maymyo) but . . . that's it.

A number of people are trying to set up motor bike touring companies inside going thru "official channels" ($100K/year w/o Burmese partner, $10K with) but it's been trying and there've been lots of difficulties.
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Old 4 Mar 2013
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Motobiking in Myanmar

Hello there,

We entered Myanmar thru the Moreh-Tamu border crossing from India on 2 March 2013. The thing is that in addition to visas, a special permit has to be obtained from the Government in Yangon. This we got by explaining our reasons for touring Myanmar. It took about two and half months for the Rome based Embassy to give the permit, written onto a letter in Burmese, from Yangon authorities.

The country is beautiful and the wait for the permit totally worth it. Roads from the border are in tough condition, calling for considerable skill, especially if you are travelling with a bigger bike like we are (BMW1200GS Adventure) with two up and luggage and i have been lucky with the worlds best pilot.

See us at www.facebook.com/wheelsontheworld
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Old 27 Mar 2013
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So, here's the deal: there are currently two options to get into Myanmar without your own vehicle. You can either apply for a visa with your local Burmese embassy, which will allow you to travel the entire country but limits entry into and departure from the country to Yangon International Airport. According to the embassy in Berlin a visa will cost 50€ and take up to two months.

The other option is the land crossing in Mae Sai in northern Thailand (Golden Triangle, north of Chiang Rai). Not sure how long this has been going on but when in Chiang Mai we were informed by Philip from Rider's Corner that recently they've started giving out visa on arrival for travellers (which, coincidently, makes the visa run for expats much easier as you can imagine). You walk up to the bridge, officially leave Thailand, cross the bridge, and grab your temporary 14 day travel permit for Myanmar. It's limited in scope (aka doesn't allow you to travel the entire country, as far as I'm informed the forbidden zone starts behind either Keng Tung or Kunhing) and you have to leave your passport at the border (safety deposit). Costs 500 THB (at the time around 15€) each and takes about ten minutes, you can pay in THB or US $. We met to other travellers in Stung Treng in Cambodia who told us there was a second land crossing in Mae Sot with very similar possibilities but since they didn't cross there's nothing more I can tell you.

I can highly recommend doing it. Myanmar is a wonderful country with immensly friendly people (even more so than the Thais!).
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