Overland from Mandalay -->Imphal (India)
Replies: 707 - Last Post: May 14, 2013 10:24 PM Last Post By: 89quake
Apr 22, 2007 1:23 AM
Apr 22, 2007 1:34 AM
Apr 22, 2007 2:43 AM
Apr 22, 2007 3:48 AM
Apr 22, 2007 4:34 AM
Apr 22, 2007 4:55 AM
Apr 22, 2007 5:13 AM
6No chance! The land border India/Myanmar has been closed for many many years. There is a chance that with government approval you can get permission but it will take a long time and cost a heap of money.
Apr 22, 2007 7:14 PM
7Has anyone in the negative ever actually tried this ? I know that one may travel Kunming --> Mandalay. And I've heard that an occasional Kentung --> Mandalay is possible too. Are there really some officials there that say "turn back" ? I think it would be an "epic" journey.
Apr 23, 2007 1:32 AM
8Ok OP why dont you give it a try, if you have the time and the inclination.
But, just say you did manage to actually get across the border without being processed by immigration on each side... then you would not have an exit stamp from Myanmar in your passport and even worse you would be in India illegally. An illegal immigrant! and from what I have heard about Indian jails that would make a great trip NOT.
Let us know how you get on, could make a great book.....
Apr 23, 2007 1:56 AM
9Well, yeah, I may give it a try. I have a 10-year mulitple entry visa for India, so that shouldn't be a problem on the India side, right, and if it is, India is the only country where I've ever paid some "sweet money". As for an exit stamp out of Myanmar, big deal ? I mean, what are they going to find me somewhere and take me back and kane me in Yangon ? But I bet there is a border post there anyhow, there is a road so there is for sure a stamp.
You know, we've all read about these closed borders (Myanmar / China ) (Yemen / Oman ) (Eritrea / Sudan ) for years, but I think no one has really tried them. I mean, I doubt LP authors even went all the way out there and tried. They probably asked for permission in Yangon. But in Yangon, practically everything is illegal. And you know what? Eventually you hear about some german, or south african that does go all the way, and walla, then the route is open. You know? That is how Yemen / Oman opened.
I bet I get out there, and it is all good, you know, nice border guards and all, I wait about two days drinking tea with them, or that chocolate tea the drink in Myanmar, and they let me through.
Apr 23, 2007 2:03 AM
10Has anyone in the positive tried it?
The land borders have been closed to foreigners for about sixty years now. I occasionally here one success story. It's the only one I've heard or seen. Claims a group of English university students managed it in the late sixties. That's it. If anybody else has done it legally they don't talk about it. In the bad old days of the seven- day- visa a team from National Geographic were made to leave the country every time their visa was up. They had to return 4 or 5 times to finish their shoot.
I don't understand why everybody thinks Burma has gotten worse since their only elections in '90. I think it was much worse before that. Basically the same socialist military junta ruled, and had been since the late '40s, much less info on the situation there was available. Visa rules have been relaxed, more parts of the country can be visited, FECs and all the bureaucratic BS you got before has more or less vanished, the 'box of 555 and a bottle of black label' trick doesn't work anymore :( , much less fighting in the minority areas and there was no land border crossing (Tachilek and Three Pagoda Pass could only be done as day trips, and only since the mid '80s) for foreigners at all.
Of course it's disheartening to come onto a travel forum and get nothing but negative answers. But please understand we're only telling you what we know or experienced. As I said above, nobody who has managed it legally has come back with a report.
Koolbreez, are you certain Myanmar Travel & Tours really offer even the chance to cross to India overland? I've never heard of even that. I'm sure if it's just a question of time and/or money some eccentric person would already have done it. There are people paying 20 million to go to space after all...
Apr 23, 2007 3:56 AM
11A US American named Shelby (Somebody) and his Swedish buddy Mats did it in the 90s and wrote a book about it - "Among Insurgents" (or "Walking through Burma"). They entered near Muse (forget the name on the China side) and exited somewhere into India, where they got caught and spent 2 or 3 months in jail. Well worth the read. Lots of very confusing descriptions of Kachin, Lisu, and other insurgent groups operating in the area.
Apr 23, 2007 4:35 AM
But I bet there is a border post there anyhow, there is a road so there is for sure a stamp.
Actually, see the UNESCAP map of the Asian Highway Project for Myanmar / Burma on
This road has been open again, at least for locals, for more than five years. See the latest update about it on
The project map for the Indian side of the Asian Highway 1 is on
Can foreigners also now use this crossing while riding on local transportation? This is the big question. If you have the time, it would be interesting to look into it. Just to the north of Tamu is the Indian border checkpoint called Moreh. At this point, there is most certainly local transport from all the way from Mandalay to Tamu and maybe even Moreh. Any travel agent or trishaw driver in Mandalay would know about this ride. If you get taken off the bus, no worries. You deal with it once you get back to Mandalay.
However, what seems to be a bigger question is the security situation in Manipur State on the Indian side of the border. Some links about this are on
Another recent article about this is below. Whatever the case, I have always heard that a special permit is needed to visit Imphal and the rest of Manipur, and Assam State too for that matter. If this is true, you will learn about it quickly enough from the Indian Embassy in Rangoon or the Indian Consulate in Mandalay. If you are denied a special permit to visit Manipur State, your overland project just ended right there. Enjoy your research and your trip.
September 2, 2005
Unending Civil Conflict Makes Life Grim in Indian State
By SOMINI SENGUPTA and HARI KUMAR
IMPHAL, India - A garland of red hibiscus adorned the dead man's
portrait, and provisions for the afterlife were laid out for the
mourners to see: new slippers and towel, a white undershirt, dessert
plates piled high with bananas and sugar-cane candy.
Rameshwar Ahanthem, 26, a day laborer mistaken for a guerrilla, was
beaten to death by Indian troops. His killing came under the aegis of a
law that gives Indian troops extraordinary powers to quash ethnic
insurgencies in this part of the country. His funeral rite on a
midsummer afternoon offered a snapshot of the routine, gnawing anguish
of daily life in the remote and forgotten state of Manipur.
The conflict here is more remarkable for its stamina than its death
toll: roughly 200 people a year have been killed in the last few years,
according to official statistics, far fewer than in Kashmir, for
As in much of the Indian northeast, Manipur has been engulfed by civil
conflict virtually since the birth of the country a half-century ago.
The only change over the years is that the number of guerrilla groups
Today, even as India flexes its muscle on the world stage, Manipur
stands as an emblem of its unfinished business of binding together its
people to resolve what Sanjib Baruah, a political scientist who studies
conflict in the northeast, calls "India against itself."
"India's nation-building project is in more trouble in northeast India
than it is usually realized," said Mr. Baruah, a professor at Bard
College in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., who is spending this year in
India. "We have not done very well in terms of winning hearts and
The rest of India - to say nothing of the world beyond - is all but
blind to the plight of this restive corner of the country, part of a
lush, hilly swatch of land that juts out of the east toward Myanmar.
Foreign journalists must have permits to even set foot in the state,
and those are only rarely issued. India's home minister, Shivraj Patil,
in an interview earlier this year offered this justification for the
virtual prohibition against foreign journalists: "Because you are so
The conflict dates to the creation of modern India. Like Kashmir in the
north, Manipur was a princely state under British rule, and its
incorporation into Indian territory in 1949, two years after
independence, remains a sore point among many Manipuris.
More than a dozen ethnic armies operate here, each with its own
separatist agenda. What they share is a deep distrust of Indian
soldiers and a sense of apartness. In the half-century of conflict,
India has poured in troops and money. But neither seems to have
stanched political grievances or everyday misery.
"Our lives are not secure," is how Rashtrapati Singh, an engineer with
the state public works department, put it. He was among 200 engineers
who quit because of threats from insurgents this summer. "You cannot
bear the pressure," he said.
Extortion by guerrilla forces is common. Economic blockades, most
recently for two months this summer by the Naga hill tribes demanding a
separate homeland, regularly choke the flow of fuel and medicine coming
into the state. In early July, Naga protesters set fire to dozens of
government offices across the state.
In April, a mob from another ethnic faction, angered at the use of
Bengali rather than Manipuri script in official documents, burned down
the state library here in Imphal, the state capital, and with it a
trove of rare archives; they lie today in a half-burned heap on the
To make matters worse, heroin addiction and AIDS have cut a devastating
swath across Manipur. A handful of guerrilla groups responded to the
crisis last year by mounting an audacious antivice crusade that
included shooting the kneecaps of those deemed to be corrupt or
addicted, from drug dealers to snuff addicts to local government
The vice chancellor of the local university in Imphal fell victim last
December, allegedly over the appointment of a university employee; he
now hobbles around with a cane and remains too fearful to speak about
Then there is the seething grievance against the Indian troops and
paramilitary forces that saturate the state, and particularly against
the sweeping powers they are granted by the Armed Forces Special Powers
Act, which allows them to search, detain and interrogate anyone
suspected of guerrilla activity.
In practice the law, which applies only in the northeast, makes it next
to impossible to hold soldiers accountable to a civilian court. To take
any member of the Indian armed forces to court, the central government
must give special permission, which it rarely does.
Manipur erupted in anger against the law after the killing of Thanjam
Manorama in July 2004. Ms. Manorama, 32, was taken from her home in the
dark of night, shot dead and left in a field.
Semen stains were found on her underwear, according to reports in the
Indian news media. The military said she was a militant and challenged
a state government inquiry into her killing, citing the Special Powers
Act. An army spokesman said in a recent interview that there was no
conclusive evidence of rape.
The attack against Ms. Manorama set Manipur boiling. In one of the
starkest acts of protest the country has ever seen, nearly a dozen
elderly women stripped themselves naked, stood in front of the military
base in Imphal and held up a haunting imperative on a homemade white
banner: "Indian Army Rape Us."
Last November, on the heels of the protests, the government in New
Delhi set up a panel to review the law. That panel submitted its
recommendations in June, but they have not been made public. Accounts
in the Indian press suggest that parts of the law may be amended, but
there have been no suggestions from officials that the law will be
"It will be old wine in new bottle," said a local human rights worker,
Calls for the law's repeal continue. Its most celebrated opponent is a
Sharmila Irom, who lies in a hospital bed, between life and death,
officially in police custody. Ms. Irom has been on a hunger strike
since 2000. The state has begun force-feeding her through a nasal tube.
Since Ms. Manorama's killing, Mr. Loitongbam's group, Human Rights
Alert, has documented 10 extrajudicial killings by government forces.
The latest was that of Mr. Ahanthem. His family was offered
compensation of about $2,380 and a government job for one of its
By far the most bleak portrait of Manipur's desperation can be found by
driving two hours from the capital to the provincial town of
Churachandpur. There, in a Christian-run shelter called Gilead's Balm,
rest the inheritors of decades of war: men, mostly in their 20's, all
heroin addicts, some living with AIDS.
A peculiar innovation has made this and similar shelters in Manipur
popular with the addicts' families. The addicts are shackled at the
ankles, so no matter how desperate they become for another fix, they
cannot run away.
Tom Malsawn lay on his bed, pale and weak. At 27, he had been an addict
for seven years. He stole from his parents to satisfy his habit. He was
herded into four different shelters. Nothing worked. This was his
second time at Gilead's Balm. By July his family reached the end of its
tether. They took him there to be chained once more.
Somini Sengupta reported from Imphal for this article, and Hari Kumar
from Imphal and Churachandpur.
Apr 23, 2007 12:02 PM
13if u are on an overland trip go china tibet nepal india . or maybe thailand and try to hook up with a private boat to the anndamans
Apr 23, 2007 12:15 PM
14I agree with:
if u are on an overland trip go china tibet nepal india
try to hook up with a private boat to the anndamans
is a myth.
Rectravel, thanks for the links. AFAIK travelers have needed special permits for the northeast of India since independance.
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