Myanmar overland - update 2013
Replies: 30 - Last Post: Mar 23, 2013 3:29 AM Last Post By: symphoniline
Feb 7, 2013 3:55 PM
15I read a very interesting book about four Brits who drove from London to Singapore overland in 1956. They where from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and they travelled / drove across Burma from the Indian Province of Assam to Thailand along the old WW2 Supply Road from India into Burma.
I agree with the other op that the only fesible way to travel overland from Thailand to India currently is via Laos or Vietnam, China, Tibet, Nepal and then into India. Up until the early 1990's, there was a ferry service from Penang, Malaysia to Madras, India, but this stopped running, probaly as its cheaper and easier to fly now. Another option is to try and get a berth on a ship, from Singapore to India, but you may have to wait around for a while.
Once you get to India, you may have difficulty travelling across Pakistan from the Indian Border at Lahore to Taftan on the Pakistan / Iranian Border as Pakistan isn't very safe now, particularly the areas near the Afghan Border. I have seen recent pictures of burning trucks on the road south of Quetta, that were ambushed by the Taliban. Apparently the bus journey from Quetta to Taftan on the Pakistan / Iranian Border takes 12hrs and once you cross into Iran, there is still a threat from the Taliban until you get well away from the Afghan Border; e.g. Central Iran.
Feb 7, 2013 9:51 PM
16This should be possible in March 2013 with the launching of bus service between Imphal (India) and Mandalay (Myanmar). Please refer to the news item given below.
Source - http://sevendiary.com/imphal-mandalay-bus-service-launching-march/
Feb 7, 2013 10:02 PM
17Logistically possible, yes, but it remains to be seen if foreigners are allowed to use this connection.
There were great expectations about the Lhasa-Kathmandu bus route also a few years ago, but it turned out foreigners were no allowed to use it, even though the border was open for tourism at that time.
Feb 12, 2013 4:11 AM
18Hi: I have a bit of experience on this when going to a small community on the north Thai Burma border near Mae Hong Son. Also going on the road from Kanchanburi towards Three Pagoda Pass. Neither are recommended and there definitely no way for a foreigner by road on the Three Pagoda. So i would take the advice of others and either go by ship from Bangkok or Singapore, or take the high road over China - Nepal and into India. All will have their own challenges but isn't that what creative travel is all about? !!
best of luck
Feb 20, 2013 6:32 AM
19I've been looking into this, and like the OP, I don't think it is impossible to go via land through Myanmar. I'm sure someone will also tell me why I'm wrong but i think this is a viable plan: (I do think it is impossible to cross into India though as you'd be entering a restricted part of India)
Head to Kunming, China - Get the Myanmar visa and cross over via the Ruili - Muse border.
From that border, as far as I know, you can travel freely in the country. Head down to Yangon and you can catch a boat out to Sittwe (via land route through Maruk-U and Ann is apparently closed).
From Sittwe, try to head to Maungdaw. This is where the recent unrest has been so overland is doubtful. I'd be surprised however if you couldn't find a local that could be payed to take you there by boat. From there get a boat or just use the same boat over to Teknaf, Bangladesh. This border has recently been reopened to locals only. But I doubt any foreigners have tried it.
Now you'd have some explaining to do in Bangladesh but it isn't a restricted area to tourists so I'd hope you'd be able to talk your way out of it/play dumb and get through. Possible?
Anyways, worst case is you get stopped (hopefully not put in jail) and sent back. Than just head back north, mail your passport home to get the Pakistan VISA and travel china-pakistan-india (Tibet I think is a big mission at the moment). You would have still seen Myanmar.
Feb 20, 2013 8:04 AM
20as far as I know
You know wrong. It is absolutely out of the question except for brief crossings with expensive permits and the constant supervision of a guide.
Anyway, if OP is trying to cross from India to Thailand, why would they backtrack into Myanmar after getting all the way to Kunming?
Anyways, worst case is you get stopped (hopefully not put in jail) and sent back
Perhaps you have a different definition of "worst case" than others.
Feb 21, 2013 2:51 AM
21"Anyway, if OP is trying to cross from India to Thailand"
He is trying to go from Thailand to India, so it wouldn't be back-tracking.
Where exactly are you breaking the law? (serious question - I feel I'm missing something obvious)
1. Crossing from China and heading to Yangon, than catching a boat to Sittwe is legal (as far as I know?). If you cross from Thailand and continue on to the rest of the country it is illegal so I wouldn't do that.
2. From Sittwe the overland route to Maungdaw is illegal. But you can go via boat the short distance and (as far as I know) the actual town isn't forbidden. So up to here nothing illegal?
3. Now I do imagine it would be nay impossible to get the exit stamp from Myanmar at the customs in Maungdaw. But if you had a visa to enter Bangladesh, entered through an area where foreigners are allowed........? Would that really be a jail-able offense in Bangladesh? Why would they care? You show up, say hello, I'm allowed to enter Bangladesh, here is my visa, I would like to continue on traveling through this area which I am permitted to travel in?
Now India is different because when you arrive unannounced you are entering into an area which you are not allowed to travel in. That is why I think India is out of the question.
From Bangladesh you can cross the border into India and there you go. Roberts your mothers brother.
Feb 21, 2013 2:56 AM
22+You know wrong. It is absolutely out of the question except for brief crossings with expensive permits and the constant supervision of a guide.
All that link told me was that it is possible..... Especially the last post which reads...
Thanks for reporting back so once again it is now possible, glad you really enjoyed it,
Feb 21, 2013 4:38 AM
Feb 21, 2013 6:52 AM
24No way to get in from India... so not possible.
No one is saying cross over from India.....
I know you can't cross over from India. The OP doesn't want to cross the border from India to Myanmar.
That poster arranged for expensive permits to cross into China while in already Mandalay, after several weeks waiting, with many places telling them no first.
So...... it is possible than? Basically I'm reading from you that it is absolutely impossible to do!!! (unless you get an expensive permit). But what you think is expensive and what I think is expensive are likely 2 very different things....
Here is a link saying you can do it and that it is actually easier going china to Myanmar:
Here is another post with similar information saying you need to buy "expensive" permits (but it is possible):
There is actually a poster on there that says it is easy and a guide will come find you on the Chinese side!
Though I've just read about a little flare-up in the region with China so it might all be over.
Feb 21, 2013 10:07 AM
25No one is saying cross over from India.....
Exactly, because that's what OP wants to do, and it's not possible. Think chicken and egg.
Feb 21, 2013 9:37 PM
Feb 24, 2013 11:48 AM
27For the foreseeable future, I'd scratch off any practical possibility of land crossing the Myanmar-India or Myanmar-Bangladesh borders. Already mentioned above are the very long routes:
Thailand - Laos - China - Tibet - Nepal - India (very costly and requires prearrangements and permitting)
Thailand - Laos -China -Pakistan - India (less costly but somewhat more dangerous on the Pakistan segment)
Assuming those are no-go's, that leaves the following possibilities which meet the 0 plane requirement:
1) Thailand - Laos - China - Burma - India by boat. This has two issues, (a) crossing the land border at Ruili-Muse needs prearrangement (best done in Kunming) and Burmese escort from Muse to Lashio, after which point you can go forth on your own. (b) Whether a passenger-accepting freighter can be found between Burma and India. There is this company but not sure of the passenger details, also whether Burmese immigration can be persuaded to exit you by this means:
2) Thailand - Malaysia - India by boat. There are definitely passenger-carrying freighters between Port Klang (Kelang) and Indian ports, also to Colombo in Sri Lanka. Timing to fit your schedule might be tricky, though. Try searching for the "Conti Anping" for starters.
3) Thailand - India or Sri Lanka by private yacht/pleasure craft. You'd have to hang out with the yachties in Phuket to see if anybody is heading that way and needs an extra crew member. Also limited to certain times of year depending on favorable wind and weather. A real crapshoot, and not for the seasick-prone. But likely one of the cheaper ways.
Your practical options are very limited without the willingness to fly one segment.
Mar 2, 2013 4:16 AM
28Thailand to Myanmar overland will soon become a viable option, from what I've heard this month, at least crossing from Mae Sot to Myawaddy and then continuing further into the country. It is unclear whether one must return the same way you came or whether flying out is an option, but crossing to India/Bangladesh is only an option (for now) if you apply for a permit from MT&T in Yangon or Nay Pyi Daw.
Mar 21, 2013 9:31 PM
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