Replies: 7 - Last Post: Feb 11, 2013 11:36 PM Last Post By: nextplease
Feb 9, 2013 4:48 AM
Feb 9, 2013 8:00 AM
1Still closed to tourists.
Detailed comment in this article:-
Feb 9, 2013 2:02 PM
2Well, what the article actually says is that nobody seems to have a clue, and some claim that there are thousands of tourists per week in the region while others say they're being turned back w/tour groups in the airport.
Would be nice to have first hand info from recent posters who were giving it a shot.
Feb 9, 2013 8:37 PM
3I managed to visit Mrauk U in early December, but the day after I returned to Sittwe I met someone who was turned back when she tried to board the boat to Mrauk U.
While I was in Mrauk U my hotelier received a letter from the tourism ministry addressed to all the hotels in Mrauk U instructing them not to take tourists unless they had a permit. I had tried to get a permit and believe me it is a game of cat and mouse.
For up to the minute advice I would suggest contacting the Mrauk U hotels directly, and accept the most pessimistic advice. Some of them have websites with email contact details. Otherwise you might find you have spent upwards of $220 to fly to Sittwe only to be refused onward travel.
Feb 10, 2013 1:35 PM
4On Jan. 8 I met a Japanese in Pyay who had come across the mountains from Taungkok and one day ealier from Sittwe - as he was not allowed to travel from Sittwe to Mrauk U.
I regret I did not visit Sittwe as a purpose on itself; I always found it a very interesting city, and now there are almost no tourists at all - it must be very rewarding, Sittwe being a university city - lots of people who want to meet and talk to you. Who knows, if you are there, you manage to get a boat to MU. You will be spotted anyhow.
Feb 10, 2013 3:12 PM
5I had tried to get a permit and believe me it is a game of cat and mouse
Any details on this? Did you try in Yangon? What are the theoretical requirements?
Feb 11, 2013 7:34 AM
Feb 11, 2013 11:36 PM
my efforts to obtain a permit were all from overseas, because the advice was that it takes several weeks to arrange. I tried both MTT and private travel agents, they initially said they could sell me a complete package (including guide hotels etc) - when I said I don't need this I already have flights and hotel, they simply didn't answer emails any more. Also they were thin on detail regarding price, one mentioned $100 for the permit but that would be the tip of the iceberg if you needed to hire a guide for the duration.
I also followed postings from others both here and on tripadvisor, I didn't find any definite leads. There was mention of a travel agent that had arranged permits for independent travelers, but he apparently had given up doing it.
So in the end I decided to see what it was like when I got to Yangon, and have a Plan B in case I was turned back. The folks at Motherland 2 Guesthouse reckoned it was OK to go (I'm not sure I would take their advice on this again!), Air Bagan let me on the plane, and my hotel met me and arranged a private boat for me in Sittwe (even though I hadn't asked them to) so I guess I got lucky. There were other tourists on my flight, planning to go on to Mrauk U (most with guides), but I never saw them again and I'm not sure if they made it or not. By the time I got back to Sittwe, they were definitely turning people back.
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