wondering how safe it is to go to burma overland from thailand... just read the info on fco.gov.uk and it says they advise 'all but essential travel' to anywhere in burma on the thai side!
would you still go?
also what is there to see apart from the buddhist pagodas, having been to tibet im not sure i can be bothered with more of them! seen one, seen them all!
how long does it take to get a visa in bangkok? what entry points can i use into burma? i was wanting to go in somewhere near the bridge over the river kwai in thailand...
i did a search on here but any advice would be appreciated,
I found this website about border crossings:
Myanmar as a whole is a safe country but many of the border areas are unsafe due to fighting between government troops and minority rebels but you would have no need to go through these areas anyway.
you should be able to get your visa in bangkok in a few days - you can pay more for a faster service ( I got mine done in hanoi in 4 days).
There is loads to see in myanmar - check out a guidebook such as lonely planet. many tourists concentrate on yangon, mandalay (and surrounding ancient cities), Inle Lake and Bagan. The temples in bagan are fantastic even if you are templed out but there's loads more to see in myanmar apart from temples. send me a personal message if you need more info.
I just got back from Myanmar and I'd highly recommend it. As for entry, I think most people fly in from Bangkok. Air Asia just started a flight from BKK to Yangon that is pretty cheap, and that's the route I took. I'm not sure about the southern land border crossings, but I do know that if you come in from Northern Thailand, then you can only get a two-week visa that restricts you to something like 3 towns in NE Myanmar. I met several people who did this, and frankly there's not really 2 weeks worth of stuff to do where you're allowed to go. If you enter via air into Yangon, you get 28 days and can then move on to any other (non-foreigner restricted) places from there.
As for the pagodas, well, they're just about everywhere in Myanmar, so you don't have to try too hard to see them. That said, I'm not really a "sights" guy myself, but found more than enough to see and do there with trekking and just enjoying the people to fill my 3 weeks. I actually skipped Bagan, which perhaps I should be flogged for, but hey, it gives me a reason to go back.
As for personal saftey, I don't think I've been anywhere that I've felt safer walking down the streets at night. There are some things to adapt to like sporadic electricity, crap roads and sidewalks, and an awful government that is responsible for all of that, but the people make it well worth a visit in my opinion.
I'd recommend doing a bit of reading and research before visiting as it truly is important to try to get your money in the hands of the people, rather than gov't operated tours and hotels. It's easy enough to do and I thought much more fun and exciting to interact with the locals, especially those that have limited contact with tourism.
Hope that helps.
Everything John said is true: Myanmar is a beautiful country with lots to see. Besides the omnipresent old - and new - pagodas, there are scenic lakes, mountains, caves, rivers, and lots of friendly people. I also enjoyed hanging out at the teashops. Besides having tea they have delicious cheap snacks such as samosas, paratha, and other treats. Walk the streets of Yangon, or cycle around Mandalay or the Inle Lake area. So much to see and do, and it's very inexpensive. And yes, very safe, too.
You can get Myanmar visa done in BKK in one day...just that you pay double the normal 3-day waiting fee (810B).
If you want to go to southern Myanmar only, you could go to Ranong Thailand, take a longtailboat to Kaw Thaung. In Kaw Thaung they give you a 2 day visa for $ 5,- if you want to stay a few more days talk with the immigration guy at this border post. But you cannot go beyond that into Myanmar...You only option is flight into Yangoon or Mandalay.
[ Edit: Edited on Nov 22, 2006, at 9:53 PM by danalasta ]
thanx for all your help guys, the main reason we have started to even consider burma is that we are currently in india & planning on having some beach time to get a good tan before my parents come to meet us in thailand (lol) then im having another two weeks on thai beaches with them and after that i think we'll be a bit beached out, also i have 35 days between flights & the thai free visa only lasts for 30 days so i either buy a thai visa for $25 in Delhi or i go to thailand and get a burma visa in bangkok whilst doing bangkoks sights (3rd visit & still not done them lol, only been shopping) which seems like the better option to me, then i can do yet a new country which will be 14 countries in 14 months before going back to thailand and getting a new 30 day stamp which i can use to head back to down to phuket for my flight home...
i have already done, cambodia, vietnam & laos so wanna see something different but i dont know anything about burma hence why i asked about it on here... i dont wanna buy the LP book & have to lug it around india until i get more info about the place... but now i think i might just buy it so i can fully understand the places where tourists can & cant go lol
so thanx for all the info