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Myanmar border crossings

Travel Forums Asia Myanmar border crossings

1. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5537 posts) 5 Feb '08 07:32

Hey,
Does anybody have any experience on crossing borders with Myanmar? Especially from China?

There seems to be a new border crossing in the north of Myanmar according to this news.

Has anybody used the border crossing from Ruili(China) to Lashio in Myanmar? Or does anybody know if another border crossing in the east of Myanmar is completed yet?

Also, if flying into Myanmar, can you leave the country by land or do you have to fly out as well? I remember hearing something like that.

Well, thanks for any advice on this topic.

Cheers!
Michael

2. Posted by buzzard (Respected Member, 187 posts) 6 Feb '08 04:28

Yes, there are now dozens of border crossing into Myanmar (mainly from Thailand, but also as you noted, from China), BUT --- this is the big BUT --- once you've crossed the border into Myanmar and visited the nearest big town, you can't continue your journey to other parts of the country. In other words, if you want to travel around Myanmar you must fly into Yangon first and then continue your trip to whichever part of the country you'd like to visit. Even those travelers entering Myanmar at Takeleik from the Thai border at Mae Sai, and then going to Kengtung, will find out that that's as far as you can go by land (even though there are flights from Kengtung to Yangon: doing that trip by road, no matter how you've entered the country, is still forbidden to foreigners). To answer your other question about leaving the country by land: I don't know this for certain, but I highly doubt they will allow you to do this. If you fly in, you will also need to fly out. Other than that hassle, it's an amazing country to visit.

3. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5537 posts) 6 Feb '08 06:52

Thanks Buzzard.

Dozens of border crossings? Do you mean for travellers or only for locals?

Anyway, I thought only if entering from Thailand you couldn't travel any further than Kengtung for example.
Not the one(s) from China, or am I wrong?

Aren't there any flights from Kengtung to Mandalay for example?

Cheers!
Michael

4. Posted by jekalo (Full Member, 118 posts) 6 Feb '08 07:32

I don't know about the crossings from China but as a rule, land border crossings are for day visits only. I know of no one who has been able to cross at a border crossing and continue on, but I do know of more than a few that have been turned back or denied access at all when attempting a land crossing. Even with my diplomatic plates, my car has been denied access to some roadways in the country although it is much easier to get around now than it was a couple of years ago by private automobile. You can enter the country on a cruise ship and leave the same way now.

5. Posted by kymar1 (Full Member, 12 posts) 6 Feb '08 19:52

Don't know what its like from China, but when crossing from Thailand, you have to surrender your passport at the border and collect it again on your way back. A bit unnerving as you just get issued with a dodgy looking paper "tourist" passport.

6. Posted by buzzard (Respected Member, 187 posts) 7 Feb '08 03:05

Anyway, I thought only if entering from Thailand you couldn't travel any further than Kengtung for example.

Yes, that's true. And as others noted, the border crossings are usually only good for the one day. But many travelers do venture on to Kengtung and stay more than a day.
I talked with an American tourist who didn't have his passport with him, but was allowed to enter Myanmar at Mae Sai/Tacheleik by using his US Driver's license. But again, only for the day.

7. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator, 5537 posts) 7 Feb '08 03:50

Ok, since I posted this I have done some more research and I know more now how things work, entering from China and Thailand. It's a pretty interesting topic for those seasoned backpackers in Asia who would like to visit Myanmar (or Birma/Burma whatever).

Maybe for people who would like to do the same as me in the future I share my information. Thanks though for the replies!
So here is the deal:

1. Entering into Myanmar is possible from China at the borderpost Ruili and onto Lashio (Myanmar). Totally overland, but you have to arrange visa, permit and guide to Lashio in Kunming (China). Not possible for independent travellers, you have to arrange things but if you are alone that is no problem at all. From Lashio you can travel further to all places in Myanmar without restrictions for travellers.

2. From Thailand there are 4 borders, 2 of which you can only cross for the day and travelling further is not at all possible: Mae Sot/Myawadi and Three Pagodas Pass.

3. The other two (Tachilek/Mae Sai and Kawthoung/Ranong) it is possible to travel into the country on a regular visa which you have to arrange before you enter the country and is valid for about a month. You can travel from Tachilek to Kengtung from where you need to fly (no land crossings possible by foreigners) to Heho or Mandalay or Yangon.
Also the other crossing involves flying or taking a boat from Kawthoung to Yangon, als no land transport possible.

4. And to end: it is possible to enter and exit in whatever way you want (fly in or by land) and you can leave from another route you took when entering the country. So flying in, and leaving by land is no problem and visa versa.
There even seems to be a possibility of leaving Myanmar overland into CHina (ruili again) but this is not verified by travellers so far and requires lots of waiting time for permits and lots of $$$

Apparantly it has been this situation for years now, even after the recent problems.
Hope someone will benefit from this post