Burma the missing link of overland travel?

Discussion in 'Myanmar - Road Trip Reports' started by Shock absorber, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. Shock absorber

    Shock absorber New Member

    Hi We made it through Burma recently on an Africa Twin and a Transalp. We went from India to THailand.

    Below are some of the admin obstacles that need completing to do it:

    Burma, well the first challege you face is getting a special inner line permit from the INDIAN government to exit Burma to India!! There are two very unstable regions in India called Nagaland and Manipur. Check the UN website for current stability report.

    Top tip for the Indian permit is APPLY in Calcutta, and you do need to show your marriage cert. (but this may have changed). Donot approach Delhi or a) you may be refused and b) will complicate things in Calcutta and Manipur.

    Now to Burma, You will probably get a tourist visa easily. The challenge here is to get the all important ROAD PERMIT. To do this you will need to write a begging letter to the ambassador of Myanmar. You need to explain why you want to do the trip and, that you do NOT have any political objectives.
    Once this is in you need to try for a face to face meeting to establish a
    personal contact. This will probably be with the second secretary who really is the person who issues such a permit.

    IF, you are persistant and REALLY want to get through, you will get a letter giving you permission and it will have the route you MUST follow on it. Here you need to check the route carefully as if it goes through Cheng Tung to Taunggyi they will probably insist you send your bike by truck for a 290 mile section and you and Wendy fly. THis is because of the Burmese army pursuing a policy of Genocide in this area!! I kid not! But you can try to get this changed if, a the trouble is "quiet" at the time of your application and its the height of dry season, as the road is often impassible and needs good off road skills and tyres! Do exlpain to the embassy the capability of your motorbike in terms of fuel range ( needs to be more than 300 miles) reliablility and ABILITY to take on a road such as this. THey only drive 125 scooters and have difficulty imagining a 1000 cc or 750 off-road bike!!
    Do send them photos of your bike and off-road situations you have been in to prove the point! THEN they may, just may let you go! Which would make you the first to travel completely across by bike! We had to go by truck for this section VERY [}:)]VERY frustrating and bloody expensive and VERY time consuming (15 days!!)

    Well there you are - thats it - good luck
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Just a note to let you all know that Simon & Suzi have completed their round-the-world-trip & arrived back in the UK about 10 days ago.

    Keep The Power On
  4. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Aha. They're back....

    Yep, had a few quiet lengthy gin & tonics with Simon & Suzy in the Kafe last night.
    They've still got their bikes in the UK- the Africa Twin for Simon, & the Transalp for Suzy.
    In December last year they gave a presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London. 750 people attended.
    It was brilliant to meet up again to talk bikes, life 'n adventures.
  5. sinclair1969

    sinclair1969 Ol'Timer

    Very interesting. Myanmar is not a country much visited as the hassle of the place seems big, but this report shows it can be done and thanks for the information.
  6. helbob

    helbob Ol'Timer

    Does anyone know whether it is currently possible to rent a motorcycle in burma?
  7. rreznik

    rreznik Member

    Bringing this back to the top as I have a 4 week visa I need to use up in Burma - was thinking of even buying a small 125 or something over there if rent is not possible - I hear fuel rationing may also be a problem? - any advice appreciated.

  8. rob7711

    rob7711 Ol'Timer

    Burma or Myanmar as it is now known will be a fascinating country for an adventure ride. I was based in Yangon for about a year back in the late 90's and managed to travel on road (unfortunately not on a bike) from Yangon to Mandalay to Taungyi and Inle Lake. It's a fascinating country and a time warp too. Back then I would place the country as far as 40 years backwards from my own country in terms of development. It was like a journey back in time with scenes that reminded me very much of my early childhood days.

    It would be fabulous if the current political developments has eased the travel restrictions. Even back then petrol was difficult to obtain at the "official" pumps as it was rationed. However there existed a multitude of black market supplies available and very often denoted by a jerry can placed by the roadside. You had to pay for it in cold hard usd or fec (I called it monopoly money!). I can't really remember the cost per gallon then. Roads were generally under complete disrepair and often reduced to a single lane for both ways and I mean for the main trunk road that links Yangon to Mandalay. Lesser roads were mere gravel.

    Well I do hope this "final frontier" in south east asia finally opens up for travel and tourism as I too would love to tour it on a bike someday. One for the bucket list I guess.
  9. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  10. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Burma is in right now, with 3 groups getting in recently
    1. Sukie & Co from Bkk,
    2. a Group of Sinagporeans on R1200GSs
    3. a group of guys (GT Riders) from Chiang Mai

    everyone went in & out via Mae Sot.

    Finally a magazine article with some acknowledgement of Simon & Suzi's trip epic trip in 2004.






    and the permit, issued in India.

  11. Zulin

    Zulin New Member

    Hi everyone!

    Since I'm a new guy here, I have lot of questions:p

    Actually I'm now planning my trip around the world and making a research on countries I suppose to ride through.
    The main question now is bout accessability of Burma. I guess the situation is finally changed!!

    If anyone can say something about these news?


    P.S. Sorry for bad english and thank you in advance!
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

  13. TonyBKK

    TonyBKK Ol'Timer

    I was in Mae Sot last week and took a stroll across the friendship bridge to Myawaddy to check things out-

    Didn't have a visa but you can get a day pass into Myawaddy for only 500 Thai Baht.


    Officials were very friendly on both the Thai and Myanmar sides but on Myanmar side they were very clear that you can not bring a motorcycle into the country without written authorization from a "Permanent Minister" in the capital. As I understand it, the easiest way to obtain such authorization is via a licensed tour agency in Myanmar. Alternatively, one could go the route of the OP on this thread and try to obtain authorization from a Myanmar embassy. Bottom line, without prior written authorization Myanmar is still a no-go for foreign registered bikes at this time.

    Myawaddy morning market-

    Adorable Burmese kid in Myawaddy, Myanmar-

    Burmese monks making their morning rounds-
  14. Renzobkk

    Renzobkk Ol'Timer

    Good Tips!! In December i will be there myself.
  15. Rafal

    Rafal New Member

    I want to cross Myanmar from Thailand to India around February 2015. I'm trying to find some info about it - not so easy. But as I read about it and called Ministry of Tourism you need a guide and permit to do this. And it's much cheaper when you do it in a group. Anyone wants to join? My dates are rather flexible, but not earlier than end of January because I don't have a bike and have to wait for registration. I just started research about all the procedures and sent some e-mail to agencies in Myanmar.
  16. Roadjunky

    Roadjunky New Member

    Hello !

    Namaste from India.

    I came across this forum a few days ago while trying to find information for riding in south-east Asia, as we are planning a big SEA trip....and this forum has been a sea of helpful information !! :)

    Let me tell you a little about us and our plan.....

    We are a group of about 15 (if everyone can make it) experienced riders on Royal Enfield bikes. I would like to call ourselves quite experienced as all of us have ridden extensively across India, Bhutan and Nepal for years. It has always been a dream to ride across south east asia and Myanmar had always been the missing link..not any more though..i guess :) Now that it is worth a try, we are braving ourselves for this trip. A few friends had crossed over the border from India to Myanmar a few months ago. However, this not all the way.

    Our plan is to Cover India ---> Myanmar ---> Thailand ---> Cambodia ----> Vietnam -----> Laos -----> Thailand -----> Myanmar -----> India , over a period of 4 weeks.

    We are told that Myanmar requires a ride permit and an escorted guide throughout Myanmar, unless we can get a permit official permit from the Embassy in New Delhi, which is extremely difficult. The other option, a guided tour, seems very expensive. We have been in touch with a few tour operators from Myanmar and the cheapest quote we got was for $ 1975 per person for Myanmar alone...and we still have a long way to go..................... :(

    Also, its not easy to cross over to most of these countries (Vietnam being one of them) without permits and tour guide assistance...and police escort in Thiland etc.
    We are now considering using the services of tour planners for a smooth ride all the way and back to India....without getting ripped off hopefully.

    It would be extremely helpful if someone can help us find a good tour agency/guide who can help us cross borders without a hassle. We would like someone who can make it look like there are no borders at all. This guide/agent should be able to cater to all the countries mentioned and his/her services should include sorting visas and accommodation for us throughout...

    Any help from anyone will highly be appreciated and this trip will open the road from India to South East and vice-versa. We will be the first group to have done that !

    Cheers !

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