and a couple of things your Lonely Planet doesn’t tell you...
Myanmar was a massive highlight for us on the trip, and much of the reading we were doing before we arrived had us thinking we’d be pretty much as off the beaten track as we were in the North Eastern states of India. Off the beaten track Myanmar is no more, in a few short years, tourism here has exploded, and if you stick to the main sights (which are fantastic and totally worth it), you’ll be there with plenty of others….which is a good reason to get there sooner rather than later.
Even though the tourism industry might be thriving, you are still going to meet some of the most genuine, friendly people, with the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen. Catch someones eye and they will instantly open up into a huge friendly grin. Thailand’s the land is smiles? No way, its Myanmar by a long shot.
If you’re on your way there, you’ve probably read a few things in the Lonely Planet such as being loaded up on pristine new US dollars, or the pre-planning needed to get buses around between main destinations. We found Myanmar to be one of the easiest countries we’d travelled through yet (although we were yet to arrive in Thailand), and its pretty obvious the country has come a long way in the tourism market since they opened their doors fully to tourists in 2010.
It's not Lonely Planets fault that their latest edition has been superseded so quickly with the big changes in the country, but as we found travel blogs and fellow travellers the most up-to-date source of info, we thought we’d add to the bunch with our tips and a few corrections to the Lonely Planet myths.
With our passports still in our hands after visiting the Indian Embassy, we realised we could apply for our Myanmar visa while the first stage of the Indian one was being processed. Handy!
Update January 2018: Please read the last comments for detail. The border crossing for foreigners is now only accessible with a complete tour booked for Myanmar.
If you have any updated information, please let us know as this page gets quite a lot of traffic, so we can let everyone know!
Update January 2017:
1. Dimapur (Nagaland) to Imphal (Manipur) transport can be difficult to organise. Shared cars for 1500IDR may be your only option as government buses have had political trouble.
2. Myanmar government changed border requirement that you need to pay for a two-way crossing, even if you only cross once. This costs USD160
With India committed to developing tourism in the North-Eastern states (hello living tree-root bridges and hill-tribes) and Myanmar looking to uphold its cooly-undiscovered-but-totally-discovered image for at least another few years, it’s natural that the passage between the two is going to develop rapidly.
Follow the official websites and guidebooks and you’d be left scratching your head wondering how to cross between the two by land. If it wasn’t for travel bloggers out there, we’d think it wasn’t possible.
It is possible. And it’s easy with a bit of planning.
Most articles we’ve read have shown how to cross from Myanmar into India, so we’re adding to the pool of knowledge out there with our experience doing it from India to Myanmar. And we did it on a Sunday - so there were a few extra steps.
Click 'Read More' below to find out how!
EMMA & PETE
We're just two Aussie's who met in London, married in Prague and travelled overland back to Australia.