A warning about the planned itinerary

There is something to be careful about when planning an itinerary in Myanmar: not all part of the country are open to foreigners.  As long as you stay where you are allowed to be, you won’t have any problem with the police and you will feel that Myanmar is like any other places.  If you decide to go off limit (or you just forget to check), then you can expect the police to be after you and make you change your plans.  This is one of the reason why there are not that many itinerary possible without being forced to fly or use alternative mode of transport.

One thing important to note: even if 2 places are open to foreigners, that doesn’t mean that the road in between is.  A good example is the road between Lake Inle and Keng Tung/Tachileik: foreigners are not allowed to take the road but you could decide to fly to Keng Tung to visit the area.

To be honest I don’t have a good picture of the places which are off limit, however I can say:

  • Lake Inle: you can go east up to Taunggyi.  The road after that is off limit
  • Bago – Meiktila: I heard report that some people take that road and got trouble with the police. I know that Naypyidaw, the new capital, used to be off limit for foreigners.  As far as I know, this is not off limit anymore but I cannot tell if some part of the road to go there are still off limit for foreigners.  Double check is required here
  • Burmese Road Mandalay – Muse: the road to china is now fully open to foreigners, but as mentionned here, the distances between places where you can sleep are quite far.
  • North of Mandalay is mostly off limit to foreigners
  • Yangoon – Mawlamyine: the road is open to foreigners.  However it soon becomes off limit going south of Mawlamyine.
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4 Responses to A warning about the planned itinerary

  1. Ashley says:

    Hey this is all quite interesting as am thinking of taking my bike there at the end of this year. Do you have any suggestions on where i could possibly get up to date information about what roads are closed to foreigners and which arent? How does one know whats open and whats not?

  2. fleclerc says:

    hi,I found that which is relatively recent and provide information: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2201850http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2274100lonely planet forum is probably the best place to ask.How does one know what’s open? ask around 🙂 or police will tell you if your are at the wrong place (kindly, they are very nice)

  3. AB says:

    Francis,
    Thanks again for your help. Also would you suggest to take tent, sleeping bags and cooking equipment as a back-up? Or would it be just wasted space and weight and would never be used (given that camping is not allowed)? Also with staying at temples/monasteries, did you keep that as a back up? Did you get a feeling it would be ok to plan for it sometimes?
    Ashley

    • Hi,
      Tent could be an option, a lot of places are scarcely populated and putting a tent would be easy. Staying at monasteries is also a possibility and I would probably prefer that to the illegal wild camping. You should normally go to the police to ask for permission and you will be allowed to stay (unless where you are somewhere off limit for foreigners). I heard of many people doing it to join Inle to mandalay (there are 2 nights that will have to be spent at monastery as there are no hotels) and apparently it wasn’t a problem.
      Francis

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