Thailand is The Best Land Route
As a large country neighbored by many, international travelers on their country-crossing adventure in Asia find their way into Myanmar mostly through Thailand.
There used to be some checkpoint open for foreign travelers on the China-Myanmar border; they are currently closed and we will update this page once anything comes up ( * last updated: 13-Jan-2019 ). Foreigners are not allowed to go through the checkpoints on the India-Myanmar border.
That leaves only options with Thailand and Laos. The followings are the checkpoints that are officially open for foreign travelers and connection to mainland Myanmar after entry.
There are five checkpoints on Thai-Burma border connecting the southern part of Myanmar:
- Mae Sot (Tak Province, Thailand) / Myawaddy (Kayin State, Myanmar)
- Mae Sai (Chiang Rai Province, Thailand) / Tachileik (Shan State, Myanmar)
- Ranong (Ranong Province, Thailand) / Kawthaung (Tanintharyi Region, Myanmar)
- Phu Nam Ron (Kanchanaburi, Thailand) / Htee Kee (Tanintharyi Region, Myanmar) where the eVisa is not available for border-crossing
- Three Pagodas Checkpoint that is only open for Burmese and Thai residents.
|Checkpoint||Get There||From There|
|Mae Sot/Myawaddy||Bangkok: 1h20m by air, 10hrs by bus;|
Chiang Mai: 4 to 6hrs by bus
|Mawlamyine: 2hrs by bus|
|Mae Sai/Tachileik||Chiang Rai: 2hrs by bus;|
Chiang Mai: 4hrs by bus
|Tachileik has an airport connecting to other cities in Myanmar; Kyaing Tong: 2hrs by bus, there’s also an airport.|
|Ranong/Kawthaung||Bangkok: 2h50min by air, 10 to 12hrs by bus; 10hrs by train;|
Phuket: 6 to 8hrs by bus
|Yangon: 3h35min by air;|
Dawei: 1h by air;
Myeik: 7 to 8hrs by bus
|Phu Nam Ron/Htee Kee||Kanchaburi: 2hrs by bus; 2h12min by train via Klein Station;|
Bangkok: 3hrs by bus; 5hrs by train
|Mawlamyine: 2hrs by bus, trains and flights connect Mawlamyine with other cities in Myanmar;|
Dawei: 6hrs by bus, also trains and flights in Dawei
- Mae Sot: As the most-used checkpoint, you can expect long lines at the customs. An overnight in Mae Sot is advised.
- Mae Sai:
- As overland travel further beyond Kyaing Tong is forbidden for border-crossing travelers, the best way is to fly to your destination from either Tachileik or Kyaing Tong. We can help you get an overland travel permit, just contact us here.
- Both Thai Baht and US Dollars can be used in Mae Sai, but Burma Kyat is unacceptable.
- Phu Nam Ron:
- If you are entering Myanmar from Phu Nam Ron, a Myanmar visa MUST be obtained beforehand as eVisa doesn’t work. But there’s no problem getting out of Myanmar from this checkpoint.
- There is a no-mans area of 6km between the Thai and Myanmar borders, you might need to take a taxi or motorbike to reach there.
The Moreh (Manipur State, India) / Tamu (Sagaing Divison, Myanmar) and Zokhawatar (Mizoram State, India) / Rikhawadar (Chin State, Myanmar) are the two official checkpoints that allow foreigner travelers enter Myanmar from its western parts.
Border-crossing requires no other permits and eVisa works at both checkpoints. The two checkpoints are not in the restricted areas for travelers, even though they are pretty remote from main towns.
|Checkpoint||Get There||From There|
|Moreh/Tamu||Imphal: 2hrs by driving, Imphal is connected to other parts of India by air and train||Tamu: 2hrs by driving to Kalemyo where there are flights to Mandalay, Yangon, Heho and Nyaung U|
|Zokhawtar/Rikhawdar||Champhai: 2hrs by driving, from Champhai, a 3-hour drive gets you to the airport hub of Aizawl.||Falam: The closest transport hub from Rikhawadar is Falam, from where you can take a 5-hour drive to the airport in Kalemyo.|
Although India and Myanmar share a long border of 1624km / 1009mi with many checkpoints that were built to boost up Burma border towns’ economics, foreign travelers cannot enter via any other checkpoints. Aside from the tedious long hours of driving along poorly-maintained roads, security reason is another reason why we don’t recommend entering Myanmar from India.
The Myanmar-Laos Friendship Bridge that opened in 2015 connects Kyainglap in Shan State of Myanmar and Xieng Kok of Luang Namtha Province of Laos over the Mekong River. This checkpoint was closed for many years and reopen up for foreign travelers.
Both towns are very far from the major hubs: the nearest town to Kyainglap is Tachileik by 3 hours of driving; from Xieng Kok, you can either take a 4-hour bus ride to the capital city Luang Namtha, or drive 8 hours to Luang Prabang.
Due to the poor construction and long distance, you will probably spend 1 to 2 days on the way. Accommodation and transportation options are quite limited, thus we wouldn’t recommend entry via Laos.
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