Home Insider Myanmar Border Checkpoints – Arriving and Departing Over Land

Myanmar Border Checkpoints – Arriving and Departing Over Land

S ince Myanmar opens its door to the world, more official borders are opening for travelers who wish to travel freely over land from neighboring countries to Myanmar. At the present, visitors can travel from Thailand, China and India to Myanmar at certain border gates. Up to 2016, there is no international border checkpoint to enter Myanmar from Laos or Bangladesh.

Thailand Crossing

Whilst flying was the only practical means of entering Myanmar from Thailand until fairly recently, it is now possible for international tourists to cross by land / water at several points. Previously, people who crossed by land were restricted to a small area, and were not free to travel onwards to other parts of the country. There are currently four Thailand/Myanmar border points opened to travel through. They are as follows:

Mae Sot/Myawaddy

Foreign visitors can now enjoy full access overland to the rest of Myanmar when they cross into Myawaddy from Thailand’s Mae Sot. One of the most popular crossing points, Mae Sot is located in the Thai province of Tak. The city is well-connected on the Thai side, and onward transportation when in Myanmar is also relatively straight-forward. Mawlamyine and Yangon are easy to reach, allowing you to connect to other parts of the country. Mae Sot/ Myawaddy crossing point is probably the most practical place to cross for onward travel into Myanmar, because of its relative proximity to the main Myanmar transport network and places of interest such as Kyaiktiyo (the Golden Rock), Hpa An and Mawlamyine.

Mae Sai/Tachileik

Mae Sai is within Thailand’s province of Chiang Rai. Whilst foreign visiotors can easily cross the border into Myanmar, there are still limitations as to onward transportation. If they are only planning to travel as far as Kyaing Tong, they can travel by road. It is not possible to continue further unless they book a flight. Kyaing Tong and Tachileik have airports with internal flight connections to Mandalay, Yangon and Heho (for Inle Lake, Kalaw and Taunggyi). Tachileik’s economy is based on cross-border trade and tourism, and Thai Baht is the main currency (not Myanmar Kyat). Ranong/Kawthaung This is the most convenient crossing for people who are continuing to Myanmar from Southern Thailand. Ideal for beach lovers, the visitors can catch onward boats to some of Myanmar’s dazzling beaches and islands. They can also catch flights from the Myanmar side of the border to other parts of the country. Whilst road access may be possible, the roads are not in good condition and it would take a relatively long time. The boat crossing between the two countries takes around 20 minutes from Ranong to Kawthaung, and there are also regular boat services to the costal cities such as Myeik and Dawei. Cruises to the Myeik Archipelago also start from Kawthaung.

Phunaron/Htee Khee

Ban Nam Phu, located in Thailand’s province of Kanchanaburi, is a remote town with a border crossing into Myanmar. Crossing to Htee Khee, the nearest major town on the Myanmar side is Dawei, which is around a five-hour drive from the border. Arranging onward transportation may be difficult, particularly during the raining season. There are a further two crossings between Myanmar and Thailand, although they are not open to foreigners. People who hold passports from either Thailand or Myanmar, however, can utilise these crossings. They are between Prach uap Khiri Khan and Tanintharyi Division, and at the Three Pagodas Pass between Sangkhlaburi (in Thailand’s province of Kanchanaburi) and Payathonzu in Myanmar’s Kayin State. There are four buses per day from Kanchanaburi to the small border town of Phunaron (70 Baht), which has only one guest house. The Thai and Myanmar borders are separated by six kilometres of no-mans land; there are also two separate checkpoints separated by around one kilometre. Visitors can take a motorbike taxi (around 100 Baht) or try to hitchhike between these points or further afield, in either direction.

China Crossing

China-Myanmar checkpoint exists at Ruili (known as Shweli in Myanmar and located in China’s Yunnan Province) / Muse (Myanmar, Shan State). China-Myanmar crossing is currently closed for other nationals except Chinese and Myanmar. Crossing at the Ruili-Muse border crossing is a restricted activity meaning that one must first gain permission from the Myanmar Ministry of Tourism. Visitors are obliged to have a guide and so it can b expensive. Most Myanmar travel agents will be able to assist in applying for the permission to cross into China. If the Chinese nationals want to visit Myanmar through the checkpoint, they could go to a travel agent in Kunming. Yangon, Mandalay and Kunming all have embassies or consulates where visitors can apply for the relevant visa (Myanmar or Chinese). For details, it will be the best to go to embassies.

India Crossing

In the remote north west of Myanmar, a crossing exists between Moreh (India, Manipur state) and Tamu (Myanmar, Sagaing Division). Although permits are required for border crossing, foreigners can now travel in these parts of Sagaing Division (Myanmar) and Manipur State (India) freely. If the visitors wish to travel overland to or from India and onwards to another destination, they can only do so if they have their own vehicle (car or motorbike). If they are travelling on a tour, by public transport or other, they have to enter and exit via the same border point. It is not permitted for foreigners to cross at any other India-Myanmar border points.