How to cross from Myanmar to India overland (at Tamu – Moreh)

with 65 Comments

It’s a common travellers dream to search for an overland way to India, to imagine from our sofa at home or our chair in an office the historical routes and the long trotted ways that could carry us to the subcontinent. We read books and accounts or even blogs written years ago, and we plan travels without counting on borders, hoping that they will magically open when we arrive to them and shout “Sesamo” with a strong voice. And most of the times it does not happen like that, many doors are closed for the overland traveller, many paths forbidden and even more restricted. But sometimes, the lucky ones arrive to the right place at the right time, when the gate opens to the sound of a magic word which lies buried underneath piles of paperwork and bureaucracy.

Important note: what follows is a step-by-step description of the way in which we crossed from Myanmar to India in February 2015. It is probably our most read post. Since then we have been receiving news from travellers who have done it the same way, others who had to wait due to border closures and, recently a few who inform us that rules have changed and the overland journey is getting tougher. You can read their comments below, contact Myanmar travel agencies for current information and, if you find a away around the bureaucracy, drop a message to help other travellers find their way. Thanks for your contribution!

Myanmar to India Documents

This post is the way to the magic words, or better said the paperworks that open your way to India through Myanmar. What we thought was not possible the day we started the travel, is now an open route getting increasingly popular amongst hitchhikers and cyclists. We are writing it in response to the many emails and questions we are receiving in the last couple of weeks, since we crossed ourselves, from those who also search for an overland way to India. It is going to be a boring one – no stories, no pictures, no charm. But for the hitchikers and or cyclists on their overland mission to somwehere, we hope it will be a useful one. For those on vehicles different regulations apply, and as far as we know theystill need a group and a guide, but we won’t advice on that.

But first of all is worth mentioning that, if you are the lucky holder of two passports and of some extra courage you can still reach India via Pakistan, following the old hippy route. A German travelling couple made it and has a nice video showing the way through the wastes of Baluchistan. Also, if for some reason you have found yourself in a possession of a spare thousand dollars you may be able to cross Tibet with a tour guide and then get into Nepal and on to India. But if you are (un)lucky enough to not have any of those, you may as well enjoy the way through Central Asia across China and via South East Asia, circling around the subcontinent before reaching it. The way from Bulgaria to India via Myanmar took us 511 days, but as we all know it’s the road that matters and not the destination.

Myanmar buddha

1. Getting a Myanmar visa

Obtaining a visa for Myanmar is pretty simple nowadays, you can do it either in person or online.

(a) Embassy of Myanmar in Thailand.

Address: 132, Sathorn Nua Road, 10500 Bangkok. Map. How to get there? Take BTS to Sathorn station, walk 5-10 minutes to the Embassy. Timetable: visa application 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. / visa collection: 3.30 p.m.

Documents: Visa form, copy of passport and of Thai visa and 2 passport photographs with white background (everything can be obtained at the Embassy itself)

Process: Fill in the form (at least partly), queue to get a number, wait for your number to be called, hand in documents and visa fee. Wait as many days as requested. Go to pick your visa (arrive early to avoid a very long queue)

Cost: The cheapest option is 3 working days processing for 27 $.

(b) Online visa (only if you plan to fly)

Website: http://evisa.moip.gov.mm/

Process: Fill in the online visa form – confirm and pay – get approval letter within 3 days. It is simpler but right now it seems that e-visas are not valid for land border crossings (so this is not an option unless you plan to fly into Myanmar).

Cost: 50$

Myanmar visa

2. Getting an Indian visa in Yangon

There are many orthodox ways to get an Indian visa in your home country or wherever you are at the moment, but probably most of them present two problems for overlanders: firstly that they require return flight tickets and hotel bookings (ok, that is maybe solvable with booking.com) but secondly, and probably most important, since the Indian visa starts running from the day of applying, the earlier you apply the less time you will have to roam around once there. For these reasons, the best and simplest option we found was to apply in Myanmar. Here we tell you how:

  1. Fill in the online application (in the official Indian visa application web, which also explains a few key poins:)

    (a) Indian reference can be a hotel (so you can you pick from your Lonely Planet) :)

    (b) Port of entry should be any city with an airport.

    (c) If you have previously been to India, but do not know you previous visa number, just enter 00000 and an aproximate date of issue. We had no problems with that.

    (d) Upload a photo with white background that is as recent as possible. You will need to provide 2 passport photos and they should look similar or equal.

  2. Present your application

    Address: 545 Merchant St, Yangon. Map. How to get there: walk down the park from Sule Pagoda, turn left on Merchant St. and walk 5 minutes until you see the Embassy (white building).

    Documents:

    1. Print the form double side. B/w is fine.

    2. Bring a copy of your passport and of your Myanmar visa

    3. Bring 2 square passport photos 2×2 cm. They make them in a little photocopy shop near the Embassy, but it only opens at 10 a.m., so make sure to get them the day before.

    4. Bring the fees in new USD notes with no marks or bends. In addition to your fee (40 USD for most Europeans) you need an extra 20 USD (the cost of a fax they supposedly send to the Embassy in your home country) and further 2 USD for admin costs. It is good to have change to avoid waiting a couple of hours.

NOTE: This info was current in early 2015. No flight tickets or proof of hotel reservation were requested at the time when we applied, even if the website says so. Nobody applying that day had any bookings.

Process

1. Arrive to the Embassy as early as possible and write your name in a list that will either be laying on the bush by the security guy or in the hands of one travel agent on the other side of the pavement. The consulate service opens at 9 a.m. We were there at 8 a.m. and were already number 25, but we heard sometimes it is busier and that they only process 100 applications per day, so some people had to try several times.

2. When your turn comes, hand in your application and pay the fees (we were asked to wait for an hour because they had no change, but in the end they took it)

3. Come back 72 hours later to collect your visa.

4. Rejoice!

Cost: obtainign an Indian visa in Yangon costs 62 USD for most European people (40 USD visa fee + 22 admin costs as explained above). For certain nationalities, like British, it is more expensive, check before you go.

February 2016. Update from Michal (Czech Republic), who kindly shared his experience in the comments below:

1) They accept foreigner’s applications from 10:00
2) The receptionist said they accept only 15 foreigner’s applications per day. We were 6 non-Burmese there on Mon.
3) We paid $40 + $2 per person. Make sure notes are really new. They checked them a lot. A good money exchange is 2 blocks east.
4) No return flight ticket/ hotel booking needed.

India visa

3. Border permit (MTT)

In addition to your visas you will need, at least at the moment of writing, one more document: a permit from the Myanmar Ministry of foreign affairs to cross that border. You have several ways to get it, and we know of 3: through the official MTS office (check here for details on how to get it in Yangon or Mandalay, 100 USD), through the agency 7 Diamonds or Exotic Myanmar Tours in Yangon (80 USD now, 50 USD when we did it). We used this last agency, and this is how we got our permit:

Address: With Exotic Myanmar Tours you can apply by email ([email protected]) or in person at their office in Yangon (# 255, Room No.1504, 15th Floor, Olympic Tower, Bo Aung Kyaw Street, Kyauktada Tsp, Yangon) – within walking distance from the Indian Embassy and from Sule Pagoda.

Documents: a copy of your passport and Myanmar visa. A 20 days itinerary across Myanmar from Yangon to the border. You can write it by hand in a piece of paper, nothing fancier.

Process: hand in your documents, pay the fee, wait 15-20 days (that’s officially, but in reality ours took just 11 days), receive a jpg copy by email and print it (b/w is fine),

Cost: 80$ – 100$ (it was 50$ with Exotic Myanmar Tours when we did it, but prices seem to have risen since then)

NOTES:

1) Someone translated us the border permit and it turned out it mentioned our date of application and nationalities but not our names or passports, we found it weird and tried to ask the agency if it was normal. They never replied, but in the end had no issues at the border.

2) Do you really need a permit? It looks like yes, at the moment you do. We were asked for the permit at the border, and heard of someone who had been turned back for not having it. It may change though, so check LP throrn tree for the latest travellers comments.

India_Border market

4. Crossing the border and other details

The only border open for foreigners betwen Myanmar and India is at Tamu – Moreh, in the North West state of Saigon. The border is open daily. There are several passport checkpoints along the way and we were taken by our driver to a hotel where they photocopied our passports and visas and called the border to confirm we were going. Just in case, carry your own photocopies together with the border permit.

You can cross the border on foot, walk across the little friendship bridge, and head to the Indian immigration and customs office, a large white building on yoru left side, to get your entry stamp and be welcomed into India.

The town of Tamu (on the Myanmar side) is pretty normal and did not look in the daylight as bandit-full as some people told us it would be, but in any case Myanmar is not the cheapest place for backpackers accommodation so if you are going direction India it’s probably better to cross the border and sleep in Moreh (India) to get a better price (around 100 rupees per person). We stayed in a pretty nice place called Sangai guesthouse. Update: Check below the comment of traveller Chris who found an affordable hostel in Tamu (Myanmar)

Changing money in Moreh proved to be slightly difficult for us. The State Bank of India did not offer exchange services, neither accepts visa cards in their ATM. The only option seems to be exchanging money (at a pretty bad rate) in the local market back on the Myanmar side, that you can access without any additional visa through a second border crossing called “Gate nº 2”. If you have a chance to exchange rupees at a good rate in advance, do so just to save yourself some trouble.india copy

India_State Bank of India

5. And what about doing it in the opposite direction (India to Myanmar)?

It is also possible, and many travellers are making their way from North East India to Myanmar through the same border that we came. As far as we know, the process is the same, and one needs to get the permit through one of the agencies via email.

The guys from Wonderlusters have a post explaining how to obtain Myanmar visa and permit in Kolkata, and Magic Kervan tell us how they did to recently cross the Indian-Myanmar border overland (and remind us that the cheapest permit at the moment is 80 USD).

Extra: Hitchhiking and travelling in Myanmar (on a tiny budget)

On the road

A “highway” crosses the country from Yangon to Mandalay, a thin two way road without safety lane, but pretty well asphalted. We had no problems hitchhiking (mainly crowded pick-ups and trucks), there are many villages along the way, which makes traveling slow but also easy in terms of finding food and water.

Further on to Tamu there is an even thinner but paved road. From Bagan there is also an alternative route for part of the journey, going through Pakoku and Pauk; it is a small road with beautiful scenery, scattered villages, and so very little traffic that we thought we could get stuck there forever, but were fially lucky to be picked up by a representative of the Ministry of Construction in charge of supervising all the bridges under construction all along the way to where the small road meets the main road from Mandalay. If you are on a bike, this is a beautiful road to travel, if you are hitchhiking it is just as pretty as it is slow, so count on some extra days.

To hitchhike, people may not understand what your thumb up means, but your palm down works well. Some pick-ups are actually local taxis, but many others are just families or workers travelling in between towns and villages, just tell the driver in advance that you can’t pay money to avoid misunderstandings. Peope travel squeezed in the backs of trucks, on car roofs or hanging by the door of a bus, so you may also find yourself comfortably seating over sacks of beans or not so cozzily riding on beer barrels or water bottles for hours. Myanmar is one of these places where the notion of transport expands.

Myanmar transport beer truck

Food and drinks

Myanmar is a vegetarians paradise. In local restaurants you can get noodles breakfast for 500 Kyat (0.50 USD) and a full meal with rice and a variety of dishes for 1000 Kyat (1 USD). In the markets we found avocados for less than we could dream (1 avocado costs in between 200 and 700 Kyat), tasty papaya, bananas of all colours, all sorts of snacks and sweet breads.

Water is basically free, there are large bottles of purified water in every restaurant, shop and corner. If you doubt its quality you may filter it yourself or buy bottled water, 1liter for 300 Kyat (0.30 $).

One of the nicest beers in Myanmar is called just like that, and it could rival Lao Beer in quality and flavour. For 800 Kyat (0.8 $) you can enjoy a cold one. If you crave for harder alcohol whisky is inexpensive too. The rest of time, enjoy green tea, we forgot to say that it comes free with your meal.

Myanmar_water

Myanmar_Meal for 1 usd

Sleeping

Sleeping on a budget will probably be your biggest nightmare, at least a few of the nights. There are two types of hostels: the ones for locals for locals cost 2000 – 4000 Kyat (2-4 $), and the ones for foreigners at least10.000 – 20.000 Kyat (10-20 $) for a double room. Foreigners are officially not allowed to stay in the local guesthouses, and you will always be directed to the most expensive ones, but if it’s late and dark and you are not near one, you may be accepted to stay for a night, provided that they do not register you.

Locals are supposedly not allowed to take you home and they know it well, and camping is forbidden, so sleeping in people’s gardens is not an easy task, and near villages you need to hide well in the dark if you want to set your tent. We managed to sleep outside just a couple of times. The police usually would not let you camp if they see you, and they may also kick you out of any place they consider unsafe for you, like bus or train stations – some travellers told us they ended up comfortably sleeping in police stations, and for us they arranged once a free mattress in a corner of a roadside hotel that had previously asked us for 40 $ a night. Note on safety: we have just received news that a Spanish cyclist was attacked and robbed nearby Bagan, although we are not alarmists that think one incident needs to be extended to a whole nation, it is a reminder that we need to take care on the road, follow safety common sense and, when in doubt, avoid excessive risks. It may also make camping even more difficult in Myanmar, although that’s just speculation.

But not everything is dark and difficult, when you walk at night to the edge of town or through a black road to any small monastery or dhamma school, and the monks welcome you with a smile into a corner of a hall or into an empty room or a bamboo hut – having a mosquito net or some coil is useful, since these sort of predators abound; leaving a donation, in kind or monetary, according to your means, is appropriate in a place where everything works on the basis of giving and sharing. You will have endless chances to meet with the monks and novices, learning about dhamma, local culture or beliefs.

Myanmar monastery night

Showers

If you have a sarong at had you can basically shower anywhere. Happily pour some bowls of fresh water over you whenever the heat and dust becomes too much. There are water basins in monasteries, petrol stations and even shops, just that they are often outdoors and in visible places.

Happy travels in Myanmar!

To Magic Places 9 real, surreal and imaginary travel stories

If you feel like reading a bit more about magic places and, at the same time, give us a virtual lift along the way you can pass by our Roving Stall and download the first book of travel stories and fairytales that we have written along the way.

It’s right here.  — > Download Book in PDF

And you choose the price!

 

 

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Boris, Marta and Burma roam the world at a speed of a snail. Two humans and one cat that found their way to India overland.

65 Responses

  1. Sheela
    | Reply

    Thanks for an excellent and concise outline of this travel logistic. Both of you are incredible and I’m really glad you arrived in India!

  2. Jolan
    | Reply

    Thanks a lot! This will come in handy later on and I know some friends who will also be happy to read this. Looking forward to read/hear more from you!

  3. Lau y Bea
    | Reply

    Hola chicos!

    Perdón que escribimos en español, pero vimos que lo hablan, y a nosotros el inglés se nos hace complicado de escribir! Saltamos de emoción al leer este post y descubrir que se puede cruzar por tierra a India desde Myanmar. Estuvimos en Myanmar hace 3 años, y nos quedamos con las ganas, y queremos intentarlo este año. Pero después de la primera euforia, vienen las dudas…

    Después de Mandalay, es necesario hacer los tramos con un guía? o se puede llegar hasta la frontera solos? cuántos días les llevó ese tramo y en qué pueblos/ciudades fueron parando? (por las opciones de alojamiento..). En la parte oriental de India, una vez que cruzaron la frontera, que recorrido hicieron? y algun sitio a recomendar? Y la última pregunta (al menos por ahora! jaja) leimos en foros que cuando te dan el permiso, debes decir qué dia cruzarás la frontera, y si o si cruzar dicho día, es asi?

    Mil gracias!! y perdón por tantas dudas…

    • rovingsnails
      | Reply

      ¡Hola Lau y Bea! Nos alegramos de que el post sea últil :) Y yo encantada de responder en español.

      Nosotros hicimos todo el trayecto solos, no es necesario contratar ningún guía hasta la frontera. Y creo que hay buses desde Mandalay, pero esto no te lo puedo confirmar porque nosotros fuimos a dedo. Nos llevó 4 dias, pero porque no fuimos por la carretera principal, sino que desde Bagan tiramos hacia Pakoku, Pauk…y hasta Miniwa donde creo que nos unimos de nuevo a la “autopista” (un carril de dos sentidos y abuelitos en bici). Por ese camino no encontramos ningún hostal, casi no había tráfico (un coche o dos cada hora) no vimos ningún bus y tuvimos suerte de que nos cogió un ingeniero que supervisaba la construcción de puentes por toda la carretera, si no quizás aún andaríamos por allí… Nos alojamos en monasterios por el camino. Un poco más al norte, en Kalamyo intentamos acampar pero la policia acabó llevándonos a un hotel (por nuestra seguridad, dijeron. Dormimos en el lobby). Nosotros no somos muy recomendables a la hora de montar itinerarios porque más bien se nos montan solos por el camino, pero si vais con tiempo supongo que cualquier pueblo es bueno.

      En cuanto al permiso, como estaba todo en birmano, no te puedo decir con seguridad si tenía fecha fija. En cualquier caso, si tenía no le hicimos caso y simplemente cruzamos cuando llegamos, dentro del plazo de nuesta visa y no tuvimos ningún problema. En la agencia nos pidieron detallar un itinerario de al menos 20 días, que es lo que pueden tardar en darte el permiso, pero si tardan menos creo que puedes cruzar antes. Confirmad con la agencia de todas formas, y así os aseguráis.

      Para cualquier otra duda, escribidnos por aquí o por email. Estamos encantados de ayudar.

      ¡Felices viajes!

      Marta

  4. Aparna
    | Reply

    You guys are awesome for doing this. Travelling the “old-school” way.Your posts have led me to day-dream about the day when I have the courage and motivation to take up such an adventure.

  5. Ashis
    | Reply

    Amazing travel ! Welcome to India.
    Got to know about yourselves from a regional daily’s online article : http://www.mathrubhumi.com/youth/features/562996/
    (Guess you guys are now quite famous !!)
    Have a safe trip ahead.
    Hoping to meet you somewhere on road :-) :-)

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Ashis! Yes, we were getting quite some visitors from their site. The language is malayalam or a different one? We can’t read it, but it looks quite nice. Thanks for writing!

  6. aakanksha
    | Reply

    welcome to madhya pradesh. I would invite you to visit Land of Great food Indore City. you will really have memorable time here. wish to know your current location.
    Happy Journey.

  7. aakanksha
    | Reply

    http://www.mp-tourism.com/
    You can explore Madhya Pradesh here on above website

  8. Rise Of Darkness Hack
    | Reply

    I’m excited to find this site. I wanted to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read!!
    I definitely savored every part of it and i also have you book-marked to see new information on your blog.

  9. pratap
    | Reply

    Wish u a happy & safe journey.

  10. jinsopo
    | Reply

    Welcome to Northeast India! Safe journey

  11. Anna
    | Reply

    Thank you for sharing these useful information!! We are planning to cross the Myanmar / India Border in November, we can update our information after for other travelers.

    We only have one important question. We read on the embassy of the Netherlands in India site that you need a PAP or a RAP (protected area permit or restricted area permit) for Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh.

    I assume this is not the same permit as the MTT permit to cross the border, can you maybe tell us if you need a permit to visit these states in North East India and if so where and how to get it?

    thank you so much,

    Anna

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hey Anna, it is very likely that either the embassy information is outdated or the Indian authorities do not bother asking tourists for this RAP…As far as we are aware, currently the only place that requieres a special permit is Arunachal Pradesh (few years back permits were required for other NE states too).

      I hope the Indians haven´t brought back the permit system after the shootings in Manipur a couple of months ago, but I doubt it cuz we know people that crossed without a problem (or a permit) afterwards :)

      Good luck!

      • Anna
        | Reply

        Thank you so much!! Very helpful. We are looking forward to this journey, and we are already a little step closer to really make it happen! : )

        Anna

  12. Rana
    | Reply

    We have been issued tourist visas for Myanmar. We plan to cross overland from moreh tamu border . Do we need another permit ??

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Rana! As far as we are aware, one needs a permit to cross at Tamu-Moreh in both India – Myanmar and Myanmar-India directions. When we crossed 9 months ago, that was the case.

      The best thing you can do to make sure is check LP Thorn Tree forum for the latest travellers experiences. And once you make sure you need a permit, you can process it via email and with a bank transfer with any of the myanmari agencies (check in the forum also, which agency travellers say is cheaper at the moment).

      If we can help with anything else, write us an email because we check it more often ([email protected]).

      And have a wonderful travel in Manipur and Myanmar!

  13. Gilles
    | Reply

    Hey Boris, Marta and Burma!

    If I had found you guys when I was preparing my journey, it would have spared me a lot of time! It is quite confronting how similar my plans are to your experiences..
    Here I was, planning to hitchhike overland from Thailand back to Belgium, through Myanmar, India, Iran,.. silk road, hippie trail and all that stuff :) I am even considering to find a boat to skip Pakistan (thank you for the CS group, very useful!) and I was dreaming of taking an animal alongs (maybe a chicken) to make things even more interesting, all the while having a sense of being unique :) hahaha
    I’d like to thank you for the deception, it is such an efficient way to humble myself and it will in no way spoil the joy of the journey!

    Right now I am in Mae Sot, had some crazy adventures here, but it is time to move on, Burma is calling (and I am not referring to your four legged friend! Haha you must have had some really entertaining miscommunications).

    Tomorrow I’ll cross the border and head (slowly ofcourse) to Yangon to start the paperwork, fixing my visa and MTT. I am going to try and use your agency, do you, by any chance, still have that 20 days itinerary to Tamu?

    Hey and was it possible to hitchhike all the way up to Tamu?

    Thank you in advance for your answers, but most of all; thank you for sharing your adventures. I love your style of writing, travelling and living!

    Keep it up! :)

    Hahahahave a lovely day,

    Sun on all your roads,

    Gilles

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hey Gilles! Thanks for writing!

      We wrote the itinerary straight at the agency, so we don’t have it with us, but it’s easy if you have a map (include Inle Lake and Bagan and nobody will doubt you are a tourist :)). Hitchhiking was possible for us all the way, although we risked getting stuck on the small roads, so if you prefer the certainty of reaching your destination it might be wise to take the “highway” :)

      We have just heard from a traveller that the agency may have increased the fee (he said to 80 USD, still cheaper than others, but more costly than it was for us). Would you mind writing us back to confirm this when you talk to them?

      Regarding the overland route…who knows! you might be luckier than us finding ships to Oman :) But in any case, you probably still have time for that.

      Enjoy every bit of Myanmar!

      • Gilles
        | Reply

        Hey beautiful people! Just reporting back that the fee has indeed increased to 80 dollar pp. I went together with a like-minded traveller friend, and we asked if it was possible to put us both on the same permit, to try and lower the price. This is possible, but the price pp stays the same.

        In the other agency (7D), the price was 100 but they could to it in a few days..

        Maybe one last thing regarding the date you have to say you want to pass; from the moment you get your permit, you are able to make the crossing, but I think they only start working on it a few days before the date you pick. If you ‘overstay’ the permit, I think the fee per day is similar to the visa overstay fee, so no major worries :)

        Anyway, everything was incredibly easy and straightforward, thank you once again for the personal stories and replies, keep it up :)

        Have a nice day!

    • Pia
      | Reply

      Hey Gilles, Marta, Boris and Burma!

      First of all thanks for all the useful information, I am in Thailand right now and reached step 1:) I just travel overland and the last 6 months I came over Russia and China to SE Asia. Now I plan to go back to Europe the old way via India.

      I am a female solo traveller and as much as I would like to consider Pakistan or taking a boat to whatever it is possible, it would be nicer and safer to have a travel companion! So I plan to be in Myanmar in March and cross to India in April. I know I want to go to Nepal but not sure.

      So my question to all overland travellers: anyone up to try the way from India to Europe with me?

      • Roving Snails
        | Reply

        Hi Pia! We are already back home, but there are so many wanderers around India, you can surely find some nice company, at least for bits of the way. About crossing Pakistan, which was our idea too, you will probably face the same issue as all overlanders: getting visa away from your home country seems to be quasi-impossible. If you manage somehow, though, please let us know. It would be great news for the whole travelling crowd :) (Same goes for the boat, which seems to be slightly more likely as far as we know). Best of luck! And happy travels!

  14. Ursula
    | Reply

    Hi you great travelers
    I’m stoked you travel with a 4 legged friend :)
    I’m still a bit confused regards travel in Myanmar and hope you can help me out.
    I travel with my dog and unless you have a work visa or are a citizen you can’t fly a dog to India,
    so that’s why I go overland as I know overland it’s possible.
    Do you know can I enter Myanmar from Mae Sot and travel to Tamu with local transportation or do I need
    local guides ? I read a lot that one needs to hire local guides ????
    Just wondering for your cat you don’t need import, export permits as I do for a dog?
    Keep up your adventure and keep well. smiles Ursula

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Ursula!
      When we crossed last March from Thailand to Myanmar and then to India, we did the whole way hitchhiking and without any guide. The agency that issued the permit said the guide was recommended but NOT requested. That was the case back then. At the border with Mae Sot I think tourists travel in jeeps, but towards Tamu I think there were buses, but check these things in travel blogs of forums, because we hitchhiked so cannot confirm.

      For our cat we also need pet passport and import/export documents. And we just made them to leave India. If you need the contact of the quarantine office, just drop us an email to [email protected]

      All the very best!!

      cats also need the import and export

  15. Hemu
    | Reply

    Hi Folks,
    Namestey..!!.guess what? world is such a small place after all. Just a few days back I was reading your profile on trustroot and now I come across this lovely site. Perfectly detailed with all the necessary things…you guys are doing great job. I am staying here at Siliguri. If you happen to come here please do let me know it will be pleasure meeting you two. I am planning this same trip from here in India to Burma then to Thailand Combodia Laos Vietnam Malaysia upto Papua new Guinea and back, all on surface transport. What do you think – is it possible and what do you think will it cost bare minimum?
    Best of Luck for time ahead!!

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Hemu! A nice travel you have ahead. We have only travelled through part of the countries you will be visiting, and it’s hard for us to advise others on budget issues, since we travel in a very (very) simple manner, only hitchhiking, mostly cooking our own food and sleeping anywhere we can. We carry a camping stove, a tent, and a thumb :).

      We usually tell people to count at least with 5 Euros per day, but know from other travellers that if you take transport and sleep in hostels it comes out at around 10 – 20 Euros per day, depending on the country. That does not include visas, which need to be calculated by each traveller, since costs differ.

      Hopefully this can give you an idea. But, in the end, the same route can cost two different people absolutelly different amounts. We know hitchhikers that travel for a year with a thousand Euros and others that spend the same amount in two or three months.

      Also, you may want to consider if you want to have a plan for the way back, or prefer to go with the flow :)

      Very best of luck to you too!
      We will not be passing by Siliguri again in the short run, but who knows where travellers paths cross…
      Happy travels!!

  16. Supratim
    | Reply

    Hello friends,

    I belong to the couchsurfing community from Kolkata. If you have any plan to come here do let me know.

    All the best,
    Supratim

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Supratim! Thanks for the invite! In another journey…perhaps :) We left Inda after 9 months roaming around, and have just reached Bulgaria. Now is time to wander around our own home countries :)

  17. Susanne (TwistingSpokes)
    | Reply

    Hi guys,
    Thanks for the useful information! We will apply for the permit soon and if anything is different from the information I will update you. Looking forward to heading to Myanmar on the bike!

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Thanks Susanne! Very happy travels in Myanmar! And safe cycling!

  18. Marcello
    | Reply

    Hi guya, thanks for this amazing article I was searching for a long time! Just a question : is it possible to do the opposite ? I mean from India to Myanmar by road ?

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      As far as we know, yes. And we have heard, permits can be processed with the Myanmari travel agencies via email, and payed by bank transfer, but we have not tried it ourselves. If you do it, write us to share us your experience :) Happy travels!

  19. Chris
    | Reply

    Hi guys. Great info. Just thought you’d like to update your info a bit. Sangai is not in Tamu. It’s in Moreh.
    I just arrived last night to Tamu and stayed in another place, power guesthouse. 7500 kyat for essentially a bed but they are super friendly and waited on me hand and foot. There’s another place that seems a bit fancier near where the bus from mandalay drops off.

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Thanks Chris! Power House seems to be pretty cheap accomodation for Myanmar standards. Very good tip for other travellers.

  20. Jen
    | Reply

    Hi! This article helped us a lot. We are a family of six who crossed a few days ago. Here is my blog post on it
    https://trippingfantastic.wordpress.com/2016/02/22/myanmar-to-india-by-land-february-18-2016/

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Thanks Jen! It’s very good and clear info.

      All the best for the 6 of your in North East India… a part of me wishes to be teletransported there.

  21. Michal
    | Reply

    Hello,
    thanks for this. Contains lof of useful info 😉
    We’ve been at Indian Embassy, Yangon today, therefore have few updates:
    1) They accept foreigner’s applications from 10:00
    2) The receptionist said they accept only 15 foreigner’s applications per day. We were 6 non-Burmese there on Mon.
    3) We paid $40 + $2 per person. Make sure notes are really new. They checked them a lot. A good money exchange is 2 blocks east.
    4) No return flight ticket/ hotel booking needed.

    Generally, it was very smooth and they make we have everything before they let us go in.
    Thanks MIchal

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hey Michal! Big big thanks for the update! Will include the information within the post if you do not mind :) Have a great travel in Myanmar – India!

  22. Rahul Solanki
    | Reply

    Hey Guys!

    It was awesome to read your story. But I think my story is different.

    I am an Indian National, and I want to travel overland from Moreh (India) to Myanmar. In all the posts that i have read, including the one on this website, it says that Foreign Nationals need a special permit to cross border in and out of Myanmar through India. Does this apply to Indian Nationals also or are they not considered in the definition of “Foreign National”.

    Also, if i need a special permit, how do i get one, becoz i want to start my overland trip from India and not end in India as most westerners prefer to.

    If you have any suggestions on this, please do let me know. I would have tried myself to cross the border, but the fact is that I live in Mumbai which approx about 48hours travel to the town of Moreh.

    Thanks

    Rahul Solanki

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Rahul!

      The permit we speak about is for the Myanmar side. This means that Myanmary border authorities request it (not the Indian ones) so I suppose it applies to Indians like to any other foreigners (except if there is any sort of exemption for people of your country, which we cannot confirm). You can ask about this and apply for the permit with several tourist agencies in Myanmar (we used the one called Myanmar Exotic Tours, their contacts in the post, but there are others.) We know from other people that one can pay for the permit via bank transfer and get it by email. The best you can do is checking the posts of our friends who speak of travels in your direction, from India to Myamar (links above), they explain clearly what they did :)

      About any other permits: when we crossed the border a year back there was no need of any permit for the Indian state of Manipur. I think that might still be the case, but since the north east is a complicated area, we cannot tell you there are not any new regulations (or there would not be by the time you decide to travel). The best is to check lonely planet thorn tree for Myanmar-India crossing for updates on this, travellers who are currently travelling in the area usually post the latest updates there :)

      All the best of luck! And happy travels!

      Marta, Boris & Burma

  23. papu yadav
    | Reply

    how can i go to myanmar from india.i am a citizen of india..without passport can i go to myanmar i have no passport

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Papu! We are not Indian citizens, and do not have specific info about the regulations that apply to you. We remember that right at the border Tamu-Moreh Indian citizens could cross for a few hours into a local market in Myanmar (we are not sure whether without passport, but the police let us pass without visa to look for exhange money, so we suspect that might be the case). But that does not mean it is possible to travel all over Myanmar, maybe just to the tiny border market. The best thing you can do is writing to the Embassy of Myanmar. All the best!

  24. Dani
    | Reply

    Hola chicos, hey guys!

    I’ll go in English though I am spanish and I know you speak it, just to reach more readers. I know there’s so many responses, please gimme one more!!

    Coming to Yangon by plane on 25 may 2016, got online visa. Is it true that you need special visa to exit by land, and online is not valid?
    Can I come in immigration at the airport with just the valid passport and the online visa printed?
    And without onward flight or proof of funds?
    If I say I will exit by land, and will process my indian visa and land permit once in Yangon, will they be happy?
    Can I actually do this, process indian visa and get permit to land border after arrival?
    Once requested the permit, do I need to stay in Yangon, or can I start travelling on?

    So many questions, sorry…

    Will serve a meditation retreat in Mandalay ending 22 may, which is day 28th in country… I know I’ll be rushing to get out, but is this possible? Or, will they issue a permit in the agency if requested for a day or two beyond 28-day limit, if I prove my retreat with an official document?

    I read permits have no date or names… this is totally suggesting to photocopy one from another person and go with it!!!

    Your post is more than helpfl

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Dani! Thanks for passing by! Unfortunately we are not able to answer all your questions, as we are not travel agents nor immigration officers and have never used the online visa, not travelled to Myanmar by plane. You may find more info about this in LP Thorn Tree forum :)

      About the MTT permit to exit from Myanmar to India, we do not believe you can simply photocopy it, because our DID HAVE the date, and our countries of origin, but we do not if that has changed.

      We got our Indian visa in Yangon and then applied for the permit, so it should work for your too. In any case, ask before paying! :)

      About getting out on your 28th day we are also not certain. We heard about some regulation about paying a fee for each day extra spent in the country, but that was a year back, you should probably ask a travel agency or check the Thorn Tree for latest updates :)

      If you are going to a meditation retreat, I think you can also apply for a meditation visa, which lets you stay in the country longer than the tourist one.

      Hope e have been of any help.
      Enjoy the trip! Myanmar is really impressive!

      Marta, Boris & Burma

  25. Motiul
    | Reply

    Thanks a lot for brief but useful informations for travellers.

    -motiul, dhaka, bangladesh

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Thanks for commenting Motiul! Glad you find the post useful!

  26. Shash
    | Reply

    Thanks guys, that’s really awesome information!

  27. Erika
    | Reply

    Thank you for your helpful article.
    Unfortunately I have bad news. My boyfriend and I wanted to cross the Tamu Moreh border as well, so we contacted 2 travel companies, Exotic Myanmar and Go Myanmar, and both of them said us that the border permit is temporary not available, so that there are no possibilities to travel by land.
    I copy for you their reply:

    “At the present time our president office stop to give the permit because they have to discuss new rules and regulations with Ministry of Hotel & Tourism and Ministry of Immigration office to make better than the current policy.
    Therefore, they are temporary stop to give the permit.
    At the current is not possible to enter/exist by land. We do not know exactly when will be restart the permission. They do not announce anything.”

    Anyway we will be in Yangon in 2 weeks and we will try to get more information directly at their office.

    Thank you again for your detailed information!!
    Erika

    If you want to follow our adventures here is our website: http://www.tuttacolpaditerzani.it (unfortunately only in Italian for the moment)

  28. Cedric
    | Reply

    The border Tamu Moreh is open again but policies have changed… and it’s not better it’s worst. I planned to enter from India and go to Thailand but now if you enter from India you NEED to depart from India. Here is the email from Exotic Myanmar :
    “Now Our Government was changed the new policies for any tourists who want to cross the border.Their policies are If you enter from India by land, you must depart also to India.China gate also the same this rules.This is our government update policies at the present time.”

    I don’t know about crossing the border from Myanmar to India when you flew or came from Thailand to enter in Myanmar.

    Good luck to everyone which want travel overland.

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Cedric! Thanks for the update! That is really bad news! It does limit the overland journey, closing doors once again…Will update it in the post. And if you find any way around it, please let us know :) Happy travels!

  29. Roz
    | Reply

    Hello Marta, Boris & Burma!

    Thankyou for sharing your incredible journey! You are both so inspiring :)

    I just wanted to ask a question: I have emailed the Exotic Myanmar Travel Company enquiring about a permit to cross the border, but it seems it is only possible to obtain one if you are planning on then returning back to Myanmar (or India) by land.
    Did you have the same issue, or is this a recent rule? For example, when you left India from an alternate border crossing did you have any problems?
    I was planning on crossing from Thailand to Myanmar then to India and then to Nepal. But the travel agent from Exotic Myanmar said it is only possible to cross the border if your itinerary is Myanmar – India – Myanmar (or vise-versa. So I think I might have to fly into Myanmar.. unless you found a sneaky way around it 😉
    Thank you very much!

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Roz! We did not have any issue with that, but it might be a new development, as regulations change all the time… Best of luck!! And keep us updated it you find a way round it! :)
      Happy travels!

  30. T
    | Reply

    Hi,
    quick update. I went in the morning (Oct 21st 2016) to the office of Exotic Tours in Yangon and asked about the situation concerning crossing overland between Myanmar and India. Right now, it’s not possible. People can only cross overland to the country where they originally came from.

    Thank you for the great work!

    T

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Thanks, T.! Yes, some other travellers are sending the same messages. Do you have any references regarding whether that is the case for people going towards Thailand? Thankss!!!

  31. Nilesh
    | Reply

    Not the slightest mention in the article or comments on the duration of the Indian visas given out in Yangon!!
    What length Indian visas can you get in Yangon?

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Nilesh! We got a six months visa at the time (running from the day of issue), but that was January 2014. Since visa regulations change often and vary according to the passport you carry, we advise you to check the links to forums, and/or contact the Embassy (also to know the cost of visa for your nationality).
      Also, if you are planning to go overland to India, do check our note at the top of the post and the comments of travellers regarding the current situation with border permits. You’ve been warned! :) Enjoy the journey!

  32. Cat
    | Reply

    Hey guys I thought people might want some updated info as I’m about to cross the border from India to Myanmar in the next few days.

    First off to get the Myanmar Visa in Kathmandu at least you will be asked for your itinerary, letter of invitation from your travel agent and letter of certification for the travel agent – save yourself a bucket load of stress and have these beforehand, or have some plane tickets in hand. I got mine made up just in time, and got the visa (probably because I looked so miserable the Myanmar visa office felt sorry for me).

    Secondly the reports above are right – you can now only get the permit if you say you are going India – Myanmar – India, and thanks to that the permit now costs US$160. Of course your itinerary will have to reflect this. I’ve been told there should be no problem travelling onto Thailand once I’m in the country, but I’ll have to see. If not I guess I’m going back to India! I’ll report back once I’m through :) At least I don’t need a Manipur permit.

    Meanwhile if anyone’s curious I’ve gotten a train from Delhi up to New Jalpaiguri/Siliguri (that got hideously delayed), did a side trip to Darjeeling, and am now booked on the 4pm night bus from Siliguri to Guwahati. From there it will be another night bus onto Imphal, then a 3 hour shared (hopefully) taxi ride onto Moreh/Tamu.

    If anyone’s planning on heading the other way at the moment I’d suggest already having a LOT of Indian Rupees on them – India’s in the middle of a cash crisis and getting cash in the main cities is fun, let alone here. The effects may continue for a while, so check out the situation before planning things.

    Hope that helps, and I’ll let you know how it goes!

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hey Cat! That’s a really good update! will make a note a bit higher up in the post. Have a wonderful travel through the North East and Myanmar! And hope you make it through the Thai border without problems. Do let us know :) This is really helpful for other overland travellers!

      • Cat
        | Reply

        I have an update! Sorry for taking so long. First off in terms of crossing the border to Thailand (even though I was technically meant to go back to India) – it was easy! So easy in fact that I managed to fill out the form completely wrong (I was tired – it’s a long bus ride from Yangon to Myawaddy) and not only did they still stamp me out, but the Myanmar official was lovely (as everyone is in Mynmar – some of the nicest people I’ve met) and told me not to worry, he makes mistakes too, and to be careful walking to the Thai immigration as the road was slippery from the rain. So in love with that country! So in terms of getting from India to Myanmar to Thailand it’s completely possible, you just have to fork out US$160 for the permit to cross from India (and supposedly go back).

        Unfortunately my whole trip didn’t go as smoothly, to the point I had to get a flight as it was physically impossible for me to go overland. When I arrived in Siliguri from Darjeeling I was told my bus to Guwahati had been cancelled, as there was a bus strike. After a LOT of effort (making me a very grumpy backpacker – I now understand people’s frustration with getting an Indian train ticket) I managed to get a first class cabin on a supposedly sold out/waitlisted train to Guwahati, costing me $50. In Guwahati I had no phone reception, and was struggling to find wifi to work out what the bus strike was about. In the end I found a cafe called 11th avenue, which will be your lifesaver if you end up in Guwahati – it’s near the state museum, has great wifi, western food and accepts credit card (very useful during the cash crisis). I found out that the bus strike was due to something that had happened a few days before – apparently the roads to Imphal had been blocked since early November as a protest by the Nagas to a new region being formed. People had still managed to get through one road under police escort, until the Nagas held up one convoy, kicked everyone off the buses, then set the buses on fire. So now the buses weren’t travelling to Imphal at all, and no matter what I tried there was no way to get there overland. I visited the bus station, the bus companies offices, had two hotels call up, and even enquired about hiring a private car (they refused to go). In the end (after 3 nights in Guwahati) I realised there was no way but to fly, and with my dad’s help managed to get the last seat on the last flight that would get me to Imphal in time.

        According MTT I was not allowed to cross over before my permit date, but was given 3 days after the date in case of delays. This is different to what I’ve read online, but I’d suggest not pushing your luck, if I hadn’t gotten that flight I likely wouldn’t have been able to cross at all, as they didn’t know when the buses would start again, and the next available flight was after my permit would have expired. The north east of India seems to have a long way to go before it’s ready for tourism (in my opinion).

        In Imphal I stayed at the Classic Hotel (really nice!) and hired a private driver to take me to Moreh – at 5000 it was over priced, but with the security situation (there had also been shootings and bomb explosions in Imphal), I didn’t want to take any risks. Plus my parents were freaking out. The driver turned out to be lovely and helped me through immigration on the Indian side (which is next to the Friendship bridge – there’s no separate foreigners immigration like I had read). MAKE SURE you have your Myanmar permit printed out – I didn’t, and the Indian side were hesitant to let me out, but eventually gave in when I explained to them my guide was waiting at the Myanmar side (and tried to call him multiple times, but no answer).

        My driver actually got stamped out of the country, and drove me across to the Myanmar side, making sure I got into the country, so he was worth the extra money! And my guide was waiting for me there, paperwork already half done. He drove me on the back of his scooter into Tamu, where he helped me exchange my Indian rupees and some USD, and helped organise my onwards bus ticket to Mandalay. I had some free time to look around the town until my minibus departed, and by 5am the next morning I was in Mandalay!

        Anyway I hope that helps people! Just let me know if there’s any questions :)

        • Roving Snails
          | Reply

          Wow, Cat! That’s a proper update! I will signal in the post for people to read it through, as I’m sure it is going to be really really helpful!
          Thank you!!!!
          And happy travels!

  33. chethan
    | Reply

    Hi Roving Snails..

    Enjoy your trip and join us at explorers community : http://www.xtremexplorers.com/user/chethan

    Thanks
    Vhethan

  34. phil
    | Reply

    Feb 24 2017 – just wanted to share my experience trying to get the permit to cross from Myanmar to India.

    We just checked about 5 agencies in Yangon and they all told us that it is no longer possible as of a few months ago. If you are seriously devoted to this idea, the one hope is that Exotic Tours Myanmar told us that it may be possible if you arrange it more than a month in advance *from outside of Myanmar*. Maybe inquire with them. Sorry folks.

    • Roving Snails
      | Reply

      Hi Phil! Thanks for commenting! This issue seems to be getting really complicated. Thank you for sharing your experience! Hope it all gets easier for overland travellers! Best of luck!

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