The Epic Land Journey from Thailand to India by means of Myanmar.


About this post: In January 2019, I embarked on a journey from Thailand to India by road, crossing Myanmar more than land. This road trip took me from Chiang Mai by means of Myanmar to Manipur, devoid of boarding any flights. The India to Thailand road route is marked by spectacular scenery, misty sunrises, old temples and rice paddies. In this detailed post, I speak about why carrying out India to Thailand by road need to be on your bucket list.

When I got asked to conduct a digital marketing and advertising workshop for accountable tourism companies in India in January 2019, I felt like an imposter. In spite of getting vegan, selecting eco-friendly accommodations and cutting out most single-use plastic from my life-style, I’m very guilty of the carbon footprint of the a lot of international flights I take each year. So I started 2019 with a pledge – to reduce down flying as a great deal as attainable. The only challenge was that I was living as a digital nomad in Chiang Mai and necessary to travel to India to conduct the workshop.

So to preserve my pledge, I set out on an epic land journey – employing public transport – from northern Thailand, by means of the length and breath of Myanmar, to Manipur in the remote northeast of India. More than a fortnight, I took a lot of buses, drove an electric bike, kayaked on rice paddies, went on a crazy motorbike adventure along narrow winding mountain roads, took a canoe and hiked.

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Kayaking on the rice paddies of Hpa An, Myanmar.

Even as I crossed the land border from Thailand to Myanmar and changed my greetings from sawadeekha to minglaba, I had no notion what Myanmar would present me. A lot to my surprise and delight, my land route was filled with karst mountains, misty sunrises, ancient temples, rhododendron forests and the tribal wonders of Chin State. I’m now convinced that lengthy land journeys are infinitely extra adventurous than hopping on a plane – and superior for the planet as well.

The road route I took from Thailand to India

My road route from Thailand to India: Chiang Mai – Mae Sot – (Thailand-Myanmar border crossing) – Myawaddy – Hpa An – Yangon – Bagan – Mindat – Chin State countryside – Kale – Tamu – (Myanmar-India border crossing) – Moreh – Imphal

I travelled by a mix of VIP and frequent buses, mini vans and shared taxis. The VIP buses from Chiang Mai to Mae Sot and Yangon to Bagan (overnight) can be booked on the net. It is greatest to book the rest atleast a day or two in advance, by means of your guest property. Except for the Myawaddy – Hpa An and Moreh – Imphal stretches, the roads had been exceptional.

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Myanmar E-visa for Indians

Scoring an e-visa for Myanmar was a breeze, even on an Indian passport. I applied on the net, and received it inside 24 hours. The visa is valid for 90 days, and permits you to remain in Myanmar for 30 days.

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Border crossing: Thailand to Myanmar

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The border crossing from Mae Sot (Thailand) to Myawaddy (Myanmar).

Even although Thailand has a lot of borders with Myanmar, the 1 I chose to cross was the Mae Sot – Myawaddy border. If you cross any additional north, in the Shan State, you can not journey into the rest of Myanmar by land simply because of military restrictions.

The green bus from Chiang Mai to Mae Sot dropped the handful of passengers going to the border at an intersection just before heading into Mae Sot town, from exactly where we all shared a huge tuk-tuk to the Thai border, got stamped out, walked with our luggage across the Thailand-Myanmar friendship bridge and entered Myanmar. At the immigration workplace in Myanmar, I got stamped in simply, no queries asked.

Although most travellers then haggled with a shared taxi to continue on to Hpa An, I opted to remain at an Airbnb in the border town of Myawaddy, hoping to break the journey. In retrospect, I’d rather have endured the lengthy ride and missed out on the scenery, for Myawaddy is dusty, busy, un-walkable and does not truly present something.

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Border crossing: Myanmar to India

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Getting into India from Myanmar!

There are two selections to cross into India from Myanmar. The initially is the Tamu – Moreh border, which I crossed from Chin State in Myanmar to Manipur in India. Moreh is a three hour drive from Imphal. The second choice is the Rikhawdar – Zokhawthar border, from Chin State to Mizoram. I heard that this 1 characteristics winding roads and welcoming tribal folk on each sides, but I didn’t finish up taking it simply because offered my time constraints and the poor connectivity in this component of northeast India, the journey additional would develop into a great deal longer.

The crossing from Myanmar to India requires longer simply because you are getting into army territory. Immediately after receiving stamped out from Myanmar and walking across the Indo-Myanmar friendship bridge, I had to stroll about 500m to attain Indian immigration. My passport was stamped and my luggage checked manually at customs. Ordinarily, I would’ve had to catch an auto to Moreh town and wait on the road for a shared taxi, but I lucked out and got a ride with an Indian-Burmese loved ones heading to Assam.

Although in the taxi, we stopped thrice once more – at an army checkpoint to enter our passport specifics, at a second checkpoint to deposit a passport photocopy (carry 1 with you) and at a third checkpoint to have our bags checked once more. Phew. The army personnel had been truly friendly and entertaining to chat with although!

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India to Thailand Road Route: Items to know just before you go

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A VIP bus in Myanmar, with charging points and beautiful scenery.

  • Although crossing the border from Myanmar to India, I learnt that this border can be applied by any person with a valid visa or residence for India. Visa on arrival is not obtainable right here although.
  • Becoming an army border, I heard that it is closed at sensitive instances, like three-four days about India’s Republic Day. There’s no way to discover out till you get there although!
  • The roads in Myanmar are fabulous, but sadly potholed and below building on the Indian side. Ironic, simply because India constructed the roads on the other side of the border! With the a lot of checkpoints and broken roads on the Indian side, the journey to Imphal or even a restaurant to get meals is a lengthy 1. Stock up on snacks and water. There’s a modest shop in the Indian immigration complicated to obtain sweet lemon tea.
  • Crossing more than from Myanmar to India is a bit of a culture shock – with cows and trash lining the streets, incessant honking and broken roads – but if you handle to preserve your cool, you will finish up meeting some astounding people today!

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Highlights of Myanmar

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A surreal sunrise in Bagan.

Hiking in the karst mountains of Hpa An: Though I landed up in Hpa An to break the lengthy journey from the border to Yangon, I was delighted to discover a modest town on the banks of the Irrawaddy, surrounded by dramatic karst hills, house to peaceful pagodas and friendly ethnic hill tribes. I can not wait to go back there and slow travel as a digital nomad!

Exploring the lost treasures of Bagan: It was 1 issue to drop myself amongst the centuries’ old temples of Bagan on my e-bike, rather a different to uncover them with a passionate female regional guide from 3 Treasures – hanging out at a permaculture farm, going to a library produced with recycled plastic and speaking candidly about our lives more than a misty sunset.

A motorbike adventure in Chin State: I went on a three-day motorbiking adventure with Uncharted Horizons by means of some really uncharted territory in Chin State. We rode on narrow winding mountain tracks, by means of blooming rhododendron forests, to Chin villages exactly where elderly females nonetheless have facial tattoos and smoke cheroots (pipes), getting some really unforgettable encounters.

I had initially planned to travel to southern Rakhine State – undisturbed by the conflict in northern Rakhine State – to invest time at Arakan Eco Lodge. But the detour was as well lengthy and my time as well brief, but it is very good to have this amongst a lot of factors to go back!

Coming quickly:
Is it ethical and protected to travel to Myanmar in 2019?
A daring motorbike adventure by means of Chin State in Myanmar
A accountable travel guide to Myanmar
The secret to obtaining vegan meals in Myanmar

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