With India Myanmar border open for transit, it has become really easy for Indians to backpack across Myanmar and then to Thailand followed by Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and other countries if they have valid visa. Recently I did a trip between Thailand and Myanmar leaving from India and it turned out to be a lot of fun. This blog will help you out with all the necessary information regarding the information on how an Indian backpacker can travel between India Myanmar and Thailand by road without booking any flights.
Important Requirements for a India Myanmar Thailand solo trip
Indians travelling between Thailand and Myanmar require visa in advance that allows them to cross the border and travel in the next country. For Thailand, you cannot use Visa on arrival facility if you are exiting through Mae Sot – Myawaddy border unless you have a flight ticket that can be cancelled (but why take risk and waste additional money).
Thailand Visa can be made from a consulate in the region where your passport is valid. You can also contact an agent in your city and let them know that you’ll be exiting through the border and not by flight. Write a letter explaining that you’ll leave from Myanmar border. It takes almost 10 days (for solo travellers) for visa to arrive.
One can get Myanmar visa easily. It takes 3 to 5 days for visa to get approved. Remember, unlike Thailand Visa, that allows you to stay in the country from a certain date to certain date, Myanmar visa is valid for three months from the date of application. Make sure that you have enough number of days so that you can easily travel all the way from India to Thailand by road.
Suggested Itinerary for India Myanmar and Thailand solo trip
I did an opposite trip so my itinerary didn’t start from Moreh Tamu border. But here is a sample of that itinerary and you can adjust it accordingly.
Day 1 – Arrive Bangkok
Day 2 – Bangkok local sightseeing
Day 3 – Bangkok local sightseeing
Day 4 – Bangkok to Chiang Mai by bus
Day 5 – Arrive Chiang Mai
Day 6 – Chiang Mai local sightseeing + Waterfall trip
Day 7 + 8 – Chiang Rai / Pai
Day 9 – Pai to Mae Sot
Day 10 – Mae Sot to Myawaddy (enter Myanmar) to Hpa An
Day 11 – Hpa An
Day 12 – Hpa An to Yangon
Day 13 – Yangon
Day 14 – Yangon to Bagan
Day 15 – Bagan
Day 16 – Bagan to Inle Lake
Day 17 – Inle Lake
Day 18 – Inle Lake to Mandalay
Day 19 – Mandalay
Day 20 – Mandalay to Tamu
Day 21 – Tamu – Moreh (India border) – Travel to Imphal
Day 21 – Fly to Kolkata or travel to Kohima by road followed by Guwahati next day
How to manage transport while backpacking between India, Myanmar and Thailand
Transport in Myanmar and Thailand is really easy. While Bangkok is connected internally through MRT, BTS and buses, one can travel outside via buses and trains. There are flights that connect Bangkok and Chiang Mai but most of them are early morning and will ruin your sleep anyway.
Public transport in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai – Regular buses travel between Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Pai and Mae Sot. These buses can be booked from the local bus stations.
Public Transport in Mae Sot – Sot is the last stop in Bangkok from where you’ll have to move to Myanmar. If you are coming from Myanmar then Myawaddy will be the last stop before you move towards immigration counter. From both places, after you cross the border, you’ll find buses and mini buses to travel further.
Mae Sot and Myawaddy are not worth spending a day unless you want to explore local monasteries and temples.
Public Transport in Myawaddy – Once you are in Myawaddy, you’ll find bike taxis who’ll take you to bus counter. Just tell them that you want to go to Hpa An, Mandalay or Yangon.
Public transport in Myanmar – Myanmar is internally connected via air conditioned buses. Most hostels and hotels offer booking of buses to touristy locations except Tamu. Tamu Moreh bus can be found in Mandalay and Yangon bus stations. VIP bus ticket ranges from 30000 Kyat to 40000 Kyat while ordinary buses are somewhere between 15000 Kyat to 25000 Kyat depending on the distance.
Many of the hostels in Myanmar don’t have all the bus tickets and only offer VIP buses. In that case, always look around in other hostels. In Bagan, Inle Lake and Mandalay Ostello Bello Hostels will help you out with cheaper ticket bookings as they have all the buses listed with them. In Yangon, you can visit Hostel @9 for bus ticket booking. The advantage of booking tickets directly from the hostel is that you get direct pickup without going through the burden of wandering around the bus stations.
Public Transport to Tamu and Moreh – After the bus drops you in Tamu, you’ll have to catch an autorickshaw and come to gate 1. When if you are entering Myanmar from Moreh, make sure that you go to gate 1 and not 2. Gate 2 is closer to Moreh Market but tourists are not allowed to cross.
Ask any autorickshaw driver to drop you to Tamu checkpost and after completing your formalities the same rickshaw will drop you at Indian immigration centre. The whole process will take at max an hour. From here, you’ll easily find a ride to go to Imphal and even if nothing is available then there is a free shuttle service that will drop you to Moreh market from where you can catch your ride to Imphal.
Note – By the time you’ll reach Moreh market, it will already by 2 or 3 PM and Imphal starts to shut down by 7. A night halt in Tamu won’t be a bad idea as the hotels in Moreh are really average.
Those who are entering Myanmar from India make sure that you catch an autorickshaw from Moreh market to the immigration centre. From here, catch the free shuttle which will drop you at the Myanmar check post. After getting your formalities done, wait for some time for an autorickshaw to pass or if you are solo then try asking for a lift.
Currency Conversion tips for India Myanmar Thailand solo trip
Currency conversion is important as Thailand and Myanmar don’t accept Indian money. But it is a very easy process.
Currency conversion at Moreh Tamu Border – While you are entering from Moreh gate 1, you’ll find yourself in the market. The auto guy will probably drop you at the bus shop itself. Most of the bus shop owners provide conversions from INR to Kyat. Or if you walk around the market, you’ll find a grocery shop that will convert your money. There are more currency exchangers in Namphalang Market at Gate 2 but it will only waste your time to go there, convert your money and then return to Gate 1.
While coming to India from Myanmar, use this shop to convert your money and then go to immigration centre at gate 1.
I couldn’t spot any ATM in Tamu, I guess I was in a hurry so I didn’t spend much time to find one.
Currency conversion in Myawaddy (Myanmar Thailand Border) – Currency conversions at Myanmar at Myawaddy border is easier. Those entering Myanmar from Mae Sot border will find many shops that will convert your Baht to Kyat.
There are ATMs in Myawaddy from where you can withdraw Myanmar currency.
Currency conversion in Mae Sot (Thailand Myanmar Border) – Those entering Thailand from Myanmar borer will also find conversions on the other side of the border. There are ATMs in Mae Sot, one is at the Bus station itself it won’t be any issue.
As a solo traveller, these tips will help you plan a great backpacking experience for Thailand Myanmar backpacking trip from India. I will tell you all about the places I went to during this trip in detail. Keep watching this space.
Stay options in Guwahati
Gibbon backpackers hostel is the best place to spend a few nights after you are done with your tiresome journey between three countries.
How to travel further from Guwahati
The best way to travel further from Guwahati is by air. If you are planning to go to Kerala (or anywhere in South India) from Guwahati then catch a flight to Chennai as the tickets are cheaper. A direct flight to Ernakulam (Cochin) will be cost you $20 extra. You can catch a train from Chenani for further journey.
For Kolkata or Bodh Gaya, the best option will be to catch a train (make sure seats are available). If you are planning to visit Bhutan from Guwahati then catch a train till New Jalpaiguri and then catch a bus that will drop you at Jaigaon. From Jaigaon, you can cross the border by land. Trains take 24 hours to reach Bodh Gaya and Varanasi while Kolkata is 12 hours away.
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