As of August 2013 Burma (Myanmar) will relax their strict boarder crossing procedures, making Burma liveaboards more accessible.

Under a new arrangement between Burma and Thailand four new boarder crossing points will be turned into gateways for tourists to enter and exit Burma.

Formerly it was only possible to enter and exit Myanmar from the same point, commonly Yangon. This proved problematic for visitors who wanted to visit mainland Burma and also go on a Burma Liveaboard. The visitor would be required to depart from Yangon to Bangkok before heading down to either Khao Lak or Ranong for their Burma liveaboard departure.

kaw-thuang-immigration

Burma boarder crossing at Kaw Thaung (Victoria Point)

Under the new agreement it is possible to enter burma at any valid entry point and join a Burma liveaboard as it stops at Kaw Thuang on the Burmese/Thai boarder. As most Burma liveaboards also include Similan diving it would be possible to depart from Burma at Kaw Thuang and make the short journey to Khao Lak to join a liveaboard offering both Similan and Burma diving.

Burma Entry & Exit Locations

Excluding certain restricted areas, these new arrangements allow visitors to travel anywhere in Myanmar from the boarder checkpoints between:

A. Kaw Thuang (Burma)- Ranong (Thailand)

B. Htee (Burma) – Punaron (Thailand). This crossing is sometimes referred to as the 3 Pagodas

C. Myawady (Burma)- Mae Sot (Thailand)

D. Tachileik (Burma) – Mae Sai (Thailand)

 

Formerly, entry at these points restricted travel to only a handful of neighbouring towns.

Airport Entry/Exit Points

* Yangon International Airport

* Naypyvitaw International Airport

* Mandalay International Airport

Foreign nationals can now travel around Burma in the same way as if they entered Burma at Yangon, Mandalay or Naypyvitaw International Airports. Visitors are required to hold a valid passport and obtain a Myanmar entry visa in advance.

Myanmar authorities hope the new relaxed boarder crossings will benefit the country’s fledging tourism industry. Last year Burma saw more than one million visitors compared with 22 million visitors to neighbouring Thailand.

kaw-thuang-pagoda

The new boarder arrangement certainly offers greater flexibility for guests planning Burma diving on one of the handful of Burma liveaboards operating out of Thailand.

Ric Parker