How to Travel from India to Myanmar?
Myanmar and India are neighboring countries in South Asia. Both of them safeguard heritages of outstanding civilizations. Thus, many holidaymakers coming to one of these countries use the opportunity to travel to the other.
Depending on the destination, there are various options you can take. So, let's see why you should trade convenience for adventure or vice versa when traveling from India to Myanmar.
How to Get from Main Cities of India to Myanmar
Traveling to Myanmar from the main cities of India typically involves flights, trains, buses, and shared minivans. More often than not, you will need to catch connections, whichever type of transport you use (more on this subject later).
Unless you opt for flying, road tripping should be the most worthwhile option to get from India to ex-Burma, offering the best value for money.
Getting to Myanmar from Mumbai
Unless you are a passionate long-distance road tripper, the only feasible option of traveling from Mumbai (ex-Bombay) to former Burma is by airplane. The nation's most populous city is nearly as far from Myanmar as you can be while in India. So, unless you are in the Indiana Jones mood, check the flight schedule.
To get to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar from Mumbai, you will have to catch at least one connecting flight. The most practical transfer points on this route are Bangkok (Thailand), Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Kolkata (former Calcutta, India).
Three international landing points in the republic of the union are Yangon (once Rangoon), Mandalay, and Naypyidaw. The former two are well-known tourist destinations, while the latter is the capital of the nation. It's not that you will have much to do there unless you travel for business.
Flight to Myanmar
Flight fares range from a few to several hundred US dollars ($). The price mostly depends on the season and how far ahead you book the seat. In general, flying to Yangon is more affordable than going to Mandalay, sometimes down to $100 or so. Road tripping
If your inner Indiana Jones prevails, maybe you can convince him to let you take the quickest direct route. And that one will lead you via Patna and Imphal to the border town of Moreh. The approximate distance of this section of the road in India is 3,250km/2020mi. So, plan a very long vacation since only this leg of the journey will take you days, possibly weeks, to cover. Once you get from India to Myanmar at Moreh, you are likely to head to Mandalay, the former royal residence.
Although Google may suggest otherwise, you will need well over half a day to arrive in Mandalay from the Moreh-Tamu border crossing. The reason is traditionally poor road conditions in ex-Burma. Which, of course, is a blink of an eye compared to getting from Mumbai to Moreh, in India.
Traveling from Bangalore to former Burma
What we said for a journey from Mumbai to Myanmar pretty much stands for Bengaluru (former Bangalore) as an outbound destination. Therefore, traveling to the republic of the union by road should prove to be quite an adventure. To save time (and likely money, however strange that might seem) for something else, choose to fly.
Getting to Myanmar by airplane
Flying from Bengaluru to Yangon, Naypyidaw or Mandalay typically involves connecting flights. Bangkok in Thailand and Kolkata in India are among the most convenient airline gateways for travelers on this route. Usually, flight deals from Bengaluru to Yangon are less expensive than to Mandalay, starting from around $250.
Journeying by road
Bengaluru is one of a few main cities in India that is farther from the Myanmar border than Mumbai. The shortest route, almost brushing Kolkata, between the capital of Karnataka and the border crossing at Moreh is around 3,400km/2,100mi. The quickest one, taking you via Varanasi and Patna, is around 3,500km/2,175mi.
Myanmar border crossing
Arriving in Myanmar from Kolkata
Traveling from India to Myanmar is the most straightforward from Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. The road distance is but a fraction compared to the other two cities. Furthermore, you can catch a direct flight from the former Calcutta to Yangon in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.
From Kolkata, you can fly directly to Yangon. The duration of the flight is typically around two hours, and the fares start at $160. For the lowest fares, check IndiGo, a low-cost Indian airline.
The distance from the city of Kolkata to Moreh, via Imphal, if you travel through India, is nearly 1,600km/1,000mi. If you decide to shorten the journey via Dhaka and Sylhet, in Bangladesh, you will cut the distance for about the third. Note, however, that this might not prove a worthwhile trade since Bangladesh has some of the worst roads in Asia.
How to Prepare for Traveling from India to Myanmar?
To make the most of your time and finances when traveling from India to Myanmar, you need to prepare accordingly. In the following section, we underline essential facts that will allow you to have a pleasant trip in this part of South Asia.
Documents you need
To enter former Burma, you need to have a passport valid at least six months after your visit. Nationals of most countries also have to possess a Myanmar tourist visa, which requires the entire passport page. While some travelers are eligible for the visa on arrival, the majority of others can apply online via the Myanmar eVisa website.
In general, applying for the visa a few weeks before going to the republic of the union is best.
As mentioned earlier, the airports of Mandalay, Yangon, and Naypyidaw are the main entry points to Myanmar. As for land border crossings from India, the one between Moreh, on the Indian side, and Tamu, on Burmese, is the most convenient one. The alternative checkpoint is between Zokhawtar, in the Indian state of Mizoram, and Rikhawdar, to the south.
Public transport options
To travel from each destination in India to the Burmese border, you have the convenience of changing options. To get to Imphal, the last major Indian city before you enter Myanmar, you can combine domestic flights, bus services, and trains.
From Kolkata, ex-Calcutta, for example, you can travel to Imphal by flight (approx. $35) or by combining an airplane with a train or bus (around $40). Whichever option you choose, you can catch a connection in Guwahati, Assam.
You can take a shared minivan from Imphal to reach the border crossing. Once you cross the checkpoints between Moreh and Tamu, take a bus in the town of Tamu heading to Mandalay. The price of the ticket is about 20,000 Kyat, currently corresponding to nearly $15 (February 2020).
From Mandalay, in the homonymous district, you can reach most top tourist destinations in Myanmar by airplane (typically between $100 and $130). Roads are generally in poor condition in the republic of the union, but offer a scenic experience out of the monsoon season (May-October). Bus fares usually cost up to a few dozen USD.
Before entering former Burma, make sure that the regions you should traverse aren't the sites of ethnic conflicts. These typically take place in Rakhine, Chin, Kachin, Kayin, and Shan states. Aside from some areas of these states, the rest of Myanmar is safe for traveling.
The official currency of India is the rupee, while the kyat is the currency of ex-Burma. You can exchange the money in Moreh before entering the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. If you have US$, you may prefer to use those in Myanmar since using kyat may cost you more. It sounds strange, true, but that's the way the things are once you get to the other side of the border, at least for now.
Before you get from India to Myanmar, ensure that you are healthy. First aid and healthcare in the republic are of low quality. If your medical condition is pressing, you aren't likely to receive adequate care before arriving in Yangon, or some other principal city. Sometimes, travelers needed to go as far as Bangkok, in Thailand, to recover.
So, if some favorable wind takes you from India to Myanmar, ex-Burma, you have a lot of alternatives. Traveling through the Indian countryside to one of two operational border crossings takes you near the Himalayas and diverse scenery. Note that you can shorten days of voyaging by combining flights to Guwahati or Imphal with ground transport options. Once you enter Myanmar from India, you need to count on longer journeys than the mileage suggests because of road conditions. So, if time is of the essence to you, consider booking flights since former Burma features an extensive flight network.