Last week the border crossing from Thailand’s Mae Sot to Burma’s Myawaddy opened its doors to let foreign tourists travel overland.
Three foreign cyclists crossed into Burma through the Thai-Burma border Friendship Bridge at the Mae Sot-Myawaddy crossing on November 27 to start their tour of Burma.
According to immigration officials at the border, the three cyclists, two from Belgium and one from the Nederland were the first foreign cyclists allowed to enter Burma from the border crossing.
The three cyclists, Mr. Ard Duits, Ms. Stephanie Swinkels and Mr. Timo Duits rode through Karen State to Mawlamyine in Mon State on November 29. Mr. Ard Duits said the group is planning to cycle through Karen State, Mon State, Pegu, Mandalay and up to Bagan before leaving Burma through the Takchilek-Mae Sai crossing.
Mr. Ard Duits spoke to Karen News about their trip.
“We have a four weeks tour. We will spend three weeks in Burma and then we plan to stay one week in Thailand. From Mae Sot, we crossed to Myawaddy and rode to Hpa-an then spent the night in Mawlamyine. We’ve thought we might have trouble crossing through the border but it all went well.”
Speaking to Karen News, Ms Stephanie Swinkels said.
“Our purpose of touring with bicycles is that we want to see the beautiful views of Burma nature and we will try to ride to every place we can to see all this beauty.”
Burmese authorities opened the four border crossing points along the Thai-Burma border to allow tourists to visit Burma via inland routes on early August 2013. The four crossing entries are at Myawaddy to Mae Sot, Takchilek to Mae Sai, Kaw Thaung to Ranong and Htee Kee to Phunaron.
A Burmese immigration officer working at Myawaddy said that tourists entering through the four crossing points would need a valid passport and visa. Foreigners can enter from any of the crossings and leave through any of the crossing.
The immigration officer said.
“There are some foreigners coming in with valid passport and visa just to visit Myawaddy, but there are also some of who want to go further. We inform the authorities along the roadways to make sure there is security all the way.”
Tour groups operating in Mawlamyine said they are currently seeing more foreign tourists traveling to the country by both air and overland.