Are Burma’s borders now open to adventurers?
By Kevin and Julia Sanders, World Record holders for circumnavigating the globe. They now run overland expedition company Globebusters.com
Burma is slowly opening its borders to independent travellers but it is still really raw, pretty much closed off to the outside world for over 50 years and only just opening up to tourism after political reforms in 2011. Tourism is in its infancy but they are trying hard. You can’t roll up to the border, show your papers and hey-ho, you’re in. An agency must organise your paperwork and get permission. This means submitting copies of everything in advance. Your agent then gets government permission for entry and gives clearance for customs to enter your bike. Just to arrive at the Burmese Border is a feat in itself, but crossing Burma is like discovering the Holy Grail of overland motorcycling. However, you still can’t cross the country independently, you need to be part of something organised. You can hire a motorcycle, but they aren’t allowed in the capital so head to Mandalay Motorcycle Rental to hire Honda enduro bikes. Instead you could always take your own, but you will need government permission in advance and you must be accompanied by a Burmese guide. Use motofreight. com to get your bike to and from Bangkok and ride in. Alternatively, you could join us on a tour; Globebusters run a 38-day Delhi-to-bangkok expedition which includes Burma.
Doing all this means your standard engine will make its designed power and runs the way it was meant to. But blueprinting is a painstaking, time-consuming and expensive process. And the efficiency of modern manufacturing methods means these gains aren’t always worth the expense, unless you’re serious about racing and trying to free every ounce of power.