ONE AREA STILL in need of development despite the progress made so far is across Myanmar’s transport sector. While developments are taking place – roads are smoother and access restrictions have slackened – there are still a lot of challenges to overcome both in getting to the country, and then in travelling around it.
Initially, an advanced visa is required to cross its borders for a duration no longer than 28 days and the journey is almost certain to include a transfer point somewhere nearer to the crossing. Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, Seoul and Doha offer such a service at the back end, while most major international airports now serve as a departure hub when embarking.
It’s the internal logistics of the nation that prove more difficult however, so it’s advised that you arrange your travel plans and overall itinerary well in advance of arrival.
In theory, rail would be the most impressive and appealing mode of transport across the diverse terrain, but its archaic – and to be honest, corroding – network and trains force your hand in deciding between either comfort or views.
Slightly ahead of the rail evolution is the road network, which is further down the line in meeting required standards. Again, cherry picking is essential in regards to route as well as the bus/car of choice, but road travel is potentially a more rewarding option than the rickety rails.
A curveball option could also be the large river ferry network. While perhaps more geared up for the backpacker tourist rather than the boardroom executive, if you’re lucky enough to have a business meeting the other side of a reputed river ferry route, then you’d be silly not to take advantage of the opportunity.
A train station in Kalaw, Myanmar located between Mandalay and Naypyitaw
Alternative air travel over the Bagan temples
Yangon International Airport
Impressive mural at Yangon International Airport
Mandalay railway station