Changes to the permitted and restricted areas in Myanmar

Most of the first time visitors to Burma/Myanmar do the so call “grand four”: Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, sometimes extending it by Ngapali Beach or some other tourist-friendly locations. The big issue when you want to visit some off the beaten track destinations is to find out whether or not you are permitted to travel there, and if so, will you require government’s permission? Yesterday the government announced some changes to the permitted and restricted areas.

Source: wikitravel.org

Source: wikitravel.org

Generally the government divides Myanmar into three categories: areas where the permission is not required, areas where the permission is not required as long as you don’t leave the city, areas where the permission is required. Here are the details:

  Permission not required Permission not required if not leaving the city Permission required
State / Division City
Kachin State Myitkyina (Myintgyinar) Putao Nogmung (Naungmoon)
Bhamo (Bamaw) Machanbaw Kawnglanghpu (Kaunglanfu)
Shwegu Mansi Sumprabum
Mogaung Momauk Hpakant (Hpakan, Farkent)
Mohnyin Waingmaw Tanai (Tanain)
    Injangyang
    Chipwi (Chibwe)
    Tsawlaw (Sawlaw)
     
Kayah State Loikaw Demawso Shadaw
  Pruhso Hpasawng
    Bawlakha
    Maisal
Kayin State (Karen) Hpa-an Kawkareik (Kawkareit) Kyain Seikgyi (Kyainseikkyi)
Myawaddy (Myawadi) Hlaingbwe (Hlinebwe) Papun (Phapun)
  Thandanggyi (Thantaunggyi)  
Chin State Kanpetlet (Kanpatlat) Tedim (Tiddim, Teetain) Paletwa
Mindat (Minthet) Ton Zang (Htonzan) Matupi (Matupe)
  Falam (Phalam)  
  Thantlang (Htantlang)  
  Hakha (Haka, Harkhar)  
Mon State Mawlamyaing    
Bilin    
Kyaikmaraw    
Chaungzon    
Thanbyuzayat    
Kyaikkami    
Mudon    
Ye    
Thaton    
Paung    
Kyaikto    
Mottama    
Rakhine State (Arakan) Kyaukpyu Maungdaw  
Manaung Buthidaung  
Ramree    
Ann    
Kyauktaw    
Sittwe (capital)    
Pauktaw    
Ponnagyun    
Myebon    
Minbya    
Mrauk-U    
Rathedaung    
Gwa    
Toungup    
Thandwe (Ngapali)    
Shan State Techilelk Kunlong Nansang
Kalaw Kyaukme Mantong
Hsi Hseng Namtu Mong Nai
Nyaungshwe   Mong Pan
Taunggyi Mabein Mawkmai
Pindaya Mongmit Mong Kai
Pinlaung Hsipaw  
Ywangan Kengtong Kyethi
  Mong Khet  
Hopong Mong Yang Mong Hsu
Kutkai    
Nanhkan Pekon  
Mu Se Mong Hsat  
Lashio Mong Ping  
  Mong Tong  
  Mong Hpayak  
  Mong Yawng  
  Tangyan  
  Mongyai  
  Hseni  
  Laukkaing  
  Kunhing  
  Namhsan  
  Lai-Hka  
  Loilen  
  Hong Pai  
Sagaing Division Kalaymyo Khamti  
Kalewa Homalin  
Mingin Phaungbyin  
Katha Mawlaik  
Kawlin Nanyun  
Htigyaing Leshi  
Bamauk Lahe  
Pinlebu    
Wuntho    
Indaw    
Sagaing    
Myinmu    
Myaung    
Tamu    
Kani    
Chaung-U    
Salingyi    
Pale    
Budalin    
Monywa    
Yinmabin    
Ayadaw    
Kanbalu    
Kyunhla    
Khin Oo    
Tantsal    
Dabayin    
Yae U    
Shwebo    
Wetlet    
Tanintharyi Division Kawthaung    
Dawei    
Yebyu    
Longlon    
Thayetchaung    
Taninthayi    
Palaw    
Myeik    
Bokpyin    
Kyunsu    
Bago Division Kyaukkyi    
Taungoo    
Htantabin    
Phyu    
Yedashe    
Oktwin    
Kawa    
Kyauktaga    
Nyaunglebin    
Daik-U    
Bago    
Shwegyin    
Waw    
Padaung    
Paukkhaung    
Letpadan    
Paungde    
Pyay (formerly Prome)    
Shawdaung    
Thegon    
Gyobingauk    
Zigon    
Nattalin    
Minhla    
Monyo    
Letpadan    
Thayarwaddy    
Okhpo    
Magway Division All the cities    
     
Mandalay Division All the cities   Mogok
     
Yangon Division All the cities   Cocokyun
     
Ayeyarwady Division (Irrawaddy) All the cities    
     
Naypyidaw All the cities Pyinmana  
  Tatkon  
  Lewe  
  Zayyarthiri  
  Zabuthiri  
  Dekkhinathiri  
  Pobbathiri  
  Ottarathiri  

I hope that the above information is useful. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments. I will answer to the best of my knowledge.

Comments

  1. Interesting but not surprising that especially Shan state (next to Thailand and China) has still many cities you can not leave without permission. When I was there (long time ago, see http://ollilaasanen.wordpress.com/?s=burma+1987), I needed permits and armed security in and outside major cities.

  2. Martin Brucker says:

    Thank you for the interesting article. Do you know maybe if the above information is available on an official website from the government because the MTT website (http://www.myanmartravelsandtours.com/tourist-information.htm) is a little bit outdated.

    • I am not sure if this information is available anywhere else. The table in my post has been prepared based on an official fax received from the government (possibly Ministry of Tourism). My assistant got it translated and prepared this table. I hope it helps!

  3. Martin Brucker says:

    Thanks for the reply. I would be very grateful if you could maybe sent me a copy of the official fax via e-mail even if it is written in Burmese.

    • admin says:

      Hi Martin! I’ve asked my assistant in the office to dig it out. If he can still find the original, I’ll be happy to give you a copy.

  4. Keitha says:

    Extremely helpful and up to date!! Really appreciate the info. Everywhere else I was looking said Loikaw and Hpa’an, my two destinations both needed permits which could take weeks to obtain, if at all! Which was unsettling considering I only have 2 weeks there to visit friends. So according to no permit needed green, that means free travel to and from both cities above and no visit to MTT required?? Cheers!

    • admin says:

      Sorry for late approval and reply. It seems your comment was accidentally counted as spam together with a wave of other spam comments. Generally you are right – you should be able to travel to Loikaw and Hpa An easily. Not sure if they will let you stay overnight in Hpa An town itself.

  5. Martin says:

    Hi! Interesting news. Do you know anything about overland (boat or train) travel from Mandalay to Myitkyina (and return)? Thank you very much.

    • admin says:

      As far as I know the boat is not operating currently. The train should be fine, but the situation keeps changing. In general you don’t need a permission, but it’s up to the local authorities if they let you in. They base their situation on the current situation in the region, which is fair enough I guess.

  6. Allen says:

    Have been hoping to cross into Burma overland from Thailand via Myawaddy, and then on overland to Mawlamyine and beyond. Have a 28-day tourist visa, but no other permissions. Any advice on land access from that, or any other Thai border crossing, as well as possible exit overland to Laos? Can’t get time of day from MTT or embassies.

  7. Allen says:

    Ugh. Thanks. Quick follow-up, then: Does the government allow you to fly in and out of different airports, as in into Yangon and out of Mandalay?

  8. Thomas A says:

    Hpa-an is definately OK I have been there 2 times already and of course you can stay overnight there, it’s been open for years. The only previously closed areas were between Gyaing (about 50km east of Hpa-an) and somewhere east of Kawkareik, which are now open. However, as for overland travel from Mae Sot to Myawadi and onto Yangon etc. this should be allowed very soon, possibly starting on June 1st according to a Thai news report on the subject, back in March.

  9. [...] of choice for many tourists from all over the world. The most popular route consisting of the  “so called “grand four”: Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake.” As most are aware, a trip to Myanmar must be prepared with great diligence. All the more since [...]

  10. Jau says:

    Do you know if it possible to now travel overland from An to Mrauk U?

    • admin says:

      Might be possible, but very difficult. A bus from Yangon to Ngapali Beach tends to take between 17 to 34 hours. And Mrauk-U is further away. The boats go daily from Sittwe in high season, but due to the security situation, a private charter might necessary. And now, the weather is not really good for going to the area.

  11. Laikha says:

    How are you supposed to travel to the towns in the yellow column in Shan State if they have no air link? I want to visit Lai-Kha but am not sure if it is possible.

  12. roberthart66 says:

    I hope to travel Myanmar by bicycle. I have 70 days to start with. Is this list of open and closed areas gleaned from an official source? Is it possible to get that official list in Burmese? Thanks.

    • admin says:

      The list came from Nay Pyi Taw so it was official. It was translated by my assistant. I don’t have the original anymore, sorry. It’s reliable, but bear in mind that lcal authorities are always the ones who have a final say. Good luck!

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