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simon43

Foreigner hotels in south Shan/south Wa regions?

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My charitable work between my salaried job usually takes me to the towns of Kalaw, Taunggyi and Inle Lake area in south-west Shan State, where it is easy to find a hotel licenced to accept foreigners.

 

During the longer Xmas break, I want to travel further east on my dirt-bike into south Shan state and the southern Wa region, visiting towns such as Namsang, Mongnai, Langkho, Mongpan and Mongton.

 

The problem is that I am only allowed to stay overnight at a hotel or guesthouse that is licenced for foreigners.  The main travel websites don't list any such hotels....

 

Therefore, does anyone know of a hotel or guesthouse in that region which is licenced for foreign guests?

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give Zach, at Mandalay bikes a call.
when i traveled thru the chin state by motorcycle in nov 2016, i stayed a few nights in unauthorized places where there were NO gh's or such

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A troll post / slur has been removed also a reply to it

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Stay at a monastery or just ask to stay at a hotel once you arrive. Because the places you are going to rarely ever see westerners, there won't be any licenced hotels and nothing bookable online either (anything that is bookable online is naturally available for foreigners, otherwise it wouldn't be bookable online, and certainly not in English anyway).

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I asked Zach about this and he tells me that foreigners are currently not allowed to travel east of Taunggyi, such as on route 45.

 

Yes, I could just travel into that region and take my chance.  However, my charity work is registered with the government, and it would not be wise for me to venture into a restricted region, (since that action could possible endanger further trips into that region when it opens up to foreigner access).

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6 hours ago, simon43 said:

I asked Zach about this and he tells me that foreigners are currently not allowed to travel east of Taunggyi, such as on route 45.

 

Yes, I could just travel into that region and take my chance.  However, my charity work is registered with the government, and it would not be wise for me to venture into a restricted region, (since that action could possible endanger further trips into that region when it opens up to foreigner access).

Foreigners are allowed to travel only 20km east of Taunggyi to the junction town of Hopang, from where they can travel south on highway 5 to Loikaw. I don't think you are allowed further east to Loilem in order to travel north on route 44 towards Hsipaw either. Route 45 has to the best of my knowledge never been open to foreigners, although some manage to sneak across the border from Thailand; I've seen pictures of foreigners attending local ethnic Shan army events mainly in towns near the Thai border on or close to routes 45 and 49. There is also an airport in Mongton and one would think a foreigner would be allowed to fly there, but not sure if there are actually any regular flights.

 

I highly doubt you would be restricted from venturing into an area that opens up after having gone there while it was still restricted. Once an area opens up everyone can come in as if the area had always been open.

 

I once went up to the Gyaing river bridge in Kayin State before it was opened to foreigners, no problem. I asked if I could proceed and was turned back. Probably could have proceeded if I didn't bother getting out of the car and requesting permission from the immigration guys there (in fact, my plan had been to go into some nearby Karen villages to ask about purchasing some forest products then turn around to head back to Hpa-an the same day; I had no plans to stay overnight in the area). The military was fine with me proceeding, just immigration wasn't. Was told the bridge would open to foreigners just 3 weeks later; in actual fact it ended up taking the government another 5 months. Now the bridge is part of the Myawady-Hpa-an highway, where a dozen or two foreigners pass by every day (more during the high season) in each direction in the more than 4 years since the border crossing at Mae Sot-Myawady has been open to foreigners as a legitimate entry point into the country (and not just as a one day turn-around point, limiting travel to 12km from the border) as it used to be. The Myawady-Mae Sot border crossing is the busiest overland crossing point between Myanmar and Thailand, although Mae Sai/Tachilek might see more Thai tourists heading to the local market next to the river - it's the Myawady crossing that is of most interest to overland travelers as opposed to one day shopping tourists or casino visitors like at Tachilek.

 

Having said that, you have to know what risks you are willing to take as I have no idea what the consequences would be for you, given you are working for a local based NGO. Most likely you'll just be turned back at the first checkpoint, but who knows.

 

I doubt that region will open up for foreigner access anytime soon. The whole central Shan region has never really been open for foreign tourists or expats ever - not 5, 10, 20 or even 50 years ago. Some foreigners driving their own vehicles including the "Top Gear" team, as well as a small number of cashed up tourists willing to spend up to US$1000 for a car with driver and permit have managed to "cross the Shan" by traveling between Taunggyi and Kengtung along route 4, almost exclusively between 2013 and 2016. Even these tourists were restricted from venturing anywhere off this road but the latest reports are that no permits have been issued since December 2016 due to security issues in the area, meaning no foreigners (except perhaps those few that have managed to sneak through) have traveled overland east of Taunggyi to Kengtung or vice versa, since late last year.

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