Jump to content
Thai Visa Forum

Planning visit to Myanmar mid April 2014


Recommended Posts

If you are driving a Burmese car, one thing to be aware of.

Half the cars in Myanmar are left-hand drive and the other half are right-hand drive.

Crazy, I know. Scary, too if you're in the wrong kind.

I've driven RHD cars and trucks on the right and LHD on the left......... and vice-versa, driving on on e side or other of the car OR road is the least of my problems when driving in a strange new foreign country.

although I prefer to drive myself, it looks as ig=f this time I'll have to let someone else do it...... not that I think they'd be any better at it than me!

Good to know people have left their cars in Thailand though.

I've done the same, no problems either. As long as Myanmar doesn't switch back to driving on the left (and in any case, Thailand would still be surrounded by two neighbors, namely Cambodia and Laos that drive on the other side of the road) the reality is that in this part of the world, switching between driving on one side of the road to the other when crossing borders is just the way it is. Local drivers are generally quite used to this - all it takes is leaving more room between you and the car in front when it comes time to overtake...not a big deal at all.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you are driving a Burmese car, one thing to be aware of.

Half the cars in Myanmar are left-hand drive and the other half are right-hand drive.

Crazy, I know. Scary, too if you're in the wrong kind.

Actually from what I saw, about 95% of cars are RIGHT hand drive which of course is the wrong side for driving on the right side of the road. I did a few counts when I was walking around Yangon because I found the situation so weird. Also quite strange is the total lack of motorcycles in Yangon as they are banned. Especially as they are so prevalent in all other 'developing' Asian countries cities.

As I understand it, Burma was drive-on-the-left until some mad monk persuaded the government to swap over in the seventies after having some dream about it.

i wouldn't put it beyond the realms of possibility for them to change back with the advent of ASEAN - it would appear that the majority 4 wheel vehicles in AEC are RHD.

It was a RHD country in the past due to being a British colony. I heard that they changed to drive on the right after they became independent, as a gesture of getting away from the colonialists. If you have any information about a "mad monk", I'd be interested in a link.

There is no chance of them changing back. I actually asked HE the Union Minister of Transport two years ago, and he was very clear about that.

Who knows, maybe they will change their minds again? With Thailand and India being open regarding logistics and temporary entry of foreign registered vehicles (Thailand currently merely reciprocates Myanmar's general ban on foreign registered vehicles from any country driving further than a few km inside the country without special permission by banning Myanmar registered vehicles from driving further than a few km from it's border) it would actually make sense for Myanmar to go back to driving on the left, because logistics would be simplified for Thailand-Myanmar, India-Myanmar and eventually India-Myanmar-Thailand trade.

Sure, Laos and China drive on the right (although currently Myanmar and Laos don't even share an official crossing) and in particular China wouldn't be switching sides of the road given the relatively developed infrastructure there and huge size of the country, but generally speaking relatively few Chinese vehicles leave China anyways and even fewer foreign registered vehicles are permitted to enter China so the side of the road that China drives on is irrelevant for Myanmar as Burmese vehicles aren't permitted to travel more than 2km inside China anyways.

I think Ne Win was the "mad monk" being referred to. To be honest, the decision by Burma to switch driving sides was a dumb one and should have never occurred, but oh well, it did happen all the way back in 1970 under a different administration.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

" there are two commonly held theories, both of which point to the eccentricities of General Ne Win. One theory is that Ne Win’s wife’s astrologer said that the country would be better off driving on the right side of the road. The second is that the General had a dream that the country should switch directions. Either way, the General called the shots and traffic was directed to move sides overnight."

http://www.minordiversion.com/2012/03/the-unique-world-of-burmese-driving/

Malaysia is also a huge trading partner and has the largest number of tourists coming into Thailand. If Burma joined in their would be a RHD (drive-on-the-left) region starching from India to Australia,.

I believe this is easily a majority for ASEAN countries i terms of numbers of vehicles too.

Edited by wilcopops
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...

As I understand it, Burma was drive-on-the-left until some mad monk persuaded the government to swap over in the seventies after having some dream about it.

i wouldn't put it beyond the realms of possibility for them to change back with the advent of ASEAN - it would appear that the majority 4 wheel vehicles in AEC are RHD.

It was a RHD country in the past due to being a British colony. I heard that they changed to drive on the right after they became independent, as a gesture of getting away from the colonialists. If you have any information about a "mad monk", I'd be interested in a link.

There is no chance of them changing back. I actually asked HE the Union Minister of Transport two years ago, and he was very clear about that.

Who knows, maybe they will change their minds again? With Thailand and India being open regarding logistics and temporary entry of foreign registered vehicles (Thailand currently merely reciprocates Myanmar's general ban on foreign registered vehicles from any country driving further than a few km inside the country without special permission by banning Myanmar registered vehicles from driving further than a few km from it's border) it would actually make sense for Myanmar to go back to driving on the left, because logistics would be simplified for Thailand-Myanmar, India-Myanmar and eventually India-Myanmar-Thailand trade.

Sure, Laos and China drive on the right (although currently Myanmar and Laos don't even share an official crossing) and in particular China wouldn't be switching sides of the road given the relatively developed infrastructure there and huge size of the country, but generally speaking relatively few Chinese vehicles leave China anyways and even fewer foreign registered vehicles are permitted to enter China so the side of the road that China drives on is irrelevant for Myanmar as Burmese vehicles aren't permitted to travel more than 2km inside China anyways.

I think Ne Win was the "mad monk" being referred to. To be honest, the decision by Burma to switch driving sides was a dumb one and should have never occurred, but oh well, it did happen all the way back in 1970 under a different administration.

I do agree that it was not the wisest of decisions to change from RHD to LHD, but I see no hopes that they will change their minds.

Edited by onthemoon
Link to post
Share on other sites

...thanksthumbsup.gif

I'll be in Yangon...Any tips on where to get the best rate for the ol' blighty poundsbiggrin.png

This thread says something about how the former colonialists are perceived in Myanmar. I do not recall seeing exchange rates for the GBP in Yangon last week, but I might have overlooked it.

Suggestion for Myanmar is always to bring crisp USD notes.

Take your chances and let us know how you fare with GBP, considering that most places don't accept credit cards as a fall-back option.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Which land crossing points from Thailand are suitable for those wishing to travel on into Burma?

None, because you would have to travel back in time.

If you want to cross into Myanmar though, Mai Sod and Ranong have been mentioned. I am not sure whether you can really cross (rather than do a day-trip) at Mae Sai.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Which land crossing points from Thailand are suitable for those wishing to travel on into Burma?

None, because you would have to travel back in time.

If you want to cross into Myanmar though, Mai Sod and Ranong have been mentioned. I am not sure whether you can really cross (rather than do a day-trip) at Mae Sai.

Apparently rpthere are 4 crossings now included on FBI one near kanchanaburi?
Link to post
Share on other sites

Which land crossing points from Thailand are suitable for those wishing to travel on into Burma?

None, because you would have to travel back in time.

If you want to cross into Myanmar though, Mai Sod and Ranong have been mentioned. I am not sure whether you can really cross (rather than do a day-trip) at Mae Sai.

Apparently rpthere are 4 crossings now included on FBI one near kanchanaburi?

Correct, 4 border crossings opened for overland travel on 31st August 2013. Several threads running on this here.

No need for a time machine...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...