CHIANG RAI – Myanmar Officials have postponed a new easier overland travel facility, due to heavy flooding in some border areas.
It initially indicated easier entry and exit rules for overland travel would be implemented 6 August. However, the deadline passed without any change in regulations.
Under the new provision, overland travellers will be able to enter Myanmar at one checkpoint and leave via another. It was supposed to be introduced on Tuesday at Tachilek that borders Mai Sai in Chiang Rai, Thailand.
Foreign travellers crossing the border at Tachilek are forced to deposit their passports with Myanmar’s immigration officers and retrieve them on their return.
It ensured they complied with the rule that all overland travellers have to enter and exit at the same checkpoint.
There is considerable concern on the part of tourists who do not want to hand over their passports and then travel in a country where there could be security risks. Also there are regulations in Myanmar that insist travellers always carry identification papers.
Thai-Myanmar Culture and Economic Association Chiang Rai branch president, Phakaimas Vierra, said Myanmar’s government recently approved the change in overland travel rules for Tachilek, Myawady and Kawthaung from points in Thailand.
“However, the recent floods in Myanmar near the Myawady crossing forced the authorities to postpone the move indefinitely.”
The president added: “Easing overland travel will have to wait until Myanmar restores the area.”
According to Myanmar- Thailand Border Crossing Agreement, Tachilek-Mae Sai, Myawady-Mae Sot and Kawthoung-Ranong are officially designated as entry and exit points between the two countries.
To provide better service to tourists crossing the Myanmar-Thai border at the three gates, Thai nationals and foreign visitors with passports and entry visas will be allowed to travel to all approved areas for travel and exit through a different checkpoint if needed.
“The scheme aims to spread the benefits of tourism and create jobs, but the process at the Myawady Friendship Bridge could not be implemented due to floods,” said Myawady District Immigration and National Registration Department head U Aung Win Thein.