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Forums > Travel Yunnan > Crossing into Myanamar from Ruili

BTW Dev2014 when I was in Muse last year, I went out to the local massage shop for a foot massage, which is the only one in town, apparently. It's less than 100m from the Chinese border. Came back to the hotel around 9.30pm and while it was quiet, I don't recall any evidence of a curfew unless that only begins later in the evening. There aren't many people on the streets after about 9pm probably because there's just nothing to do - but since the Chinese border remains open until around 12am Chinese time or 10.30pm Myanmar time logically there can't be any curfew in effect before that time.

On the second night I think we also arrived back at the hotel around that time or earlier (after a long but good dinner). Reason? Again, nothing to do in town after that time apart from gazing at the lights of China. That or watching TV or using the internet in your room. Changed hotels for the second night because the first hotel, Shwe Yar Su was a dump. Second hotel can be booked on Agoda and is quite good (the best in town but no more expensive than the competition despite being fairly new).

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Crossing into Myanamar from Ruili

@Dev2014, I dunno, I'd say foreigners can still find quite a lot of jobs in China, compared to other countries in the region. There are far more types of jobs where foreigners are actively recruited than in say Thailand, where finding work as a foreigner is very difficult (and most jobs explicitly state that being a Thai citizen is a must) unless you have a ton of experience and looking to become say a factory manager or recruited from home to work as the managing director of the representative office of a bank or something. It's either that or if you're just looking to become an English teacher you'll probably find something. Even opening a business in China you can work in your own shop/restaurant/bar, but in Thailand you can only give orders to your staff but aren't allowed to serve customers directly so a foreigner behind a bar in Thailand is a definite no-no. Whereas in Cambodia it's fine, and same in China Strange but true. Anyway, I digress.

In Muse, there wouldn't be any night buses since the road down to Lashio is closed at night. There is a barrier at the checkpoint on the edge of town, although I believe it closes around 9pm? or something but that's of little use when a gate halfway down to Lashio closes around 6pm or so. During normal daylight hours you can just drive through though. In any case, I would recommend a private car to leave Muse mainly because it's possible that all passengers leaving Muse on a bus are checked before leaving. That is if you were to "hop the fence" like that guy recommended! If you have a legitimate Myanmar visa they take a photocopy of your visa and will allow you to pass through the gate. However, they will be assuming you either entered the country and elsewhere and are returning the same way you came (via Mandalay) or you received permission via a permit to travel across the Muse-Ruili border. I think the bus station is somewhere near the edge of the Muse SEZ near the exit gate and mile marker 105.

Err...not much prostitution in Muse, surprisingly you might say but that whole booming industry can be found across the border in Jiegao/Ruili, where the majority of staff are Burmese. That's where the money is, the population is and the demand is. There's little reason for the average Burmese truck driver to stop off in obscure Muse for a f*** when he can just cross over to Jiegao on a day pass or a 7-day pass to a foreign country and enjoy himself there where all the action is. Perhaps that explains why there's basically nothing in Muse, apart from a few overpriced hotels, a market selling mostly Chinese produce, a few OK restaurants and a couple of other shops.

As for the guy I mentioned, he probably went across at night with some Chinese "fixers" that showed him where to cross (BTW I also know where to cross illegally there, but have never done it!) I took a few pictures, it's less than 1km from the official crossing. Basically there's a broken fence and a wooden plank which everyone walks across that leads into a house where some Chinese people live inside - crossings are never done alone, but may be done during the day. Emerging from the other end onto the main road, it appears is if you are simply emerging from a visit to that person's house.

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Crossing into Myanamar from Ruili

Anyway, although it's difficult to estimate when the Ruili/Muse crossing will open officially, it probably will sooner rather than later. This means it's probably a lot wiser to wait it out until it actually happens, rather than attempting to make illegal crossings. If you want to travel to Muse, arrive from the Burmese side and there won't be any problems. Just sucks that you need a permit to cross to/from China otherwise you'll have to head back the same way you came, via Lashio back down to Mandalay. Even worse is the gross inefficiency of the Burmese - it's almost impossible to email a travel agency to help you secure a permit as Burmese travel agencies almost never reply to their emails, and securing the permit which is said to take up to 4 weeks, from outside of the country is therefore almost impossible. It's almost always a case of having to show up in person. But that's not realistic for your average traveller, who may be staying nowhere near 4 weeks in Myanmar and besides, the average tourist visa is only valid that long anyway (business visas are valid for 70 days though).

Forums > Travel Yunnan > Crossing into Myanamar from Ruili

@Alien, if you come from Mandalay, you can go all the way to Muse. There are (surprisingly) no more checkpoints along the way except for the one checkpoint at the entrance to the Muse special economic zone. I stayed in Muse for 2 nights last year. I went up to the Chinese border post (actually all three border gates as one is only for pedestrians and the other two are for vehicles) and was told not to cross, even though I had no intention to, nor did I even have a Chinese visa at the time, which I had pointed out repeatedly to the officials, who could speak some English, but little or no Chinese.

As for not being able to get further into Myanmar...actually, if you avoid the checkpoint at the edge of town where they check your passport (and obviously you would need to be in a Burmese registered vehicle as Chinese vehicles can't leave town) you could make it almost anywhere.

Last year a guy from Ghaha who lives in Kunming claimed to cross the border into Muse illegally, with help from some Chinese friends, then traveled all the way down to Yangon with no visa! and all the way back! And all of this back in 2012 when the road from Lashio to Muse still required a permit (it doesn't anymore). I didn't believe him for a second, but why would he come up with such a story then? Even more amazing is that as an African man, he stands out even more in Myanmar than a westerner does as there are very few Africans in Myanmar.


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Geogramatt, eventually it may cross into Myanmar. However, given how it will only be finished as far as Ruili in 2022, there's still many years before it ever makes it into Myanmar. Hopefully that will be enough time for Myanmar to end it's wars in the northern part of the country but that's wishful thinking at this point. After all, the Kachin Independence Army or KIA broke a 17-year ceasefire back around 2011 and fighting has actually increased in the meantime.

Myanmar didn't only open up for tourism in 2011. It has been open for years just that not many westerners went prior to 2011, even though there was little stopping them. The only thing you couldn't do prior to 2013 was travel overland unless you had a permit. I first went to Myanmar on a day trip to Tachilek in 2001 and flew into Yangon in 2004 and 2005. It was just as easy to get a visa back then as it is today, except that there were more restricted areas than there are now. Also, getting to Mu-se on the Chinese border seems to be OK. I went there in February. The adjacent areas where the Kokang conflict erupted are of course out of bounds. Chinese citizens generally aren't allowed to travel across to the Burmese side overland either, except to Mu-se for up to 7 days but that isn't always allowed either. Burmese who travel to China illegally risk arrest and those that travel overland from Mu-se can only travel to Ruili. To enter China properly and travel wherever they want, they either need a permit or must fly in, just like other foreigners.

To further add to Tom69's comments, I have recently heard that the go-ahead has been given for a railway from Kunming to near the Lao border, but as for continuing into Laos and beyond to Thailand, this is uncertain at the moment. In any case, overly optimistic Chinese journalism should be dismissed as reliable news sources as they have many times mentioned things that have yet to materialize.

Anyway, to get back on track a little bit can anyone tell me if there are now more services out of Mengzi (and in the reverse direction) than the one lone train? If coming from Vietnam it would be impossible to make the 9.03am train, since a bus journey would take 2 hours and then you would need to consider that the border only opens at 8am Chinese time I think, so only by staying in Hekou itself could you make it to Mengzi (possibly) if you departed Hekou around 6am by the time the train departs.

@Peter99, as you say, it's up to the individual countries concerned, not China, to allow entry to Myanmar/Vietnam overland from China. If a bomb attack occurs in Myanmar near the Chinese border (where I've been to just like you have been), that's something that should concern China but isn't enough to prevent the Chinese authorities from allowing foreigners to cross as foreign citizens are not of concern to China when they exit Chinese territory. Having said that I keep reading that the official opening of the Ruili-Muse crossing to passport and visa holders of all nationalities is scheduled to proceed as planned this year, but an exact date is not yet known. 4 border crossings with Thailand opened last August and I have travelled overland into the interior of Myanmar to/from Thailand 3 times since that time.

As others have said, a number of these crossings have always been open so I don't know what the authorities mean about being recently "re-opened". The Lao Cai-Hekou crossing is open to all who have valid documents to cross between China and Vietnam there (some nationalities don't need a visa to enter Vietnam and as such can just cross through without a visa). Only cars generally can't cross the border here, one must be a pedestrian to cross and there are no cross border bus services either.

@LaoQingwa and laoshi19, I just arrived back in Kunming today. Today the weather was partly cloudy with plenty of sunshine and comfortably warm temperatures. I was told the past 2 days have been similar. It seems that the weather forecast is not very accurate - my hunch is on partly cloudy skies, with some possibility of overcast skies and light rain being more likely over the next few days but probably nothing like Kunming experienced last week (well, at least, hopefully not).

There is no evidence left of the flooding which affected Kunming mainly last Friday. I too was worried as evidenced by my earlier post, but it seems that even the most low lying areas around Beijing Lu, which were most flooded and the rest of downtown are back to normal - I drove through there from the airport today and everything is business as usual.


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