Myanmar Government Cancels Visa-on-Arrival Service

Back in the beginning of February, my travel options for the Spring Term Recess were:
1. Socotra
2. Myanmar
3. Iran
4. Djibouti
5. India

After several weeks of going through the pros and cons for each travel option, I decided to go for Myanmar. It was the fascinating Mandalay to Hsipaw train journey that clinched it.

I booked my tickets for Yangon via Bangkok, and applied for the prearranged visa on arrival on 24th February. I expected the visa to come through by mid-March, but instead I got the message last week that the Myanmar government had cancelled the prearranged visa on arrival service for individuals with immediate effect. The timing couldn’t be worse!

With only seven days available for travel, and arriving in Bangkok on a Friday afternoon, there’s just not enough time to apply for a Myanmar visa in Bangkok. I’d get only three days in Myanmar if lucky, which is pretty pointless. So, what next? I’ve lost my Bangkok to Yangon flight, and I got a late cancellation penalty on my first hotel booking in Myanmar as well.

To be honest, I’ve been tempted several times over the past week to cut my losses and just cancel everything (losing 20% of my Emirates Bangkok flight as well). However, this spring recess is my only break before 3 July and the summer holidays, and it seems a bit of a waste not to try something else in South-East Asia.

Last night at 11PM, I finally decided on Laos, and booked a flight to Luang Prabang. When my Emirates A380 flight touches down in Bangkok 36 hours from now, I’ll have three hours to catch the onward Bangkok Airways flight to Luang Prabang. Which should be OK. It’s the same airport.

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