I've come back from Myanmar a month ago and been asked for informations so maybe more people would need them :
You need a visa to enter Myanmar, they give you 28 days, non extendable but you can pay 3$ for each day overstayed.
I did mine in Bangkok, very easy, a lot a people though, it cost me 810 baths (25$).
No visa on arrival yet :)
In the embassy there is a paper showing which border you can cross by land : Tachileik-Mae Sai, Myawaddy-Mae Sot, Kawlthong-Ranong and Htee Ki-Pu Nam Ron.
I entered by Mae Sot, no problems, no questions about the bike.
From Myawaddy I went up to Mandalay (through Hpa-an, Kyaikto, Taungoo, Meiktila) 925km, nice road, bumpy at some points, after the border there is a mountain to climb, very steep, almost no concrete, quite hard, but after that it's almost always flat until Mandalay. The road goes through a lot of villages and cities, it can be quite busy sometimes but it's ok, you can find food and water everywhere on the way.
After Mandalay I went to Bagan through country side roads, very nice, crossing a kind of desert, more remote, still flat. Then from Bagan to Inlay lake through Meiktila and Kalaw. Kalaw is at the top of a mountain, going up took me a long time, several hours and be careful it can be very cold up there (compared to the plains), maybe 5-10°C by night.
Then I had to take a bus to Yangon, and from there I cycled back to Mae Sot, same road.
You will never see a tourist on the road (or maybe a cyclist :) ), all the foreigners go to the same places : Mandalay, Bagan, Inle lake and Yangon, and some of them are becoming very spoiled, they are the worst places I've been in Myanmar, gold award for Inlay lake, it's an industry of money, I don't recommend it at all. I loved Kalaw and the mountains around, beautiful. Bagan, very touristy but still interesting and beautiful, and Yangon, big, dirty and polluted, I liked too, so many influences, great food. Mandalay, nothing really to see. But each to his own taste :)
I won't talk about the pleasure of cycling through the villages, and discovering the people of myanmar, I let you do that :)
Accomodation can be a problem in Myanmar as you are not allowed to camp, there aren't guesthouses everywhere and they are not always cheap. And people are not allowed to host you.
I did camp, I wouldn't recommend it as it's forbidden but it was quite easy, the most annoying was the dogs "protecting" their property.
The military is ruling the country, you can see them very often around big cities, with foreigners they are nice and smily, be ready to be checked for your passeport anytime, there are many checkpoints on the road, mostly around big cities and after the border. They often asked me where I was going, meaning where I was sleeping.
The police don't care about you, they saw me several time at dusk, leaving a city where I could have slept, they didn't stop me.
I heard about cyclists being followed by army or secrete police I don't know but it never happened to me, and in the case you're caught camping, they bring you to the nearest hotel.
Cities I know you can find accomodation on the way to mandalay : Hpa-an, Kayikto (expensive, go to the golden mountain, 10km north for cheaper places), Taungoo, Nay pyi daw (but nobody goes there), Meiktila (expensive).
There are many places and roads closed to foreigners, and I haven't found any way to find out wich one is or is not forbidden. The locals and the police I asked didn't know. I guess you have to ask the army.
This web site lists which parts you can or cannot go in Myanmar : http://www.coupsdecoeurenasie.com/pages/Les_zones_accessibles_aux_touristes_mars_2013-4833103.html
It's in french but you can translate, and it's from march 2013, it may have changed already.
Anything more, just ask.
Thanks so much for taking the time to post this. I'm absolutely delighted to hear that you can now enter Myanmar overland! Fantastic news. I'm going to be passing through SE Asia on the bike later this year and knowing I can isn't n this way is a weight of my mind.
Would it be possible to cross the border in the south and exit in the north?
For the north, some people I met who entered in Tachileik had to fly to mandalay. More informations in the link I posted in the Shan state section.
For the south if you read the link, you can read for the Mon state "The last accessible city is Thanphyuzayet [...] the part of the state which lies south from this city is completly forbidden to foreigners".
They opened the borders yes but it doesn't mean you can go anywhere you want. In fact you can only go where they want :) You have a little freedom by bike though, enough to make your journey amazing.
Have fun there !
If you plan to enter/exit in the north at Tachileik you should know that you are not allowed to travel overland trough Shan State. You have to take a plane from tachileik or kengtung to mandalay or whereever.
In the south it might be that you need to take a ferry between kawthoung and myeik (everyday, 40 Us Dollar, about 6 hours). If you want to cycle that part you need to apply for a permit in yangon, though I know two cyclists they did it without permit.
I did the Yangon - Mandalay loop in December and January. But on a 28 days visa it is a tough call. I cycled up via Pay, Magway, Myngian, Sagaing. In Pay the accommodation mentioned in LP guidebook charged 20 USD for nothing. I camped on this stretch probably 7 times without any trouble but you have to find campspots since people are all over - Myanmar is densely populated in the countryside. From Sagaing I picked up in friend in Mandalay and we cycled towards Monywa. The roads were pretty beat up all the way and a whole lot of cycling around there is just riding around potholes. On to Pakkoku it was the toughest ride - pretty hot, poor roads and the traffic was horrible. As mentioned above you hardly see any tourists on this roads and everything is concentrated around Bagan. After Pakkoku it is a short ride to get there. From Bagan we rode towards Meiktila. We decided to skip Inle Lake in favour of cycling all the way down to Rangon. Nay Pi Taw was pretty impressive with its wide spread out roads. Most of the time you have to calculate with 30 Dollars per accommodation so it comes in handy if you have a traveling companion. We decided to cycle down to Setse Beach before returning to Rangon, I thought it was worth it cause Moulmein was pretty nice place. Setse is not so amazing - but no foreigners down there as well. After cycling all over SEA I found the experiences I had in Myanmar the most profound and most memorable. I can only recommend to cycle it also if you face a lot of restrictions and camping is officially not allowed.
Here's my 2p of cycling in Myanmar opinion :-)
I cycled Myawaddy to Yangon, first half great, then a bit more flat and less interesting. I camped or stayed in pagodas all along this stretch.
Yangon - cool!
We took the train to Pyay - train was incredible, i couldnt believe how it stayed on the tracks. we took the ordinary seats, but next time i would take the ones with padding!
We rode the road from Pyay on the West of the river, our map had some mistakes and we ended up cross country next to the railtracks for a few days, a great village experience but we had a lot of attention from the police on this stretch.
Then after Bagan, Kalaw. Things got interesting again after we followed the road to west of Inlay Lake, and into the mountains, several days of beautiful, and quite tough riding.
Then the best was the road from Laikaw to Twyngoo - steep up and down, jungle adventure :-)
I say the same as the others, Myanmar is a great place to ride, easy to get away from where others have been before, go there and see what is going on!
In April/May 2014 we cycled through Myanmar, entering in Thailand, exiting in India! We were one of the first cyclists that did it!
We posted our experiences as "Myanmar - feedback and bordercrossing to India (April 2014)" here: https://de.warmshowers.org/node/56841
Happy cycling, whoever plans to cycle Myanmar. It's a wonderful country!
Greetings from Jan & Karina