We are currently in Namsang, all safe and well but this is the remotest part of Myannmar, a part of the country where foreigners don’t usually venture because the road is actually closed to foreign nationals.
Obviously we will bring you up to speed on our daily updates as soon as we are able but in the meantime “here is one we prepared earlier”, a little background into rallying in this gorgeous country.
Rallying in Myanmar used to be banned but some years ago that changed, and “rallying” was allowed.
Rallying with any kind of car is subject to strict rules in Myanmar which means that a police car will lead a convoy of cars, all in strict number order, along a route which has been pre-authorised.
This did not suit Bruno and Zani’s “Inspiration Myanmar” Agency’s idea of rallying so they applied several years ago to run a non-convoy rally.
The conditions agreed with the Ministries of the Interior, Immigration and Customs involved several novel steps.
First the Road Book was presented to the Ministry of Tourism with a detailed description of the route clearly stipulated to give confidence that we would not seek to visit areas not authorised.
Secondly, a flatbed truck would run with the group in case there was a breakdown, so that no dangerous repairs would be attempted by the road.
Thirdly, due to the lack of medical facilities, there would be a travelling doctor (Dr Luc), and an Ambulance to run with the group.
Fourthly, Inspiration Myanmar welcomed the presence of a Government liaison officer who would travel with the group, to resolve any issues on the way.
Before the event takes place, the application has to go to each Ministry and eventually to the President’s Office where it is signed off.
Also before the event, the Chief of Police in every district that we run through is invited to Yangon to have a meeting about our route. The details of all the cars and the details of all the participants is duplicated up to 50 times before the event is authorised. Every night after all the cars have arrived at the hotel, an officer from Immigration and from Customs visits to check off our arrival.
None of this is visible to us.
As far as we are concerned we are free to travel in what ever order we like, at whatever speed we like, and take as much time as we like.
Inspiration Myanmar is the only agency authorised to run a Rally in these conditions in Myanmar, and we are grateful for the privilege of being able to enjoy this fabulous country as freely as we wish. All the hard work to allow this was done before we came, including getting special permission to use a road and border crossing into northern Thailand that had until recently been closed to foreigners.