Mae Sai Thailand and border crossing to Burma  » Travel  »
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  • Most visitors, however, are unaware of another interesting opportunity available that enables you to cross over from Thailand to Burma, without a visa, from the border town of Mae Sai in Thailand to Tachileik in Burma (Myanmar)
  • The trip from Chiang Mai takes four and a half hour and I found that even 2nd class travel is comfortable enough
  • It cost 500 baht for a fairly basic room with poor TV reception and even poorer wifi, but otherwise standard quality and clean enough for the price
  • Overall, I've found this trip to be safe, straightforward and enjoyable, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting north Thailand

    • by chasmac
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      Many visitors to Thailand make a point of spending some time in the north of the country, attracted by the beautiful natural surroundings of forests, mountains treks and hill tribe villages. Most visitors, however, are unaware of another interesting opportunity available that enables you to cross over from Thailand to Burma, without a visa, from the border town of Mae Sai in Thailand to Tachileik in Burma (Myanmar). Having completed this trip myself on three separate occasions, I can report that the whole process is simple and enjoyable and a valuable opportunity to get a glimpse of Burmese life.

      Mae Sai

      Mae Sai is the most northerly town in Thailand. I don’t find the town itself especially interesting, although the surrounding countryside is beautiful. Most visitors who come here, only come to take advantage of this interesting excursion to Burma, and usually return to Thailand a few hours later.

      The northern Thai cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are where most visitors to the north are based, and you can get to Mae Sai from Chiang Mai’s Arcade Bus Station by the ‘green Bus’ company for a mere 160 - 350 baht, ($1 = 30 baht) depending on the class of


      travel that you choose (2nd, 1st or VIP classes). The trip from Chiang Mai takes four and a half hour and I found that even 2nd class travel is comfortable enough. Prices and travel times from Chiang Rai are about half as much as from Chiang Mai, as it’s considerably closer. You should book both legs of your journey in advance as the buses tend to be fully booked quite quickly. Any travel agent can arrange this for you for a minimal charge of around 20 baht per journey.

      Staying overnight (optional)

      On arrival at Mae Sai bus station, you can take a 15 baht red passenger vehicle (songthaew) for 15 baht, to the border control, which is situated right at the end of the main street. If you arrive too late to make the crossing before the border control closes at 6pm, there are guest houses and hotels within a few minutes walk. I stayed at Top North Hotel just 2 minutes walk from the border control. It cost 500 baht for a fairly basic room with poor TV reception and even poorer wifi, but otherwise standard quality and clean enough for the price. Guest houses are very basic ‘fan and ...


      • pillow’ type rooms costing around 200 baht.

        To cross the border to Burma, you simply walk through the Thai border control where you will be officially ’stamped out’. Walk across the bridge over the River Sai and enter the Burmese border control. You can’t miss the big sign welcoming you to “The Republic of the Union of Myanmar”. There, you pay 500 baht and hand over your passport in return for an entry permit allowing you to stay up to 14 days within the Tachileik area of Burma.

        Important note 1* You must stay only within the Tachileik area. You can’t visit any other parts of Burma if you enter this way.

        There are lots of very cheap goods on sale near the border control. The high pressure sales techniques of the vendors near the border control can be quite wearing but the prices are very attractive. Keep in mind, though, that ‘officially’ it’s illegal to import counterfeit goods into Thailand.

        The main attractions of Tachileik seem to be a few, strikingly beautiful, Buddhist temples that can be visited on foot or you can take a tuk tuk (3 wheeled open taxi) for around 100 baht that takes you to more or less

        the same places. Shwe Dagon Pagoda is well worth a visit. It’s on a hill side and affords splendid views across North Thailand and the Burmese hills.

        It’s fascinating to spend some time in Burma, but not so much that I’ve ever felt the need to stay overnight in Tachileik. Like most visitors, I stayed a couple of hours before heading back across the bridge to Thailand.

        Important note 2. When you re-enter Thailand this way (or by any land crossing) you will be given permission to stay for 15 days only (unless you already have a multiple entry visa). Obviously you shouldn’t do this trip while you still have more than 15 days on your current permission to stay. As soon as you leave Thailand for Burma, your current entitlement to stay expires. Most people do this trip near the end of their trip to Thailand.

        On re-entering Thailand, you can again take a 15 baht ’songthaew’ to the bus station. The last bus to Chiang Mai leaves at 4:30 pm and, as mentioned, should almost certainly have been booked in advance.

        Overall, I’ve found this trip to be safe, straightforward and enjoyable, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting north Thailand.




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    The review was published as it's written by reviewer in February, 2012. The reviewer certified that no compensation was received from the reviewed item producer, trademark owner or any other institution, related with the item reviewed. The site is not responsible for the mistakes made. 3829021566641129/k2311a0229/2.29.12
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