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To enter Myanmar, you’ll require a printed copy of your approval letter, and a photocopy of your passport. If you don’t have these documents printed, they will turn you around at the border: trust me I know from experience…
There are four land-crossings between Myanmar and Thailand, however only three of them are accessible if you’re entering on a Tourist Visa. The rules and regulations regarding tourism are forever changing, so check the current land-crossing available here.
The Tachileik land crossing is located near Chiang Rai, in the north of Thailand. It’s a popular Thai border run for travelers, as you don’t need a visa to cross into Myanmar if you enter back into Thailand on the same day.
If you’re hoping to use this crossing as your gateway into Myanmar, you may encounter some difficulties, as you’ll need a government permit and guide to travel onwards though the restricted areas.
I tried to exit through this crossing, and it wasn’t possible unless I flew into Kawthaung.
If you want to cross into Myanmar by land, I’d recommend using either the Myawaddy/Mae Sot or Ranong/Kawthaung border crossings. Click here to see Myanmar’s current permitted areas.
The Myawaddy/Mae Sot border crossing is located in central Myanmar, and is by far the most chaotic land crossing. The road traffic into Myanmar stretches for kilometers, however you can take a songthaew to Friendship Bridge without having to wait in traffic, and walk across the border.
The bridge is pure mayhem! Traffic changes lanes from left to the right hand side of the road, halfway across the bridge! Once you have your visa, travel onwards along the new highway to Mawlamyine or Hpa An.
The Kawthaung/Ranong land crossing is located in the south of Myanmar, separated by a river. Before departing Thailand, head to the immigration office on the pier in Ranong, before boarding your long tail boat to Kawthaung. The boat ride should take 45 minutes and cost 50 baht – plus a tip for your driver, who shows your passport at various checkpoints along the way.
Once you arrive in Kawthaung, walk to the immigration office located along the promenade to obtain your Myanmar tourist visa. If you’re traveling in high season, you have the option to travel onwards by either boat or bus.
Boats are not available in wet season, but buses run year-round, and are the cheaper option. Just be prepared for a long bumpy ride – the roads in Myanmar aren’t too crash hot.
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Find out why you should hold back on those haggling skills, taste the wonders of Burmese cuisine, and watch out for late night curfews in Myanmar before you go.
Don’t get caught off guard by rough roads and challenges navigating your way around Myanmar. Plan ahead to make getting from A to B easy with these tips.