So we did it. Any concerned mommy and daddy of the Western world would wag their finger at their little ‘uns for even entertaining the idea of a trip into Myanmar. Why? It’s one of the most secluded police states in the world, run by a military junta, and simply Goolging Myanmar will yield more than your fair share of unfavorable press and images like the one you see above. So you can imagine the amount of warnings I’ve gotten since planning this trip on “why I shouldn’t go bla bla bla.” …but it’s not like I’m going to go in streaking with “FREE SUU KYI!!!!” emblazoned across my chest. Bringing in a Nikon camera is bad enough (again, see above picture).
Well, we’ve done it. It was a simple border crossing and within 4 hours of poking our nose around Myanmar, we saw all we could’ve seen and came back. It might not seem like much, but deep down I admit it was one of the most interesting 3-4 hours I’ve had on any trip.
HOW TO ENTER MYANMAR…THE EASY WAY
- Get to Mae Sot, Thailand either from Bangkok or Chiang Mai. Buses are cheap (~$10USD) and should take no more than 6-8 hours from either city.
- Take a tuk-tuk to the border immigration control 6km west of Mae Sot.
- Give the Thailand border control your passport for processing.
- Walk over the Friendship Bridge into the Myanmar side.
- Give the Myanmar border control your passport for safekeeping. Pay 500 THB (~$16 USD).
- Roam around Myanmar as much as you like, as long as you get back to the border by 5:30pm.
- Pick up your passport from the Myanmar border control.
- Myanmar border control.
- Get a new 15-day Thailand visa from the Thailand border control.
- Enjoy the rest of your trip in Mae Sot!
Walking into the Myanmar territories, I could feel the buzz of attention surrounding us; who were we? where did we come from? what were we looking for? As the smiling faces of the Thai people gradually became replaced by curious stares by the Burmese, we kept walking, returning their gazes with smiles and acknowledgment. We never felt so foreign, we never felt so scrutinized.
- At time of posting in Myawaddy, Myanmar, it was 89.6 °F - Humidity: 47% | Wind Speed: 13km/hr | Cloud Cover: scattered clouds