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Published: February 27th 2018
Crossing the border from Thailand into Myanmar (Burma) was always going to feel like something of an adventure. The reality was an easy and generally swift process, with no real problems at all. We got to the Mai Sai bridge in the morning which we highly recommend as in the afternoon the queues can be quite lengthy.
Leaving Thailand was just a case of getting our passports stamped. Then we dwelled a little reading the customs notices. Why can't you take more than TWO decks of cards into the country? Anyway, we then worried if our e-visas would be accepted at this entry point to Myanmar as the whole system is still quite new. Getting the e-visas was easy. Just follow the instructions on the government website
, pay your money and wait for your application to be accepted. With your e-visa printed out, just head for the border. The bridge from Mai Sai to Tachileik adds an extra dimension to the crossing rather than just going through some anonymous hangar-like structure.
On the Myanmar side we had to go into two offices. The first one was the police check-point where we were dealt with very efficiently, even if we were
a bit wary of our luggage being left outside the door. The second office was the only real stumbling block in the process. The man behind the desk had to fill in the immigration log book but it was blatantly clear that he hadn't a clue about what he was supposed to be doing. We ended up talking him through the process by looking at previous entries! Once Trish's details had been entered, someone else came into the room and he knew what he was doing. The big question is, who was the first guy? Was it bring-your-not-so-bright-brother-to-work day, or was he a trainee unsupervised on day one on the job?!
So, we were in Myanmar and getting lots of hassle from taxi drivers wanting to take us to the airport or the bus station. First things first though and we needed money. The first ATM was out of order but 50 yards down the street was another one which gave us what we needed. Next was the issue of finding a bus to Keng Tung. Nobody seemed to have enough English to help us out, although they were all super friendly. We popped into the Mya Myin Mo Guesthouse
owner sorted us out. If you need to stay the night in Tachileik I would recommend going there. We have no idea what the rooms are like but if they help non-customers the way they helped us, the service for paying customers must be incredible.
We were put into a shared taxi and the driver was told where we were going. A note was scribbled on a piece of paper to hand over at the bus station. Our seats on a bus had been secured. There was no bus station though, just an office where the bus company sell tickets and from where the bus departs. We got there about an hour before departure so left our bags and went over the road for a coffee. The Moringa Cafe
is an amazing place and they served the best iced mocha we have had for years! Then, like good little travellers, we went back to the bus "station" as asked, half an hour before departure. There we sat and waited, and waited, and waited... Well, if you've ever travelled in Asia, you know what it's like! Eventually we got on the bus and left about an hour behind schedule.
the world go by out of the window was great. I think we were as much of an attraction to those riding shotgun in the back of pick-ups as they were to us! Before long though, the heavens opened. It's been some time since we have witnessed rain like that. So much for it being the dry season!! Despite the monsoon, it was an uneventful ride, but if you do it in better weather the views would surely take your breath away. It was still pouring down when we got to Keng Tung, but that's a story for another day.
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