Thai Visa Run to Tachileik / Burma / Myanmar

Tachileik opposite to Thailands northernmost town Mae Sai offers a possibility to make the notorious ‘Thai Visa Run’. The post here focuses on the visa run only. To read the whole article on Tachileik, click here…

The border is open daily from 6 am to 6 pm. Burmese time is half an hour delayed (at 6 pm in Thailand it’s 5:30 pm in Tachileik). The Burmese authorities demand a 500 Baht visa fee. What they refuse to explain, even when I three times asked them for, is that one can alternatively pay them 10 $US . That is less than 300 Baht. The Burmese officials don’t want that, because the difference of 200 Baht each tourist pays more, if not being informed, moves, that’s highly probable, into their pockets.

If one comes with a fifty dollar bill, the Burmese officials refuse to take it. They claim, they wouldn’t have change. I don’t believe them. Every small street vendor in Southeast Asia has change for what he sells. The government of Burma won’t have change at the border checkpoint? On my last visa run there I insisted, and they even sent me back to Thailand. There, of course, I missed the Burmese visa what is stupidly a condition to get another Thai visa. I tried to get change in Mae Sai, but on sundays all the banks are closed. I am also not sure if the banks have dollar bills – that’s not so easy to get in Thailand. Well, I went back then to the Burmese officials and still insisted on my right. They weren’t happy with the situation, and after a while another guy appeared and offered me to change money. I gave him the bill and within less than a minute he came back with five ten dollar bills. I got my visa and that it was.

The guy who changed the money was another official, whom I didn’t see before. He was very friendly and helpful. The two officials in the office were pretty stubborn. I guess it was a variation of the old game ‘good cop – bad cop’. Little shiters they are. Let’s face the truth: they cheat every day a considerable number of tourists and travellers.

Remarkable also that the guys who arrange the visa stamps do not wear uniforms, as it is normally at any borderpoint.

The traveller gets here a 14 days visa for Burma. The authorities keep the travellers passport at the border station and hand out a substitute identification card (called "entry permit").

A similar game is played in Kawthaung, but here in Tachileik it’s tougher, for the officials really deny the cheaper alternative.

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