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Home Myanmar Tachilek ⇒ The Thai-Myanmar Border

Tachilek: Gateway to Myanmar

3Crossing The Thai-Myanmar Border

For the casual visitor wanting an exotic passport stamp to add to their collection then nipping across the border for a look around is well worth a bit of bureaucratic botheration. There's no need to change money as the Thai Baht seems to be the only currency used here.


Across the Friendship Bridge heading towards Myanmar
Heading towards Myanmar

Until recently all emigration formalities for leaving the Kingdom of Thailand took place at the immigration police offices a full kilometre from the border. If you didn’t get your exit stamp here then you’d be turned away at the border, but with the increase in the number of tourists wanting to sneak a safe look into Myanmar, formalities have been moved to the border itself.

If you don’t want to be officially leave Thailand; if you’d need a new visa to enter for example, or you’d rather no-one knew you’ve been supporting a totalitarian regime by visiting it, then you can hand in your passport at the bridge, the first window on the right, and be given a receipt which will let you through and back without anything being stamped into your passport.

Shopping in Tachilek
Shopping in Tachilek

Over the bridge, cross to the right and the Myanmar immigration people will take your passport and for 500 Baht or $US10 give you a pass with your photo which you exchange for your passport on leaving. It’s all a little casual in the tiny cramped office but it’s good natured and smooth. If you are just on a visa run then tell the officer and they’ll stamp your passort so you can gp straight back. On the way out of Mynamar you now pick up your passport in a new office on the opposite side of the street.

Thai Monks in Tachilek
Thai Monks in Tachilek

You can get a one day Tachilek-only pass or one for 15 days valid for the Shan states only. This will let you explore Keng Tung and beyond, but as your passport remains in Tachilek, you have to come back the same way. See here for Shan State Hotels.

If you want to travel through then you must have a valid visa for Myanmar. Coming back to Thailand is straightforward but the immigration check can be painstakingly slow, especially if you have been in and out a lot on one month visas as the officer will want to count the number of visa-free days you have left.

 
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