Inle Lake to Tachileik BusLake Inle to the Tachileik Bus
Located opposite the Thai frontier city of Mai Sai, Tachileik was for many years one of the few overseas frontier crossing points between Thailand and Burma that were open (though crippled) to aliens in Thailand.
Located opposite the Thai frontier city of Mai Sai, Tachileik was for many years one of the few overseas frontier crossing points between Thailand and Burma that were open (though crippled) to aliens in Thailand. This was one of the most favourite places to do a "visa run" - stop by to get another 30-day Thai citizens permit (or 14, according to nationality).
These popularities gave the city a prosperity not found in many other cities bordering Thailand and Burma. Nowadays it is a busy and contemporary city with round-the-clock power. Thailand is the de facto money, everyone can talk Thailand and Thailand phone service works everywhere, which makes Tachileik very different from any other city in Burma.
Although one can easily imagine Tachileik as a Thai-Burma traverse, one should remember that the China boundary is not too far away either, via a proper street through Kengtung and Mongla. Although most of the locals are of Shanaian descent, you will find a varied mixture of races, among them India merchants at the Grenzmarkt and minority tribes at the nearby stores.
Although there is significant tourist development in the Tachileik area, the rules for accessing the areas need to be changed before this can be achieved. There is not much to see until then, but a brief visit can be enjoyable in a frantic way. The visitor is attracted by the huge labyrinthine frontier square; a few medium interest Temples and the nearby markets, and there are also many restaurants and walk-in hotel in the immediate vicinity of the bridges.
Use caution with some of the goods at the frontier store; many, even alcoholic beverages and tobacco, are actually counterfeit goods and not really what the packaging says. When you want to buy your way in toll -free, the large duty-free store in the centre of the gap between the two centres is your best choice, although Thai migration can be very thorough!
Although there are many mounds and minorities in the near and far surroundings, Tachileik does not yet allow hiking. Indeed, without specific permits you will be restricted to the city itself; the Pasa Wildlife Reserve in the eastern part of the city will remain taboo for the being.
If you are a Tuk-Tuk or Tachileik cab rider, you will certainly know what is permitted at the moment of your stay and what is not. In spite of the relatively high standard of living associated with the fact that it is a frontier city, Tachileik is not really a very large center, but the city is rapidly expanding and there are signs of building work throughout the city.
From Thailand, accessed by a brief stroll across the footbridge over the Mae Sai River, the city stretches eastwards and westwards between a series of low rolling mounds and the rivers. After crossing the viaduct you will find yourself in the city center with the supermarket on your right. Tachileik's low rolling hill is home to a few temporary buildings, while a right turn leads you about two kilometers to the bus terminal and the central square, ex Kawthaung from $1,100.
Grenzübertritt The Mae Sai-Tachileik frontier post is overloaded, frantic and often confusion. A lot of Thailand tourist traverse the giant frontier at bargain prices, a lot of birman crowds across the frontier bridges in the opposite directions with all sorts of merchandise, mini busses wash out Chiang Mai expert cargo on visas flights, hikers try to organize permissions to get to Kengtung, and now, with the opening of the formal shore frontier checkpoint, overseas tourist make their way to the airports and on to Inle Lake, Mandalay or Yangon.
Concerning the tourist, there are several possibilities at the border: extension of a Thai visas and fast processing, visiting the tachileik markets for a while, then returning to Thailand, spending the night in the city, travelling to Kengtung or driving to the Burma airports and other goals. If you only want to prolong your Thai experience, you will have to get exterminated on the Thai side and then spend 500 buaht on a Burma passport.
You will then pass across the street, receive a Myanmar departure seal and go back to Thai Migration, where you will need to include a 15 or 30 days seal in your travelpass. You can only get a visa three ways this way and every single case where there is a number next to the pass seal you have to get out of Thailand and go to a Thai embassy in a neighboring state.
When you already have number three in your `passport?, you must not exceed the limit. Follow the same procedures as above, although you must be aware that Myanmar immigrants will retain your pass for the length of your Tachileik sojourn. When you already have a Thai multiple-entry visas, you will be issued with an entrance seal that dates from the expiry of your visas.
Tachileik Accommodation As described above and you can walk freely through the city of Tachileik, but when you go back to Thailand you will be billed 10,000 kyats per day and per capita spent in Tachileik. If you do not have a touristy permit but wish to continue to Kengtung (and it is the only place to which you can continue with a passport ), a tour leader is mandatory.
Unless you have a tour leader organized by a Kengtung resort or travel agency - which is by far the simpler choice - the Ministry of Tourism will provide you with a tour leader for 500 Bt per capita per day in addition to your usual Myanmar inmate. Of course the tour guides will differ greatly in terms of quantity and may or may not be qualified for the trek, so you may have to rely on a locally based tour leader in Kengtung.
If you are in possesion of a Myanmar tour operator permit issued by a government agency or agency, you may waive the need for a passport and a tour leader. Theoretically, you are free to go to Kengtung and hire a tour leader on your return, although the ministry may still try to put a mandatory tour for you.
It could easily rely on their humor or the safety issues they perceive during the trip. One way or another you can't really quarrel with them and if you consider hiking in Kengtung, the best option is still to organize a tour leader who will find you at the frontier. When you have a tourism permit, you can remain in Tachileik as long as you want, continue from the airports to any Burmese destinations and leave at any approved frontier point or foreign airports you wish.
It is not currently allowed to cross country to Taunggyi. If you have accessed Burma via an alternate access point and are leaving Tachileik, you will earn a 15- or 30-day free Thai visas unless you have a Thai visas in front of you, whereupon you will earn a 30 or 60-day seal, based on which Thai tourism visas you have obtained.
Onward journey You can only make an official journey over land in one way from Tachileik, and that is northern to Kengtung. It is a 160 km long street that takes about four to five hour and the nearer you get to Kengtung the more beautiful it becomes. Turning off eastwards not far from Tachileik will take you to the Casino and Hotel on the Myanmar side of the Golden Triangle opposite Thailand's Sob Ruak and the locals will probably have no objection if you want to do so.
Currently no cross-country trip to the west is allowed and if you want to go to Taunggyi you have to go to Heho first. There are many busses running on the street between Tachileik and Kengtung and costs about 10,000 kyats (tourist rate), although there are several possibilities.
A lot of taxis are available to take on the bridges and in the marketplace, and keep in mind that if you are traveling with a prescribed tour leader, you are also in charge of their rates. Sometimes it is easier to agree with your Kengtung resort to bring a vehicle or mini bus to your destination, although this is a more costly alternative.
At the moment of typing, there are three control points between the boundary and Kengtung, which can be very stringent. Provide your provisional passport and Ministry of Tourism documents obtained at the Kengtung frontier for your trip to Kengtung. You can also hike off the beaten track, which is obviously fine with the locals - see the Kengtung section for further information.
Please be aware that the bus terminal in Tachileik is a 100-baht Tuk Tuks or 20 minutes walking distance from the viaduct, while in Kengtung bus stations are usually close to the Morgenmarkt, but varies by bus operator. Theoretically, with the Myanmar inland air service, Hop-on-Hop-Off system, you can buy a plane pass to any Burma international airfield and there are frequent day trips to and from Tachileik.
KBZ, Asia Wings and Air Bagan are advertising all Tachileik flight schedules, but checking their pages for up-to-date information. Kengtung flight costs about 50 dollars for a foreigner and takes 25 min.