Mae Sai Border Crossing HoursSai Mae Border crossing times
The Mae Sai Border Gate & Tachileik Day Tour
Sai Mae is a small city in the south of Thailand on the border between Thailand and Myanmar. Situated about 60 km from Chiang Rai, it is the most northerly point of Thailand. Once a favourite tourist location for visas, visitors crossed mainland Thailand for a few hours and then returned with a 14-day overtime.
In 2016, the Thai authorities took action against the requirement for a visas and have made it more complicated since then. Today most of us go to Mae Sai to see the vast border square and make a short journey through the Mae Sai border gateway to Tachiliek, Myanmar. Tachileik is the fastest, simplest and least expensive way for those who have little travelling experience to get to Myanmar from Thailand.
The majority of Tibetans take the Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai coach to the Mae Sai border gateway. It' a five hours ride from Chiang Mai and a two hours ride from Chiang Rai. The busses do not go to the border of Mae Sai.
Instead they stop at the coach station Mae Sai (location) about 5 km southwards of the door. You have to bring one song-taew for 10-15THB per each. Please take into account the last departures from Mae Sai when you check your coach timetables and try to be at the coach station at least 30 min earlier.
Transport can also cause delay on the brief distance from the Mae Sai border crossing to the coach station. It' also possible to go by motorcycle from Chiang Rai to Mae Sai, although not a very nice roads. From Chiang Rai to Mae Sai a motorcycle trip will take about 2 to 2.5 hours.
From Phahonyothin on the Thai side, the square follows the river border, which is separated by the Ruak River. Stroll through the crowded, hidden streets of the square to discover small cafés and fine cuisine. When you have explored the square, drive up the mound to Wat Pha That Doi Wao Tempel, also known as the Scorpion Mounttempple.
It is a Buddha sanctuary on the hillside with a view of the border of Burma. Ascend the stairs to find a giant sculpture of Scorpio on the mound that stares directly at Myanmar. The memorial is devoted to the Thai Lanna king Naresuan, who fought back the famous invasion of Burma.
Scorpio is a clear signal to the Burmese not to come back. You will need to have your Thailand departure visa validated before crossing the border gateway of Mae Sai. Then go to Myanmar INS. The Myanmar Department of Migrant Affairs charges 500 THB entrance fees.
Myanmar passport is only available in the Tachileik area. In order to go to Kengtung County, you must request another approval. If you want to travel to other areas in Myanmar, you must obtain a visitor's visas. Crossing the border, you will see Thailand on the right side of the street, but Myanmar on the other.
Burma's side of the border is a city known as Tachileik. There is a large open-air store here with a vast selection of goods ranging from low-cost shades to Burma whisky and fake cigs. You will find small stands in the middle of the fair that sell groceries, beverages and a few small pools.
Shopping may be great, but you will probably find 1-2 hours is enough, many of the goods end out being quite the same. Notice: Look out for pick-pockets on this side of the border. When you cross the border to Tachilek, you should also go beyond the town. Continue northwards of the central square through the town, climbing up to the giant gold Shwedagon Pagoda.
There' s a buddhistic sanctuary in the southwest and a hinduistic sanctuary in the southeast. They are both well deserved a short stay, if there is enough spare minute. Just like the Shwedagon Pagoda, the Buddha shrine has a great look over Tachileik and looks back to the Thai border. You can also see the Scorpio Hill on the Thai side from here.
When does the Mae Sai Border Gateway open? Mae Sai Border Gateway opens at 6.30 a.m. and has now prolonged its opening hours at 9 p.m. every day. It is unlikely that you will be arriving so early or leaving so far away when you take the coach to the border of Mae Sai.
Do not only book your journey at the opening hours of the border crossings, but also find out about the timetable of buses to and from your city. It is possible to spend the night in Tachileik with the 14-day Myanmar travel visas.