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Mae Sai to Tachileik, Burma border crossing: Travelling and Visa Information 2016
Northern Thailand and expatriates who are semi-residents and wish to remain longer than the present length of their multi-pass visas often take an interesting chance, including a trip to the city of Mae Sai on the Thai side of the Burmese border (or Myanmar to give it its formal name).
They will then travel across the border across the Thai and Myanmar border checkpoints for a full outing ( or longer - up to 14 nights if desired) to the neighbouring city of Tachileik (or Tachilek) before heading back to Mae Sai later in the morning. Unfortunately, people with an entrance permit can no longer use this passage to re-enter the Thai "Visa Waiver Scheme".
The Mae Sai claims glory because it is the most northern point in Thailand. It is not known for its touristic sites, and most Thais and aliens who come here do so to get to Burma. A number of fairly inexpensive off-the-shelf properties are available, such as the Top North which is on the same street as the border checkpoint, just a few walking miles from the large, blue-covered immigrant house that you have to go through when you get to Burma.
When you plan to spend the day in Mae Sai, you will be expecting about 500 Bahts ($17) for one room with air conditioning plus TV and usually untrustworthy WiFi. Along the riverbank, which forms the geographic border to Burma, there are also some rather simple (rooms and compartments) guesthouses for about 200 Ba.
To find her, turn off to the lefthand side at the border. Several other upscale establishments are located behind the highway, which is still within walk of the border check. You just make sure you don't come to Burma unlawfully. The Doi Wao Temple is in the city and only a few minutes walk away from the Thai border check.
It is possible to walk up the innumerable steps to the sanctuary or for 10 Bahts to be taken on the back of a motorcycle. The majority of the population comes by local transport from the north of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The coaches are secure, cheap and quite often with different "classes" that cost between 160 and 350 bahts for the five-hour drive from Chiang Mai's Arcade coach station (via Chiang Rai) or the two-hour drive from Chiang Rai's two local coaches.
Arriving at the central train terminal of Mae Sai (which is a bit off the beaten track), you will see some small vanlike red'passenger vehicles' (songtaew) that take you for 15 Bahts (10 Bahts for children) to the highway (which goes to the border control).
A lot of visitors make this journey as "Visa Run" by Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai in one go. A number of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai travel agencies are offering a full excursion by mini-bus to the border and back for about 500 Bahts from Chiangmai (less from Chiang Rai).
Drivers will be waiting in Mae Sai while you drive to Burma for a few hour. It'?s easy to get across the border. Please check with the entry control and present your identity document to be postmarked out of Thailand. Don't forgetting to fill in the Thai departures map included in your pass.
Cross the Sai River Crossing Bridges and enter the city with the Myanmar Republic of the Union of Myanmar name. Following the signposts again, present your identity card to the Myanmar immigration officials, who require 500 Bahts for a 14 day visa.
Another less expensive alternative is the $10 US dollar deposit, which represents a 150 BTB savings. After paying the necessary charge, Myanmar's immigrant official will issue a card, but will be holding on to your card until you do so. Exit INS and you are in the city of Tachileik, Burma.
No matter if you are staying 1 or 14 days, you cannot go to any part of Myanmar other than Tachileik and Kengtung. Visas are necessary to travel to other parts of Myanmar. Thais are not obliged to buy the 500 Bahts, but must first get a paper from the'ampur' (district office) by presenting their identity document and payment of 30 Bahts.
Thai passports are not used at this border check. Our offices are located 2 km from the border checkpoint on the same street (directly on the road). It is possible to travel by motorbike taxis near the border for 20 Bahts. Drivers will be waiting to take you back to the border checkpoint if you wish.
Tachilek (or Tachilek) is located in an area in eastern Burma known as Shan State. When you buy something, pay attention to Thai customs when you return. Cheques are scarce, but they can seize fake goods if they want to, and certain medicines (e.g. diazepam) are illicit in Thailand without a receipt (even if they are available'under the counter' in certain Thai pharmacies).
Thailands currencies are widely used. The Shwe Dagon Pagoda is located on a walkable slope (although it is a rather precipitous slope) and offers a good view over Tachileik and the Myanmar highlands on one side and Mae Sai on the other. Vendors all gather at the entrance so that after leaving them behind, you can relatively quietly walk around the city.
You can also rent a bicycle taxis for an hours or so for a 100-150 Thai Bhut that will take you to this sanctuary (Shwe Dagon) and a few others nearby. Simply make sure you get back to the border before 4:30 pm if you want to take the last public service to Chiangmai, which will bring you back around 9 pm (or 6:30 pm to Chiang Rai).
In Tachileik there are no Thai consulates, so you cannot get a Thai passport here. Either you already have a valid passport that you have received from another country, or you are entering Thailand under your country's country of residence policy. Since May 2014, however, the Thai Immigration Service has taken action against those who leave Thailand permanently and immediately returned without a country crossing permit in order to extend their stays under Thailand's programme for visa-free travel by another 15 day each.
That means that persons without a personal permit do not receive automatic immigration although they have also indicated that they will implement the judgment on a case-by-case base. Tourist trying to re-enter Thailand without a valid visum after a recent visit to the Philippines are NOT permitted to do so.
This would normally not be an insuperable issue at any other country crossings, as you can always request a Thai tourism visas in whichever of the other neighboring states you are onshore. This is not possible in Tachileik, and it is made even more difficult by the fact that (unless you have already received a Myanmar visa) your Myanmar immigration stamps do not allow you to transit outside the Tachileik/Kengchung district.
In order to prevent this from happening, the Thai immigration authorities have prevented those without repeated visas from using this gateway. Suppose you still have a valid multi-pass visas, just pass over the river and pick up your Myanmar Immigration Officer's pass and continue (and across the road) to Thai border check.
Arrivals tickets are available at the ticket office before you go to check-in. This is your first multiple-entry type permit, you will receive a 90-day re-entry permit for a nonimmigrant or 60-day ( or 30-day permit if you have a touristic type permit, according to nationality).
You will be asked to show that you have enough money to pay yourself during your stay in Thailand - 20,000 Bahts (in Thai currency or in a Thai bank) and 10,000 Bahts if you have a Thai transit permit. A few red'songtaew' minibuses are available not far from the entrance, taking you back to the central train terminal for 15 BT.