Thailand Burma Border CrossingBurma border crossing
What is the NO way to avoid crossing the border between Thailand and Myanmar?
Do you recall the illegal crossing of the border between Thailand and Myanmar....TWO?" As there is already a lot of (boring) advices on how to get a Bangkok to a neighbouring state, let me tell you a funny tale about how NOT to do it. For which reason is a visum required? Every foreign national who has been to Thailand knows about the tightening of the requirement for a visas.
As you can see, Thailand's migration law changes about as often as Taylor Swift's friends. But I wasn't too eager to buy through my noses just to get another 28 nights in the countryside (as we already got our proper run at the end of June). 1 ) Payment of the fine, 2) Get on a fast plane to Malaysia or 3), go to the Myanmar border and cross the state.
Get in a limousine, go to the border, get some postmarks in the pass, and we're ready. Dee, our southafrican boyfriend, took the chance to leave Bangkok for a full days and kindly asked us to take the 120-mile trip to the border.
So, at 6:30am we get in his vehicle and start the 4-hour trip across the border to Myanmar, through luxuriant verdant farmlands, palms and bandwidths. When we approached the border, the ground became more and more undulating, with dramatically karstic rocks of greenery emerging from the mud. At about 10:30 am we approach a number of control points that lead to the border between Thailand and Myanmar near Ban Phu Nam Ron.
Passing several temporary safety guards (translation = Thai police officers play on their mobile telephones while passing traffic), we arrived at a point where a pick-up was pulled over in the centre of the city. We waited a few mins, the vehicles drove around the back of the van and drove on.
When we decided to do the same, we also drove around the empty pick-up and set off. Thé is waiting in the vehicle (as he does not make the crossing), while Jeremy and I get out and ask the bamboos cabin officer for departure procedures. There is not much English as you can see, and our Thai is definitely not far enough developed to ask migration related issues.
Same thing was happening at the next check point and the next, where the street changed abruptly from a slippery sidewalk to a rough shade of pink. Finally we see a decayed edifice with the words "IMMIGRATION" on a wood shield. So, Dee parked the vehicle and waited while Jeremy and I went in to get our departure cancels from Thailand.
After all, the immigrant bureau is a powdery wood shed with a temporary writing table, two dull officials and four dormant sniffles. "He asks, leaving stamp?" "He' s trying again. Officier #2 comes in at this point, and they spent the next 10 min searching our passes for departure postmarks that don't have.
We' ve come to Myanmar....ILLEGAL. We' re almost THREE LEGALS in Myanmar....ILLEGAL. (Let me emphasize that Myanmar is not like Thailand. Myanmar is already lagging behind the remainder of Asia by a few years. Like Americans, South Africans cannot apply for a Myanmar entry permit. So, not only is Dee over the border illegal, he can't even get a permit to be there!
So, we go back until the unpaved path becomes the sidewalk again. Passing another check point, we see a small little bluish edifice with a reed rooftop that says "IMMIGRATION". Surprisingly, there is now a line of vehicles that lead to the house, and the street is now jammed by a huge red-and-white stripe door.
So, yes.... we unwittingly drove right past the border guards, right past INS and almost three mile to another state. Transcending Ban Phu Nam Ron Border - Take Two! Now, since Dee (and his car) were safe on Thailand ground again, he cleverly chose to leave the cars and we were sorted out.
We go to the lmmigration Department and fill out the necessary papers before we are driven onto a "shuttle" (translation = pick-up truck), which takes us across the border. We' re stuffed with three young ladies and the grumpy old rider. It' s not long before we realise that everyone on both sides of the border has listened to our history.
As soon as we have received our long-awaited arrival and departure punches, we even start to hum. We are about to make our fourth crossing in less than an hour....and only the second one! Finally we are back at the Thai migration authority, where we are postmarked for another 60 working nights (in this case 28 working nights, as we are already in Bali for the end of June).
Then we do what anyone who is lightened would do in this case - party with cool, foamy, heavenly Thai ice teas. We drove 4 hrs from Bangkok and traversed the border 4 times....before lunch. Dean was faithfully awaiting us at the little car park near INS.
Approximately 9,000 workers died building the railroad line between Thailand and Myanmar (then Burma). Finally, dear fellows, you now know how NOT to run a Thai-Myanmar border visas. I' m NOT IN ANY WAY that suggests that you ever try to exceed this limit (or any other limit) against it.