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Mae Sai/Tachilek Border Info

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I had the same prompt service on Monday last. The officer was a little grumpy, probably as it was nearly lunch time, and he'd just been very busy.

I must say I think the 1900 baht for any extention is a bit steep. It is the same if one extends for 7, 28 days or much longer. It used to be 500 baht and was hiked up to 1900 in one step. Tough on us poor teachers living on baht! Part time was paid 300/hour 8 years ago and still 300, prices have doubled in that time, immigration charges quadrupled!

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It's the first time it's ever happened to me. It's pure idleness that I'm not overseas getting a real visa, but the 1900B actually runs me through for another 4 months because I can do three visa runs when my visa extension expires.

I realise that it's a dodgy way of doing it, but if it's legal why not?

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All the DVD shops were open, and the X-Ray machine was doing a roaring trade. All in all, much the same as it has always been...MM

I crossed over at the checkpoint 3 weeks ago, 70 DVD's in hand.

I am tempted to bring a few bottles of booze back next time as the x-ray

process seemed to be voluntary. most people, including me went straight past.

I saw the signs saying 1 open bottle allowed only, are they serious?

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No, they just have a sign saying that as a joke.

I went there two days ago and just wanted to write a few lines about it.

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They've never checked Farangs or X-Rayed their bags once in all the times I've gone through there.

I've been seriously and obviously heavily laden with booze on a couple of occasions and they've just ignored me.

Having said that, there's always a first time for everything, like when they wanted to see everyone's money a while back.

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the tiny imm office on the Tachilek side has an unfriendly guard in there. In a gruff voice he told me my $10 wouldn't suffice for visa fee, and insisted I could only pay Bt.500. I placed the $10 bill on the table and told him he's required to take it. He hesitated for a few moments, then grumblingly took it. A couple other minor glitches took place. He's probably came to Tachilek by way of being 'reassigned to an inactive post' sort of program for being naughty somewhere else - similar to Thailand's busy program of assigning scores of authorities to inactive posts every week.

As for the saga of the $20 ...... I took the original amount of Burmese khat (20,200) back to the same bank to see whether they'd change it back to dollars for me - and to see how much I'd get. I was interested to find the exchange rate back to dollarwas roughly the same as a month earlier: $17 and change.

I like the simple and cheap peanut flavored pastries available at tea shops. I've never seen a similar type of pastry in Thailand. Oh well, yet another reason for me to swing over to Tachilek once in awhile.

After reading this thread at the weekend I scurried around to get $30 for some freinds and I who went to the border on Tuesday.

Put the money on the table.....Immigration ignaramous just shook his head. I pointed to the sign...still shook his head...would not speak ...just looked at the money shaking his head....so that was a waste of time, had to give him 1,500 B...then he nodded, slowly and miserably :o

I really did not think it was worth really pissing him off for 150 Baht each, I suppose another day another Official and $10 is fine :D

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am writing this from Kiang Dung, which is a town north of Tachilek, halfway to the Chinese border. It's also in the middle of Shan State, Burma's largest state - which lies NE of part of Burma.

If you plan to visit here, via crossing over from Mae Sai, tell the Tachilek authorities at the tiny office before they make your temporary 2 week visa. It needs to be stamped with the initials of the towns for traveling further north. If you space out telling them, then they won't change it later - not surprisingly, the authorities are unyielding. You'll also need 3 passport photos and a photocopy of your passport's main page. The cost is still either a pristene $10 or a dogeared Bt.500.

You can take a bus or a wite Toyota taxi to Kieng Dung. Taxi costs about double, but is a bit quicker and more comfortable. Bus takes 5 hours, though they'll tell you 4 at the station. The station is about 3 miles up to the right from the bridge. Same for the taxi take-off point.

I recommend HARRY'S guest house in Kieng Dung. It's run by a friendly and able gaggle of hill-tribers. Rooms start at BT.250 - breakfast included. They also do treks and motorcycle treks. There are hill tribes and hot springs nearby. The couple of dismal houses of ill-repute I found were unfriendly to farang, so I struck out there. You can rent a motorbike (but don't tell Burmese authorities, as it's a no-no) - plus there are internal border stops around most of the roads leading in and out of the town, but they're quite casual, and I simply rode through each one I came to - with a wave and a smile.

Money used: Thai baht and Burmese kyat (they pronounce it jyet: 1,100 to 1,200 to the dollar) and US dollars.

If you go, let us know what you find.

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An excellent and informative post brahmburgers, I've been looking for this type of information for years.

What was the taxi fare?

When you say It needs to be stamped with the initials of the towns for traveling further north does that mean the names of all the towns you will be passing through on the way to Kiang Dung/Keng Tung?

Or only your final destination? What if you wanted to go on to Tuanggyi?

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An excellent and informative post brahmburgers, I've been looking for this type of information for years.

What was the taxi fare?

When you say It needs to be stamped with the initials of the towns for traveling further north does that mean the names of all the towns you will be passing through on the way to Kiang Dung/Keng Tung?

Or only your final destination? What if you wanted to go on to Tuanggyi?

The taxi fare to return to Tachilek is 600 to 700 baht. The rate to come here may be a bit more, but less than Bt1,000. I took the bus coming here, and it was Bt.350 (though the gov't tourist bureau office next to the border entry told me Bt.500, from them, was the cheapest. Take earplugs if you take the bus: non-stop loud videos for the 1str half, and a Chinese shoot-em-up movie for the 2nd half of the drive.

When traveling in Burma (or Laos or Cambodia) be prepared to use your smile muscles, as it never fails to get a smile in response - from all ages.

For Tachilek, you don't need any special visa stamps. For 2 Burmese mojor towns north of Tachilek, in Shan State, you can get the stamp for the northernmost one (I think it's Mengla, on the Chinese border) - and that will suffice for both.

I heard that Mengla uses Chinese money, not baht nor US dollars.

For Taungyii, you need to get a proper visa from Myanmar embassy in Bkk or equivelent. Can't get it from Tachilek. Indeed, there used to be flights available for farang from Tachilek to other parts of Burma, but recently they stopped them for farang. - or maybe they stopped flights altogether because of fuel costs. so, to get to Taunggyii, you might do well to take a flight from Chiang Mai to Mandalay, and go from there.

Also, at Chien Dung, you need to make a quick stop at their little immigration office - upon arrival. You leave your cardboard Burmese 'passport' with them - and they give you a piece of paper with some scribbles. It's a brand new protocol - yet another way the paranoid Burmese gov't tries to further restrict things. When you leave town, you go back to the office and get your little piece of cardboard, a.k.a. passport.

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A straight forward Tachilek run today. The Mrs insisted on driving so I sat back and enjoyed the scenery.

The media that shall not be mentioned is down to 35B.

First time I've been on a weekend that I can recall. Many, many Thais and very few Farangs.

The world's smallest monk is being lead around begging by his mother. :o

Edited by sceadugenga

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Another painless run to the border, heavy traffic going... being a Saturday I suppose, but was through immigration and back out very quickly.

They have funny little round camera thingies on the counter now which appear to have been set up by someone around one meter tall. I had to practically get on my knees before my handsome features appeared on the screen.

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Another border crossing. I like Tachilek, but on both sides of the border, the restaurants still use copious amounts of MSG. I tell the waiter(s) 'mai ow pom churot' (I don't want MSG) - and they appear to understand - but I still get zapped. I know, because the symptoms (head-aches, etc) are evident soon after eating.

I'm planning to pack a lunch from now on. A loaf of real bread (bought in C.Rai, because no where else closer than C.Mai knows how to bake bread) - and some fresh ingredients to make a sandwich.

P.s. if any folks from the border towns come to visit me at my pad in C.Rai, I promise to not poison their meals.

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Another border crossing. I like Tachilek, but on both sides of the border, the restaurants still use copious amounts of MSG. I tell the waiter(s) 'mai ow pom churot' (I don't want MSG) - and they appear to understand - but I still get zapped. I know, because the symptoms (head-aches, etc) are evident soon after eating.

I'm planning to pack a lunch from now on. A loaf of real bread (bought in C.Rai, because no where else closer than C.Mai knows how to bake bread) - and some fresh ingredients to make a sandwich.

P.s. if any folks from the border towns come to visit me at my pad in C.Rai, I promise to not poison their meals.

Where's the best place to buy good bread in CR?

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You can get it out at Don's Cafe at Doi Hang if you order it the day before, or the Tourist Inn Guest House at Jed Yod Road bakes every day. It comes out of the oven about 11am.

Bread is very much a personal taste and the products I mention tend to be of a heavier nature. (German style?)

There's a place opposite the bus station that is a bakery/cafe that does a reasonable loaf but it tends to be a little sweet for me.

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