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tayto

Mae Sai/Tachilek Border Info

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perhaps we should have a 'good bread' forum.

Other places for decent quality bread: the 'Fashion' coffee shop, across from Siam Comm. Bank and across from the big christian church near the main traffic light.

Tourist Inn (already mentioned) has several types - their small 35 baht loaf is good, their larger 75 baht loaf is very good - probably the best in town, though the owners aren't the cheeriest couple.

Banchivitmai, the bakery facing the south side of the bus station, has good bread. Their 'honey' loaf is worth its price. I've heard some of their workers get sent to Vientiane for a short course in how to bake bread and pastries. Too bad Thailand has no tradition with bread. Even Thai pastries leave a lot to be desired, unless you just like pretty colored variations of white sugar.

Plus, in any Thai town, you can find all types of fruits for sale - but how often can you find a natural fruit drink? quite rare. Why don't some places invest in a simple manual orange squeezer (with lever) - I'm sure they could find many customers would be happy to buy fresh squeezed orange juice. ....ok, not nearly as many customers as those who guzzle fizzy sugar-laden artificially-colored pop juice, but no harm in offering healthy drinks - as opposed to the tooth decaying, fat-layering soda pop that's so prevalent. If diabetes is on the rise in Thailand, I wouldn't be surprised.

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Yes they still take dollars, which is a saving on the 500B at the moment.

I haven't personally used them for a while but still see the occasional complaint here about them being refused for being in "bad" condition.

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Yes they still take dollars, which is a saving on the 500B at the moment.

I haven't personally used them for a while but still see the occasional complaint here about them being refused for being in "bad" condition.

hi just wondering how much it costs for the 15 days visa extension?do thai nationals require a visa to enter burma at mae sai for the day?thanks.

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Went up to Mong La in early December.

Here's some random tips.

$10 at the border accepted without question.

If you want to go beyond Tachileik, don't forget to get the right permit at the tourist office next to the bridge. You'll need a copy of your passport, 3 photos and 50 Baht 'service charge'. Don't be a divvy like me and go to the bus station without your permit. You won't leave Tachileik.

Paid 600 Baht for a share taxi to Chieng Tung. Another traveller I met said he paid 500 Baht. The bus is 350 Baht apparently.

Stayed at Noi Yee. Very cheap. $5 per night. Extremely noisy owl frequents that area. Apart from the border fee and the guest house, nobody wanted US Dollars in Chieng Tung. It's Baht or Kyat. You can change money at good rates in the market. You'll need to head to the centre of the market and find the dudes with cardboard boxes full of notes. Note the rates differ between the exchangers so know the rates before you go down there. Mid-morning is best.

Amazing deforestation all the way from Tachileik to Mong La. Contrast with Thailand which has some forest protection.

Mong La is China. Chinese is spoken. Only Yuan is accepted. You should change some money to Yuan before you go in Chieng Tung market. On the way you'll have to pay 36 Yuan at a Wa checkpoint.

The Chinese border post is a proper affair on the Chinese side. The Burmese side has a couple of sleepy guys just waving you through. Foreigners cannot cross into China here without special permission. The Chinese border town is Daluo. All the motorbike taxis will shout at you, "Daluo" meaning "To the border?"

Mong La is pretty vulgar in that uniquely Chinese way. If you're familiar with mainlanders you'll know what I mean.

One strange thing here is the hotels all required a large deposit which was returned on inspection of the room at check-out. The Chinese must trash the hotels or more likely burn them as smoking is mandatory for all Chinese men, it seems.

The cost of the share taxi to Mong La from Chieng Tung is a steep 15,000 Kyat each way. Or you can stand up in the back of a lorry for 5,000 Kyat.

Back to Noi Yee in Chieng Tung. BTW, speaking Thai in Chieng Tung works well with many of the natives. Tried to hire a bike from Harry's but she would only rent to people staying there.

You should visit the pagoda north-west of Chieng Tung. You can see it up on the mountainside. It's a half hour on a bike to the Palaung village and then a 3-hour walk up.

Also visit the hot springs. It's about 5 kms along the road to Taunggyi and then turn right at the bridge. All your motorbike taxi drivers know it. It's the only place I found ABC Stout on sale. At 50 Baht a can. But worth it.

Caught the bus back to Tachileik. 350 Baht. Motorbike taxi 4 kms or so to the border 40 Baht.

Got my bags scanned coming back.

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Thank you indeed for an excellent and informative post.

I was in Mae Sai/Tachilek on Saturday and found both towns packed with holidaying/shopping Thais. Large line ups at the Thai border pass check points.

Went through fairly quickly via the normal immigration gates.

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Yes they still take dollars, which is a saving on the 500B at the moment.

I haven't personally used them for a while but still see the occasional complaint here about them being refused for being in "bad" condition.

hi just wondering how much it costs for the 15 days visa extension?do thai nationals require a visa to enter burma at mae sai for the day?thanks.

There is no charge by Thai immigration for the visa extension.

Thai nationals can receive a border pass from immigration which is accepted by the Burmese for a day trip.

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I am trying out the flight Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai return for my next visa run, and just wondered if anybody has any info on transportation options and prices from CR airport to Mae Sai border and back?

Thanks in advance. :o

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There's a Chiang Mai-Chiang Rai flight?

Is that that airline with the Cessna? I forget the name now.

There's an airport taxi service that will go anywhere you point it but I'm not sure of the cost of the Mae Sai trip/return.

Your other alternative is a trip into the town and get the bus, allow about two hours each way including the time you spend in immigration.

I think this is the Airport information service number. 0-5379-8000

Edited by sceadugenga

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Yep, it is indeed the tiny little airline, SGA, which is partially (or wholly?) owned by Nok Air.

I thought it might be fun to try it once and see how it goes.

Thank you very much for the info scead, I think I will try the airport taxi service at least one way, if the price is not far too steep that is...

Going into town to catch the bus defeats the purpose of as quick a visa run as possible to a certain degree.

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Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance M_S, I seem to recall the taxi cost as not being unreasonable to my village which is about 30km from the airport heading back towards Chiang Mai. The figure of about 500B comes to mind. (A list of prices to various destinations is prominently displayed, I haven't used the service personally).

You're on the right side of town to go to Mae Sai, with about a 10km start than if you leave from the city.

The taxi booking station is opposite the arrivals gate and to your left as you come out.

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No worries scea. Thank you for the help offered. :o

As it turns out, the airport taxi stand wanted 800 baht to go to Mae Sai. I thought that was at least 200 baht too much for me alone, so I took a taxi into town instead, at 300, and then a bus (non-air, rather hard seats) at 40 baht to the border. The waiting time between the taxi and the bus leaving the station was not more than 15 minutes.

The red songthaews from Mae Sai bus station to the border are 15 baht one way. It's fully possible to walk too for those so inclined, not sure but think it would take around 20 minutes.

At the border, entry into Tachilek is still 10 USD or 500 baht - if you plan to use dollars, make sure they are in good condition as this was the second time I saw the border officials refuse a torn bill.

Walking back into Thailand, there are now pens available at the tables where you fill out your arrival card, which is nice and probably speeds things up a bit. If Immigration could also put bundles of arrival cards on the tables in advance, instead of people having to walk up to the counter and ask for them, that would be even better.

The roasted chestnuts still taste great, and are 90 baht per kilo - a standard size cup of chestnuts is 20 baht.

From Mae Sai back to Chiang Rai, I caught yet another bus (air conditioned) at 43 baht. It left Mae Sai bus station at 2 PM. For the tuk-tuk from Chiang Rai bus station to the airport I paid 150 baht. I did not haggle so it is quite possible you could get it for even less that that.

The flight with SGA airlines was very pleasant and had there only been a slightly cheaper and more convenient transport option from CR airport to the Mae Sai border, I would recommend this to anyone from Chiang Mai doing a visa run. (transportation from CR airport to Mae Sai could be a business opportunity for somebody?)

As it is now, flying is still more pleasant than going by bus all the way from Chiang Mai, but not quite worth the extra money since you are still looking at either at least 1200 baht if you take a taxi back and forth to the border, or alternatively a relatively long time on the bus CR-Mae Sai-CR.

Finally, for those who have missed it, people from countries allowed to enter Thailand on visa exemption stamps, and who used to get 30 days on a border run, now only get 15 if the border is crossed by land. Flying out of the country and back still gives you 30 days.

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Thanks for the report M_S, the flight sounds like fun, I flew in some of those little planes in the Philippines and the view was spectacular.

Regarding the immigration cards, I always have spares and fill one out at home before leaving. There's nothing quite like the feeling of walking past a tour group of a dozen people busily filling out their cards and beating them to the window!

It even beats eating the chestnuts.

Anyway, the experienced traveler always carries his own pen. :o

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...and also an ultrasonic microphone in case of flying batmonkeys. Anyhow, I´m a little confused here about the time schedule since it seems to be the point that going to and back from mae sai should be as fast as possible. Does this include check-in times at the airport and such or just active traveling time?

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I checked the airline's schedule Gos, and it's quite possible to do a trip to Mae Sai from Chiang Mai in a day using it.

Flights

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sunday.

Arrive Chiang Rai, 08.55

Leave Chiang Rai, 17.35. (That's 5.35 in the afternoon for the non military minded).

SGA

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