There’s a lot of expensive daytrip options around Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle.  We decided to do the cheap option of a day in Tachileik, across the border in Myanmar.
Many travel sites have stated this is quite a difficult trip to do independently – we found it the easiest thing to do.  By bus, songthaew and on foot.

There is a regular bus from Chiang Rai station to the Mae Sai border town for about 40 Baht.  Then there’s a songthaew – regular service for 50 each Baht from the bus station into the town centre and the border crossing.

the delightful Thai bus interior
the awaiting songthaews
the realisation she’s going to be on an oul’ Irish guy’s blog

Once in the town centre – you walk.  Through the Thai exit and into the Myanmar immigration area.

Thai border control
Myanmar this way
the border
Fáilte go Myanmar – no soft border

There’s naturally no photography in the border control buildings.  Which was a pity as on the Mynamar side the immigration officer was a pleasant chap who had the Backstreet Boys playing on a CD.  He asked if we were here for a day’s shopping (yes), took the passports, gave us the visa (for Tachleik only) and a receipt to get the passports back.
And then we were in Myanmar.  The crossing took about 10-15 minutes. There is a multitude of guys offering tours, guiding, hawking all sorts of services on the walk to the main centre from the border but there was no hassle.

Tachileik centre

First stop of course, was coffee and wifi.

The Circle – first coffee in Myanmar

Then it was off to the market for food, football shirts and photos

chicken –  I think


quality head balancing
cooking eggs – could be an Ulster Fry
genuine Bose speakers for a tenner
I did buy a lot here…

Elsewhere in Tachileik life goes on apart from all the day tourists from Thailand.

pub.  The beer is called ‘Myanmar’
Teenagers and an SUV.  could be anywhere
differing gender approaches to mopeds

tachileik5 tachileik6

As the afternoon got late, it started to rain – heavily so we headed back to the border, picked up the passports and spent a bit of time in Mae Sai before getting the Chiang Rai bus.


If you’re in Chiang Rai, the daytrip to Tachileik is an easy thing to do without a tour.  The border crossing was quick and easy, it was $10 for the visa and the little taste of Mynamar adds something different to the holiday.  It’s a bit quieter and more reserved than in Thailand, the markets are great fun and everyone we met were friendly with no-one objecting to photography.  I did buy a lot of stuff which may have helped.