Northern Exposure: Chiang Rai daytrip to Tachiliek, Myanmar

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.

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the delightful Thai bus interior
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the awaiting songthaews
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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.

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Thai border control
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Myanmar this way
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the border
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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.

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Tachileik centre

First stop of course, was coffee and wifi.

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The Circle – first coffee in Myanmar

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

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chicken –  I think

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

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

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


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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.

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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.