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