My Personal Blog

Visa Run To Myanmar

By on October 3, 2012 in Travel & Expat Living

The visa run to Myanmar was one of the shortest visits i have ever made to another country.  We met the organiser at 8pm at a petrol station near the wharf.

The fist thing we were told was we needed was to get a photocopy of the main page of your passport.  The copy we got for 5 baht each was hardly ledgable but obviously acceptable or the intend purpose. We were then told that in order to get your passport stamped in Myanmar you need insert a $10 USD note in your passport. We were not told ahead of time about the $10 USD requirement so we were forced to buy our $10 USD note for the bargain price of 500 baht.  It should have cost about 306 baht based on the actual exchange rate but if you don’t have $10 USD then you are at the mercy of the the organiser we were dealing with. I handed over 1000 baht and received two crisp new $10 USD notes.

Then on to one of the boats waiting. The scene is chaotic and more like dodgem cars.  Boats going in every direction banging into other boats.  Eventually we left with one other passengers.  A women from Laos that also had a crisp new $10 note in her passport.

Our boat ride to Myanmar was 300 each return and took about 20 minutes each way.  When we arrived in Myanmar we just got off the boat in what appeared to be a small town.  There was no boarder control.  We just followed a small boy that had been on the boat to the official immigration office. We waited in line.   We were asked if we wanted to stay or would be going back directly. We said directly so we received the entry and exit stamps at the same time.

If you measure the time spent in a country according to the time between your entry and exist stamps then our stay in Myanmar can be measured in seconds.   In reality we spent about 40 minutes in Myanmar.  I really wanted a cup of tea and my friend a cup of coffee.   We were able to order these and pay in Thai baht as we did not have any local currency.

What i received did not look or even taste like any tea i have ever seen before.  It was a yellow colour that looked more like carrot juice.  The flavour was not really like tea either and was way too sweet.   I had a few sips and tipped the remainder overboard on the trip back.  Just after 9am we were back in Thailand.

The annoying part of the whole exercise is that we expected to get a 30 day visa but only got 15 days.  Now we either need to repeat the whole exercise in another 15 days or make other plans. Only a few months ago Thailand introduced new restrictions on the visa’s issued for “overland” visa runs like Cambodia which had been one of the main destinations for visa runs.  We were mislead that because it was a boat ride we would be 30 days.

According to people we have spoken to a flight to Singapore or KL will give you a 30 day visa.   A trip to Laos will also give you a 30 day visa.  We have also been told that an overnight stay in Malaysia can result in a 60 day visa.  We either need to do some research or just exist Thailand earlier than planned.

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