Southeast Asia attracts everyone with its incredible cultural heritage, spectacular scenery, stunning nature and a special, unique culture that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. But gradually, countries like Thailand are turning into a Western-oriented, all-out resort, losing their unique flavor.
- Ways to get from Thailand to Burma
- By air
- On the ground
- On the boat
- Visa to Burma
- Moving around the country
- A few tips for the tourist
And if you want to experience the authentic atmosphere, to see the real, measured life of the people, where every resident has not had time to turn into an "actor", skillfully luring money from foreigners, there is no better place than Myanmar, better known to residents of the post-Soviet space, as Burma.
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar, called the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma until 1988, or Burma for short, was for a long time ruled by a military "State Council" and closed to tourists. In the mid-2000s dramatic changes began, with the 2008 reform resulting in a new constitution proclaiming a "disciplined, prosperous democracy." The country became open to foreign tourists.
Initially, it was only possible to enter Burma by air, through the main air gateway, Rangoon Airport. Since 2013, there have been full-fledged overland customs checkpoints at the borders with Thailand, China, and India.
With the arrival of the first tourists began to build tourist infrastructure: there are hotels, cafes, ATMs and supermarkets, developing small services and transportation.
Despite this, Burma is still colorful, with friendly, very open people. But things can change, and if you want to experience the atmosphere and traditions that have existed for centuries, hurry to visit this wonderful place, a real "lost world" before civilization has time to denigrate it.
Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and other post-Soviet countries. Nor can you get there by connecting with one of the major hubs in Qatar, Dubai, Frankfurt or Istanbul. The fastest and most inexpensive way to get to Burma from Thailand.
How to get from Thailand to Burma
Myanmar has become a tidbit for air carriers, so the number of flights is increasing annually by 20-25%. The most convenient way to get to Myanmar by plane is from Bangkok (e.g., Suvarnabhumi Airport) to the largest city and the former capital of Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon) - there are 6-7 flights daily.
You can buy tickets on the spot, or through one of the reservation services, such as airmail.
The average price is about 50-60$, but you can get tickets on sale for 25$, and sometimes even cheaper than 20 usd. Tickets to Mandalay are slightly more expensive, and there are only one, sometimes two flights per day. Planes go to the current capital, Neilido, once or twice a week.
Please note! There are also daily flights to Myanmar from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, but tickets cost about $100. Tickets from China cost several hundred usd.
On the ground
If you decide to travel to Burma by land, there is no better starting point than Thailand. There are now four border points:
- Mae Sai - Tachileik
The northernmost border crossing in Thailand is Chiang Rai province. You can get there by private car or by bus, if you are not embarrassed by the 12-hour trip. Ticket from Bangkok from 600 baht (prices subject to change). From Chiang Mai, bus ticket for about 200 baht, travel time: five to six hours.
Please note! Due to the tense situation in the northern provinces of Myanmar, it is probably not possible to get in from this point by land, only by plane from Kyaingtong, but the tickets are not cheap. The only way back is via the same point. However, the situation is constantly changing, so it's better to double-check everything beforehand.
- Mae Sot - Myawaddy
The busiest crossing point, located in Tak province on the Thai side. Most convenient to get to from Bangkok (about 8 hours by bus) or Chiang Mai (about 6 hours). Ticket price: from 300 baht. There are small regular buses from Tak to the border. It takes an hour and a half and costs about 80 baht per seat.
Please note! The border is only open from 6:00 to 18:00. If you don't make it in time, you will have to spend the night in the town of Masot. From the central part of town, where the market is located, to the border crossing point there is a regular sunteo, the fare is 25 baht. Sometimes you have to wait a long time for the dispatch - dispatch as the transport fills up.
After passing through border control on the Thai side, you have to walk across a 300-meter bridge, in the middle of which the traffic changes from left-way to right-way.
On the "other" side there are very friendly Burmese border guards and a relatively comfortable room where the documents are processed.
Pay attention toe! A visa must be obtained in advance.
Just outside the checkpoint you will find many drivers who make regular trips to different parts of the country. The fare to Yangon is about $9, with a travel time of up to 12 hours.
- Phu Nam Ron - Htee Khee
The closest border crossing to Bangkok. It takes 2 hours to get from the state capital to the capital of Kachanaburi province of the same name, where the checkpoint is located (ticket costs about 100 baht). After that you change to Phu Nam Ron by shuttle bus. It is another 2 hours and 70 baht.
This point is used mainly by travelers on individual transport, as between the border points of Thailand and Burma, the distance of 6 kilometers will have to travel on their own.
On the boat
Ranong - Kawthoung is the southernmost border point between Thailand and Myanmar. The two border towns are separated by a wide firth, so the border must be crossed by water. Since Kawthoung is the southernmost mainland of Myanmar, getting from here to the interior of the country is too long and not convenient. But if you decide to diversify the rest of Thailand and in your personal track record mark another country - this is a great option.
The most convenient way to get to the border point is from Phuket and neighboring resorts on the Adaman Sea coast. From the "paradise" resort island buses to and from Ranong depart every 40-50 minutes with several two-hour breaks, starting at 5.30 am. The ticket price is about 300 baht. Travel time is five hours.
From the bus station in Ranong, take a songhteo to the boat dock (15-20 baht). Here are waiting for dozens of boatmen ready to take you across the strait, and at the same time the border for 100 baht.
The border crossing is on a small island, the boatmen here are "their own" and will arrange the documents without your participation.
Visa to Burma
The Burmese government is trying to attract more tourists, so getting a visa in the past few years has become easier.
Permits for Russians to stay in the country can be obtained in one of several ways:
- at the Moscow Consulate;
- at the consulate of Burma in Thailand - there are many agencies that will do everything for you for a fee;
- electronic visa - is made on the website of the Ministry of Immigration, you only need to show the documents at the border crossing point, where you will get a stamp in your passport.
Visa processing time at the consulate - up to 7 days, the price - 20$. The cost of electronic visa is 50$.
Moving around the country
Transport in Myanmar is well developed, with buses regularly running between towns and cities, which are the most convenient and inexpensive means of transportation. There are also domestic air services.
The rail network is not bad, but the infrastructure itself has not been repaired for a long time.
The trains are often late, their condition at the level of the time of the British colonization.
If you travel by private vehicle, be careful! Often the roads (especially if you are off the tourist routes) bump into a narrow bridge that also has railroad tracks - you need to get there before the train arrives.
A few tips for the tourist
- The time zone is +6.5 from Greenwich Mean Time. After crossing the Thai border, set your clocks back half an hour;
- In some provinces of Myanmar there are anti-terrorist operations against insurgents and travel for foreigners is prohibited;
- The official currency is the kyat (locally called "chat"), but almost everywhere accept the American and Singaporean dollar, in border towns with Thailand they accept baht;
- The mobile network is well developed, there is 3G, in most hotels for tourists and cafes there is free Wi-Fi;
- You can book a hotel using Airbnb.ru, as well as international booking services, such as bucking.com;
- Cards are only accepted in large hotels and large chain supermarkets, it is better to have cash.