Upon arriving in Mae Sai, Thailand, we hit the literal end-of-the-road. Here is where Thailand ends and across a little river is Myanmar (formerly Burma).
After parking, finding a bathroom (not the easiest feat) and wandering a few blocks, we were at the border crossing.
First up is leaving Thailand. You go on the left side of the road, get stamped out by Thailand immigration, and off you go across the bridge to Myanmar.
Once you get to Myanmar, you cross to the right side, and enter a little room to get your visa and entry stamp into Myanmar. We wanted to actually enter Myanmar and shop in the little market there, so we got our stamps, had our picture taken, paid a fee, and off we went into Myanmar. For the day shopping trip, you leave your passports with the Myanmar officials. Feels weird, but it’s ok – they just walk them to the other side and you pick them up on your way out.
Myanmar was more rustic that I expected. As a whole country, I knew it was less developed than most of Thailand, but I figured the border would be very similar as lots of Thais hop over every day to shop. I also expected the market to be bigger and more obvious but it really wasn’t. We only spent about 1 hour there and only bought Mara a little ring.
Beware – they drive on the right side, so if you’re used to left-hand traffic in Thailand, this is different.
After we were done, it was back to the Myanmar border to get our passports, get our exit stamp and walk back over to Thailand.
Once back on the Thailand side, we filled out the necessary paperwork, got our pictures taken again, and got stamped back into Thailand. Woohoo, we’re legal for another 60 days!
From the border, it was a quest for some lunch, seeing a random elephant walking down the street, then back to our car and off for the Golden Triangle!