If you simply want to cross a border to reenter Thailand on a reentry visa or to obtain a month on entry then Burma is another option.
For this you need to go to the southern bus Terminal (Sai Dai Mai). Buses leave at eight and nine in the evening and cost around $8.75. They will arrive in Ranong town on Thailand's West Side at five or six in the morning. From Ranong you need to take a $.75 baht motor bike to Thai Immigration, stamp out of Thailand and then walk to the port. Plenty of people will point you in the right direction and it's not far. A boat will then take you to Burmese immigration for about $.75 where you can stamp in and out of Burma . This costs $5.00. Then remember to go back to Thai immigration before taking the next air con bus back to Bangkok. They go every hour or so.
For many people living in Chiangmai a 'Visa run' is a necessary part of their lives. Here is the simplest way to obtain that all important stamp.
If you are working in Thailand for a large Company then Visa runs are something others talk about. If however you have a non immigrant 'B' or 'O' Visa which have to be obtained outside the country, then every ninety days you are required to leave the country by crossing a physical border either by walking, driving, sailing or by air. Then you can simply turn straight around and walk, drive, sail or fly back into Thailand. Upon entering Thailand you will be granted another 90 day stay stamp. If you do not hold a Non Immigrant Visa then you are only permitted to stay for the standard 30 days issued to citizens of many countries and will have to repeat the above more frequently.
This article deals only with one way, the simplest way of obtaining the stamp. From Chiangmai the nearest physical border is also Thailand's most Northerly point, Mae Sai. Here Burma, Union of Myanmar, is separated from Thailand by the river Sai and are joined by a bridge.
Mae Sai is some 225 kilometres north of Chiangmai and can be visited and the stamp obtained easily in a day. If you have you own transport then it is a fairly straightforward drive over the mountain to Chiang Rai and on to Mae Sai. That is the straightest way. You can go via Fang travelling along route 107 and 1089 if you want to make for some different scenery.
Relying on public transport you need to take a bus from Chiangmai's Arcade Station, out near the Superhighway, either to Mae Sai direct or change in Chiang Rai. Again the easiest way is to catch the Mae Sai bound bus at 7.45am. The ticket for the air con bus is 171B and 124b for children. Tickets are available three days in advance and it is not advisable to turn up two minutes before the bus leaves in case all the seats are full. The journey takes approximately three hours to Chiang Rai plus another hour from Chiang Rai to Mae Sai. Allowing for a stop of two, depending it seems on the driver, you will arrive at Mae Sai Bus Station at around 12.30pm.
The station is four kilometres from the border and you will need to take a 5B songtaew to the Immigration Office. The immigration office used to be about 2.5 kilometres from the station, but now everything is handled in an office at the border itself.
After being stamped out, Simply walk across into Tachilek, the town on the other side, and head to the clearly marked Immigration Office. Hand over your passport plus 500Bt per person, children are free, and you will be given a receipt. If you want to pay using dollars ($10) make sure you pay in small notes, if you pay with a large note you will most likely get the change in $1 notes which will get a worse exchange rate.
Hold onto your receipt and a take a walk around the market for half an hour. Most of what you can buy here is available in Mae Sai and the prices are the same. If you are a smoker cigarettes can be purchased subject to Thailand's import laws for 200B per carton. You can negotiate this down to 150B easily. Many drivers will offer to show you the sights for about 50B.
When you are finished go back to the Office and swap your receipt for your passport, which will have been stamped to say you are in Tachilek for the day. Simply walk back over the bridge and go to the Thai Immigration off immediately on the left. Here Customs Officials will stamp you passport allowing you to enter Thailand and remain here, for the prescribed number of days depending on your Visa. Although not always enforced, you are required to have 20,000 baht with you, and be able to show it to the immigration officer upon request
All of the above is 100% non negotiable and is standard practice at any of Thailand's borders. One noteworthy point if you do not hold a Non Immigrant Visa is that, according to a friend's experience, you cannot keep re-entering Thailand continuously on 30 day stamps. She was not to come back there after the seventh one.
The direct bus to Chaingmai leaves Mae Sai station at 3.30 and will have you back in Chiangmai at around 8pm depending on stops.
Some advice for bus travellers: Buy your return ticket on arrival as that way you can choose a seat that you prefer. Buy the ticket to Mae Sai in advance for the same reason plus it ensures you travel on the day at the time chosen. Take care in Mae Sai if you eat at the restaurants overlooking the river. Cases of overcharging Westerners are not uncommon according to the Police that dealt with one groups adventure.
The daughter is fluent in Thai as well so that appears not to be a safeguard. The rules regarding Visas are non negotiable. If you think you may have a problem speak to Immigration near the Airport in Chiangmai before it occurs. Drinks and cold towels may be provided on the bus, and they may not. The bus will stop in Chiangrai for sure, it may stop elsewhere, it may not. Take some water with you and a snack and if travelling with children a sick bag is a good idea too. The road is very bumpy at present on the mountain just outside Doi Saket and the road is pretty windy all the way so motion sickness is not uncommon. All the buses have hosts whom you should request to stop the bus if necessary.
There are other buses you can use but these timings offer the simplest most direct method of travelling to Mae Sai, obtaining your stamp, having lunch and returning in a day.
Visa trip to Rangoon
The Thai Embassy in Rangoon is known to be very generous to issue Multiple entry visas if you have the proper paper work.
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