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Myanmar (Kawthaung) Thailand (Phuket) Visa Run

 

The trip takes a day and costs all together about Baht 1300,-

when done on your own, including the $ 10,- visa fee at the Myanmar immigration. The reward is a visit to a rotten waterfront city where it seems that time stopped about hundred years ago, the only shiny subjects are the golden glinting pagodas in the town and on the islands around.

There is no much choice when the Thai visa expired, its either Myanmar or Malaysia to go and the visa run is not the only business, local Thais and Myanmars travel daily over the river in various vessels and longtail boats doing their business.

The Thai immigration office is right at the Saphan Phlar Jetty, that’s where the boats are leaving, never forget to sign out there, if you arrive at the other side without the exit stamp from Ranong they send you back.

Choices when starting in Phuket are to take a package from a travel agent, they

use Minibuses and charge Baht 1500,- which includes the ferry but not the $10,- visa fee on the Burmese side, there is no need to stay overnight it won’t matter from where in southern Thailand you start. When taking the package tour the travel agent will take care about everything and this is probably the best deal you can get.

The alternative is either to take a normal big bus from Phuket to Ranong which is around Baht 300,-, travel time about 5 Hours one way as indicated below. At the bus stop in Ranong walk down to the second main road and take one of the pick up’s which end up right at the pier. Go through Thai immigration and look for a shuttle, there are many, prices range between Bath 100,- and 300,- for round trip. There are some hotels at the waterfront if you want to spend a night there.

Now we start the famous trip at Phuket's bus terminal number 2, it will take around 5 hours for the 300km journey.

  Phuket bus terminal
Phuket bus terminal or station
Over the Sarazin Bridge
Over the Sarazin Bridge
thai fisheries
Thai fisheries or worms learn swimming
Sarazin Bridge Beach
Sarazin Bridge Beach
Khao Lak
Khao Lak south end

Khao Lak Beach
takuapa
At Takuapa, Phang Nga, the district where Khao Lak is attached to
river near takuapa
Buddhist monastery
Buddhist monastery
Buddhist monk ordination
Buddhist monk ordination

It works like that, the boat with a "farang"

leaves the Ranong harbor for Kawthaung,

  Ranong Harbor Visa Run
Ranong Harbor Visa Run
Ranong
Ranong Beach Resort
Ranong Beach Resort


View Larger Map
 

in the boat also Myanmar's come in. Now on the first leg trip another longtailboat comes close, some Myanmar's change the boat. The original boat moves to the Thai Immigration checkpoint further up, now after the long tail boat is in a suitable distance suddenly the Myanmar's who changed boats before come in again from the other boat.

   
  Kawthaung Myanmar
Kawthaung Myanmar, or Burma the area is a very wet one
Kawthaung City Waterfront
 
Visiting the Pagoda Island
Visiting the Pagoda Island cum monastery
Visa Run Thai Sea Border
Visa Run Thai Sea Border Marker
 
Visiting the pagoda no visa is necessary,

no money changed hands and everyone is happy, that's the business between the islands and it is known that the area Ranong, Kawthaung and up to Myeik is one of the real last smuggling centers in south east Asia, ideal for a Thailand visa run.

 

Kawthaung Hotel
Kawthaung Honey Bear Hotel
is the premier in the city a other one is the casino hotel on the island about a km off the city. Hotel prices at the honey bear hotel are around $ 30,- / can change, they only take dollars no kyats.

Kawthaung City
The city is a melting point of different cultures since hundred of years there are many Indian people whose families came during colonial times.

 

 
  Kawthaung City

Depending on the part of the country "farang" are either considered as a "lame turtle" which should be milked (Krabi Region expression) or as a ATM machine on two legs who whenever a local press the button issues money.

Now all this has changed, southern Thailand was taken over by Russians, no Germans, English, Australians, US etc. anymore, Phuket is in Russian hands. This people don't care about all the negative stuff which erupted in resent years because relative to their own country this is still paradise.

The problem has moved to the local shop owners because the Russians don't buy anything except vodka and some potatoes and bread they use to make some food at the place they life.

Now we keep on moving towards the immigration checkpoint on a small Island just before Kawthaung. The boat let them out on on the one side of the temple island, after we went to immigration and on to the other side of the temple island. They are already waiting for us pretending they been visiting the temple which is already at Burmese territory. Our longtail boat collects them and we speed to the city.

 
Kawthaung Market
Kawthaung Market in the city center and close to the waterfront
 
To finish the visa run,

we went off at the stones opposite the Honey Bear Hotel and close to the waterfront and market, changed some Baht into dollars in front of the hotel, went to the immigration office, paid $10 and went back to Ranong, we had to tell a couple of guys who wanted to lure us to some "duty free" shop to get lost. Some other told us about the pretty ladies waiting for us and some others jumped into our boat before leaving since that reduces their fare since we already paid, foreigners are magic.

 
Andaman Sea south Myanmar a place for gambling and scuba diving
 

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