Renewing Thai Tourist Visa in Myanmar (Burma): Border Trip to Ranong/Khaewthoung
by Amanda/Backpacking Tips Asia
My glimpse of Burma in 2008 lasted only for a couple of hours. My intention was to renew my Thai visa stamp. First I arranged a 'visa-tour' into Burma in Khao Lak.
I was picked up by a large VIP-bus filled with backpackers who were on their way to Burma as well. The bus was in Khao Lak at 08.00 am and we arrived in Ranong around noon. They drove us to a office in Ranong where we had to 'stamp out' of the country. My backpack was stored in the VIP-bus during the whole process.
Afterwards they took us to the pier where a long-tail boat was waiting for us.
The boat was driving in a slow pace, passing Thai security and Thai flag. A couple of minutes later I saw the Burmese flag. Suddenly we were in Khaewthoung, in BURMA! We were taken to a booth where they stamped us into Myanmar. It was quick enough. And while I was waiting for the others, I looked around.
This place reminded me of Cambodia in some way. I saw locals wrapped in skirts, in David Beckham style but far less gayish. It was evident that they were less exposed to tourism than Thai people.
Locals were already swarming the 'tourists' to sell fake cigarettes. The bus staff warned us not to buy from them since it was 'illegal'.
Then back to Thailand and get stamped in again. I was moving on to Hua Hin while the others were heading back to Khao Lak or Phuket, so I was dropped off in Ranong outside the immigration office. I took a cheap songthaew to the bus station.
It was in the middle of the day, so there were plenty of buses on sight, and incoming buses. I bought a bus ticket to Hua Hin and my journey in Thailand continued.
Since the Thai visa exemption is limited to 30 days for many nationalities, in many cases you have to renew the visa stamp to get an extended stay in Thailand. Before 2010, it was allowed to get 30 days when border crossing from a neighboring country into Thailand.
Not anymore. Now it's only 15 days.
More information on Thailand Tourist Visa
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