Thailand/Laos 2008 travel blog

Our next stop of the day after lunch was at Mae Sai - the border crossing into Myanmar and the place where Callum and I were going to have to cross the border to renew our visa. This was a smooth and pain free situation. Our tour guide took us and two others who needed to do the same to the passport control where we were stamped out of Thailand. We walked over the bridge and took in a surprising site - the river running through the streets of Myanmar! Beneath the bridge obviously due to the season, water was running through at such a speed, covering some shops and cafe places.

We took the time to take a couple of brief pictures before going to the passport control for Myanmar. The people here were very gruff and abrupt, we passed into a building where the door was a curtain and gave our passports to some men sitting at a desk, who put what looked like a big leaflet inside, we then had to go 2 feet away and sit at a desk whilst they processed our forms. This was done then we had to go back to the first man who finished off the process, stamping our passports with a one day visa for Myanmar. On looking at the river gushing through the street and after talking to others and discovering how expensive it was the other side of the border - we decided to go back through the gate to Thailand. All of this happened in only 20 minutes - a very easy border crossing!

We then left here after wandering around for 10 minutes and our guide then took us to see the Akha Hill Tribe people who were only a short distance away. I cant remember where he said they came from but they had been there for around 100 yrs and had moved due to the new laws surrounding opium farming as this was their main source of income. They previously moved around a lot more as they had to keep burning the fields that they were growing it in. We saw some children do a little performance and got to go inside a traditional Akha house. These are fast disappearing as due to the laws against opium farming, the Thai government are helping these people to rebuild their lives, offering education to their children and help with housing - all very interesting :)

We then unfortunately had to spend 3.5 hours getting home :( but I think the day was worth it. It also provided a bonus in that it let us do a visa run without the run :)

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