Thursday, September 16, 2010

Victoria Point, Myanmar

We stepped on Myanmar unfortunately just for a visa run. It was a border cross, or river cross, from the province of Ranong (Thailand) to Kawthaung (Myanmar) also known as Victoria Point.

The visa run package that we arranged in Ranong was 400 THB each. The rate isn't that bad since it includes hotel pick up/drop off, a big boat (a covered longtail boat ideal for rainy season), and a representative to guide us with the procedure. However, we needed to pay also for visa in Myanmar worth $10. This visa will only allow you to walk around town for fifteen to twenty minutes, no more.

Welcome sign at the small port.

We were relieved that the weather permitted us to do the crossing. Our visas were only good until that day. The night before, it was raining so hard and the travel agent said they'll confirm in the morning if the borders would be open. The Pak Chan River can be really rough under such condition.

When we docked Kawthaung, we were greeted by a mob of Burmese guys. They chatted with us, asked where we come from and whether it was our first time there or not. They also tried to rip us off by saying that just the day before, a man died because of a landslide and they're asking for donation to give to his family.

Of course we didn't buy it, but gave them 10 THB for 'donation' and also another 10 THB to a guy who gave me a 10 kyat bill (Myanmar currency) as souvenir.

Prior the border crossing, we anticipated that something like this was bound to happen. We've read it from so many blogs by backpackers who didn't have any choice but to do the visa run in Kawthaung because of its proximity. If you don't buy anything from the Burmese guys (they sell really cheap alcohol and cigarettes compared to Thailand), they will think of other ways in order to get money from you.

A Burmese in traditional longyi.

By the way, another bit of advice, change your baht to a brand spanking new ten dollar bill. The Myanmar immigration will not accept old dollar bills and will ask you to pay 500 THB instead. That being said, you're better off renewing your visa somewhere else.

[This blog is part of the South East Asia in Six Weeks series which took place May-June 2009. Price of goods, transportation and so forth may already be different.]


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Kate said...
October 16, 2010 at 10:19 AM

what is a visa run :) sayang naman na 15 mins lang

☮Pinay Travel Junkie☮ said...
October 16, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Visa run is when you cross the border to another country so your passport gets stamped and your visa's renewed, tapos balik ka rin within a few minutes or anytime within that day. Yup, sayang 15 minutes lang :( Next time ulit. Hihi.

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