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We're planning a trip from Myanmar to Chiang Mai in Thailand. The current idea is to fly from Heho to Tachilek, then cross the border to Mae Sai and take a bus (preferably on the same day) from there.

My questions:

  • Does anyone have recent experience with this border crossing?
  • Is it possible to cross here and continue our journey to Laos (i.e. can we exit Thailand at a different border crossing)?
  • What are the visa regulations? I'm on an Austrian passport and according to my country's official information I don't need a visa for Thailand for stays up to 15 days (30 days, if entering by air), which would be enough for the trip, we've planned.
  • How much time should we plan for the border crossing? Is it reasonable to do the whole trip from Heho in a single day?
  • Is this border crossing open all year around?
  • Are there any security concerns in the area?
  • Are there alternative options to get from Lake Inle to Chiang Mai?

The best information, we found so far, is from this blog post about a Thai border run. It sounds like the crossing should be rather straightforward from Myanmar to Thailand - as opposed to the other direction.

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The most reliable and up to date information on Myanmar borders is Go-Myanmar website. It states:

Foreigners can cross the border at Mae Sai (Thailand, Chiang Rai Province) / Tachileik (Myanmar, Shan State) and travel as far as Kyaing Tong in Myanmar; to travel over land further than this you will need a permit

Of course, it's refering to the Thailand->Myanmar border crossing. If you fly directly to Tachileik, then you just have to enter to Thailand.

Last month I crossed the Myanmar-Thailand border at Mae Sot without problems: no cash proof, no onward travel proof or something similar. But as Tom writes, it's possible you need to show it. In our case (that could be different) the border crossing was less than 1 hour (exit visa from Myanmar + entry visa to Thailand).

You'll get 15-day VISA and you can freely move from Mae Sai to the Laos border and cross it.

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The border crossing can be easy, but can you document your departure from Thailand? ie do you have a flight out of Thailand or are you planning another overland crossing? Thailand requires POOT (Prove of Onward Travel) to enter under the visa exemption rule. And airfare is the only acceptable proof. If you are planning to overland, then be prepared to show something that proves your intended exit (hotel bookings in the next country), also be prepared to possibly show cash (10,000 baht per person). You may not need to, but best to be prepared as I have personally witnessed folks having to show the cash

Alternatives to getting from that area include direct air flights from Mandalay to Chiang Mai, so Heho to Mandalay to CM.

Yes you can exit through any border crossing, entry and exit ports have no bearing on each other.

Yes the Talichek Mai Sai border is open year round and there are no real security concerns other than the usual can happen anywhere concerns, petty theft, pickpockets, touts,

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