Connect with us


Island View: Burmese border visa run by car

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: Being relatively close to Phuket (about 350km), the Burmese border is a destination of choice for visa runs and can be done by car in a day.

When you drive yourself, you can stop and snack or stretch out whenever you want, or even spend some time at one of the many beaches along the coast as you pass through Phang Nga and Khao Lak.

Google tells us the journey each way should be under three hours, but the winding roads and the occasional slow-moving lorry can make it anything between four to six hours each way.

I once tried starting out extra early with the aim of getting back to Phuket in the early afternoon, but a 4am start meant I was trundling along dark, unlit roads in Phang Nga for the first part of the journey, and no amount of coffee could shake my body’s desire for a few more hours’ sleep.

So a 6-7am start will likely get you to the border by around midday, travelling mostly within the speed limit.

Apart from your passport – hopefully with your white TM card still stapled to one of the pages – the only thing you really need to prepare in advance is a crisp US$10 bill to hand over to Myanmar Immigration when they stamp your passport in and out.

There is a Bangkok Bank in Ranong, directly opposite the border crossing, where you can change your baht for dollars, but if you go on a weekend, you will have to pay over-the-top rates to have one of the touts exchange it for you.

It’s also good to have a pen on you to fill in the Immigration forms and TM card when leaving and entering Thailand.

Directions are straight forward. Head off Phuket into Phang Nga on route 402 until it joins Highway 4 (Phetkasem Road). Hang left and stay on that road as it hugs the coast and winds its way up and down through dramatic mountainous scenery until you get to Ranong.

Once past Ranong Airport, it’s a few more kilometers to the Ranong Immigration check point at Saphan Pla Pier, where you can park at the PTT gas station for 40 baht.

As soon as you park, a tout will offer to take you across the water to Kawthaung in Myanmar, which takes about 20 minutes. Haggle if you like, but the average price is 500 baht for a private return trip. Or you can wait and pay 50 baht to get on the next long-tail ferry packed with locals. First though, get copies of your passport at one of the shops in the gas station forecourt.

There are a few stops along the way as you leave Thai waters and then cross a patch of open sea before entering Myanmar’s waters. These are what the photocopies are for. Your boat driver will take care of it.

Once across the water, hop off the boat and walk to the Myanmar Immigration office. A few local lads will offer to escort you and help buy duty free. They are harmless and genuinely helpful, but will ask for a few baht in return for their assistance.

And if on the return journey you find your boat driver has picked up a couple of extra fares, roll with it.

— Nick Davies


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

PM Prayut asks everyone to work together towards reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Bangkok restrictions lifted on 8 categories, including swimming

Patong5 hours ago

Tar balls spreading in Phuket hit Patong Beach

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Phuket7 hours ago

Officials predict 600,000 tourists to Phuket following reopening

Phuket7 hours ago

Technician electrocuted to death while trying to fix jacuzzi

Pattaya7 hours ago

Pattaya pushes for August 1 Sealed Route reopening plan

Thailand8 hours ago

Mother alleges that Doctor mistakenly gave her 10 year old sleeping pills

Bangkok8 hours ago

1 million Sinopharm doses arrive today

Tourism9 hours ago

Full reopening guidelines for Phuket and Samui

Coronavirus (Covid-19)9 hours ago

Covid UPDATE: 3,682 new cases, 20 covid-related deaths, provincial totals

Thailand10 hours ago

Poll shows schools, students, parents, “not ready” for online learning

Chon Buri10 hours ago

Man returns lost parakeet, gets rewarded with BBQ

Thai Life11 hours ago

Thai Lion predicts football matches, other abilities currently unknown

Tourism11 hours ago

Reopening details for Phuket, Samui and beyond laid out

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Multiple Chiang Rai schools to close after infections found

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8