Children of Laos, Burma & Thailand

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Thailand and Laos (and Myanmar if I can manage it)

Hello, Sawatdee kaa and Sabai dee,

My next trip will be Thailand and Laos, and this is all about the before, the trip and the after - similar to my Malaysia/Cambodia blog. I am putting together from start to finish - tickets, do's and don'ts, tours, where to stay, places to see, things to do, as well as useful extras like transport, good places to eat, what to wear, climate, tourist traps, tricks and tips and whatever else I can think of that will be useful.

If you have any tips or advice, please, feel free to leave a comment and add your bit - whatever you think may be helpful or interesting.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

69. Golden Triangle Tour - Tachilek, Burma

This was for me, the most exciting part of the tour. I longed to go to Burma and this would afford me the opportunity, even if it was only for an hour or so. We stopped at Mae Sai - I was the only person on the tour who wanted to do this. I had only 30 minutes, it was supposed to be longer but too much time had been spent earlier. I remember feeling disappointed because I would have liked longer there but it was not to be.

I knew you had to have your passport as you get stamped out of Thailand, stamped into Burma. Then stamped out of Burma and stamped back in to Thailand. What I did not know was you also had to have your departure card with you - this is the card given to you on the plane just before you arrive into Thailand. The "entry" section is kept on entry and the "departure" section is handed over to immigration on leaving Thailand. It just didn't occur to me to bring it. The tour guide asked me at the very beginning of the tour if I had my passport, but he didn't mention the departure card.

I was terribly, terribly disappointed, I had so wanted to visit Burma. The immigration officer said get two photo copies of my passport. I did. Our tour guide was very good, he came with me and helped me. He (immigration officer) wanted 100 baht for his trouble. He got it - I'd have given 200 if he'd asked for it! Anyway, he stamped one (photocopy) but he kept my passport. The Burma side stamped the second one.

Above: Burma (Myanmar)
The border gate.

Above: Through the arch - No Guns!
I just had to get my photo taken here - it was the "no guns" sign that did it. One of the immigration officials wanted to be in the photo and posed and smiled.

Above: Tachilek
This circular garden bed is in the middle of the road bearing the sign "City of the Golden Triangle".

Above: Local Load transport
Now that is quite a load for a thing on three wheels! I looked at it and asked myself what could be in those boxes? Where have they come from? Where are they going to? Is the man driving the owner or a worker? Does he have a shop? Is it local, is it out of town?
The lower boxes are obviously different from the ones above. The upper ones have pictures of tomatoes while others show a green capsicum.

Above: Public transport
The Burma tuk-tuk. There are eight or nine passengers here. They run as a taxi or a bus and I thought it would be a real thrill to ride in one - that is until I read how dangerous they can be. There's only three wheels, and they're often over-loaded and the weight isn't distributed evenly. There have been a number of accidents.

Above: Transport - Mae Sai
More transport modes, this time in Mae Sai. Note the blue plastic bucket hanging over the side. The stalls along this part of the road are food stalls.

Above: Architecture
Pagoda spire in Burma. There are seven "tiers". During my time here, I was on the (constant) lookout for a souvenir. I ended up I bought a lovely scarf - this was my souvenir from Burma. Whenever I wear it, the memories return.

Above: Children
I took a snapshot of these children playing - they wanted money! Because I took a photo. They didn't get any.

Above: Government Official
The fellow was happy to pose for a photo.

Above: Passport Control
The immigration chaps were happy to have their photo taken too.

Above: Family

Above: Mae Sai - Busy Throng
Back in Thailand = the road was packed with people everywhere. I think it was market day. Hundreds of food stalls.

Above: Main Street
Walking down the main street in Mae Sai.

Crossing over the border and back into Thailand, I was unaware that I would not get to keep the "copy" of passport. Had I known, I would have photographed it. Handed it over to Thai official for stamping, asked could I photograph it, he said no. But he gave me a "souvenir" stamp in the back of my passport, which was rather nice of him. I really was disappointed that my visa stamps weren't there - oh well, at least I got to go to Burma.

The it was time to get back on the bus for our last stop.

Next: Long Neck Karen Village.

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