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Visa Running Thailand – Myanmar (Burma) in 2005

I have been sorting out all my harddrives, SD cards, CF cards, etc. And I found some old photos of the days that I was visa running to Myanmar (Burma). The stuff that you collect over the years, is like a time capsule ! These photos are from 2005, so 15 years ago ! I was living in Thailand and staying on a tourist visa. The visa is valid for 30 days, so after 30 days you hop over to, in my case, Myanmar, and back again.

Immigration Checkpoint at Kawthaung Myanmar (Burma) . This was the first stop. There is one more !

Many expats in Bangkok, Samui and Phuket went on one of these trips. We speak the year 2005. It got so big that they came with minibusses full from the Islands like Samui, Phangan and Ko Tao. Also from Phuket and Khao Lak, you could go on various minibus services to Ranong and from there to Myanmar (Burma).

But the South of Thailand wasn’t the only place. I’ve been doing visa runs since 2002 from Bangkok to Cambodia and Laos. Poi Pet, Savannahket, Vietiane, Hua Xai, Trat, etc. When i lived in Bangkok, doing visa runs to Cambodia was so easy. Later when i moved to the South it was either Ranong – Myanmar or even more South to Malaysia.

The Thai Border Checkpoint – On a rock… on a freaking rock…

Now, in 2019/2020 many things have changed. It is not that simple anymore and also not that easy. But it is for the good. Many, many have abused the relaxed visa rules and control. It didn’t brought Thailand any good. Just get your passport stamped, get a carton of cigarettes and some cheap liquor and off you go, back to Thailand. That was how the mass did it. And many of those mass were idiot expats. No money, complaining, shouting, smelling, smoking, etc. Glad that’s all over.

But man, oh man, what an experience was that visa running ! I have never used any of the visa service agencies. I have always done it alone. Just be on a boat with (Burmese) people. It was nice for the contacts, and i am still in contact with some people there. In those days traveling in Myanmar was prohibited to about 5 km. So you couldn’t go anywhere. But some people took me to the temples in Kawthaung. And even further. In 2007 i’ve been to the Maliwan Rock Pools and Waterfall. It was dangerous to go there as a foreigner. If they caught you, you could end up in jail. Now you can easily travel to that place. So in 12 years, things does have changed in Myanmar. 🙂 and for the good. 🙂

Some Photos

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